NEWS

In Brief

Corfu deaths

Trial of 13 linked to toxic gas poisoning of 2 children put off A court on Corfu yesterday postponed until next February the trial of two British tour operator employees and 11 officials of a hotel on the Ionian island where two British children died of gas poisoning in October 2006. The 13 suspects are charged with the manslaughter of 7-year-old Christianne Shepherd and her 6-year-old brother Robert, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning following a gas leak from a malfunctioning boiler in their holiday bungalow. The children’s parents, who had been asleep in the next room, passed out from the fumes but recovered. Trafficking ring Migrants ‘beaten, blackmailed’ Police in Attica yesterday detained nine suspected members of a ring believed to have been smuggling illegal immigrants into Greece via Turkey before blackmailing the migrants’ relatives into paying thousands of euros for their release. The suspects – four Pakistanis, two Iraqis and three Greeks – allegedly held the would-be migrants in apartments in the Athens districts of Ilion and Peristeri while they tried to contact their relatives. The suspects are alleged to have beaten the hostages. Swine flu The number of people diagnosed with swine flu in Greece reached 70 yesterday after another three people tested positive for the virus, health authorities said yesterday. The three new cases diagnosed were a 14-year-old Australian boy, a 43-year-old Australian woman and a 26-year-old Greek man who recently returned to Athens from the USA. Molesters cornered Greek nationals who sexually abuse children in other countries but escape prosecution there can now be prosecuted upon their return home, thanks to a new Council of Europe treaty adopted by the government, a Council spokesperson told Kathimerini English Edition. Greece ratified the organization’s Convention of the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in March. Jail break Police on Crete yesterday were seeking an Albanian fugitive who escaped from a jail near Hania earlier in the day. The fugitive had scaled the prison’s exterior wall and was caught throwing a rope to a Belarussian convict shortly before 8 a.m., prison staff said. The Albanian is then said to have drawn a gun and ordered a prison guard to abandon his car before fleeing in the vehicle. Prison guards and police gave chase and managed to stop the suspect, but the latter abandoned the vehicle and disappeared. Hepatitis B tests Athens municipal health clinics will be offering free tests for hepatitis B as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the infectious disease that affects around 200,000 Greeks. The tests will be conducted between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. until next Friday July 3. ATM lifted Unidentified thieves hacked a bank ATM from a department store in the Thessaloniki district of Ionia shortly after 3 a.m. yesterday, police said. According to witnesses, the thieves loaded the cash machine onto the back of a pickup truck and fled.