NEWS

In Brief

GAS STATIONS

Strike ends, but further action likely over Christmas Gas station owners decided to call off a 24-hour strike early yesterday, after the government offered a compromise to them in their campaign against installing cash registers at their pumps. Their union, however, did not rule out the possibility of further strike action over the Christmas holidays. Around 75 percent of the country’s 7,300 gas stations participated in yesterday’s protest. Protesters have said they will install cash registers at gas stations, according to new regulations, if the government reciprocates by sealing oil companies’ fuel tanks to combat fuel smuggling. The government said they can temporarily use cash registers they already have on the premises. EDUCATION UNICEF: Greek teens second to last on list of 24 richest countries Greece is 23rd in a list of the world’s 24 richest countries in terms of 14- and 15-year-old scoring low marks in literacy, maths and science, according to UNICEF data that is to be announced toda. Almost a quarter (23.2 percent) of Greek children aged between 14 and 15 score below a minimum level. Portugal is a little worse with a score of 23.6 percent. South Korea, Japan and Finland lead the list with 1.4 percent, 2.2 percent and 4.4 percent respectively. The USA is 18th with 16.2 percent. NO TAXIS Drivers on strike until Friday There will be no taxis in Attica between 5 a.m. tomorrow and 5 a.m. on Friday due to a 48-hour strike by taxi drivers who want access to bus lanes and higher fares. Drivers, who are also protesting against a new law obliging the replacement of vehicles every eight years, are planning a protest occupation of two new bus lanes on Alexandras Ave on December 3 when the lanes are due to be opened. Museum closed The Archaeological Museum in Olympia closed yesterday for refurbishment work and is due to reopen in Easter 2004, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. Internet protest Thessaloniki Internet cafe owners yesterday said they would appeal to the European Court if the government refuses to amend a new law banning the use of electronic games in public places. Speaking at a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s appeals trial of fellow Internet cafe owners cleared of violating the new law, protesters said the new law has not only failed to curb illegal gambling but has dealt their sector a financial blow. They are demanding a distinction be made between Internet cafes, which offer Internet access, and «Internet stations» which also offer other services, such as a bar. Smoking ad bans Tobacco advertising will be banned in Greece’s printed press, on the Internet and radio from July 2005, Health Minister Costas Stefanis said yesterday at a press conference, following last week’s approval by the European Parliament of a new directive to crack down on the promotion of smoking. Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys, however, told an American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce seminar the anti-smoking campaign should not be accompanied by a cutback in EU subsidies for tobacco farming. Ministry jobs The government is planning to recruit thousands of new staff across its ministries in a drive to boost the quality of public administration, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said yesterday. The vacancies – most of which will be at the Economy, Culture and Defense ministries – are to be made public soon, the minister said. Toyshop raid Three armed men who raided a toy store on the Athens-Lamia highway late on Sunday night made off with more than 100,000 euros, according to Jumbo store officials. Police oversight Police yesterday launched an investigation to determine how two female Bulgarian prisoners managed to escape from the supervision of two police guards. Pangrati-based officers Anastassios Kalogeropoulos and Christos Natsis had on Saturday accompanied the two women to an Athens court, where they were to answer to robbery charges, when they fled. A warrant is out for the arrest of Lazerina Patseva and Elenka Slavzeva.