NEWS

In Brief

POLICE CRACKDOWN

Officers catch 427 people during 24-hour drive to tackle petty crime Police arrested 427 people in a 24-hour crackdown on petty crimes in Athens, Piraeus and Western Attica that ended yesterday morning. Most of those arrested were illegal immigrants or suspects who had a court order issued against them. The operation, which involved 1,257 police officers, also uncovered 191 grams of heroin, 124 grams of cannabis and small quantities of cocaine. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Thessaloniki police find 66 migrants in truck, arrest suspected trafficker Police detained 66 illegal immigrants in Thessaloniki yesterday who were found hidden in the back of a truck and arrested the 36-year-old driver. Authorities said that the immigrants were from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The driver was arrested on charges of smuggling people. Separately, 23 illegal immigrants were detained yesterday on the eastern Aegean island of Samos. The immigrants, all men from Somalia, were discovered shortly after they reached the island on a speed boat. Police have launched a manhunt in Samos for a Turkish man believed to have transported the men into Greece. SEA SEARCH Sailor falls from ship into Ionian An air and sea search was continuing last night after a crew member of the British-flagged cargo ship Alanya fell into the Ionian Sea, authorities said. The search was launched after the seaman disappeared as his vessel was sailing some 40 kilometers west of the island of Cephalonia. The sailor's name and nationality were not made public. Modern art The Museum of Modern Art is likely to be housed in a new building near the Panathenaic Stadium in central Athens, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday. A decision on the location of the museum had been held up because of town-planning restrictions, the minister added. The building will be constructed on the corner of Arditou and Markou Mousourou streets. Souflias said that once the City of Athens has approved the site, he will issue a ministerial decision for construction to proceed. Coach released The assistant coach of PAOK basketball club, who is suspected of war crimes in Croatia, was released from custody in Thessaloniki yesterday after a council of appeals court judges ruled that he had to post 5,000 euros for bail. Ernest Radjen, an ethnic Serb, was arrested last month for complicity in alleged war crimes. Radjen is wanted in connection with the massacre of some 50 civilians in the Zadar area in 1991. Croatian authorities have asked for Radjen to be extradited. Bogus glucose strips People who are suffering from high blood glucose levels and using a monitoring system manufactured by Lifescan were informed yesterday to check the batch number on the test strips as a number of bogus products have been imported into Greece. The firm said that 1,100 boxes of fake test strips had been distributed to 130 pharmacies. The boxes carry the batch number 2625258 and expire in July 2007. Users should contact Lifescan on 800.11.78888. Trolley buses Trolley bus drivers will stage a four-hour work stoppage from 11 a.m. today so they can attend their union's general meeting. Normal service will resume at 4 p.m. Getty talks Greece has begun a new round of talks in Athens with representatives of Los Angeles's J. Paul Getty Museum about the possibility of returning two ancient Greek treasures, the Culture Ministry said late on Tuesday. Greece says the gold wreath from 400 BC and a 6th century BC marble statue were illegally excavated and smuggled out of the country. Getty officials are examining the documentation, which Greece believes supports this claim. Two other antiquities from the Getty Museum were returned to Greece last month. Columbus Day The United States Embassy in Athens, including the consular section, the US Consulate General in Thessaloniki and all US government offices in Greece, will be closed on Monday in observance of Columbus Day, a US national holiday, the embassy said in a statement yesterday.

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