NEWS

In Brief

ND RESIGNATION

Labor Ministry official steps down after slip about stock market claims The general secretary at the Labor Ministry, Dimitris Costopoulos, resigned late yesterday after appearing to suggest at a function earlier that Costas Karamanlis had told New Democracy politicians in 1999 – when the Conservatives were in opposition – not to make public the names of PASOK ministers and bank chairmen allegedly involved in stock market improprieties. In a statement he made public late last night, Costopoulos said his comments had been misinterpreted as he had meant that Karamanlis had told ND officials at the time to make sure they had hard evidence before making any allegations. The former MP’s replacement was not immediately announced. PRODUCT RECALL Suspect contact lens solution being removed from shelves Greek pharmacies have been told to stop selling the Renu MoistureLoc contact lens solution manufactured in the USA after fears that it could cause serious eye infections, the head of the Pharmaceutical Association of Attica, Constantinos Lourantos, told Kathimerini yesterday. Bausch and Lomb has yanked the best-selling MoistureLoc solution from sale worldwide after numerous contact lens wearers were infected with Fusarium keratitis, a painful inflammation of the cornea that can lead to blindness. GETTY DELIGHT Greece expects museum’s reply soon The government yesterday praised the decision of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles to consider returning some artifacts to Greece and said that it expected a definitive answer in the coming weeks. «Discussions are ongoing and representatives from the two sides will be selected to solve the outstanding issues over the next two to three months,» said alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. The director of the museum, Michael Brand, said on Tuesday that he would recommend to the Getty’s board of trustees the return of four antiquities. Pyramid collapse Three people have been arrested in Athens in connection with a pyramid scheme which they used to allegedly defraud migrants from the former Soviet Union, police said yesterday. One Ukrainian woman and two Russian men, all based in Germany, were caught after allegedly making some 50,000 euros from the scheme. Officers said that they made presentations in Greece offering investors guaranteed returns if they put up 1,250 euros and introduced another two people to the scheme. Attica police believe that more than 100 victims took part in the pyramid and lost money. Blood transfusions A larger number of donors would reduce the chances of donated blood being contaminated, medical experts said yesterday. The Hellenic Society of Blood Transfusions said that incidents of contaminated blood, containing Hepatitis B and C, is lower among volunteer donors as opposed to relatives that step in to help a family member. The society added that blood transfusions have become safer with new techniques but that a record of absolute safety is not possible. Mysterious death The death of a 14-year-old girl in Piraeus was being investigated yesterday, police said, because of its suspicious nature. The girl was found dead by her mother in the morning after spending a night out. The girl’s mother said she did not recognize the people who brought her daughter home. They left her outside the house and she complained of feeling unwell. Police said that the initial assessment was that the schoolgirl died from serious lung inflammation. Gang busted Police said they have broken up a gang of thieves that conducted more than 200 break-ins in the last three years in northern and southern Attica. The group allegedly consists of three men from former Yugoslavia and a Ukrainian woman, while authorities said that they are searching for another suspected member, a 36-year-old Serbian man. Police have confiscated from the gang stolen items that are valued at about 100,000 euros. Violent storm A hailstorm in Pella, northern Greece, on Monday damaged 200 hectares of cherry orchards, authorities said yesterday. Officials from the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) are assessing the damage caused from the storm in the towns of Palaio Milotopo and Aksos.