NEWS

In Brief

LOST CHILDREN

Sources say 270 youngsters have gone missing in Greece this year Only 205 of 270 children who have disappeared in Greece this year have returned home so far, Public Order Ministry sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Some 450 children who have disappeared since 2000 are still listed as missing, but sources said that often parents had failed to inform authorities when their children returned home. BAD FOOD Authorities seize some 380 tons More than 380 tons of imported food have been confiscated in the past month after inspections showed it was unfit for human consumption, Deputy Agricultural Development and Food Minister Alexandros Kontos said yesterday. The seizures included 96 tons of rice from Thailand, found to be infested with dead insects. Also, more than 60 tons of nuts from Turkey, China and Egypt were found to contain high levels of aflatoxin – a poisonous compound produced by fungi. Fatal crash A train crashed into an abandoned truck on a level crossing in the Thessaloniki suburb of Ionia yesterday afternoon, killing one of its drivers and slightly injuring the second. No harm came to the 15 passengers aboard the train, which had set off from Athens and had been due to continue to Sofia, Bulgaria. The driver of the truck is believed to have abandoned his vehicle after it suffered a mechanical failure on the crossing. He was due to face a prosecutor. The truck shifted 100 meters in the crash. Milk recall Nestle Hellas will withdraw from the market its NAN 2 baby milk (UHT form) as a precautionary measure after the Swiss-based food giant went ahead with a similiar recall in France, Italy and Spain over fears of chemical contamination. Nestle Hellas said yesterday that there is no danger for consumers and that any chemical traces found in its products are not toxic. Defense bill Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos yesterday presented a draft law on defense tenders to the Inner Cabinet which intends to abolish the system of awarding contracts directly to bidders. The bill allows for only two ways in which contracts can be assigned – either through a public tender or bilateral agreements with other states. The draft law is expected to be submitted to Parliament next week. Snowed in Ioannina Airport was shut yesterday due to low visibility caused by heavy snow. Mountain areas in the Ioannina prefecture were hit by some 15 centimeters of snow as temperatures dipped to -5 Celsius (23F). Migrant children Synaspismos Left Coalition MP Fotis Kouvelis yesterday asked the government whether it is considering simplifying the process by which children born to immigrant parents in Greece are given birth certificates so they can legalize their stay in the country. Kouvelis highlighted the fact that migrant parents currently have to get a birth certificate for their child from their country of origin. Thanksgiving Day The US Embassy in Athens and all US government offices in Greece will be closed tomorrow due to Thanksgiving Day, a US national holiday. BBC protest Parliament Speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki and deputy government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros yesterday joined the national association of journalists’ unions (POESY) in protesting the planned closure of the BBC’s Greek service. «Even for symbolic reasons, due to the role played by the BBC during the difficult years of the dictatorship, the Greek service should not be shut down,» Psarouda-Benaki said. Antonaros highlighted the BBC’s standing as a «quality milestone.»