NEWS

In Brief

Attica firebombs

Hits on ND MP’s office in Piraeus, PASOK’s Athens HQ Piraeus Mayor Panayiotis Fasoulas yesterday condemned the unidentified arsonists who on Saturday targeted the office of local New Democracy Deputy Panayiotis Melas with gas-canister bombs, causing damage but no injuries. Melas expressed surprise that he had been targeted in comments to a private television channel. In another arson attack early Saturday, unidentified assailants used firebombs to target riot police stationed outside the offices of opposition PASOK in Exarchia, central Athens. Police responded with tear gas and the perpetrators fled. No injuries were reported. Refugee ‘vindicated’ Ministry rejection rebuffed The Council of State, in a ruling made public yesterday, overturned a decision by the Interior Ministry to refuse for the third time an appeal for refugee status by an Afghan teenager. The youth first lodged an appeal in November 2001 when he arrived in Greece, saying he feared persecution in his homeland but this was rejected, as were two subsequent appeals. The court said the ministry had not respected legislation designed to protect unaccompanied minors. Dumped body Police were yesterday probing the circumstances of the death of a 20-year-old man whose body was found dumped in a landfill in Koropi, southeastern Attica. The man had been missing since Thursday, according to his mother, who said she received an anonymous call from someone demanding 35,000 euros for the return of her son. The victim’s hands and feet were bound with his shoelaces. Rape suspect Police in Kilkis, northern Greece, yesterday were seeking a 40-year-old man alleged to have been raping his 7-year-old niece. Medical tests carried out on the girl at Thessaloniki’s AHEPA hospital reportedly confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted. Police said they believed the rape was carried out during an excursion the 40-year-old had taken with his niece in his car. Emergency landing A Spanish military transport plane was forced to carry out an emergency landing at Thessaloniki’s international airport after one of its engines began to malfunction. According to local air traffic controllers, the plane, which was carrying seven people, contacted the airport’s control tower and was given permission to land, which it did safely. Dust cloud A cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert engulfed much of Attica on Saturday, causing problems for those with breathing difficulties. The dust, which usually arrives in the spring, came early this year due to unseasonably early southerly winds. Yesterday the dust cloud had moved on to Crete, the Peloponnese and Epirus. Serres farmers The remaining farmers who had been on standby at the Promachonas crossing on the Bulgarian border withdrew on Saturday after unionists meeting with Agriculture Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis in Athens declared themselves satisfied with the minister’s pledges for compensation for damaged crops. The farmers had been blocking the crossing for two weeks.