NEWS

In Brief

QUAKE CLEANUP

Mild aftershocks jar villages; ruined Patras hospital emptied As the post-quake cleanup of damaged homes and infrastructure got under way in the prefectures of Ileia and Achaia yesterday, a series of mild aftershocks, measuring between 3.7 and 4.1 on the Richter scale, rattled the area. Seismologists said the tremors were no cause for concern, noting that they were an outlet for residual seismic activity. Meanwhile, authorities in Patras evacuated the local Aghios Andreas Hospital after experts found cracks in the walls provoked by Sunday’s 6.5-magnitude quake. Patients were relocated to other hospitals in nearby Rio and in Ioannina, northwestern Greece. UNIVERSITY VIOLENCE Masked youths trash three guardhouses in Thessaloniki A group of around 30 masked youths attacked three guardhouses outside Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University yesterday, causing serious damage but no injuries. The youths allowed the guards to flee from their stations before beating the sentry houses to pieces using planks of wood, stones and sledgehammers. After the attack, the youths retreated into the university campus, according to police who cordoned off the area. There had been no arrests reported by late yesterday. CYPRUS PROBLEM FM asks Ankara to make move Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis yesterday appealed to Ankara to take «specific steps» to solve the Cyprus problem during an interview with a Greek-Cypriot television channel in Nicosia. «It is a global paradox that a country that is a European Union candidate member is occupying a section of another European country,» Bakoyannis said. «Turkey itself knows that its failure to solve the Cyprus problem is the reason it cannot get closer to Europe,» noting that EU membership would be the «best guarantee of security» for Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Anastassiadis called TV presenter Themos Anastassiadis, who last year allegedly gave a government representative a copy of a DVD showing former Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos having sex with his assistant, has been called to face further questioning. Magistrate Dimitris Economou yesterday asked Anastassiadis to appear before him to answer claims that he broke the privacy law, which is a criminal offense. Driving licenses Some 60,000 new driving licenses – in the more compact, credit card style common in other European countries – have been issued in the past 10 days, Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis said yesterday. The new licenses will gradually replace the old ones, Hatzidakis said, noting that they would come into broad circulation early next year. Hash haul Police yesterday arrested two Albanians following inspections on a car near the Albanian border that unearthed more than 30 kilos of cannabis. A car chase ensued after the Albanians refused to stop at a police signal. The drugs are believed to have been destined for sale in Thessaloniki. Police were yesterday seeking another Albanian believed to have crossed the border by foot to deliver the drugs as well as a Greek national believed to be the local connection. Imported meat State veterinarians in Larissa yesterday reported two suspected instances of illegal lamb imports believed to involve some 1,300 live animals. Authorities said they had issued fines to the tune of 81,000 euros but did not determine the identity of the alleged offenders. Veterinarians said they would continue their inspections to avert similar cases, noting that all offenders would face heavy fines. Train derails A commercial train from Austria derailed upon entering the station at Livadeia, north of Athens, yesterday, triggering a small fire that was extinguished before it could cause widespread damage. No one was hurt in the incident whose cause was yesterday unclear. Yesterday’s was the latest in a series of train derailments of commercial and passenger trains in Greece. Court strike Court employees across Greece will go on strike today and tomorrow, demanding more hirings in their sector as well as pay raises. The strike is likely to add to the backlog of thousands of outstanding cases at courthouses around the country. Bridge building A group of Israeli and Palestinian deputies yesterday began talks on the island of Rhodes to boost cooperation in areas, including water treatment and crime fighting, organizers said. Four deputies of the Israeli Parliament and five members of the Palestinian Legislative Council are participating in the June 11-12 conference organized by the Council of Europe. Around 30 members of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly are also attending. (AFP)