NEWS

In Brief

PASSPORTS

Transferring issuing services to police deemed unconstitutional Draft presidential decrees that transferred passport-issuing services from prefectural authorities to a new department set up within the police are unconstitutional, according to a decision by the fifth section of the Council of State made public yesterday. A single service would be incapable of handling all citizens’ passport applications in an efficient way, the court found. A final decision will be made by the court’s plenary session. HUMAN TRAFFICKING Police break up two rings smuggling migrants into Greece Two Attica-based criminal rings believed to have been smuggling illegal immigrants into Greece have been broken, police said yesterday. Five Iraqi nationals – believed to have smuggled immigrants into Greece and held them hostage in a derelict house in the Athenian district of Neos Cosmos until they each paid 6,000 euros each – have been arrested. In a separate case, police are holding three men from Pakistan and Iraq believed to have been smuggling large groups of Pakistani immigrants into Greece since 2001 and forging documents for them. FORMER ROYAL ESTATES Tatoi, Polydendri buildings protected The Culture Ministry decided late on Thursday to list as protected monuments the buildings on the former royal estates at Tatoi, on the northern outskirts of Athens, and Polydendri in Thessaly. The protection will also stretch to 2,000 hectares of forest at the heart of the Tatoi estate, which has been declared a historic site. The property was seized in 1994 from the former royal family, which won 13.7 million euros in compensation from the Greek State under a European Court of Human Rights decision last November. Railway works Trains will not be servicing the section of the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) between Omonia and Tavros from noon today until Monday morning. Commuters will be able to use replacement buses until Monday when normal service is due to resume. The disruption is due to works at Thiseion station. Theodorakis tests The composer Mikis Theodorakis, who has been undergoing tests at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center since Thursday, is due to be discharged over the weekend. Theodorakis, 78, visited the center after experiencing slight pain near his heart. Doctors said there was no cause for concern and that the tests were purely preventative. Drugs by mail Police are investigating the operations of a criminal ring that appears to have been sending large quantities of anabolic, hormonal and diuretics drugs by post to foreign customers, following the arrest of two suspected members. The two men, from whose homes officers confiscated large quantities of drugs, had set up an Internet site advertising their products and were taking orders from clients in Europe and the USA, police said yesterday. Basketball Greece’s national basketball team was playing Israel late yesterday in the first of two games for a berth between places 5-8 in the European Championships in Sweden. The national squad missed the opportunity to play in the semifinals after losing 62-59 to Italy late on Thursday. Family killing A 53-year-old Romanian man was arrested for shooting dead his 21-year-old nephew in Markopoulo, eastern Attica, early yesterday morning – apparently in a jealous rage at the younger man’s interest in his Greek girlfriend. Simon Plopsoreanu shot Tonea Mandali in the front cabin of a parked truck in which his nephew had sought refuge, police said. Baseball The players of the national baseball team yesterday visited Archbishop Christodoulos at his official residence in Athens. Christodoulos said he believed the players – who won second place for Greece in the European Championships in July – were role models and congratulated them on their efforts. The players presented the archbishop with a baseball bat, ball and glove.