NEWS

In Brief

BAN KI-MOON

UN secretary-general to make first official visit to Greece United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to arrive in Athens on Tuesday in the first ever official visit by the head of the organization. Ban, who earlier this week pressed Cyprus leaders to seek the necessary promises to reach a settlement, is due to discuss the Cyprus issue, illegal immigration, climate change and the economic crisis with political leaders. BUILDING CODE Law on alterations suspended The previous government’s law allowing homeowners to pay a penalty to put in order illegally altered parts of their properties was officially suspended yesterday following instructions given by Environment Minister Tina Birbili. The PASOK government has said it will freeze this regulation for six months so that it can decide what to do. Birbili, however, did not make clear yesterday whether any changes will be made to the car scrappage scheme introduced by the previous government. Any announcement is likely to be made next week. Illegal artifacts Police yesterday detained a 51-year-old woman and an 86-year-old man in connection to charges of illegally trading in antiquities after catching the woman in the act of negotiating a sale and seizing several valuable artifacts from the elderly man’s home. The female suspect allegedly tried to sell the 86-year-old an 18th-century triptych icon for 30,000 euros. A search of the man’s home turned up vases and other ancient pottery as well as two small statues dating as far back as the 9th century BC. Fraudster caught A 36-year-old man who allegedly defrauded 11 people out of 21,200 euros by promising to mediate on their behalf for planned car purchases was being questioned by police in Athens yesterday after injuring two officers in his attempt to elude arrest. Police said they signaled to the suspect to stop after spotting him in a car in Kallithea but the suspect accelerated and rammed his vehicle into the patrol car, injuring two officers. The man, who allegedly posed as a senior army officer when promising to mediate in the car purchases, faces charges of attempted manslaughter as well as fraud. Consulate blast A gas-canister bomb planted outside the premises of the Spanish Consulate in Thessaloniki detonated early yesterday but caused no damage or injuries, police said. Seized ship A spokesman for All Oceans, the company that owns the Greek ship Ariana which was hijacked by Somali pirates in May, told the Athens News Agency late on Thursday that no deal for its release had been reached. Earlier a Reuters news agency report suggested that the company had agreed to pay a $3.5 million ransom for the ship’s release and the pirates would leave the vessel as soon as the money arrived. Skai recycling Skai TV and Radio are organizing their first drive today to raise awareness about recycling. People interested in recycling old electrical goods will be able to bring them to an area in front of the Badminton Theater in Goudi, eastern Athens, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to deposit them in special containers.