NEWS

In Brief

GEORGIA CONFLICT

Ethnic Greek among victims in South Ossetia clashes A 78-year-old ethnic Greek has been killed during clashes between Russian and Georgian forces in the city of Tskhinvali in the breakaway province of South Ossetia. The Foreign Ministry said that Ivan Michailidis was killed during the second day of fighting in the city. His three remaining family members are still in the Tskhinvali area. The ministry said that 25 refugees of Greek origin or who are married to ethnic Greeks have sought shelter in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz. MUSEUM DOWNTURN Drop in number of visitors The number of people visiting museums in Greece dropped by 44 percent in the first quarter of this year, reaching 327,000 as compared to 579,000 visitors during the same period last year, the National Statistics Service revealed yesterday. The Museum at Ancient Olympia, whose site was ravaged by fire last summer, saw the largest drop, receiving 79 percent fewer visitors than last year. Land register Home owners obliged to enter their properties in the new land register must pay an additional 35 euros if they bought their house with a bank loan, it was revealed yesterday. This charge is in addition to the 35 euros that property owners are already obliged to pay Ktimatologio SA, the company set up to create the new land register. Illegal quarries Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas wrote yesterday to the ministers of justice, environment, development and interior asking for them to investigate evidence that indicates two quarries at Markopoulo, east of Athens, are still operating despite court rulings prohibiting it. Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas ordered a preliminary investigation earlier this week to establish whether quarrying is still taking place. Train vandals For the fourth time in three days, vandals have cut high voltage power cables along the train line between Larissa and Thessaloniki, the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) said yesterday. OSE asked police for help in catching the culprits and said that the cutting of the cables would delay the new electric-powered trains from running on the Larissa-Thessaloniki route. The new trains had been due to roll out at the end of the month. Weekend exodus Traffic police yesterday intensified patrols on the country’s national road network as thousands of city-dwellers abandoned the capital for the long weekend. The country’s ports were crowded yesterday afternoon as thousands prepared to board ferries to the islands. Thousands more are to leave the capital by air with some 2,950 flights scheduled to leave Athens International Airport until Sunday. Double heist Three armed robbers made off with more than 42,000 euros yesterday following a double heist on adjacent banks in the small town of Kalamaria, near Thessaloniki. Two of the masked assailants raided a branch of Piraeus Bank while the third held up a branch of IFB next door. The three robbers finished their jobs virtually simultaneously, without provoking any injuries, and fled on one motorcycle.