NEWS

In Brief

AIR-SPACE VIOLATIONS

Turkish jets fly over eastern islet, chased off by Greek fighters Five formations of Turkish fighter jets yesterday violated Greek national air space 14 times in the central Aegean, at one point flying over the islet of Antipsara at an altitude of 5,000 feet, military sources said. The 12 Turkish jets were chased off by as many Greek aircraft and there were four simulated dogfights, the officials said. Turkish jets violated Greek national air space on several occasions last week. ROAD ACCIDENTS Government announces plans to achieve 50 percent reduction by 2010 Transport Minister Michalis Liapis yesterday heralded an overhaul of the highway code and of penalties for traffic violators, in a bid to reduce the number of accidents on Greek roads by 50 percent by 2010. The government also aims to promote the use of the capital’s improved public transport network so that one in two Athenians use it rather that one in three as is currently the case. N17 PROTEST Minister says jail conditions fine Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras yesterday rejected protests by members of the November 17 terror group, some of whom are on a hunger strike, against their detention conditions in the Athens Korydallos Prison. «They are attempting to impose their terms on the State,» Papaligouras said. All 15 are in solitary confinement and exercise in a small, heavily fortified yard. Three men have refused food so far. One, N17 hitman Dimitris Koufodinas, is in critical condition. Migrant center The Interior Ministry will fund the construction of a new reception center on Samos where illegal immigrants can be accommodated until their repatriation, ministry secretary-general Athanassios Veziryiannis said yesterday following a visit to the island’s existing center. «The living conditions of the immigrants are unacceptable,» he said. Two suspected Turkish smugglers are to face a Samos prosecutor today following their arrest yesterday as they tried to flee the island. Gastroenteritis About 260 residents of Nafpaktos have been diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis since an outbreak on Sunday, authorities said yesterday. Most of those afflicted are aged 14-35, with half coming down with fever. Authorities yesterday chlorinated the tap water, which is believed to have provoked the epidemic. Tests on a sample being analyzed at Patras University are expected to yield results today. Fewer drownings The number of drownings in Greek waters dropped by a third in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to data released by the Merchant Marine Ministry yesterday. There were 212 drownings recorded until the end of September this year, as compared to 302 recorded over the same period last year. Most drowning victims were elderly men, this year and last year. Cocaine suspect A 40-year-old Greek, believed to be the head of a major cocaine smuggling gang, is to appear before an investigating magistrate in Piraeus on Friday after being granted extra time to prepare his defense yesterday. Alexandros Angelopoulos arrived in Athens on Monday after being extradited from Germany, where he was arrested in August. He was arrested in connection with a drug bust in July aboard a trawler off the coast of Spain which uncovered a haul of 5.4 tons of cocaine. Tax probe The Council of Misdemeanors Court Judges yesterday asked to lift confidentiality on the bank accounts of four Thessaloniki tax office employees as an embezzlement probe gets under way. The four employees are implicated in the case of illegal tax returns of 989,681 euros to an unidentified businesswoman. The council has also asked for access to the bank accounts of close relatives of the four employees. Salonica mugger A motorcycle-borne mugger has robbed dozens of couples in Thessaloniki’s Seikh Sou Forest over the past month, police said yesterday. The robber’s modus operandi is to approach couples in parked cars, smash the windscreen and force his victims to hand over their cash at gunpoint. In his two latest attacks, on Monday, the robber stole 240 euros and two cell phones.