NEWS

In Brief

Hunger strike

Inmates refuse meals for sixth day over conditions More than 400 inmates at the main jail in Grevena, northern Greece, yesterday boycotted the institution’s mess hall for the sixth day, saying that they would continue their hunger strike until their detention conditions are improved. The protesting inmates claim that they are being detained in excessively cramped quarters, that they are mistreated by prison staff and that their requests for furloughs are either ignored or rejected outright. The prisoners say they have submitted a petition with their requests to Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Minister Haris Kastanidis but have yet to receive an answer. Pirate row Greek ship in middle of spat Rival Somali pirate gangs fired shots at each other yesterday in a row over how to split a multimillion-euro ransom for a hijacked Greek-flagged oil tanker but there were no reports of any injuries, Reuters reported. The pirates, who hijacked the Maran Centaurus last November, reportedly object to sharing the ransom of 3.8 million euros with gangs in the Somali pirate haven of Haradheere, where the vessel is moored. There were no details released about the vessel’s crew – nine Greeks, two Ukrainians, one Romanian and 16 Filipinos. Christofias visit Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Prime Minister George Papandreou discussed the problematic progress of ongoing talks aimed at reunifying the divided island nation during a visit by the former to Greece over the weekend. Christofias was in Greece for a tour of the prefecture of Ileia in the Peloponnese, of which the reconstruction after the catastrophic forest fires of 2007 was funded by Nicosia. According to sources, both Greek and Cypriot diplomats have been discouraged by reports regarding new proposals that Ankara wants to bring to the table of United Nations-mediated talks. Synagogue attack An arson attack on a synagogue in the Cretan port of Hania in the early hours of Saturday, the second in the past three weeks, wreaked some 30,000 euros’ worth of damage but no injuries, police said yesterday. Police said the perpetrators broke into the synagogue at around 4 a.m. on Saturday and started a fire on the first floor. The blaze destroyed the building’s wooden ceiling as well as many of its documents, police said. Soccer violence Two Greek men, aged 51 and 56, faced a prosecutor in Veria, northern Greece, after allegedly attacking the 19-year-old referee of a junior league soccer game. According to witnesses, the two suspects began to swear at the referee during the match before physically attacking him over a call they disputed. It was unclear if the two men were spectators or fathers of players. Road fatality A 20-year-old motorcyclist and his 18-year-old female passenger were killed instantly on Saturday evening when they collided with a small truck being driven by a 27-year-old man a few kilometers outside the central town of Trikala, traffic police said. The crash occured at 7.30 p.m. on the 10th kilometer of the Trikala-Arta national highway, police said without determining the cause of the incident.