NEWS

In Brief

HEPATITIS FEARS

Probe into whether infected blood was used for transfusions in Greece A prosecutor yesterday launched a preliminary investigation to establish whether any transfusions were made in Greece using the same infected blood as that in a plasma sample Greece sent to the Netherlands for processing, which was found to be infected with the hepatitis C virus. The Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed that the plasma batch was produced at Greece’s National Blood Products’ Center and sent to the Netherlands in April. The ministry said nobody was known to have been infected in Greece by red cells taken from the blood unit that produced the infected plasma. DISASTER AVERTED Greek-owned tanker back at sea after leaking 3,000 tons of oil off Spain A Greek-owned petrol tanker, which sprung a leak on Wednesday while carrying 77,000 metric tons of fuel oil, was heading back out to sea under its own steam after having lost an estimated 3,000 metric tons of oil from its two tanks. A team of tugboats managed to tow the Bahamas-flagged Prestige away from Cape Tourinan, northwestern Spain, after overnight efforts to do so failed with the vessel drifting to within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of the shore. The crew then managed to start the engines. A slick around 35 kilometers (22 miles) long was left in the ship’s wake, the Spanish Development Ministry said, adding that 700 meters of barriers had been set along the coast to hold back the slick. LONG LINES Cancer patients made to wait Waiting lists of over four or five months at several Greek state hospitals are costing the lives of many cancer patients who cannot afford private treatment, doctors told a press conference yesterday ahead of a forthcoming oncology conference in Crete. Kazakos guilty An Athens court yesterday voted by 6-1 to uphold an original conviction of two life sentences and a 25-year jail sentence for racist multiple murderer Pantelis Kazakos, 28, rejecting an appeal to reduce the latter’s sentences on the grounds of reduced accountability. Kazakos’s lawyer had claimed that his client had been suffering from paranoid psychosis when he killed two immigrants and wounded another seven in a killing spree in October 1999. Psaradellis November 17 terrorist suspect Theologos Psaradellis was transferred from Korydallos Prison to an Athens hospital yesterday for treatment on a torn membrane in his eye. Aircrash appeal The appeals court trial of two Thessaloniki airport air traffic control workers, convicted of the manslaughter of 74 passengers of a Ukrainian passenger plane which crashed in the mountains of Pieria in December 1997, started in the northern city yesterday. Ioannis Yiannakopoulos and Adamantios Frangiadakis both received suspended five-year jail sentences in December 2000 after being found guilty of manslaughter through repeated neglect and endangering an aircraft flight. Teacher charged Education Minister Petros Efthymiou yesterday demanded legal action be taken immediately against Stergios Diamantopoulos, a 37-year-old primary school supply teacher arrested for allegedly selling three grams cocaine in Thessaloniki. Benzine charge The Technical Chamber of Greece tolerated the use of the carcinogen benzine in unleaded petrol for cars – which is released in large quantities by poorly maintained catalytic convertors – Giorgos Sariyiannis, professor of town planning at the National Technical University of Athens, charged yesterday. The toxic lead could have been removed without resorting to catalytic converters, Sariyiannis said.