NEWS

In Brief

Kallikratis approved

Controversial local authority bill passes through Parliament Kallikratis, a government plan to reorganize local authorities that has provoked widespread protests, was approved in Parliament yesterday with 160 votes for and 124 against. Protests against the reforms continued unabated yesterday, with a group of mayors staging a small rally outside Parliament and residents of Ileia, in the Peloponnese, blockading the national highway linking Patra and Pyrgos. Elsewhere, residents in Velvento, a small town in the northern prefecture of Kozani, occupied a local power station for several hours to express their opposition to the changes. Unions persist GSEE rejects appeal for talks The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) yesterday rejected an appeal by Labor and Social and Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos for a discussion on labor relations and pending reforms to the pension system, dismissing the measures being proposed by the government as «extreme and against the workers.» GSEE said it would join a demonstration in central Athens on Saturday being organized by the civil servants' union ADEDY. Another rally is planned for June 5. ADEDY and GSEE are both planning strike action in June though no date had been set by late yesterday. Migrant brawl Thirteen Bangladeshi men were injured in a violent clash on Wednesday night in a run-down part of the historic center behind Athens City Hall. More than 200 people were involved in the brawl, using homemade spears, bats, tire irons and stones against one another. The 13 men who were injured were taken to the capital's Evangelismos Hospital and will be brought before a prosecutor once they recover, along with another six men of Bangladeshi, Palestinian and Algerian origin, who have been detained already, police said. Weapons seized A Kalashnikov assault rifle, a revolver and two hand grenades were the surprise haul for police called in to investigate a suspicious vehicle in Patissia, just north of central Athens, on Wednesday night. The four men who had been sitting in the car, which was confirmed as stolen, ran off as soon as the police arrived. Two of them managed to escape by pulling a passing motorist out of his car and making off with it; the other two escaped on foot. Forensics experts are examining the weapons found in the car to ascertain whether they have been used in any crimes. Mosquito crackdown A campaign to curb a burgeoning population of oversized mosquitoes in the northern prefecture of Evros has been extended to neighboring Thrace where the insects are making residents' life a misery. According to a statement released yesterday from the Xanthi prefect's office, the campaign will begin with hundreds of hectares being sprayed with low-toxic chemicals from the air and from the ground. Fire contained A fire that broke out yesterday afternoon in Korpi, in the southeastern suburb of Vari, was brought under control before it could threaten residential areas. The firefighting effort was led by 45 men on the ground aided by three water-dropping aircraft.

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