NEWS

In Brief

TAXI STRIKE

Cabs back on the streets until next 24-hour action on Monday The capital’s estimated 15,000 taxis return to the streets of Athens this morning, as their 48-hour strike was set to end at 5 a.m., but are to disappear again on Monday when protesting drivers embark on a 24-hour strike decided yesterday. This second strike will end at 5 a.m. on Tuesday. Protesting taxi drivers, who want higher fares and access to bus lanes, will stage a protest drive on Monday morning along two new bus lanes planned to open on Alexandras Avenue. Yesterday, they staged a similar drive to the House of Parliament, but otherwise their absence from the capital’s streets greatly alleviated traffic congestion. DELAYED MAIL Less than half of first-class post gets delivered on time, regulator says Only 48 percent of first-class domestic mail is delivered within one day as promised, compared to the 77 percent minimum requirement, the National Post and Telecommunications Commission (EETT) said yesterday. The delivery of both domestic and international mail is subject to considerable delays, according to EETT, whose functions include monitoring the efficiency of the Post Office (ELTA). However, ELTA successfully delivers 90 percent of mail destined to reach its sender within three days, EETT said, adding that it would conduct further inspections and may impose fines. DOCTORS STRIKE Hospitals on 48-hour emergency staff State hospitals across the country will be operating on emergency staff today as doctors launch a 48-hour strike. Protesting doctors, who last week staged daily three-hour work stoppages, want more pay, extra staff and a bonus that has been received by most civil servants. Anti-fascist rally Around 1,000 protesters marched from the main Athens University building in central Athens to Parliament yesterday evening, demanding that the government shut the offices of Chryssi Avgi neo-Nazi group. The rally, which was peaceful, was a protest against a brutal attack this month on students attending commemorations for the 1973 Polytechnic revolt by neo-Nazis – one of whom was arrested and identified as a member of Chryssi Avgi. Bomb disposal A 250-pound World War II bomb, found buried 2.5 meters deep on the site of the former international airport at Hellenikon yesterday by military land mine-clearing experts, is to be removed and destroyed in a controlled explosion today, the army said. Several Olympic Games venues are currently under construction at the Hellenikon site. Relics to Athens The icon of the Virgin of Jerusalem, allegedly painted by the Evangelist Luke, and a piece of wood traditionally believed to be part of the True Cross, which have been on display at Thessaloniki’s Aghios Dimitrios church for nearly two months and have attracted an estimated 300,000 believers, are to be sent to Athens on Monday morning to be displayed at the city’s cathedral. Smuggling The suspected leader and two members of a ring believed to have smuggled 64 Asian illegal immigrants into Greece earlier this week faced an investigating magistrate yesterday, police said. Officers yesterday tracked down Eleftherios Panayiotopoulos, 42, outside his home in the Athens suburb of Vari, after port authorities identified him as the leader of a group that had rented a boat to smuggle the migrants to Greece on Tuesday. Two Polish crew members of the Maestro were arrested on Tuesday. Heroin ring An Albanian man, his wife and his parents sold heroin from their Athens home as part of a larger ring smuggling the drug from Albania into Greece, police said yesterday after confiscating 4.5 kilos of heroin from their homes in the Athens district of Gyzi. Officers arrested the four in the Athenian district of Peristeri. Dentists protest Athens dentists yesterday threatened to close their surgeries unless the Health Ministry provides extra funding to upgrade their sector. Protesters, who are demanding immediate talks with ministry officials, are to meet on December 7 to decide whether to strike.