In Brief

Baby trade

Greek-Bulgarian initiative leads to breakup of ring Greek and Bulgarian police said yesterday that they had broken a ring of Bulgarian nationals believed to have smuggled 13 heavily pregnant female compatriots into Greece to give birth and sell their babies for adoption to Greek childless couples. Officers in Sofia yesterday were questioning a Bulgarian man and his wife, both aged 38, who are thought to have orchestrated the illicit transactions and are even said to have sold two of their own babies before setting up the ring. According to police, each infant was sold for 8,000 euros, with 5,000 euros of this going to the real parents. Truck blast Three firemen suffer burns Three firemen were hospitalized in the central city of Volos after sustaining burns in their efforts to put out a fire caused by a fuel truck explosion on the road connecting the town to the resort of Pilio. The firefighters were dispatched to the spot on Wednesday afternoon after a fuel truck carrying 30 tons of oil overturned and spilt its contents which were ignited by a gas leak. There were no reports of injuries to the driver of the truck while the severity of the burns to the firemen remained unclear. Hospital debts Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou said yesterday that most of the 6.2 billion euros owed by state hospitals to suppliers would be paid by the end of the year. She said that a committee of Health and Finance Ministry personnel would be formed to negotiate payment with suppliers. She said that the system for buying hospital supplies would be changed to allow for more transparency, including open tenders conducted on the Internet. Weather warning The General Secretariat for Civil Protection yesterday issued a warning to local authorities that heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are likely to affect much of the country today and tomorrow. The Ionian Sea is expected to be the worst affected with southerly winds forecast to reach 8 or even 9 on the Beaufort scale. Winds are likely to intensify in the central and southern Aegean on Sunday and could affect scheduled passenger ferry itineraries. Slipshod robbers Two car thieves who were chased by police in Thessaloniki after breaking into three vehicles and removing the stereo systems crashed into another seven cars in a subsequent chase involving a police patrol car. The thieves, who attempted their getaway in a stolen vehicle, were eventually cornered in the city center by police following a long chase from the district of Ano Toumba. There were no reports of any injuries. ISAP disruption Ongoing engineering work on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) will disrupt services between Kifissia and Irini stations over the weekend, ISAP managers announced yesterday. Commuters will be able to use their tickets on the X5 bus that will service the stations on the affected section tomorrow and Sunday. The Kifissia-bound platform of the Ano Patissia station is out of service.