NEWS

In Brief

TRIAL-FIXING PROBE

Twenty suspected ring members to defend themselves next week Two investigating magistrates leading a probe into trial-fixing rings have summoned around 20 suspected ring members to defend themselves, it was revealed yesterday. The 20 suspects, mostly lawyers and judges, have been implicated in connection with three trial-fixing rings believed to have featured former judges Antonia Ilia, Constantina Bourboulia and Evangelos Kaloussis. Testimony is to begin from Monday. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Authorities detain group of 122 on Kythera following a tip-off Coast guards detained 122 illegal immigrants yesterday on the island of Kythera, south of the Peloponnese. Authorities said they were tipped off about the incoming immigrants and tracked them down after the wooden fishing boat that transported them to Greece ran aground. Five were taken to the hospital suffering from exhaustion while the others were being kept at a local school. The nationality of the immigrants was not released. EXTRADITION APPROVED Greek to be tried for Briton’s death The Supreme Court has accepted a request for the extradition of a Greek man wanted in Britain in connection with the kidnapping and death of a woman. The man, whose name was not released, is accused of picking up a female hitchhiker and then not stopping to pick up her friend further down the road. The woman then jumped out of the car and was killed by an oncoming vehicle. The court said that extradition to a European country cannot be blocked and that it is in line with the national constitution. Motorbike recall Some 300 Kymco motorbikes are being recalled from the local market due to a mechanical fault, the Development Ministry said yesterday. The Xciting 500 model has been sold in Greece by Moto Trend SA. Drug deaths The number of deaths related to drug usage has risen in Thessaloniki so far this year, after a downward trend was recorded in the 2003-2004 period, authorities said yesterday. There were 54 drug-related fatalities in 2004, while the figure for 2005 has already hit 64. Police also said that narcotics traffickers tried to take advantage of the police giving priority to Thursday’s march in the city to honor a student uprising 32 years ago. But police said they had made 100 drug-related arrests. Nightmare passenger A Greek court sentenced a man to 15 months in prison for smoking on a plane, and then hitting a male flight attendant who told him to put his cigarette out, court officials said late on Thursday. The 50-year-old Greek, a resident of New York, was also convicted of endangering the aircraft. He was traveling on Olympic Airlines Flight 412 from New York to Athens last week. Flight attendants said the defendant had been smoking in the main passenger area of the plane and in the toilet. The man, who remains free pending appeal, said a 45-minute delay in takeoff from New York had made him nervous. (AP) Polluted lake The banks of Lake Kaifa in the prefecture of Ileia, in southern Greece, are now littered with dead fish as pollution levels have soared, experts revealed yesterday. Tests conducted on fish found in the area – whose skin was covered with weeping sores – suggest that oxygen-producing plants in the lake had rotted, causing the fish to suffocate, scientists at Patras University said. Experts said it was not the first time such a phenomenon had occurred but that it was the worst case. Church split The government is mulling whether to trim its ties with the Greek Orthodox Church, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou told Parliament yesterday. Giannakou was responding to opposition party calls for a separation between the two in different fields, such as finance and administration. She said the government may put forth the necessary changes to the constitution once all proposals on the issue have been submitted.