NEWS

In Brief

Turkish violations

Provocations in Aegean even as Greek diplomat complains There were more violations of Greek air space by Turkish fighter jets yesterday, just as the Greek ambassador in Ankara, Fotis Xydas, was making an official complaint to the government about previous incursions by aircraft. Xydas made his complaint to the Turkish Foreign Ministry as a formation of air force planes from Turkey entered Athens’s Flight Information Region (FIR) south of Samos in the eastern Aegean. The planes flew over Farmakonisi and Agathonisi for about 20 minutes before leaving Greek air space. Smokers protest Group challenges restrictions A group of nine die-hard smokers yesterday lodged an appeal with the Council of State against restrictions introduced in public spaces earlier this month to comply with European Union standards aimed at curbing passive smoking. The artists, actors and journalists claim that the restrictions violate a raft of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and of the Greek Constitution. Describing themselves as «deeply addicted, conscious and passionate smokers,» they explain in their appeal to the country’s highest administrative court that their habit is a vital form of stress relief. Swine flu The number of swine flu cases in Greece rose to 323 yesterday after 33 new cases of the potentially fatal disease were confirmed. However, 200 of the people who have contracted the virus have been given the all clear. Authorities said that 17 of the 33 new cases were people who had come to Greece from abroad. Bomb hoax The central station of Omonia was closed down for two hours early yesterday afternoon, disrupting services on the metro and Kifissia-Piraeus urban electric railway (ISAP) after an anonymous caller warned that a bomb had been planted at the station. Services between Thiseio and Attiki stations were suspended shortly after 3 p.m. and resumed at 5 p.m. Police were alerted immediately and dispatched bomb disposal experts who scoured the area but found no suspect device. Sex ring Five suspected members of a sex trafficking ring, believed to have brought hundreds of women to Greece from Eastern Europe and the Balkans for prostitution, yesterday were remanded in custody after testifying before an investigating magistrate. Among the five – who face charges of setting up a criminal organization and procurement – are two policemen, one currently in service and one retired. Another 20 suspects have been released pending trial on the condition that they do not leave the country and report regularly to their local police station. Cyprus talks The United Nations special envoy mediating in a new round of negotiations aimed at reunifying Cyprus yesterday said that he was keen to maintain momentum in the new drive but that no deadline would be imposed on the process. Responding to Monday’s assertion by Turkish President Abdullah Gul that peace talks will have been concluded by the end of the year, Downer said it would be «a big mistake» on the part of the UN to present Cypriots with a blueprint for them to approve or dismiss, as was done in 2004.