NEWS

In Brief

TERRORISM

Parliament approves legislation on Greek-Turkish cooperation Parliament’s plenary session yesterday approved new legislation opening the way for Greece and Turkey to cooperate in fighting terrorism and organized crime, including the illegal drug trade and immigrant smuggling. The legislation – which ratifies a protocol within a bilateral agreement for joint measures to tackle terrorism – was opposed by the Greek Communist Party and the Synaspismos Left Coalition who claimed it would prove detrimental to Turks seeking political asylum. PRUDENTINO Suspected Mafia don cleared of murder attempt, jailed for forged papers An Athens court yesterday cleared a suspected Italian Mafia don charged in connection with the attempted homicide of Greek businessman Yiannis Yiatrakos and the planning of two bomb attacks on the latter’s properties in Athens two years ago. However, Albino Prudentino, 52, was sentenced to 16 months in jail for carrying fake documents. Prudentino was arrested near Patras in January 2001 on cigarette-smuggling charges – a month after Thessaloniki police stopped Francesco Prudentino, 53, on similar charges. The latter was sentenced to six years in jail by a Rome court last week. The two men, who are not related, are both linked to the Sacra Corona Unita underworld organization which police say Yiatrakos was once also connected to. FIRES Strong winds fan three blazes A fleet of fire engines, 70 firemen, four firefighting planes and a helicopter yesterday took three hours to extinguish a fire which ravaged a pine forest next to a firing range near the port of Lavrion. The fire had started on the range – where the Hellenic Arms Industry tests its weaponry – and spread rapidly after being fanned by strong winds. Later yesterday, 15 fire engines and 45 firemen managed to control a fire which had broken out on a hillside 100 meters (110 yards) from a residential area in Petroupolis, in the northwestern suburbs of Athens. A fire in Karlovasi near Aghios Panteleimonas on the Aegean island of Samos was put out yesterday afternoon before it could cause damage. Summer sales Summer sales start at stores on July 1 and will continue until August 31, the Development Ministry announced yesterday. Headless meals Sheep and goats are to be sold without their heads in markets and butcher stores as of July 1, according to a market decree issued by the Development Ministry yesterday. The only exception will apply during the Orthodox Easter period when the animals can be sold intact for traditional spit-roasting. New universities The government yesterday announced it intends to create three new higher education institutions – the University of Western Macedonia in Kozani, the University of Eastern Mainland Greece in Lamia and the Ionian Islands Technical College in Cephalonia. It was unclear when the new institutions would open. Grandfather Simitis Prime Minister Costas Simitis became a grandfather yesterday after his daughter Fiona gave birth to a baby girl in Athens. The «invasion» of his daughter’s and his own privacy by a TV journalist who managed to procure video footage of the new mother directly after the birth was denounced by the premier in criticism echoed by the Athens Journalists’ Union. Navy rescue A German tourist who suffered an acute heart attack on the Aegean island of Patmos yesterday morning had to be transported to the hospital on neighboring Samos by navy ship, as all other vessels were docked due to a sailors’ strike. The Pyrpolitis was off the coast of the southern island of Kos when it was notified of the emergency and changed its course to aid the 70-year-old man. Coffee break Five people have been hospitalized with fractures on Chios after being crushed under a large branch of a plane tree which was sheltering them from the sun as they drank coffee in a cafe in the eastern Aegean island’s central square, reports said yesterday. The fire service was called to extricate the unlucky five who had been floored by the fallen branch on Wednesday.