NEWS

In Brief

ASYLUM WARNING

Top UN official says Greece has to improve recognition rate A high-ranking United Nations official recommended yesterday that Greece make changes to its asylum system, which has a «drastically low» rate of recognition of refugees and asylum seekers. «We strongly recommend that the system of refugees’ protection and asylum be very carefully reviewed, with quite a number of changes,» said Assistant UN High Commissioner for Protection Erika Feller at the end of a four-day visit to Greece. The UNHCR in Greece says that just 0.05 percent of applicants in 2008 were granted refugee status at the point of arrival but this figure rose to 10.3 percent following hearings. BASKETBALL SUCCESS Two Greek sides in Euro finals Olympiakos and Panathinaikos have reached the Final Four of the Euroleague in basketball, after wins away from home on Thursday. Olympiakos dismissed Real Madrid 78-75 in Spain and Panathinaikos defeated Montepaschi Siena 91-84 in Italy. The two Greek sides will face off in the semifinal on May 1 in Berlin for a place in the final two days later. Bomb blasts Police yesterday were examining the remains of an improvised explosive device found in an underground parking lot in the central Athens district of Kypseli. The remains of the device were found at noon, although it is unclear when it detonated. There was only limited damage caused and no injuries. In Thessaloniki, meanwhile, unidentified assailants planted explosive devices on two security firm vans. One failed to detonated, the other went off at 3.30 a.m., causing limited damage to the vehicle and no injuries. Robber caught A robber who managed to escape from police in Pallini, northeast of Athens, on Wednesday after holding up a bank on Marathonos Avenue, was arrested yesterday. The suspect eluded arrest earlier in the week after abandoning his loot, firearm and clothes in a house close to the bank. Police said they arrested the 29-year-old man in the southern suburb of Kallithea after matching fingerprints on the gun and DNA material on the clothes to his records. Railway works There will be no service on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway between the Ano Patissia and Tavros stations this weekend due to engineering work. Replacement bus services (lines X1 and X1 Express) will be in operation. Dealer thwarted The 36-year-old director of a rehabilitation center for drug addicts was remanded in custody yesterday pending trial on charges of smuggling drugs into the country. According to police, the suspect has been arrested twice before in the past on drug-related charges and in 1997 had been sentenced to eight years in jail after being found in possession of 3.5 kilos of cannabis. Soccer victory The national soccer team beat Israel 2-1 late on Wednesday to stay top of its 2010 World Cup qualification group. Dimitris Salpigidis and Giorgos Samaras (penalty) were the scorers for Greece.