NEWS

In Brief

AVIAN FLU

Seven swans test positive for H5N1, bringing total infected birds to 16 Seven swans from northern Greece have tested positive for the fatal H5N1 strain of bird flu, bringing the total of infected wild birds found in the country to 16, the Agricultural Development Ministry said yesterday. Authorities in Pella, Thessaloniki, Halkidiki and Pieria – where the infected birds were found – have already implemented measures to curb the spread of the disease to domestic poultry, the ministry said after receiving the test results from a British laboratory. CHILD DEATH Parents of dead baby released as six children are removed from parents A 20-year-old mother and her 26-year-old husband, who have been accused of shaking their 6-month-old baby to death, were yesterday released by a magistrate but were told that they had to appear at their local police station in Neos Cosmos twice a month. Meanwhile, authorities said yesterday that five children aged between 6 months and 9 years old in Athens had been removed from their parents’ custody and taken to the Aglaia Kyriakou children’s hospital because of fears for their safety. CYPRUS ELECTIONS Turkish Cypriot to stand as candidate A Turkish Cypriot is to stand as a candidate in Cypriot parliamentary elections, due on May 21, for the first time since the island gained independence from British colonial rule in 1960, it was revealed yesterday. Neshe Yahin, a poet who teaches Turkish at Nicosia’s University of Cyprus, announced her candidacy with the United Democrats party. Souflias complaint Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias lodged a complaint yesterday with the National Council for Radio and Television (ESR), claiming that Skai Radio has insulted and slandered him and misled its listeners over allegations that the extension of the metro to Aegaleo was running over budget and over schedule. «Every citizen and politician has the right to defend himself and his policies with all the means available,» said alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. Surgeon convicted A Thessaloniki court yesterday passed down an eight-month suspended sentence to a plastic surgeon after finding him guilty of causing bodily harm to a female patient who had visited the private Inter-Balkan Medical Center for a facelift in 2001. Following surgery to remove skin to be used in the face lift, the unidentified woman was left with wounds that put her at risk of amputation, the court heard. The wounds healed following three months of hospital therapy. Food confiscated The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) confiscated 32 tons of food products at the facilities of Ipotour, a company in Spata, east of Athens, as they were unfit for consumption. The company will be hit with a fine, EFET added, for the bad food products, including tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, peaches and oranges. Explosive fisherman Police in Volos, central Greece, yesterday arrested three people for fishing illegally with the use of explosives. A 55-year-old man, his 46-year-old wife and another man, aged 28, were arrested. A search of the third person’s home uncovered 900 grams of explosive material and diving equipment. Drug bust Drug squad officers have arrested four people who allegedly wanted to sell some 3 kilos of cannabis in Athens, police said yesterday. Two Albanian men, an Albanian woman and a Bulgarian woman were arrested on Tuesday after officers found 2.8 kilos of the drug hidden in a car, an apartment in Kypseli and a truck with stolen number plates. Busy pickpocket A 37-year-old man accused of committing 23 acts of pickpocketing in the last 18 months was arrested in Thessaloniki yesterday. The man allegedly targeted shoppers between November 2004 and July 2005 and stole purses, mobile phones and credit cards worth 16,680 euros. Road block About 350 people blocked the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway yesterday for an hour at Platamona, northeast of Larissa, to protest an Interior Ministry decision denying the local municipality administrative independence.