NEWS

In Brief

BORDER CRISIS

Gypsy refugees from Kosovo seek refuge in Greece Police at the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) yesterday denied entry into Greece to hundreds of Gypsy refugees from Kosovo who had gathered at the Medzitlija crossing seeking political asylum. Some 600 refugees, many of whom were women and children, told police they were in danger of falling victim to Albanian nationalists who they claim regard the Gypsies as Serb collaborators during 1999 NATO strikes on FYROM. DRUG DETECTOR Thessaloniki police get device to use on drivers pending reforms Thessaloniki’s police force yesterday acquired a drug-detecting device – capable of spotting five different narcotic substances in saliva samples in 10 minutes – which police will be able to use on drivers they believe to have taken drugs pending a government decision approving such tests. Police said drug use has been linked with 12 percent of fatal road accidents. Attica police are to acquire a similar device over the next two weeks. POLICEWOMEN ND condemns height restrictions The New Democracy opposition party yesterday called for the government to reverse ‘unacceptable» reforms passed last week raising the minimum height of female police cadets from 1.65 to 1.70 meters. The changes, made just a week before university entrance examinations begin, «have roused the justifiable anger and disappointment of thousands of female candidates who had prepared themselves to sit exams according to existing legislation,» an ND statement said. Baby dies An 18-month-old baby boy, hospitalized in Iraklion on Sunday after the car in which he had been left alone fell into the Cretan city’s harbor, died early yesterday morning. Angelos Spyridakis had been in the water for more than half an hour before rescue workers managed to extract him from the vehicle which the infant’s grandfather Giorgos Steiakakis, 61, had left unattended. The exact cause of the incident remained unclear yesterday. The car had been left in first gear and the keys were in the ignition, prompting initial speculation that the baby may have inadvertently started the car. Police ‘overworked’ Athens police have sued their chief over allegedly excessive working hours due to the demands of Greece’s European Union presidency, The Associated Press reported yesterday. The suit was filed on May 14 against Police Chief Giorgos Angelakos, who signed the orders imposing overtime on thousands of officers to maintain security during an EU expansion ceremony in the capital. SARS A 23-year-old South African air stewardess who had last week displayed symptoms resembling those of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) should be able to leave Athens’s Sismanogleio Hospital – where she is currently being kept as a precautionary measure – by the end of the week, doctors said yesterday. Tests conducted on the woman so far have been negative for SARS. Battle of Crete The 62nd anniversary of the Battle of Crete will be commemmorated on the island this week with events including a parachute jump by troops on Saturday and Sunday, and a jump by veteran parachutists today, the general chiefs of staff said yesterday. Exams begin Tens of thousands of senior high school pupils across the country begin end-of-term examinations this morning. Lawyers’ strike Lawyers in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki are to stage a 48-hour strike from tomorrow, unionists decided yesterday. The strike is a protest at proposed government reforms which aim to speed up judicial procedures in criminal trials.