NEWS

In Brief

CHIEF REMANDED

Nea Ionia police officer in custody after allegedly accepting bribe The chief of Nea Ionia police station in northern Athens was remanded in custody yesterday on suspicion of accepting a bribe to help out a fraud suspect. Leonidas Alexopoulos allegedly accepted a 35,000-euro check to ensure favorable treatment for detainee Emmanouil Papadomanolakis. Alexopoulos denied the charges, saying he had been the victim of a sting. The police chief fainted and had to be taken to the hospital when the magistrate ordered him to be remanded in custody. QUARRY ‘CRIME’ Minister vows to keep trying to shut down Markopoulo mines Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias vowed yesterday to keep up efforts to shut down two marble quarries in Markopoulo, east of Athens, that are allegedly operating illegally. The companies who own the quarries have appealed a Council of State ruling and a court has allowed them to continue mining until further judgment is passed. «The continued operation of the quarries is a crime,» said Souflias. «I refuse to leave the matter like this. We have to realize that it shames us all.» DETAINEE ESCAPES Iraqi man flees police holding cell A 22-year-old Iraqi detainee escaped from a holding cell at a police station in Palaio Psychico early yesterday, authorities said. The robbery suspect walked out of his cell after a guard left the door unlocked, police said. The guard had accompanied another detainee to the toilet at about 1.45 a.m. and did not see the 22-year-old escape. Police believe the suspect then climbed out of a window on the top floor of the police station. The guard and the senior officer on duty at the time of the escape are being investigated. Turkish violations Turkish jets were responsible for a record number of 63 violations of Greek air space yesterday, defense officials said. However officials conceded that this excessively high number of violations had been due to a Turkish sea-and-air exercise involving frequent sorties by Turkish jets along the eastern Aegean coast. The air space violations were carried out by 14 formations of 38 Turkish fighter jets, officials said. Bones traced The body parts found by a farmer in an irrigation channel in Nemea, northern Peloponnese, two weeks ago are the remains of an elderly man who disappeared from his home recently and was being sought by his family, police said yesterday without revealing any further details. Drug busts Police in Thessaloniki said yesterday that they had arrested four suspected drug dealers and three addicts over the last two days. The alleged dealers were aged between 19 and 54 while the users ranged from 16 to 28 years of age. Meanwhile, police in Trikala, central Greece, arrested a 34-year-old man after he attempted to sell half a kilo of heroin to undercover officers. Dutchman rescued A 57-year-old Dutch national was found safe and well yesterday in a gorge close to Tripoli in the Peloponnese after he went missing over the weekend. A rescue operation, involving police, firefighters and local residents, located the mountain walker in an area authorities described as «exceptionally difficult to access.» The man was taken to a local hospital for precautionary medical checks. Bank damaged A branch of Piraeus Bank in Thessaloniki’s Toumba district was damaged yesterday when a gang of youths attempted to set fire to the building by attacking it with firebombs. The branch’s front windows were smashed at about 4.30 a.m. but the firebombs failed to set the office area alight, authorities said. Teachers protest The operation of state primary schools and kindergartens will be disrupted on Thursday as teachers are due to stage a 24-hour strike. Teachers are protesting against the government’s plans to allow kindergartens to operate on the site of creches.