NEWS

In Brief

WEEKEND EXODUS

Police boost patrols as thousands take to the roads Traffic police yesterday intensified patrols of the country’s national road network as thousands of city-dwellers head off to their country retreats for the long weekend. Police units will concentrate on major junctions on the national highways and may set up some diversions. Trucks will be banned from traveling on the highways exiting large cities on Friday afternoon to ease traffic flows. The country’s ports were crowded yesterday afternoon as thousands prepared to board ferries to the islands. More than 40,000 passengers boarded ferries from Piraeus alone. ARSON ATTACKS Four blasts shake Attica, another four hit Thessaloniki Unidentified arsonists caused four bomb blasts in different parts of Attica early yesterday, causing widespread damage but no injuries. The blasts, all carried out using homemade devices, targeted a bank branch, a clothes store, a car showroom and a fast food outlet. The bank sustained the heaviest damages. Thessaloniki was also shaken by four bomb blasts early yesterday morning, also targeting banks and fast food chains. Noone had claimed responsibility for the blasts by late yesterday. CHILD TRAFFICKING Suspect stopped at airport An Albanian woman has been charged with trafficking in minors after allegedly trying to board a flight to Milan with two children bearing false passports. Police at Athens International Airport detained the woman after noticing that the photographs on the passports did not correspond to the children she had been accompanying. According to officers, the woman was paid a total of 6,000 euros for taking the children, believed to be Albanian, to Milan for forced labor. The children were sent to Athens from Tirana by coach, police said. Post-quake aid Banks in the Peloponnese issuing compensation to citizens whose homes were damaged in last Sunday’s 6.5-magnitude earthquake reported fewer bureaucratic problems – and shorter queues – yesterday. Meanwhile quake experts warned residents of quake-hit areas to stay away from buildings that have been declared unstable by state civil engineers. FYROM progress? The United Nations mediator in the Macedonia name dispute Matthew Nimetz said yesterday that the rift between Athens and Skopje in negotiations aimed at reaching a settlement had grown smaller but had yet to be bridged. Nimetz, who had talks in New York on Thursday with diplomats from Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), is to visit Athens and Skopje later this month. Road pile-up A road accident on the Attiki Odos yesterday afternoon caused a pile-up involving at least nine vehicles. The accident, which occured in the Elefsina-bound side of the road, caused some eight kilometers of tailbacks. Antiquities trade Police in Trikala yesterday detained four people on charges of illegally trading in antiquities after discovering hundreds of ancient artifacts on their homes in the area of Laconia. Searches unearthed around 300 bronze and silver coins dating to Hellenistic and Roman times, dozens of vases and other vessels from the Byzantine era and statues from prehistoric times. Soccer hiring Panathinaikos announced yesterday that Henk Ten Cate has agreed to be their new manager for the next two years. «In my career I have been used to working at the highest level of competition and that’s one of the reasons why I consider this new step to be a great challenge,» said Ten Cate in a statement. «Panathinaikos’ organization, history, ambition and attitude towards football in general match those of the greatest football clubs in Europe, so I’ m confident that we will achieve our goals. The Dutchman was fired last month from his job as assistant manager at English club Chelsea.