NEWS

In Brief

IRAQI RELEASE

Greek woman freed in Baghdad after being kidnapped five days earlier A Greek woman who was kidnapped in Baghdad on Monday has been released, the Foreign Ministry said late yesterday. Eleni Sotiriou, vice president of the Doctors of the Heart non-governmental organization, was released yesterday evening in front of the Greek Embassy in the Iraqi capital. The ministry said that it had been involved in intense negotiations over the last five days and thanked the media for not reporting the matter earlier. It was not clear who had abducted Sotiriou. TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS Deaths have fallen by 11.6 percent over last five years, EC figures show Road deaths in Greece fell by 11.6 percent over the last five years, according to statistics released yesterday by the European Commission. However, during the same period the number of road deaths in the current 25 European Union member states fell by an average of 25 percent. The Commission has set a target of reducing between 2001 and 2010 the number of people killed on European roads by 50 percent. FATALITY ON TRACKS Man run over by train near Afidnes A man was killed early yesterday after being run over by a train near the Afidnes station north of Athens, authorities said. The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) said that the man, who has not been identified, was lying on the tracks. The train had been traveling from Ormenio to Athens and had to be stopped for about an hour so authorities could examine the scene. None of the 406 passengers aboard was injured, OSE said. Cold snap The first half of November is developing into the coldest in many years, weather experts said yesterday, while predicting a fall in temperatures and snow in some parts of the country. Tomorrow is expected to bring frost to many areas, while snow is forecast for mountainous areas of Crete and the Cyclades. Yesterday snow fell in the border town of Orestiada and in Florina, where drivers were obliged to use anti-skid chains on their vehicles. Lane check The Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) said yesterday that it would be stepping up checks on bus lanes in Piraeus from Monday with the help of the traffic police. OASA said that tow trucks will be on hand to remove any illegally parked cars and traffic police will be patrolling the streets around the port to ensure drivers are not using the bus lane during prohibited hours. Doctor shortage The Athens-Piraeus Hospital Doctors’ Union issued a statement yesterday warning the Health Ministry that it will have to take immediate action to avoid a shortage of on-duty doctors at hospitals. The doctors said the shortage will arise from January due to regulations preventing them from working more than 58 hours a week. Muggers caught Two men, aged 20 and 25, have been arrested in connection with mugging five schoolchildren at a school in Peristeri, western Athens, police said yesterday. The pair, both Roma, allegedly stole 35 euros and a mobile phone at knifepoint from the teenagers who were involved in a sit-in protest at the school. Officers said that they are also looking for a 15-year-old Roma girl who they think also mugged two schoolchildren in Peristeri at knifepoint. Bank heists Three armed men held up a branch of Eurobank in Ilissia, near central Athens, at noon yesterday and made off on foot with an unspecified amount of cash. Two armed men also held up a branch of Eurobank in Kallithea, southern Athens, shortly afterward. Police did not say how much money the pair stole. Nobody was injured in the robberies. Birth at sea A 19-year-old woman gave birth to a boy on a coast guard vessel transporting her from the island of Skyros to the port of Kymi on Evia, officials at the port’s health center said yesterday. The coast guard had rushed to the woman’s aid as passenger ships had all been moored due to bad weather. Both the woman, who is a foreign national, and the child were in good health, officials said.