NEWS

In Brief

TAX HIKE

Drivers to pay 2 cents more per liter for regular unleaded A special consumption tax on petrol will rise on July 1, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. The increase will result in a 2-cent per liter increase for regular unleaded fuel and a 1.8-cent per liter hike for diesel. The ministry said that the tax in Greece is 20 percent lower than in other European Union states but that it will be gradually revised upward by 2009. The higher duty will increase government revenues this year by 115 million euros. FATAL COLLISIONS Four killed in three separate accidents in a few hours Four people were killed in three different traffic accidents in Attica yesterday within a few hours, police said. A motorcycle rider and his passenger, aged 20 and 22, were killed when the bike they were traveling on slammed into an electricity pole at around 1 a.m. on the Athens-Corinth national highway. Separately, a 27-year-old motorcycle rider was killed in a crash on Syngrou Avenue, while a driver, aged 25, was also involved in a fatal accident in Gerakas. MEDICAL STAFF 750 nurses to be hired shortly Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday that the number of nurses in the state health service will soon be increased by 750. Avramopoulos also said that a total of 4,000 more staff members, from different fields, will be employed in the next two years in an effort to ease understaffing in the health system. Face shot A 31-year-old man was hospitalized early yesterday after being shot in the face outside his central Athens apartment, police said. The victim told police that four unknown men traveling by car stopped and shot him before escaping. No further details were immediately available. Moderate quake An earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale shook Athens yesterday but there were no reports of injuries or damages. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said that the tremor struck at 8:58 a.m. and had an epicenter about 20 kilometers northwest of the capital. Cameras targeted Two traffic cameras were destroyed in the early hours of yesterday morning by unidentified assailants who doused them with inflammable liquid before setting them on fire. One of the cameras was in the area of Spata, at the junction of Marathonos and Spaton roads, and the other in Kavouri, at the junction of Kavouriou and Athinas streets. Guilty priest A priest was handed a suspended jail sentence of two years and two months in Thessaloniki yesterday for theft and trading in illegal antiquities, sources said. The priest, who was not identified, was found guilty of attempting to sell to undercover police two icons that he had stolen from a church. He was also found to be in possession of a communion cup that had been taken from the church. Operation beaches Soldiers will help clean up the country's beaches on Tuesday in a volunteer program that will involve 57 beaches on 12 islands, according to Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis. The cleanup operation will involve beaches on the islands of Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Samos, Lemnos and Lesvos. Cretan checks Development Ministry inspection teams will step up market checks on the island of Crete with an emphasis on tourist areas in a bid to keep a check on the quality of services offered and stamp out profiteering, trade general secretary Manousos Voloudakis said yesterday. Voloudakis called on inspectors to apply the law strictly and publish the names of violators in order to inform consumers about them. US Embassy The consular section of the US Embassy in Athens will be closed on Monday for internal administrative reasons.

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