NEWS

In Brief

Pension protests

Unions call for strikes over next two months to pressure government Greece's two biggest unions, GSEE and ADEDY, said yesterday that they will stage joint rallies and strikes over the next two months to protest the government's plans for a reform of the pension system. The unions plan to hold a rally toward the end of November and a strike in December. They are also planning possible further industrial action in January. The two union groups have only agreed to take part in a dialogue about pension reform in Parliament and not in direct talks between the two sides. GSEE President Yiannis Panagopoulos said the unionists would continue to refuse direct talks until the government made clear how it would fund the pension system, which could face collapse in as little as two decades. Migrant search Samos officials seek 17 believed missing after boat sinking Port authority officials were last night scouring the coast of Samos in search of 17 would-be migrants believed to be missing since their boat sank amid gale-force winds. Officials were alerted by an anonymous caller who claimed to have been on the boat. Patrol boats and a rescue helicopter had failed to find anything by late last night. Over the weekend, 118 would-be migrants arrived on Samos from neighboring Turkey despite bad weather. Additional guards have been stationed along Greece's land border with Turkey as worsening weather conditions have made many smugglers abandon sea routes, authorities said. Tavros murder Attack probably gang-related Police believe that a 39-year-old man shot dead early Saturday in a Mob-style hit may have been killed by members of a drug-trafficking ring taking revenge for a deal gone bad or by members of another ring blackmailing nightclub owners for protection money. Gerasimos Mavrakis, who was killed instantly after being shot five times by a motorcycle-borne assailant, had been charged with participating in protection rackets in the past. In September 2006, unidentified assailants threw a hand grenade at his home and this March he was arrested for illegal weapon possession. Ship aground A cargo ship yesterday ran aground off the Peloponnesian town of Nafplion, but none of its 10 crew members - two of whom are Greek - were injured. The Saint Vincent-flagged Captain Spyros had arrived at Nafplion from Spain to deliver its cargo of fertilizer. Efforts were under way late yesterday to rescue the vessel. Vengeful lover A 30-year-old man, believed to have uploaded onto the Internet erotic photos and videos of his 44-year-old former lover, has been arrested after allegedly incriminating computer equipment was found in his home. The man allegedly posted the material on a popular website in an act of vengeance against his former lover after she ended their relationship. Health policy Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday and discussed the government's health policy and upcoming initiatives, such as setting up a primary healthcare network to cut the number of patients seeking medical assistance at hospitals. The government is expected to hold a Cabinet meeting next week that will focus on health and changes to be made to the system. Senior ministry sources said more information concerning the ambitious plan for the primary heathcare network will be unveiled next week along with the economic support it will require. School lockouts Students at a high school in Grava, near central Athens, boycotted lessons yesterday, taking to about 150 the number of schools around the country that are experiencing lockout protests. Teenagers are protesting the lack of teachers and facilities at schools. Lockouts have been reported at schools in Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Ioannina, Larissa and Piraeus.

Online