In Brief


Police detain 30 and seize 250,000 explosives in past week on Crete Police have arrested 30 people in Hania, Crete, and confiscated more than 250,000 fireworks in the last week as part of a crackdown on the illegal use of firecrackers during Easter celebrations. On Tuesday, police confiscated another million fireworks in Athens. Greek law forbids the possession, use and trade of fireworks but the lighting of firecrackers at midnight on Holy Saturday has become an annual event. Last year, 11 people were injured by fireworks during celebrations and four have died since 2000 despite regular warnings by authorities. ROAD SAFETY Two helicopters to scan traffic in pilot project over Easter A road safety initiative involving two helicopters carrying medical staff, who will be on hand to intervene in the case of serious accidents across the national road network, is to be tested tomorrow and on Monday, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection said yesterday. The pilot project will consist of two air force helicopters, stationed at the military airbases at Tanagra and Elefsina, it was agreed during a meeting attended by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and security services directors. The helicopters’ field of operation will extend from Corinth to the Maliakos Gulf near Lamia. TURKISH VISIT Military chief due in Greece soon Turkey’s military Chief of Staff Yasar Buyukanit is expected to have talks with Greece’s Chief of Staff Panayiotis Hinofotis when he visits Thessaloniki on April 18 for a summit of Balkan military leaders, sources said yesterday. Tensions between Athens and Ankara have increased since Buyukanit’s last visit to Greece in November following a spate of Greek air-space violations by Turkish jets and a dispute over Cypriot plans to drill for oil in the Aegean. Armed robbery Three armed assailants held up a construction company in the Ilioupolis district of Thessaloniki and made away with 10,000 euros in cash, police said. Two of the assailants held guns as they instructed the company’s cashier to hand over cash amounts on the premises. Police have launched a manhunt for the culprits. Postmen stung A postman was tied up yesterday by three robbers on Crete who stole 20,000 euros in pension money that he had been transporting, police said. The postman was driving on a country road near Hania when a car stopped in front of him and two men emerged from a nearby field armed with shotguns. They fired at the vehicle’s windscreen then struck the postman and bound him before stealing the money. Another postman was also robbed in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, yesterday. Robbers stole almost 8,500 euros in cash from his car. Versatile thief A 25-year-old man has been arrested in Thessaloniki believed to have committed 43 counts of theft from cars, homes and stores since March 2005. Police said that the suspect stole goods to the value of 20,000 euros in a bid to support a drug habit. Drugs arrests Police in Thessaloniki said yesterday that they arrested eight people on suspicion of dealing drugs over the last three days. Officers have also seized some 4 kilos of heroin and 3 kilos of hashish during raids. Seven of the suspects are Greek and one is an Albanian national. Police said one of those arrested is a 27-year-old man who worked with an international drug ring. This takes the total number of people arrested this year in the city on drug charges to 350. Acid attack A 65-year-old man was hospitalized yesterday after two assailants beat him with baseball bats and threw acid in his face in the center of Hania, Crete. The two men, who own a shop in the town center, were arrested shortly afterward. Police said they were investigating what provoked the attack.

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