NEWS

In Brief

FARMERS WITHDRAW

Promachonas border crossing open after month of blockades Farmers who have been blocking the Promachonas crossing on the border with Bulgaria for nearly a month yesterday ended their protest after receiving government assurances that they would receive compensation for damaged crops. Dozens of producers withdrew their tractors from the crossing after representatives managed to reach a compromise with Deputy Agriculture Minister Michalis Karchimakis. The farmers also requested a distribution of land in Serres prefecture and more irrigation works. The blockade at Promachonas, which has caused major trade and transport disruption, had been the last bastion of protesting farmers. EVROS FLOODS State of emergency declared The northern prefecture of Evros remained in a state of emergency yesterday as flooding caused by heavy rainfall at the end of last week submerged dozens more homes and large tracts of farmland. According to prefectural officials, more than 16,000 hectares of land have been submerged while 70 homes have been flooded. Worst hit were the settlements of Lavara and Poros while several other villages located close to the banks of the River Evros remained on alert yesterday. Initial estimates put the damage wreaked on homes and infrastructure at around 7 million euros. Armed holdup Police in Lamia yesterday were looking for four gunmen who burst into a branch of ATEbank in the central city and forced cashiers to hand over some 11,000 euros in cash. The gunmen, who had all been wearing helmets, fled on two motorcycles following the raid in which no one was injured. Siemens probe A parliamentary investigative committee looking into the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal said yesterday that it will ask high-profile publisher and TV presenter Makis Triantafyllopoulos to answer questions about secretly recorded conversations between former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos and his lawyers in Germany. Triantafyllopoulos has started publishing transcripts of the conversations, during which Christoforakos allegedly names politicians that he bribed, on his www.zougla.gr website. The recordings are not admissible in court in Germany or Greece because they were made illegally but the parliamentary committee can take them into account if they prove that a criminal act took place or if they show that a suspect is innocent. Girl drowns A 10-year-old girl drowned at Olynthos, Halkidiki, on Monday afternoon, authorities said yesterday, after she and a friend tried to cross a torrent of water on a quad bike. The children were thrown off the bike by the force of the water. There has been flooding and rockfalls in northern Greece over the past few days due to heavy rainfall. Cheating teacher A high school teacher from Giannitsa in northern Greece was yesterday given a suspended six-month jail sentence after being found guilty of giving pupils taking university entrance exams help with their written papers. Witnesses said that the teacher, who was not named, stressed key words and made hand signals to students during mathematics exams in 2004.