DEFENSE – Athens: Greek, Cypriot exercise to go ahead despite US request Greece and Cyprus are going ahead with this year’s Nikiforos-Toxotis joint military exercise in Cyprus, although the US Embassy in Athens has asked for it to be postponed so as not to create risks in the region, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday. He added that the USA had made the same request to Turkey. He said the scheduled exercise next month was not directed against any other country. Reppas added that the annual Greek armed forces’ joint exercise, code-named Parmenion, would also go ahead. FOOD SAFETY Brand of Greek oil withdrawn in elgium, France Belgium’s food safety agency (AFSCA) said yesterday it had removed the Niki Minerva brand of frying oil from stores after finding elevated levels of a carcinogen in some shipments, Agence France-Presse reported from Brussels yesterday. It said the substance, benzoapyrene, had appeared in the Greek brand of oil due to overheating in the manufacturing process. The Athens News Agency reported similar action in France. Frying oil differs from ordinary olive oil in that it consists of a mixture of extra-virgin oil and olive residue. The Greek Agriculture Ministry is investigating. ONASSIS HEIRESS Athina won’t ride in Athens Athina Roussel, the 16-year-old granddaughter of late tycoon Aristotle Onassis, has declined an invitation from Greece’s equestrian federation to ride for Greece in the World Cup in Athens next month because of the short notice given, The Associated Press reported yesterday. The event begins on October 4. Roussel family spokesman in Athens, Alexis Mantheakis, told the agency he did not rule out the possibility of the heiress accepting the invitation to try out for the Greek national team for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The Roussel family lives in Switzerland. Daylight robbery. Two masked and armed men burst into an exchange bureau in Zinonos Street, in the heart of the Omonia Square shopping district, just after 8 a.m. yesterday and robbed it of 30 million drachmas. One of the two staff members, Petros Iliadis, 23, tried to stop the robbers, one of whom hit him over the head with his gun. Human traffickers. A Samos court yesterday sentenced two Turks to 10 years’ imprisonment and fined them 5 million drachmas each for transporting 198 illegal immigrants to Greece from the Turkish coast. The court gave the immigrants three-month suspended sentences, fined them 500,000 drachmas, and ordered their deportation. Arms and drugs. Police who chased down and stopped two cars coming from the Albanian border after they refused to stop at a roadblock on the Konitsa-Ioannina highway yesterday discovered a small arsenal and drugs in the vehicles. After a 35-minute chase, police detained the driver of the lookout car, Ioannis Alexiou, 32, and his brother Gerasimos, the driver of the second car. They discovered 20 hand grenades, 29 electronic detonators, 16 ordinary detonators, a gun, a kilo of heroin and 29 kilos of hashish. Murder. The widow of a 42-year old man found dead on Sunday in a house at Profitis Ilias in the Pella area yesterday confessed to having murdered her husband with the aid of her lover, police said yesterday. Paraskevi Mitelou, 38, allegedly killed Panayiotis Mitelos on Saturday by hitting him on the head with a crowbar. Police are looking for army officer Vassilios Patrikis, 36, Mitelou’s lover. Nursery death. A five-month old boy died of asphyxiation yesterday morning in a day nursery in Halandri, northern Athens, after getting his head stuck in the wooden railings of a bed. The nursery’s owner and attendants were arrested. Banker honored. The chairman of the National Bank of Greece, Theodoros Karatzas, was conferred yesterday with the order of the Legion d’Honneur during a ceremony at the French Embassy in Athens. Forgery racket. Police have arrested eight Albanians on charges of running a forgery racket over the past five months. The eight had offered to mediate for compatriots who needed documents such as passports and drivers’ licenses from the Albanian Embassy in Athens. The gang asked for 15,000-20,000 drachmas per document for their services. But the documents they provided were fakes.