NEWS

In Brief

ON TRACK

Minister says Thessaloniki train will take 3.5 hours in 2013 Transport Minister Evripidis Stylianidis said yesterday that by 2013, rail passengers would be able to travel between Athens and Thessaloniki in three-and-a-half hours. He made the comments after visiting the construction of a 522-meter rail bridge in Styrfaka, central Greece, which is part of the project to improve the connection between Lianokladi and Domokos, thereby reducing journey times. Stylianidis said that the basic infrastructure on this stretch of the line would be in place by 2011, leaving only the electrical wiring and signaling to be completed. SAMOS ARRESTS Afghans suspected of trafficking Police on the eastern Aegean island of Samos said yesterday they had arrested eight Afghan immigrants on suspicion that they were part of a human-trafficking ring. Two of the suspects were asylum seekers. Officers said that they confiscated forged documents from the property in which the men were living. Police said that they arrested another three men on the island three months ago after discovering that they were also in possession of forged paperwork and were harboring 11 undocumented migrants in the home they were renting. Rail disruptions There will be further disruptions on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway this weekend due to engineering work. Northbound trains will run between Piraeus and Kallithea, Omonia and Nea Ionia and Irini and Kifissia. The stations in between will be serviced by a shuttle bus (lines X7 and X9). ISAP, the firm that runs the railway, said that the section between Nea Ionia and Irini will be closed until August 30. Gunman held Witnesses to an apparent cold-blooded shooting in Lagadas near Thessaloniki apprehended the suspect and handed him over to police on Monday afternoon. The gunman, a Georgian national, is alleged to have pulled up in his vehicle outside the house of the victim, also a Georgian, and shot him while he was sitting in the front yard. The gunman tried to return to his car but was held down by passers-by. Back seat smack A 26-year-old man has been arrested on the Thessaloniki-Serres national road after police found more than a kilo of heroin hidden in the vehicle. Officers said yesterday that the drug had been hidden in the back seats. The suspect has been identified as a Bulgarian national. Roadside death A 77-year-old man was killed and his 73-year-old wife injured when a driver lost control of his car on the Thessaloniki-Nea Michaniona road late on Monday. The couple had been walking at the side of the road. It was not clear what caused the driver to swerve. He has been arrested. Vet falls foul A 41-year-old veterinarian has been arrested in Lagadas, near Thessaloniki, for allegedly soliciting and then accepting a bribe in order to stamp meat from a slaughterhouse so that it could be sold on the market. The vet was arrested after a meat trader told the police that the 41-year-old was blackmailing him. Officers helped the wholesaler mark 600 euros in banknotes and then arrested the suspect after he had collected the money.