NEWS

In Brief

TOLL TROUBLE

Ministry promises new roads before more booths are built The government attempted yesterday to pacify irate northern Attica residents, after informing them earlier this week that they would have to pay to use the stretch of the Athens-Lamia national road that runs through the areas where they live. Nine new toll stations are to be built between Metamorphosi to the north of Athens and Skarfeia in central Greece, according to plans unveiled this week. This has angered some people living north of Athens because it means they will have to pay tolls when using the highway. But Deputy Public Works Minister Themistoklis Xanthopoulos assured some 500 residents that the tolls would not be built before a proper network of side roads is developed. PANORAMA SUIT Legal action over Church land Thessaloniki’s forestry authority yesterday filed a suit against «persons unknown» for transferring to the Orthodox Church a 3.2-hectare plot of land next to an expanse of greenery in the suburbs of the northern city. The Church’s plans to build a retirement home in the Panorama area became the subject of a judicial investigation last week after suspicions about the manner in which the public land ended up in the hands of the Church. Cyprus talks Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias is due to visit Athens next Wednesday for an official visit. Yesterday Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat discussed how European Union law would be enforced in the event of the island’s reunification. Bets off Police in Thessaloniki yesterday were questioning a 47-year-old man believed to have transformed his apartment into a betting shop that has allegedly seen some 580,000 euros change hands this year alone. Officers have also detained two other male suspects, aged 34 and 36, believed to have helped the 47-year-old run the illicit business. Crime ring Two men and a woman, all Greek, were being questioned yesterday on charges of operating a racket in which cars wrecked in crashes were allegedly purchased, their license plates exchanged with those of rented vehicles and the wrecks then sold – with the new license plates – to unsuspecting buyers. Police confiscated 42,000 euros in suspected profits. Rape mastermind A 45-year-old woman was arrested in the Nea Smyrni neighborhood near central Athens yesterday on suspicion of colluding in the kidnap and rape of a 34-year-old woman. According to officers, the suspect organized the abduction of the victim, which was carried out by three men who bundled her into a pickup truck, as she was obsessed with the victim’s husband. They then drove the 34-year-old to a remote location where one of the men raped her. Missing fisherman A search was under way yesterday to trace a 28-year-old fisherman believed to have gone missing in choppy waters on Tuesday off the coast of Thasos in the northern Aegean. A Super Puma rescue helicopter was scouring the area but coast guard vessels were unable to join the search due to high winds that had not dropped by late last night.