NEWS

In Brief

HOSPITAL FINANCES

Minister says treating illegal immigrants is proving costly Health Minister Andreas Loverdos admitted in Parliament yesterday that one of the reasons the government is unable to account for a 400-million-euro black hole in state hospital finances is that it estimates 150 million euros per year is spent on treating undocumented immigrants. Loverdos went on to suggest that every patient who visits an on-duty hospital should pay 3 euros when they walk through the door to help public finances. «We will have to look at this situation over the next few months,» said the minister. ACHELOOS DIVERSION Environmentalists blast ministry Five of Greece’s biggest environmental organizations yesterday blasted the Infrastructure Ministry for asking that work on the construction of a dam on the Acheloos River resume. The Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, ordered in February the suspension of a controversial project to divert the country’s second-longest river from western Greece to the heavily farmed Thessaly Plain. The environmentalists, including WWF Hellas and the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment, suggested the ministry’s request for the work to start again was an attempt to win favor before local elections on November 7. Steelworks blaze Prosecutor Giorgos Kaloudis yesterday ordered an investigation into a fire at a steelworks plant in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, that injured four people on Wednesday. Kaloudis also ordered the arrest of the company officials responsible for safety at the facility. Child porn A woman has been arrested in Attica on suspicion of possessing and trading in child pornography, police said yesterday. Officers raided the woman’s home and confiscated five computer hard drives. Police did not know yet whether the woman, who was not identified, was working in collaboration with other child pornographers. Nana award Singer Nana Mouskouri was given a special award for «promoting Greek culture» by Parliament yesterday. «I tried to give my best and promote my homeland,» said the Paris-based artist. «I am grateful to life that I am still around after so many years and able to pick up this award,» said the 76-year-old as she was given Parliament’s silver medal. Bridge cleaning Drivers heading toward Piraeus on the Athens-Lamia national road should look out for a diversion that will be in place from tonight until Monday morning to allow workers to clean the bridge at the junction of Kifissou and Athinon avenues. The work will begin at 9 p.m. today and is due to be finished by 6.30 a.m. on Monday. Fatal drop A 29-year-old man was found dead in a ravine near Krousonas in the prefecture of Iraklio, Crete, yesterday after apparently driving his car off the road in an accident. Two-for-one raid Police believe that the same armed robber stole money from a branch of Piraeus Bank and then the Bank of Cyprus in Loutraki, near Corinth, yesterday. It was not clear last night how much the robber, who was on foot, made off with.