NEWS

In Brief

PSYCHICO BLAST

Group claims responsibility for bomb outside tax office A group called Armed Revolutionary Action claimed responsibility for setting off a bomb outside a tax office in the northern Athens suburb of Psychico yesterday. The explosion occurred at 2.55 a.m., 10 minutes after an anonymous caller rang the Eleftherotypia newspaper and warned that a device had been planted at the tax office. This gave police the opportunity to stop traffic on Kifissias Avenue, but the blast was relatively minor and caused little damage. Officers said that not all of the 500 grams of explosive material that had been placed inside a cooking pot had gone off. Armed Revolutionary Action has claimed similar small blasts in the past. TRACKED DOWN Halkida train journey shorter The Hellenic Railway Organization (OSE) said yesterday that it has managed to shave more than 20 minutes off the time it takes to get to the town of Halkida on Evia from Athens due to the recent upgrading of the track. OSE said that the work had been completed and that Proastiakos suburban railway trains had begun test runs on the line. Instead of one hour and 10 minutes, the journey will take just 48 minutes, OSE said in its statement. For the time being, only trains traveling between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., and from 6 p.m. to midnight will be able to travel at greater speeds, but by the end of July all the trains on the line will complete the journey in under 50 minutes. Markopoulo quarries The Development Ministry issued a statement yesterday saying that two quarries in Markopoulo, east of Athens, should not be operating after more complaints about ongoing excavation. The ministry said that it had already fined the companies that own the quarries but said that it was not responsible for the operating licenses that have been issued to the firms. In August 2007, one year after Greece’s highest administrative court issued its ruling, officials from the Prefecture of Eastern Attica supposedly shut down the two quarries. The Council of State ruled that the Latomeia Markopoulou and Stavrou Latomeia quarries should cease operations because they were damaging the local environment and residents’ health. In November 2006, the Public Works and Environment Ministry fined the two quarrying firms a total of 2 million euros for violating environmental law. Hania explosion A small explosive device went off outside a travel agency near Hania on Crete early yesterday, but caused more damage to a neighboring house rather than the business, police said. The explosion occurred at 1.40 a.m. and led to all the windows in the house next to the travel agency being smashed. The elderly couple living in the house was not injured. Police did not suggest a motive for the attack. SYRIZA hammered Assailants destroyed a stand belonging to the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) using a sledgehammer in the Cretan city of Hania early yesterday. SYRIZA officials claimed the leftist party was singled out, as the adjacent stands of two other parties were left untouched.