NEWS

In Brief

DRUNK DRIVING

Inebriated bus passenger takes the wheel and crashes into parked cars A young man was arrested in the northern Athenian suburb of Dionysos early yesterday after allegedly commandeering a bus while in a drunken stupor and crashing it into three parked cars, police said. The unnamed man boarded the bus when there was only one woman passenger on board. He allegedly began annoying the woman and swearing at the driver who decided to stop the bus to deal with the unruly passenger. But the young man sat in the driver’s seat and drove the bus away, according to officers. He crashed the vehicle less than 100 meters away. Nobody was injured. RAPE CHARGES Man, 32, charged with raping 14-year-old boy in Thessaloniki A 32-year-old man from Thessaloniki was yesterday remanded in custody on charges of raping a 14-year-old youth in the city’s Toumba district. The 32-year-old allegedly told an investigating magistrate that he had had sex with the teenager but that the youth had consented to it. The older man was arrested last week after the 14-year-old lodged a complaint, claiming to have been raped. HIT AND RUN Suspect arrested after death A 26-year-old man was arrested in Hania, Crete, yesterday after he allegedly sped off from the scene of an accident which resulted in the death of a motorcyclist, aged 26. Police said that the suspect had been drunk when his car hit a motorbike on the Hania-Rethymnon national highway on Sunday night. Police tracked down the man from descriptions given by drivers that stopped to help the victim who died from chest and head injuries. Fatal crash Three people died and two were injured when two cars crashed on the Yiannitsa-Thessaloniki national road, police said yesterday. The accident happened shortly before noon near Yiannitsa. Traffic police did not name the crash victims and did not give any more details about how the accident occurred. Inmate killed Police said yesterday that a 43-year-old inmate was shot and killed while on furlough in Athens last Thursday. Sotiris Kousis, convicted of homicide and robberies, was shot five times as he left a hotel in Melissia, northern Athens. Police said that Kousis had been involved in a war that has broken out between gangs offering protection to nightspots. He is believed to have been involved in blackmailing operations from within Malindrino Prison, central Greece, where he was serving his sentence. Fare talk Taxi drivers are expected to meet with Transport Ministry officials next week to discuss fare hikes for 2007. Sources said that talks will focus on a possible rate hike on per kilometer charges to around 0.38 euros from 0.32 euros currently. Other issues expected to be on the agenda include access by taxis to areas off limits to broader traffic. Professional drivers from private bus companies and trucks are also expected to request an increase in fares next week. Fewer accidents Increased police presence on the country’s roads over the festive season appears to have had a positive impact as data show a sharp drop in fatal car accidents. From December 15 to January 7, the number of fatal accidents in the Attica area fell 50 percent from the same period last year. Police said that a 20 percent increase in checks made on drivers for high blood alcohol content contributed to more responsible driving. Traffickers netted A Turkish man was arrested near the eastern Aegean island of Samos yesterday aboard a boat carrying 14 illegal immigrants, the coast guard said. The suspected trafficker was caught near the islet of Makronisos with the migrants who are all from Somalia. Meanwhile, a 43-year-old man was arrested in Thessaloniki yesterday after allegedly smuggling five migrants into Greece. Police did not name the suspect or give details about the migrants. Farmers cleared An appeals court in Larissa, central Greece, cleared 29 farmers of obstructing traffic in 2003 during protest actions. The farmers had been previously handed four-month jail sentences each for blocking a national highway with their tractors.