NEWS

In Brief

RIVER DIVERSION

Environmentalists say parties are soft on Acheloos project Five environmental groups, including the local branch of WWF and the Greek Society for the Protection of the Environment, yesterday slammed several political parties for failing to declare their opposition to a project to divert the waters of the Acheloos River in western Greece to the heavily farmed Thessaly Plain. New Democracy, PASOK, the Communist Party and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) have all backed the diversion during the course of the current election campaign. «Thessaly does not need the Acheloos for irrigation,» the environmentalists said in a statement. «The farmers’ problems are caused by decades of waste and poor water management.» ROAD TOLLS Prefect objects to fresh charges Opposition to the creation of new tollbooths on the Athens-Lamia highway grew yesterday, as Klearchos Pergantas, the prefect of Viotia, north of Athens, demanded that the government improve side roads in the area so that residents can go about their daily business without having to access the national road network where they will have to pay higher tolls. Pergantas said that the local roads running alongside the highway in Viotia were «in a terrible state,» leading to a high number of accidents. Motorist reprieve Driving licenses and car registration plates that have been confiscated by police due to traffic violations will be returned to motorists as of tomorrow to facilitate citizens wanting to visit their hometowns to vote. The exemption will not apply to motorists penalized for driving while under the influence of alcohol, speeding, running a red light or driving without valid insurance. Post raid A lone armed robber yesterday morning held up a branch of the Hellenic Post (ELTA) in the Athens district of Petralona. The man, who was young and wearing a mask, escaped on a motorcycle driven by a waiting accomplice, according to witnesses. It was unclear how much cash was netted in the raid which caused no injuries. Islanders connected Residents of Fournoi, a small complex of islands in the Aegean, will be provided with a weekly shipping connection to Piraeus, according to a Merchant Marine Ministry decision announced yesterday, a week after the 2,000 or so residents had threatened to boycott next month’s elections to protest the isolation of their communities. The Piraeus route will run every Tuesday, according to the ministry, which added that a ferry would dock at Fournoi on Saturday and leave again on Sunday so that islanders can vote in elections. Violent tiff A 39-year-old woman was hospitalized yesterday after her estranged husband, also 39, visited her at her home in Ano Liosia, northwest of Athens, before allegedly shooting her four times in the legs. According to neighbors, the shooting had been preceded by a vehement argument. Police had not traced the alleged perpetrator by late yesterday. Begging ring A 36-year-old Bulgarian national and a 42-year-old Greek were detained by police in Thessaloniki yesterday as suspected members of a ring believed to have been forcing disabled Bulgarian nationals to beg outside churches on their behalf.