NEWS

In Brief

Immigration rap

EU rights commissioner slams country over Evros conditions Migrant detention conditions in the northeastern prefecture of Evros, which receives thousands of illegal immigrants and refugees each year, are woefully substandard and should be upgraded immediately, according to a new report issued by the European Council’s Commissioner for Human Rights who visited Evros in December. Thomas Hammarberg drew attention to the «insufficient reception capacity» and the lack of interpreting and legal assistance available to migrants. He also highlighted «the persistence of grave, systemic deficiencies in the Greek asylum practice.» ND FRICTION Minister unhappy with poll talk The possibility of snap elections continued yesterday to create friction within New Democracy, as Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis showed his frustration with his own colleagues for rekindling speculation about early polls. Upon exiting an Inner Cabinet meeting, Meimarakis was questioned about Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos’s decision to challenge PASOK to approve a new electoral law that would give the first party past the post an extra 50, rather than 40, parliamentary seats. The defense minister’s response, seen as swipe at Pavlopoulos, was to tell journalists to «ask those who have raised the issue.» Tsitouridis targeted A homemade explosive device planted outside a building housing the office of former Agriculture Minister Savvas Tsitouridis caused minor damage but no injuries when it detonated late last night. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. MP rebels New Democracy MP Yiannis Giannelis has written to Justice Minister Nikos Dendias to inform him that he will not vote for any bill tabled by the ministry as long as an appeals court is not constructed on Lesvos, which he represents in Parliament. Dendias told reporters yesterday that it is not a matter of immediate priority. New Democracy has a majority of just one in Parliament, although it also counts on the support of its former deputy, now an independent, Petros Tatoulis. Ship probe Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias said yesterday that Nicosia should be in a position to announce developments in the next few days regarding an inspection currently under way of a Cyprus-flagged vessel moored off Limassol that is believed to be loaded with illegal weapons. According to Israeli and US officials, the Monchegorsk had been destined to deliver its cargo to Gaza’s Hamas rulers. Missing girl Police in Serres and Thessaloniki yesterday located a 14-year-old schoolgirl who had gone missing from the village of Nigrita, in Serres, on Monday morning. According to police, the girl telephoned her father from the Thessaloniki suburb of Asprovalta and asked to be collected. It is thought that she ran away after an argument with a schoolteacher. Work site fatality A 32-year-old worker was crushed to death yesterday lunchtime during construction works at the main port of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece. According to the Merchant Marine Ministry, the accident occurred due to incorrect use of the machinery being operated at the site.