NEWS

In Brief

HYDRA BLOCKADE

Islanders close harbor to protest lack of ferries Residents on Hydra, in the Argosaronic Gulf, yesterday blocked the island’s main harbor for a second day, in protest against the fact that they are no longer served by conventional ferries, but only high-speed vessels, which are significantly more expensive. Locals gathered at the port yesterday and prevented a high-speed ferry from docking. For the past two years, Hydra has not had a conventional ferry service. ARSON ATTACKS Banks, supermarket damaged Unidentified arsonists targeted two banks and a supermarket in Thessaloniki early yesterday causing damage but no injuries. In all three attacks, the suspected arsonists used an improvised explosive device made from gas canisters. The first attack targeted a branch of the supermarket chain Atlantic, the second a branch of Eurobank and the third a branch of Geniki Bank. The recent spike in arson attacks in Thessaloniki and Athens is believed to be a reaction to the rising cost of living and a protest by prison inmates. Mugged The 52-year-old driver of a truck belonging to a meat-processing company was in the hospital yesterday after four assailants cornered him using two pickup trucks and robbed him of a bag containing 4,500 euros. According to the driver’s account, the two pickup trucks blocked the path of his vehicle and four people jumped out. One forced him to get out and the other three beat him before grabbing the bag of cash. They then fled in their trucks. Cyprus talks The United Nations special envoy in the Cyprus dispute, Alexander Downer, said yesterday that talks between Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat were moving forward but that the process would continue for at least another year. «It will take time, I think that obviously the process will go into 2009 but as long as the momentum is sustained, they can achieve a good solution in the end,» Downer said. Talat and Christofias met on Wednesday for the eighth time since a new peace drive was launched in September. Serial robber Police in Thessaloniki yesterday were questioning a 41-year-old Georgian man believed to have netted some 35,000 euros in raids on 19 betting shops as well as an Internet cafe and a gas station. The suspect is believed to have spent his illicit gains. Land register The deadline by which homeowners must declare their properties in Greece’s first land register, extended to November 21 from October 31, may be extended again, until the end of the year, sources have told Skai. According to the sources, it is chiefly banks and public organizations that have yet to declare their properties. Armed holdup Two armed robbers made off with 35,000 euros when they raided a branch of Emporiki Bank in the center of Thessaloniki yesterday. The pair made their getaway by motorcycle. Nobody was injured in the raid.