US State Dept. thanks Greece for offer of aid to homeless victims US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza yesterday expressed Washington’s gratitude for the offer by Athens to provide aid to the part of the USA hit by Hurricane Katrina. Greece has offered to send emergency rescue teams and supply two cruise ships to house homeless people. Bryza said the «technical details» were still being worked out. THESSALONIKI BUSES New 50-cent ticket introduced Commuters in Thessaloniki will henceforth be able to use the city’s 68 major bus routes for up to 70 minutes with a new 50-cent ticket, Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said. The new ticket will replace the three bus tickets which have been on sale to date, according to the ministry. Liapis added yesterday that there will be no increase in the price of public transport tickets this year. Driver killed A 45-year-old driver was killed early yesterday close to Mesolongi, central Greece, when the minivan she was driving veered into the opposite traffic lane and collided with an oncoming bus, authorities said. None of the 12 passengers on the bus or the driver were injured. Helios families Relatives of some of the 121 people killed in the Helios air crash on August 14 gathered outside the Cypriot Parliament yesterday demanding an independent inquiry into the accident as a committee of MPs discussed the disaster behind closed doors. The relatives expressed fears that a parliamentary probe would lead to a cover-up. Hit-and-run Trikala police said they arrested a 19-year-old man yesterday in connection with a hit-and-run incident on a country road near the town in central Greece, which left one person seriously injured. Officers said the teenager, who did not have a license, had tried to overtake another car but crashed into it and knocked it off the road. He fled the scene but police tracked him down after he tried to get his car fixed at a local garage. Antennas safe Antennas belonging to mobile phone companies that have been set up in many densely populated neighborhoods throughout the country are not a health threat to residents, mobile phone company CosmOTE said yesterday. CosmOTE representatives said in Thessaloniki that radiation levels generated by the antennas are at least a thousand times below the permissible level. Publisher rebuffed An Athens court yesterday rejected an appeal by jailed far-right publisher Grigoris Michalopoulos for early release. Michalopoulos was jailed for 18 months in April for blackmailing two top businessmen by telling them they were targets of the November 17 terrorist group and demanding money to have them removed from its hit list. The court was not convinced by his appeal for release due to poor health. Jewelry raid A group of three robbers who made off with around 120,000 euros’ worth of watches from a Patras jewelry store yesterday are believed to have carried out a series of earlier raids in Athens, according to police who arrested a man in connection with yesterday’s robbery. The armed trio fled on foot after the raid. Cannabis farm Trikala police were yesterday questioning a 35-year-old man believed to have been cultivating a large patch of cannabis plants inside a corn plantation in the area of Rizoma. The corn plantation belongs to a farmer who had no idea about the illegal cannabis patch, police said.