In Brief


European Council warns Greece over corporal punishment in schools The European Council’s Committee for Social Rights has cautioned the Education Ministry over the absence of legislation to protect secondary school students from the use of corporal punishment, following a complaint lodged by a human rights group, sources said yesterday. Greek law forbids the use of corporal punishment in primary schools but does not stipulate the same for secondary schools. Greece may be called to appear before the committee in May unless it takes measures to amend its legislation, the sources said. The complaint was lodged by the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT). MURDER CONVICTIONS 4 life sentences for Salonica shepherd for murder of 3 Albanians and a Greek A Thessaloniki court yesterday handed down four life sentences to a 33-year-old shepherd found guilty of murdering three Albanians and the brother of his former fiancee. Ioannis Baltas killed three Albanian shepherds – one an employee of his – in the Langadas and Kilkis areas between 1995 and 1996 and his former girlfriend’s brother in May 2004. Baltas’s younger brother Stavros was given a 20-year jail sentence for his part in the murder of two of the Albanians, and Dimitris Savelidis, a friend of the two brothers, received two life sentences and nine years in jail for his role in the killings. EVROS RISING Authorities on alert for 10th day Authorities in Macedonia and Thrace yesterday remained on standby for a 10th day after heavy rain in neighboring Bulgaria swelled the Evros and Arda rivers once again. The water level of the Arda rose 5.50 meters at Kyprinos, where the emergency level is 5.20 meters. At Pythion, the Evros rose to 4.89 meters, slightly above the standby level of 4.70 meters, and at Petalo it rose to 5.80 meters, where the standby level is 5.60 meters. Seaplane bill Seaplanes will be conducting regular flights to islands across the country by summertime, according to a new Transport Ministry bill submitted in Parliament yesterday. The bill determines conditions for the creation and operation of «airports» on seas and lakes. Pensioners Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis agreed to meet with unionists representing the country’s pensioners next Wednesday, following yesterday’s rally outside the ministry. Pensioners’ demands include a minimum monthly pension of 960 euros (almost double the current rate), an annual heating fuel supplement of 500 euros and an increase in the tax-free ceiling. Heroin ring A 15-year-old youth and a 47-year-old man arrested together in Thessaloniki on Wednesday are believed to have formed part of a large international heroin-smuggling ring, officers said yesterday. Police arrested the two men in the city’s Stavroupolis district after confiscating 3.6 kilos of heroin from the car in which they were traveling. A 21-year-old man, whom the duo identified as their supplier, was also arrested after 7.3 kilos of heroin was found in his possession. Fraudsters caught Two individuals who allegedly posed as members of a union representing police officers with disabilities in order to sell tickets to an Athens theater show they had organized faced a prosecutor yesterday, police said. The duo are alleged to have sold 11,000 euros’ worth of tickets by convincing people that the proceeds would go toward the – non-existent – Association of Disabled Greek Police Officers. Antiquities haul A Greek woman faced a Halkida prosecutor yesterday after a police raid on her store unearthed 12 illegally excavated artifacts dating to the Roman and Byzantine eras. Many of the pieces were rare, a state archaeologist said. Migrants detained Coast guard officials in the Aegean have detained a total of 16 illegal immigrants over the past 48 hours, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. A group of nine would-be migrants were intercepted yesterday on Lesvos and another 17 immigrants were stopped on Chios on Wednesday, the ministry said.

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