NEWS

In Brief

MILITARY ALERT

Greece keeps close watch on Turkish exercise in Aegean Greek armed forces were on standby yesterday with the launch of a Turkish military exercise in the Aegean involving the participation of the USA, Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium. According to sources, Greek authorities fear that sections of the exercise constitute an attempt by Ankara to consolidate territorial claims in the Aegean. The fact that the four countries participating in the exercise have reportedly sent vessels, and not aircraft, is encouraging, sources say, as this would not facilitate possible attempts by Ankara to conduct violations of Greek air space. The exercise is scheduled to run until March 29. STATIONS CLOSED No service from Attiki to Eirini There will be no service on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway between the Attiki and Eirini stations today and tomorrow due to work to improve the track. This means that eight stations will be closed. An express bus (500G) will provide service for commuters wishing to travel between Attiki and Eirini. The normal 500G bus will stop at all the stations in between. Commuters should also note that the Thiseion station remains closed due to work being carried out on the track. Tea warning Greece’s food safety watchdog warned yesterday that a brand of tea that claims it can help people lose weight may be circulating on the market illegally. The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) said that Paiyouji tea, which is made in China but is widely available on the Internet, contains phenolphthalein, a laxative that has been banned due to concerns that it is carcinogenic. The tea also contains sibutramine, which is an appetite suppressant that can cause high blood pressure and may pose a risk to people with heart problems. EFET has advised any consumers who have bought the tea not to imbibe it and to contact the authority. Dump fire A fire started in an illegal dump in the Nea Zoi area near Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, yesterday afternoon, sending thick plumes of black smoke toward the capital. Six fire engines and 18 firefighters were called to the scene to put out the blaze amid concerns about the presence of toxic substances in the smoke, as the dump contained large amounts of rubber and plastic. Minority rebuff A senior Greek diplomat stationed in Geneva yesterday rebuffed assertions in a recent report by United Nations expert on minority issues Gay McDougall that refer to the alleged existence of a «Macedonian minority» in northern Greece. In accordance with international treaties, Greece recognizes only one minority on its territory – the Muslim minority in Thrace – Frangiskos Verros told the UN Human Rights Council. Church raid Unidentified intruders who damaged the floor of a church in the village of Achelinada, near the central town of Trikala, probably had been digging for treasure, police said yesterday. The vandals smashed up the floor in the nave of the church and dug a ditch about a meter deep, police said. There were no icons or artifacts missing from the church.