NEWS

In Brief

EMERGENCY LANDING

Two injured after OA helicopter develops mechanical fault Two people, including a popular Greek singer, who had been aboard an Olympic Airlines helicopter that disappeared from radar screens yesterday lunchtime were found safe near Mount Parnitha later in the afternoon. The helicopter, which had taken off from Athens International Airport, had been forced to make an emergency landing after suffering a mechanical fault. Singer Costas Makedonas reportedly sustained a spinal injury and pelvic fractures while the pilot suffered broken ribs. The pair had been flying in the area of Avlona and Tatoi when the helicopter went off radar screens. FIREFIGHTING Blaze breaks out at Ano Liosia dump but is extinguished quickly A team of 21 firemen backed by seven fire engines yesterday managed to extinguish a fire that had broken out at the Ano Liosia landfill northwest of Athens. It is unclear what caused the blaze which was quickly brought under control. Meanwhile, two brothers in Crete were arrested in connection with a large wildfire that broke out in the prefecture of Hania on Monday. The pair have been charged with arson through neglect after allegedly burning dry grass and branches. ROAD IMPROVEMENT Maliakos stretch of highway opens A new 11-kilometer stretch of highway on the Maliakos Gulf section of the Athens-Thessaloniki national road was opened yesterday, ahead of the expected Easter rush to leave Athens. Meanwhile, the National Road Fund (TEO) revealed that the tolls it operates on some national roads, including those in Elefsina and Corinth, would not charge drivers who pass through between 8 p.m. on Easter Saturday and 6 a.m. on Easter Monday. Siemens probe The entire board of OTE telecom, which signed an agreement with Siemens in 1997 to supply the equipment needed to convert the phone network to a digital format, is to be asked to give evidence before magistrate Panayiotis Athanassiou, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Athanassiou is investigating allegations that Siemens paid millions of euros in bribes to Greek officials to secure contracts. Taxi rape A 35-year-old taxi driver was arrested in Thessaloniki yesterday on suspicion of raping a 26-year-old woman he was driving home on Sunday night. The woman alleges that the cabbie drove her to a remote spot after dropping off her two friends. She told police that she was drunk at the time. Soldier dead A 33-year-old army officer was found dead in his barracks in southern Evros last night, an army statement said. The officer, a captain, had suffered fatal wounds, the statement without clarifying his cause of death. Matricide A council of appeals court judges in Thessaloniki decided yesterday that a 33-year-old local man should go on trial for the alleged murder of his mother. The suspect, a university graduate, allegedly strangled and stabbed his mother to death at his house before calling police to confess. He reportedly told police that his mother mentally abused him and that this drove him to kill her. Arson attack A firebomb was thrown later on Monday into the former Commerce Ministry building in central Athens, which now houses the General Secretariat for Trade, causing slight damage to the interior. The arsonists smashed a window on the ground floor and threw a petrol bomb into an office. Nobody was hurt. Bank heist Two armed men stole almost 30,000 euros in cash during a raid on a branch of Piraeus Bank in the Kalamaria district of Thessaloniki yesterday. Police said that the two men made their escape on a motorcycle. Nobody was injured. Lamb sham The Piraeus Prefecture said yesterday that it has seized almost 9 tons of lamb from Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that had illegally been stamped as being from Greece. The increased trade in lamb ahead of Easter often leads to traders importing meat from other countries and selling it as Greek.