Greece could shrink by 2 million, birthrate at 1.3 babies per couple The population of Greece could drop by 2 million over the next 15 years if there is no rise in the country’s plummeting birthrate, experts due to speak at a medical convention starting in Thessaloniki tomorrow told a press conference yesterday. The birthrate in Greece has dropped to 1.3 children per couple as compared to 4.7 children per couple in Turkey, according to statistics to be made public during the conference. TRAFFIC DISRUPTION Cycle race to cause problems in central Athens this morning Traffic on major roads in central Athens will be disrupted between 9.30 a.m. and 11.05 a.m. today as an international round-the-country cycling race, which started yesterday, gets under way. The roads likely to be affected include Vassilisis Olgas, Vassilisis Amalias, Panepistimiou, Tritis Septemvriou, Stournari and Acharnon as well as Omonia Sq. There will also be some traffic disruption in the areas of Nea Philadelphia, Metamorphosis Lykovrysi, Kifissia and Nea Erythraia. DRUG CONVICTIONS Ex-officer, accomplice get 18 years A Patras court yesterday handed down 18-year jail sentences to a former police officer and another man for attempting to smuggle heroin into a jail in the Peloponnesian town last summer. Police arrested ex-officer Dimitris Tzelepis last August at the Aghios Stefanos jail in Patras – where he worked as a guard – after discovering the drugs in his car. Tzelepis maintained that he had been persuaded to smuggle the heroin into the prison by his fellow defendant, Christos Kyriakopoulos, and then changed his mind and left the drugs in his car. Vardinoyiannis Tycoon Vardis Vardinoyiannis yesterday harshly criticized investigating judge Giorgos Pournaras’s proposal to shelve a criminal investigation into telecommunications and electronic gaming magnate Socrates Kokkalis. «There is no State. Everything has fallen apart. The Kokkalis case is going to be shelved. Only Kathimerini writes about it. Fortunately we do not have any Pournaras at this trial,» Vardinoyiannis told reporters while waiting to testify at the trial of November 17 suspects who are accused of trying to kill him in 1990. Iraqi appeal The Union of Athens and Piraeus Hospital Doctors has appealed to the Public Order Ministry for the repeal of an order to deport an Iraqi doctor, it emerged yesterday. Abdallah Al Dilemi, who has lived in Greece for the last three-and-a-half years and has been studying for his doctorate with a Foreign Ministry scholarship, has been in detention since March 19, when his residence permit was revoked for reasons of «national security.» Bribery A Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday charged a police officer with allegedly accepting money from the owner of an electronic games arcade to warn him of imminent police inspections. Panayiotis Filokostas, who is also a senior member of the Thessaloniki police union, allegedly received three monthly payments of 3,000 euros from Christos Maglaras who was charged with bribery. Filokostas was arrested in the act of receiving a down payment of 1,000 euros. Albanian ties Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis and Albania’s Ambassador to Athens Bashkim Zeneli are today due to sign three bilateral agreements for boosting cooperation in environmental protection, water management and cultural affairs. Yesterday, representatives of ethnic Greek groups living in southern Albania, speaking at a press conference in Brussels organized by conservative Euro MP Costis Hadzidakis, complained of widespread violation of the Greek minority’s human rights. Bomb hoax An anonymous telephone call to Athens police yesterday afternoon, warning that an explosive device had been planted inside the Megaron Mousikis metro station, turned out to be a hoax. Officers failed to find any suspect device following a search of the station premises with sniffer dogs. Armed robbery An unidentified gunman made off with 5,000 euros yesterday after robbing a bank in the Athenian district of Vyronas. No one was injured.