NEWS

In Brief

Helicopter down

Two hurt in crash during electricity lines maintenance The pilot of a helicopter owned by a private firm hired so that maintenance work could be carried out on high-voltage electricity lines in the Cretan prefecture of Rethymno was seriously injured along with a maintenance worker yesterday after the aircraft plunged to the ground and crashed in a field near the village of Kastellakia amid circumstances that remained unclear last night. The Public Power Corporation (PPC) said it was launching a probe to determine the cause of the crash. Hunger strikers UNHCR backs Iranians The Greek office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) yesterday expressed its support for two Iranian refugees who have been on hunger strike for a week and are staging a protest outside the UNCHR’s premises in Palaio Psychico and called for the acceleration of pending reforms to Greece’s system for processing asylum claims. The head of the Greek UNHCR office, Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, said the two Iranians, whose asylum claims have been pending for years, were justified in their protests. «Their despair… stems from the enduring problems of the asylum system, which violates the principles of a fair and efficient examination of asylum applications,» he said. Tsarbopoulos said the UNHCR would resume its role in assessing asylum applications if the government re-establishes appeal committees. Illegal adoptions A Thessaloniki misdemeanors court yesterday indicted to trial 11 people in connection with an alleged case of an illegal adoption in central Macedonia last year. Facing trial are two Bulgarians, three members of the Greek Roma community and one Albanian believed to have organized the illicit transaction. The Greek couple alleged to have paid 2,800 euros in exchange for the newborn baby girl is also to be tried as is the child’s natural mother, who is Bulgarian. The six key suspects are alleged to have accompanied the Bulgarian mother to a Thessaloniki hospital to bear the child. The infant was sold just a few days later. Angelou bail An Athens prosecutor yesterday accepted an appeal by Yiannis Angelou, a former aide to former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, for his bail to be lowered to 60,000 euros from 400,000 euros. Angelou is being questioned in connection to a real-estate swap between the state and a Mount Athos monastery but denies being the brains behind a deal that saw the Vatopedi Monastery acquire valuable state property. He faces charges of breach of faith. Passport ring Police in the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa yesterday detained four Asian migrants after they allegedly admitted to having acquired forged passports from members of a ring of Moroccan traders in Omonia Square, central Athens. Police said they believe that a ring operating in the central district has produced many more fake passports and sold them to migrants aiming to get to Italy by boarding a ferry at Igoumenitsa.