NEWS

In Brief

KIDNAPPING ARRESTS

Three men suspected of having held 11-year-old to ransom Police in the northwestern Peloponnesian city of Patras yesterday afternoon arrested two Albanian men suspected of involvement in Tuesday’s kidnapping of a schoolboy in central Greece. The suspects were detained at the railway station following a nationwide alert. A third Albanian national was arrested later in the day in Athens. The 11-year-old was abducted from outside his home in the village of Arma, in Viotia, on Tuesday by three men who held him in an abandoned farmhouse and demanded 100,000 euros in ransom from his family. But the boy managed to bite through his bonds and escape. The suspects are believed to have worked in the past as farmhands for the boy’s father. BUS FIRE 42 immigrants escape blaze, only to be arrested for illegal entry A bus carrying over 40 illegal immigrants caught fire early yesterday in the northeastern Peloponnese, but all passengers escaped serious injury, authorities said yesterday. The driver escaped arrest. The cause of the fire, on the road from Corinth to Epidaurus, was unclear. The immigrants, all Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, ran away from the scene of the accident. By late yesterday, police had caught 42 people. STORMS Severe flooding in northern Greece Heavy rains in northern Greece yesterday, accompanied by hailstorms, caused extensive damage to crops while flooding hundreds of homes and businesses. In the town of Katerini, which was worst-affected, authorities said 125 millimeters of rain fell within two hours. The total annual rainfall, on average, in the area is 600 millimeters. Troops stay Greece has not been asked to offer troops for the coalition occupying Iraq, Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Lambropoulos told Parliament yesterday. Responding to a question from Communist Party MP Orestes Kolozov, he said: «Until today, no one has asked us to provide any form of military contribution to Iraq.» NZ warning Following in the footsteps of neighboring Australia, New Zealand issued a travel warning yesterday to citizens planning to visit Greece during the Olympic Games. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: «Olympic Games have been subject to terrorism attacks in the past.» But it noted that Greece has committed «huge funding and numbers of security force personnel to provide security for Games venues and teams.» Bridge of sighs Construction crews, which took over lanes in each direction during rush hour on Kifissias Ave at the Hygeia Hospital interchange in order to build a pedestrian bridge, caused sever traffic jams yesterday. Traffic was backed up in both directions, with its effects reaching all the way to the center of the city. The same problems will apply from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. today.