NEWS

In Brief

GAS STATIONS

7,300 outlets to close on Monday as owners stage nationwide strike Gas station owners will stage a nationwide strike on Monday after failing to reach an agreement with the government on the introduction of cash tills and the sealing of fuel tanks, unionists confirmed yesterday. The Federation of Greek Gas Stations wants the government to reconsider plans to install cash registers at gas stations as a crackdown on tax evasion, and also wants oil companies’ fuel tanks to be sealed to combat fuel smuggling. KERAMEIKOS Museum to close in 11 days for pedestrian network project Athens’s Kerameikos archaeological museum will be closed from December 2 for extensive repair work under a project to link the capital’s main ancient sites in a pedestrian network, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The museum is expected to reopen in spring 2004, the ministry said. WINTER SPORTS Ministry’s program for EU, Greek pupils Education Minister Petros Efthymiou yesterday presented a three-month program of winter sports – beginning on January 12 – for a total of 1,575 Greek and European secondary school pupils who will be granted five-day stays at hotels in the villages of Arachova and Delphi. Of the pupils chosen to attend the course, 630 will be Greeks (a different group of 70 every week) and the remainder will be invited from 25 EU member and EU candidate states, the minister said. The course will offer pupils professional training in a number of winter sports, including skiing. Lung tests Of the 480 Athenians who received free lung inspections on offer at Syntagma Square yesterday, around 22 percent showed signs of suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – an acute form of smoker’s cough, the Hellenic Thoracic Society (EPE) said yesterday. Those who tested positive to COPD tests conducted from special booths yesterday are to undergo further examinations, EPE said. Smokers and the over-40s are particularly susceptible to COPD. Troubled cleric A 37-year-old priest from Lesvos yesterday tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide by driving his car off the pier of Mytilene harbor. Just two hours earlier, Grigorios Bellos had been defending himself before a senior cleric over his alleged frequent drunkenness, which shocked his parishioners in the small community of Plakada and led to his suspension from clerical duties a few days earlier. The cleric had moved to Lesvos with his two children following the death of his 27-year-old wife from cancer three years ago. Rioters A Thessaloniki court yesterday passed 10-month suspended sentences on four youths arrested in connection with violent incidents in the city center during Sunday’s march commemorating the November 17, 1973 Polytechnic student revolt. Contraband Lefkada port authorities yesterday confiscated 152,500 packs of contraband cigarettes and arrested five Russian sailors following a raid on the Tonga-flagged «Schleichgang» cargo ship off the Ionian island’s southern coast. Port authorities have seized 3.5 million packets of contraband cigarettes since the beginning of the year. Grenade attack Police in Glyfada, southern Athens, were yesterday seeking the assailants who threw a hand grenade into the joint parking area shared by a local block of flats. The grenade was thrown from a passing car or motorcycle, police said. One car was damaged but no one was injured. Israeli ships An Israeli shipyard is to build patrol boats to contribute to security during the Olympic Games, the Defense Ministry said yesterday. According to the 79.4-million-euro deal, two SAAR 4 fast-attack missile craft will be built by Israeli Shipyards Ltd and delivered in December 2003, the ministry said, adding that a Greek shipyard must have a third vessel ready by April 2004. Antiquities A 46-year-old unemployed man from Alexandreia, in the northern prefecture of Imathia, was arrested yesterday after an extensive cache of antiquities, including hundreds of coins – mostly bronze – from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods and an ancient marble head were found in his home.