Roads and airports busy as thousands leave for holidays Athenians began to leave the city for the Easter holiday yesterday, ahead of what is expected to be a busy few days on the roads and at airports. More than 3,100 flights were expected to leave or arrive at Athens International Airport between yesterday and Monday. Olympic Airlines and Aegean Airlines said their planes would be 95 percent full. An extra 160 KTEL intercity buses, on top of the 120 scheduled journeys, are due to depart Athens today. Ship released Pirates let Greek vessel go Pirates have released the Greek-owned cargo vessel MV Irene, hijacked by pirates off Somalia on Tuesday, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The ship’s 22 Filipino crew members were all said to be safe and the vessel had reportedly resumed its course to Korea. Asopos pollution During a debate at the European Parliament yesterday, Euro MPs called for Greece to curb the pollution of its Asopos River. American secretary-turned-environmental-activist Erin Brockovich, who sued a power firm in California after the discovery of hexavalent chromium in local drinking water, joined the debate by live video link. She claimed that the concentration of the toxic chemicals in the Asopos was five times what it had been in Hinkley, California. Rat bite A rat bit a patient who was recovering from surgery in Rethymnon Hospital on Crete, the local hospital workers union said yesterday. A union spokesman said that the patient was bitten on the hand on March 25. A visitor killed the rat. Halandri shooting A 32-year-old hairdresser was in critical condition last night after being shot outside a friend’s home in the northeastern Athens suburb of Halandri. Police said the unnamed man was shot in the head. There was no indication of the attacker’s motive. Vandalism sprees Arsonists used gas canister bombs early yesterday to target security equipment firms in the Athens districts of Kallithea and Nea Smyrni, causing minor damage and no injuries. Meanwhile in central Thessaloniki hooded youths hurled stones through the windows of a technical college, causing widespread damage. Fatal burglary Police in Thessaloniki yesterday detained three men in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 75-year-old woman in her home in the city’s Xirokrini district. The first suspect was arrested while fleeing the victim’s apartment block on foot. He is alleged to have broken into the victim’s apartment through a window with the intention of robbing her and then to have stabbed her when she started screaming. The role of the other two suspects was unclear. Hospital bug At least 10 patients at the Attiko Hospital in Haidari have been struck down by a bug, doctors said yesterday. The bug is believed to have been caused by the Klebsiella bacteria, which can lead to various diseases.