Crew of private helicopter unhurt after emergency drop The pilot and co-pilot of a private helicopter were unharmed after the aircraft performed an emergency landing in the sea off Asteras Beach in the Athens suburb of Vouliagmeni yesterday morning, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. Instructor Yiannis Kokkinopoulos and coast guard officer Aristidis Pantazoglou managed to swim to shore using their life jackets, the ministry said, adding that the reason behind the forced landing was unclear. The helicopter had taken off from Megara on a training flight and was due to land at Aghios Cosmas, according to the ministry. TASMAN SPIRIT International labor officials to see Greek seamen detained in Karachi An International Labor Organization (ILO) delegation is today due to visit the five crew members of a Greek oil tanker that broke apart off Pakistan last August, causing extensive pollution, and who are currently under house arrest in Karachi, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Officials from the ILO’s Pakistan office are to visit the five Tasman Spirit seamen – one of who tried to commit suicide on Monday following five months in Pakistani custody – following a request by Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Paschalidis for help in securing the men’s return to Greece. PATISSIA BLAZE Girl, 8, unharmed after cooker left on Firemen yesterday rescued an 8-year-old Albanian girl from a blaze in her home in the Athens district of Ano Patissia after the child’s grandmother left an electric cooker burning. The woman had apparently forgotten about the cooker when she left the underground apartment, locking in Artemisia Mouka – whose parents were at work – and went to her own neighboring flat. Neighbors called the fire service after hearing the child’s cries for help. Thiseion station Piraeus-bound trains on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) will not be stopping at Thiseion station as of today as work gets under way to renovate the station’s platform. However, Kifissia-bound trains are now stopping in Thiseion following the completion of works on the Kifissia-bound platform. Greek-Turkish talks Senior Greek and Turkish diplomats are to meet in Athens today for the 22nd round of exploratory talks on bilateral issues, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday. Railway routes The Athens-Thessaloniki railway route will be reduced to 4 hours and 30 minutes, thanks to the new Evangelismos-Leptokarya route and new tunnels at Tempe and Platamonas that are to be inaugurated on Monday by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Transport Minister Christos Verelis. Soccer diplomacy Greek and Turkish Cypriots are to play each other in soccer for the first time in 49 years this March and May, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. The decision was made following a meeting between officials of the Cypriot Soccer Federation and Turkish-Cypriot associations in Nicosia, the agency said. The first friendly match is due to take place in southern Cyprus in March and the second match in the island’s Turkish-occupied north in May, the ANA cited the Turkish-Cypriot daily Kipris as saying. Fugitive arrested A 48-year-old escaped convict from Corfu Prison has been arrested in Thessaloniki’s Kalamaria district along with his 47-year-old girlfriend who faces charges of illegal possession of drugs and weapons and harboring a criminal, police in the northern city said yesterday. Officers confiscated from the couple’s Kalamaria home nearly 900 grams of heroin, more than 80 grams of cocaine, six small packages of cannabis, as well as a pistol and a revolver – both with ammunition. Drug rehab A new rehabilitation center for drug addicts, run by the state Organization Against Drugs (OKANA), started operating in the Cretan port of Hania yesterday. It is the first OKANA center to open on Crete.