NEWS

In Brief

MIGRANT RIGHTS

Ombudsman wants changes to immigrant birth certificate law The Ombudsman proposed yesterday a set of measures to overcome the problems caused by legislation that prevents children of immigrants born in Greece from obtaining birth certificates. The watchdog said it had received numerous complaints from migrants who encountered problems with the education and social security systems. The existing law only allows Greek citizens who are listed in the municipal electoral register to be granted a birth certificate. The Ombudsman recommended that authorities accept documentation proving children were born in Greece as being equal to proof of enrollment in the municipal register. It also proposed the creation of a similar register for all non-Greeks. The Ombudsman urged the government to accept these changes only as stopgap measures until it amends the law to allow all babies born in Greece to be issued with birth certificates. JAIL DEATHS Lawyers’ groups call on minister to improve situation of inmates The presidents of the country’s lawyers’ associations yesterday called on Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras to undertake measures aimed at curbing deaths of prison inmates, particularly drug overdoses. «It seems that prisoners, particularly drug addicts, are the lowest level of citizen, as if their lives were worth nothing,» the presidents said in a joint statement, referring to the recent drug-related deaths of two young inmates. The refusal of the minister to allow lawyers’ association representatives to visit jails and express their views about how the penitentiary system can be improved «is entirely contrary to current developments,» the statement added. CYPRUS MINES EC donates 4 mln euros for demining The European Commission has signed a 4-million-euro contract to complete the removal of land mines from the United Nations-patrolled buffer zone splitting Cyprus, it said yesterday. «It is an important step in reconciliation and confidence building between the two communities on the island and is therefore most welcome,» a Commission news release quoted Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn as saying. The Mine Action Center (MAC), which is managed by the United Nations Development Program, completed demining Cyprus’s capital Nicosia last November. (Reuters) Fatal crash Two men were killed and one seriously injured yesterday in a car crash on the Imera-Kozani highway in northern Greece, traffic police said. It was not immediately clear what caused the car in which the three people were traveling to veer and crash at the side of the road. None of the three men was identified. Police imposters Two men pretending to be police officers stopped a passing vehicle on the Thessaloniki-Halkidona national highway and stole from the driver and passenger, both foreign nationals, 10,800 euros in cash, authorities said yesterday. The two men showed the two victims a fake police badge and instructed them to hand over their money. The victims then reported the incident to a nearby police station and a manhunt for the two suspects was launched. Soon after afterward, police located and arrested the two suspects and also tracked down the car they used in the operation. Food confiscated Piraeus Prefecture officials yesterday confiscated 8.5 tons of refrigerated meat that was unfit for human consumption. No details were released concerning where the meat was found. The inspection team said the meat did not bear the right stamps or markings, making it difficult to identify the food product. The meat will be destroyed under the supervision of police and a prosecutor is expected to investigate the matter. Cannabis arrest A 48-year-old man was arrested in Valira, close to Kalamata in southern Greece, for allegedly growing cannabis plants, police said yesterday. Authorities seized 137 cannabis plants reaching as high as 3.5 meters that had been growing in a nearby forest area.