In Brief


Failure of relatives to agree on organ donation is major obstacle The number of organ transplants performed in Greece last year fell to 140 from 178 in 2006, figures from the National Transplant Organization showed yesterday. According to medical experts, one of the biggest obstacles to performing more transplants is the refusal of relatives of brain-dead patients to give up their organs. Data showed that in 2007, 64 out of a potential 166 organ donors across Greece agreed to the procedure. About 1,000 people in Greece are on transplant waiting lists. CHILDREN’S EXERCISE Ministries agree to set aside much needed space for sports activities The Education and Culture ministries agreed yesterday to set aside more spaces for children to exercise and learn sports. «We know that the large urban centers lack areas for sports activity,» said Deputy Culture Minister in charge of sports Yiannis Ioannidis. The former basketball coach said that the plan is to allow schoolyards to be used for sports after classes have finished. The ministries will now look at what extra measures, such as the hiring of more physical education teachers, need to be adopted for the initiative to work. MEDICAL CHECKS Authorities help migrants recuperate Dozens of immigrant workers, found living in wretched conditions on a farm in Arta in December, were yesterday undergoing medical tests by visiting doctors as local authorities boosted efforts to help them recuperate. The migrants, chiefly Pakistanis and Afghans, most of whom are in the country illegally, will not be deported, Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Papageorgiou said after consulting the Interior Ministry. The Red Cross will distribute leaflets in Punjabi, Farsi and Pashto to reassure the migrants that they need not fear approaching authorities for help. Meanwhile, citizens’ donations continued to pour in. (Page 3) Christodoulos Archbishop Christodoulos, who turns 69 today, is increasingly frail, unable to eat much or communicate frequently with his family and aides, his spokespersons said yesterday. Meanwhile, debate about who will succeed the ailing archbishop intensified amid rumors that the telephone of an unidentified bishop had been tapped. Driver charged The 54-year-old female driver of a bus that knocked down a 3-year-old boy in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, causing fatal injuries, was yesterday charged with manslaughter through negligence. The 54-year-old, described by colleagues as an experienced driver, was released pending further investigation after appearing before an investigating magistrate. The boy, who had been with his grandmother, ran out in front of the bus. Syntagma fire An unidentified man was found dead in the charred remains of a building destroyed by a fire near Syntagma Square, central Athens, late on Tuesday, authorities said yesterday. The body of the man, believed to be a homeless person seeking shelter, was found in the building’s basement, according to firefighters. Authorities said they had launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze. Arms dealer Police said yesterday they had arrested a 38-year-old martial arts instructor in Athens in connection with the illegal trade in arms. During a search of his home, police found eight hand grenades, two Kalashnikov assault rifles and hundreds of bullets. The suspect has also been linked to protection rackets involving nightspots in the greater area of Attica. Brothel raid Three unidentified robbers netted 2,750 euros in a raid on a brothel in Thessaloniki in the early hours of yesterday morning. The robbers visited the brothel pretending to be clients and, while waiting to be seen, pulled out guns and ordered staff to hand over their takings, police said. The robbers had not been apprehended by late yesterday. US Embassy The US Embassy, including its Consular Section, and the Consulate General in Thessaloniki is to remain closed on Monday, January 21 to mark the birthday of Martin Luther King, a national holiday in the United States.