NEWS

In Brief

TAXIS

Cabs back after compromise between government and unionists Taxis are back on the streets today after a five-day strike was called off yesterday, following a compromise reached by ruling PASOK party general secretary Michalis Chrysochoidis and union representatives. Taxi drivers now have until the end of December to order receipt-issuing meters and until the end of April to install them in their cabs. The government's Jan. 1 installation deadline had triggered their action. KOKKALIS CASE Prosecutor calls for probe into spying charges to be continued An Athens prosecutor yesterday proposed to the Misdemeanors Council that an investigation into alleged espionage by software tycoon Socrates Kokkalis be continued and that the businessman's bank accounts be examined, the Athens News Agency reported. Kokkalis's firm Intracom issued a statement saying prosecutor Ilias Koliousis had judged that there was no evidence incriminating Kokkalis on four of the five charges he faces - spying, fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. Koliousis is only proposing further investigation into the charge of bribery against Kokkalis, the statement added, saying he had been cleared earlier. Weather warning Storms to spread today Stormy weather is today expected to spread across the eastern mainland, Evia, the Peloponnese, and the islands of the eastern Aegean, Cyclades, Dodecanese and Crete. Snow is forecast for many parts of the country, including around Athens, and winds are expected to reach 10 or even 11 Beaufort in the Aegean. Doctors strike Social Security Foundation (IKA) clinics will be operating on skeleton staff tomorrow and Friday as IKA doctors stage a 48-hour strike. Emissary Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday sent an emissary, Father Thomas Synodinos, to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios in a move which was officially depicted as an official delivery of good wishes ahead of Christmas but widely seen as an attempt to defuse an ongoing feud between the two churches. Sex slaves A total of 195 foreign women have been officially recognized as victims of human smuggling who have been forced into prostitution following the adoption in August of a law which seeks to boost protection for smuggling victims, police said yesterday. Victims are now entitled to legal aid, shelter and either secure repatriation or favorable treatment in Greece. Before, they faced deportation. Legal aid? The government does not have the budget to implement a draft bill promising free legal aid to poor citizens and is already in debt to lawyers who participated in similar programs in 2001 and 2002, the leaders of an umbrella union for the country's lawyers claimed yesterday at a press conference. They stressed the law was unworkable. No foul play? A Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday ruled that video footage apparently showing police officers switching the bag of a demonstrator at the June 21 anti-EU riots in the northern city was a montage of disparate images. The lawyer for Briton Simon Chapman, one of seven alleged rioters released from custody last month who staged a long hunger strike, had charged that police framed his client by switching his blue backpack with a black one containing weapons. The prosecutor said both bags belonged to Chapman. Refugee blocks A provisional order, issued by the fifth section of the Council of State yesterday, has suspended government plans to demolish six out of eight apartment blocks built on Alexandras Avenue for refugees in the 1930s. The court is due to issue a final ruling on January 7. Flu case Doctors at Athens's Aglaia Kyriakou Children's Hospital yesterday said that a 3-year-old child was suffering with this year's first confirmed case of flu. Doctors said tests would reveal within a week the identity of the virus, and did not rule out the deadly strain of Fujian flu.

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