NEWS

In Brief

THESSALONIKI MONUMENTS?

Incoming mayor wants to draw Jewish and Turkish visitors The incoming mayor of Thessaloniki said in an interview published yesterday that he plans to build a monument in the northern port city to the movement headed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish state, chiefly as a way of attracting Turkish visitors. Yiannis Boutaris, an idiosyncratic vintner and the city's first Socialist-backed mayor in 24 years, said he also intended to build a monument commemorating thousands of Thessaloniki Jews who were killed by occupying German forces. «Our aim is for 300,000 Jews and 300,000 Turks to come and pay homage to their family heritage in the same way that we go to Istanbul,» Boutaris told Eleftherotypia newspaper. ASYLUM GRANTED Iranian migrants get protection Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis yesterday granted political asylum to 26 Iranian immigrants who have been on hunger strike for several weeks. The protesters, five of whom had sewn their mouths shut, claim to have submitted their applications for asylum more than eight years ago. The ministry has set up a new committee to speed up the processing of asylum applications and plow through a huge backlog. Bakoyannis's party Former conservative Foreign Minister and marginalized New Democracy outcast Dora Bakoyannis, is due to launch her own political party tomorrow. Bakoyannis's party is expected to take a centrist, business-friendly stance and further weaken strife-riven ND. Bakoyannis told Kathimerini in an interview last month that her aim is not to create a protest party but one that will be able to be a partner in a coalition government. Smoking fine Motorists or passengers caught smoking in the presence of minors aged under 12 will face a fine of 1,500 euros, according to a legislative amendment tabled in Parliament yesterday. The fine will be doubled if they happen to be in a public vehicle such as a bus or trolley bus. Offending motorists will have their licenses revoked for one month. The news of the amendment came amid reports that the government is planning to permit smoking in cafes and bars after 9 p.m. while keeping a blanket ban in place for restaurants. ISAP disruption The section of the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) between Irini and Kifissia stations will be suspended today and tomorrow for engineering works. Commuters will be able to use the X5 replacement bus service. The section of the ISAP railway between Monastiraki and Attiki will be out of service until the end of the year. Taxi complaints Citizens who want to lodge complaints against taxi drivers will have to find other ways of letting off steam as the 1019 telephone complaint hotline set up by the Transport Ministry has been suspended due to budget constraints. US Embassy The US Embassy's consular section in Athens will be closed next Wednesday for internal administrative reasons, as is normal on the last Wednesday of every month, an embassy statement said yesterday.

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