NEWS

In Brief

AMBASSADOR SAFE

Portuguese diplomat and five aides unhurt after sea taxi hit rocks No harm came to Portugal’s ambassador to Greece and five members of his staff when the sea taxi in which they had been traveling struck rocks off the island of Aegina yesterday morning, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. Ambassador Afonso Duarte Costa and five aides were all in good health, the ministry said, adding that the accident had not caused a fuel leak. FIRE AID Petros Molyviatis unveils plans for homes burnt in last year’s blazes Former foreign minister, Petros Molyviatis, who heads a state natural disaster fund, yesterday unveiled the architectural plans for the reconstruction of homes burnt in last summer’s fatal fires. Molyviatis congratulated the architects for designing energy-saving homes that will blend into the traditional settlements in the Peloponnese and other areas hit by the fires. More than 800 million euros in government and private funding has been raised for fire victims. TRANSATLANTIC TRAVEL Talks over US visa waiver program A delegation of American consular experts arrived in Athens yesterday for a two-day visit as part of ongoing bilateral talks for arrangements on the Visa Waiver Program, the US Embassy said yesterday. The four US officials are expected to meet with counterparts from the Foreign, Interior and Justice ministries. Greece is one of 12 EU members whose citizens need a visa to travel to America, even for a short stay. Airfare hikes Olympic Airlines will increase airfares as of Monday by 5 euros for one-way trips to foreign destinations in order to cover rising fuel costs. The Greek airline will also up the cost of domestic flights by 2 euros, while long-distance trips abroad will be 25 euros more expensive, it said. The price of jet fuel has risen nearly 60 percent since the start of the year. Body found Authorities said yesterday they have dug up the body of a woman in the Seikh Sou Forest in Thessaloniki yesterday. The woman is believed to have been dead for about a year. Police said it is likely the woman was killed elsewhere and that her body was taken to the forest to be disposed of. Beachcombing Court of First Instance prosecutor Panayiotis Panayiotopoulos will start checking Attica’s beaches for illegally built facilities that charge swimmers for access to the beach. With the help of prefectures, municipalities and other state services, Panayiotopoulos said he will take legal action against any parties found to have taken over public beaches. Dead in bed Police are investigating the circumstances of the death of an 85-year-old man whose body was found in his bed at his home in a village near Corinth. Police said the man’s daughter reported his death. Immigrants sentenced Two female illegal immigrants who were dropped off on Monday on Mount Athos, where women have been forbidden from setting foot for the last 1,000 years, were sentenced by a Thessaloniki court yesterday to 40 days in jail and will be deported. The court found the women guilty of illegally entering the country but cleared them of charges in regards to violating a law that prohibits women in the monastic community. A court is expected to rule today on the other two women who were also left on Mount Athos. Court strike Greece’s court employee’s union issued a statement yesterday saying that members will strike tomorrow and Friday to demand the hiring of more staff, the improvement of facilities and an increase in their wages. Deadly plunge A 19-year-old man died yesterday after falling into the sea in Thessaloniki, authorities said. The man, who was not named, fell into the Thermaic Gulf near the spot where the statue of Alexander the Great is located. Rescue divers pulled out the man’s body.