NEWS

In Brief

ARSONISTS’ SPREE

Banks, boat showroom and politicians’ offices set on fire The offices of four politicians in Thessalonki were attacked by arsonists yesterday evening. The offices of Deputy Interior Minister Costas Gioulekas, Deputy Culture Minister Yiannis Ioannidis, the head of Democratic Revival Stelios Papathemelis and PASOK MP Stathis Koutmeridis. One of the socialist party’s offices in the northern city was also torched. No injuries or arrests were reported. Meanwhile, anarchists set fire to four banks and a New Democracy office in the eastern Athens suburb of Vyronas early yesterday. Arsonists also attacked a boatyard in Argyroupoli, southeastern Athens. An incendiary device went off outside the premises of Kappa Marine at 3.25 a.m., according to officers. More than 20 boats were destroyed or damaged by the fire. EARTH HOUR CO2 output down by 500 tons The high level of participation by Greeks in Earth Hour on Saturday evening, when thousands of households, municipalities and businesses switched off their lights for an hour, led to some 500 tons less carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere, organizers said yesterday. According to the Hellenic Transmission System Operator (DESMIE) consumption for electricity fell by 500 megawatts between 8.30 and 9.30 p.m. The environmental impact of this was equivalent to 36,500 fewer cars being on the roads. Ministers’ talks Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros yesterday played down a meeting last week between Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias, which was billed by many commentators as focusing on the issue of who might succeed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. «I am not going to deal anymore with behind-the-scenes political stories,» said Antonaros. «Meetings between ministers do not need any further explanation.» Voting abroad Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said yesterday that a bill allowing hundreds of thousands of Greeks living abroad to vote in Greek general elections would be submitted to Parliament’s plenary session this week. Pavlopoulos, who was speaking after talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, called on the main opposition party PASOK to drop its opposition to the bill, noting that it would be depriving diaspora Greeks of a crucial right. Kyriakou sentence An appeals court in Nafplion yesterday reduced to 28 months the four-year prison sentence given to Minos Kyariakou, president of the ANT1 Group of media companies, for illegal construction at his summer house in the resort of Porto Heli, southwest of Athens. The judge ruled that Kyriakou could buy out his sentence for 5 euros a day or a total of some 4,200 euros. Counterfeit cigarettes Police in Korydallos, near Piraeus, said yesterday that they had broken a cigarette-smuggling ring after confiscating 100,000 packets of illegal smokes and arresting one suspected ring member. The cigarettes carried the trade name Marlboro but bore no indication that they had been legally imported, according to officers. The fraudsters involved in the ring cheated authorities out of 300,000 euros in taxes and tariffs.