NEWS

In Brief

Evia fire

Two brothers charged with murder, arson over fatal Evia blaze in August A pair of twin brothers, aged 25, were yesterday charged with multiple counts of arson and murder for allegedly starting a fire in Evia in August that killed five people, including one of their relatives. According to fire service officials, the brothers’ father had asked the pair – one of whom is mentally retarded – to put the sheep out to graze and they set fire to a nearby forest to get out of the chore. Separately, a 25-year-old farmer has been charged with arson in connection with the fire that ravaged Mount Taygettus in August. Robber sentenced Nikos Palaiocostas gets life term, his third conviction in a week Serial bank robber Nikos Palaiocostas was sentenced to life in prison by a court in Kastoria, northern Greece, yesterday. It was the third conviction for Palaiocostas in the space of a week. He was found guilty of taking part, with three other men, in an armed robbery of a branch of the National Bank in the village of Servia near Kozani in July 1991 that led to a customer being shot and injured. Palaiocostas denied firing the shot but did not reveal which of his alleged accomplices was the gunman. The serial robber has appealed his sentence. Hospital sued Family of dead patient blame doctors The family of a 67-year-old man who died of a heart attack in a taxi on the way back from the NIMITS hospital in central Athens sued the hospital for 900,000 euros yesterday for failing to diagnose his condition. The man had allegedly visited the hospital twice in the space of 12 hours because he felt unwell but doctors were not able to find anything wrong with him. The family’s lawyer said that he is preparing a second lawsuit because he believes the hospital changed paperwork to show that the 67-year-old’s doctor was not on duty during the night in question. Hotline breakdown OTE telecom yesterday set up temporary seven-digit telephone lines to assist citizens seeking emergency help after the 166 ambulance line broke down for nearly three hours from 9 a.m. Some calls by citizens to the 166 number were diverted to other First Aid Center (EKAB) services until the 166 line was restored. Authorities said there were no problems dealing with emergencies. Drug lab Police have arrested four people after raiding an apartment in Kypseli, near central Athens, that was being used as a drug workshop. The four suspects, two Albanians, aged 22, and two Greeks, aged 25 and 27, allegedly used the premises to process and package heroin and cocaine. Officers said they found some 3.5 kilos of cocaine on the premises as well as more than 7 kilos of other, unidentified powders, which were used to mix with the drugs. Police also seized a car that the suspects allegedly used to help them deal drugs. Manhunt for killer Police have launched a manhunt for a 35-year-old Albanian national believed to have killed a man in Zevgolatos, Corinth. The 40-year-old victim, also an Albanian national, was found dead after being killed with a pruning knife. No further details were available. Kindergarten shutdown The Education Ministry has shut down 12 kindergartens in Serres, northern Greece, due to a lack of children and teaching staff, authorities said yesterday. Parents are protesting the decision, arguing that preschool centers are necessary even if they are forced to operate with few children. Illegal immigrants Larissa police were yesterday questioning nine Iraqi immigrants who were stopped near the city in central Greece in a stolen car heading for Athens. Police said that three of the migrants are believed to be members of an international trafficking ring. The other six migrants had paid 6,000 dollars each to two Turkish smugglers to bring them over the border into Greece, police said. Officers are seeking another three suspected traffickers. Traffic delay Environment Ministry crews will be cleaning storm drains on Kifissias Avenue in the Psychico area today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Police warned drivers of delays, as one lane will be closed to traffic.