NEWS

In Brief

SARS

Minister reassuring over virus but warns against travel to Asia Greece is fully prepared to handle any outbreaks of the the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which has killed at least 217 people in Asia and other parts of the world, Health Minister Costas Stefanis said yesterday. «There is no doubt that (SARS) poses a serious threat… There are already cases in 25 countries… and this will probably spread,» Stefanis said, adding that travel to the areas worst hit by the virus should be avoided. «Should anything suspect be found, all the means are available to isolate and examine the case,» the minister added. TRIPOLIS HIGHWAY Diversion to open on Thursday, circumventing rain-damaged road A new diversion on the Corinth-Tripolis national road, at Sterna, near Nemea, where a 200-meter stretch of road sank following heavy rains in February, is to start operating at 8 a.m. on Thursday. The new route will save much time for drivers, who had been obliged to take a long detour via the old Corinth-Argos national road since February. Environment and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou is to visit the new road tomorrow. Yesterday, her ministry said measures are being taken to ensure the landslide problem of the Corinth-Tripolis road will be solved within the year. FORGERY RING 19 members to stand trial A nationwide forgery ring that had been issuing and selling driving licenses for between 1,000 and 1,500 euros has been broken, police in the western town of Arta said yesterday after arresting 19 people, all who were released pending trial. Police believe the ring forged passports, too. Monastiraki Station A new metro station at Monastiraki – an extension of Line 3 which connects Syntagma with Ethniki Amyna – will be officially inaugurated today. Train kills railwayman A Hellenic Railway Organization (OSE) worker was instantly killed yesterday after an Intercity train collided with his car as he tried to cross an unguarded level crossing in Ferres in the northern prefecture of Evros. Aristidis Kotzamanis, 42, had been based at the OSE station at Alexandroupolis. The train had been en route for Athens. ELA probe Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) suspect Irini Athanassaki is due to appear today before examining judge Leonidas Zervobeakos on additional charges lodged against her in connection with attacks carried out by the left-wing terror group. Fellow ELA suspect Angeletos Kanas, the mayor of Kimolos, is to appear before Zervobeakos on May 6 after his appeal for extra time to prepare his defense against additional charges – whose background he claimed to be unfamiliar with – was granted. Kanas yesterday once again denied all charges against him. More trains Between 10 and 30 percent more trains will be serving the country’s railways from now until May 5 to handle extra demand over the Orthodox Easter holidays, the Hellenic Railway Organization said yesterday. New frigate The Kanaris, a new S-type frigate built for the Greek navy in the Netherlands, was officially introduced into the fleet yesterday. Ex-king’s foundation The Anna-Maria foundation, which Greece’s ex-king Constantine had said he would establish with the 13.7 million euros from the Greek government awarded to him in March by European Court of Human Rights in compensation for his expropriated estates, will aim to serve the public good, provide support to parts of Greece struck by natural disasters and promote Hellenism across the world, Constantine’s office in London said yesterday. The managing board of the foundation, which bears the name of the ex-king’s Danish-born wife, «will consist mostly of members of the former king’s family and distinguished personalities,» the office said. It added that the foundation would be based outside Greece.