NEWS

In Brief

Papandreou fall

Opposition PASOK leader in hospital after fracturing spine in bicycle mishap The leader of main opposition PASOK, George Papandreou, was yesterday hospitalized after falling of his bicycle and lightly fracturing his spine. Doctors at the KAT hospital north of Athens said the injuries were not believed to be serious but that Papandreou would have to remain in the hospital for tests for four or five days. The PASOK chief reportedly lost his balance and toppled off his bicycle after going for a spin. He also broke one of the fingers on his right hand, doctors said. Traffic supervision Police to boost road patrols this week as pre-Easter exodus begins Police will increase supervision of the country’s national road network this week due to the upcoming Easter break. Measures include a larger number of police patrolling national highways and redirecting traffic flow on busy roads. Trucks will be banned from traveling on the highways exiting large cities on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. A large number of holidaymakers are expected to leave the major cities this coming weekend to take advantage of the May Day holiday that follows the Easter break. Workers arrested Foreign farm hands protest over pay Farm workers clashed with police in Manaloda, outside Patras, yesterday while protesting against work conditions. Ten workers were arrested, all foreign nationals. Earlier this month, state labor inspectors raided several farms in the area in response to media reports that hundreds of migrants are being employed as modern-day slaves. Some 2,500 migrants are employed as strawberry pickers and are believed to be working for a pittance. Policeman mugged A policeman was mugged by a demonstrator outside Athens University on Saturday evening while trying to offer assistance to a couple who had just been knocked off their scooter. The policeman and his fellow officer had collided with the motorbike outside the university during a protest in solidarity with the Zapatistas, an armed group of Mexican revolutionaries. As the policemen got out of their car to help the couple, a protester cornered one of the officers and grabbed his wireless radio before disappearing. The couple sustained minor injuries. Rhodes plant The Aegean island of Rhodes, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, is to acquire a power station in its south by 2012, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) announced on Saturday. PPC is to invest some 250 million euros in building the plant which will run on fuel oil initially and eventually be fired by imported natural gas. Far-right crackdown Police yesterday raided an abandoned apartment in Nicosia, Cyprus, believed to have been used as a base by Greek far-right group Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn). Officers confiscated cans of pepper spray, masks and wigs. Forensic experts are to examine fingerprints found at the site, believed to belong to the perpetrators of a recent arson attack on a Cypriot government building. Fireworks seized Police in Serres yesterday arrested five people after seizing thousands of illegally imported fireworks, including Bengal lights, flares and firecrackers. The fireworks are believed to have been smuggled into the country for use during the upcoming Orthodox Easter celebrations. Firebomb attack A group of youths attacked police stationed outside the PASOK offices in central Athens late on Friday, authorities said. The gang threw several firebombs at police in a parking area near the offices before fleeing into the surrounding streets. No one was hurt in the incident and no arrests were made. In a separate incident shortly afterward, a gang of youths threw rocks and paint at a courthouse in Ambelokipi, central Athens, causing minor damage to the building. House fire Authorities said yesterday a 35-year-old man, a Romanian national, was killed in a blaze that destroyed his home in Iraklion, Crete. Firefighters have launched an investigation into the causes of the blaze.