NEWS

In Brief

FLU DEATHS

Number of people who have died from H1N1 virus rises to 16 Two more people who had contracted swine flu have died, officials said yesterday, taking to 16 the total number of H1N1 sufferers who have died in Greece. Only two of these people did not have underlying health problems. The latest victims were a 42-year-old man who had already been suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and a 26-year-old man who was diagnosed as obese. Officials have warned that anyone weighing 140 kilos or more is particularly at risk from the virus. On Thursday, the 1135 helpline had received almost 20,000 inquiries in less than 24 hours. PEACH FARMERS Egnatia Highway remains closed Peach producers from Imathia, northern Greece, said yesterday that they would continue to block a section of the Egnatia Highway despite holding a brief meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou. The premier met with the fruit farmers for 10 minutes at Kastoria Airport before heading to Prespes to meet with his counterparts from Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The producers gave Papandreou a memo outlining their demands, which include the adoption of measures to boost their sector. The farmers did not clarify how long they plan to continue their protest. Kokkalis rebuttal Sokratis Kokkalis, the chairman of Olympiakos soccer club, appeared before a prosecutor in Piraeus yesterday and denied inciting his team’s players to violence ahead of Sunday’s Super League game against bitter rival Panathinaikos. Kokkalis was questioned after newspaper reports suggested he told Olympiakos players to «kill» the opposition. Upon leaving the prosecutor’s office, Kokkalis said that Olympiakos is against violence and blamed his Panathinaikos counterpart Nikos Pateras for deliberately stoking tension. Arson attacks Self-styled anarchists vandalized a branch of Alpha Bank in the northeastern suburb of Geraka early yesterday morning, smashing the facade of the ground-floor offices and throwing two Molotov cocktails into the premises. The fire brigade extinguished the blaze before it could spread to adjacent buildings. The attack was later claimed by an unknown group calling itself Revolutionary Anarchists. Late on Thursday night, unidentified vandals torched garbage dumpsters in Exarchia, central Athens, and set fire to a car in Zografou, close to the city’s main student residence halls. Drug haul Officers from the drug squad in Igoumenitsa, northwestern Greece, yesterday detained an Albanian national stopped in the small town of Filiates, in Thesprotia, after a search of the vehicle he had been driving turned up just under 160 kilograms of cannabis. Careless officers Investigations were launched yesterday against two police officers’ whose service guns went off, apparently by accident, in the police precinct at Ilioupoli, in southern Athens. The first incident occurred at 6 a.m. when the pistol of the officer on duty at the time went off as the shift was about to change. In the second incident, shortly after 4 p.m., the MP5 submachine gun of a special guard went off. No one was injured in either of the shootings.