NEWS

In Brief

KENYA

Athens condemns terrorist attacks advocates peaceful solution in Mideast Greece yesterday roundly condemned Thursday’s terrorist attacks on an Israeli-owned hotel and an Israeli charter aircraft in Kenya, during which 15 people died. Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis expressed sympathy for the families of the – mostly Kenyan – victims, and voiced support for the governments of Kenya and Israel. Although a previously unknown Palestinian group claimed responsibility, Israeli and Kenyan officials have blamed the Al Qaeda international terrorist network. «Greece believes a solution to the Palestinian matter will be achieved through negotiations based on United Nations resolutions, and the creation of a Palestinian state that will coexist peacefully with the state of Israel,» Beglitis said. STRIKES OFF Court bans planned weekend action by air traffic controllers An Athens court yesterday declared illegal two four-hour strikes planned for today and tomorrow by air traffic controllers, who are seeking better pay. The Civil Aviation Authority had asked for a ban on the early afternoon strike, which was expected to have caused considerable flight delays. FEWER ROAD DEATHS Salonica safe driving campaign pays off A crackdown on dangerous driving this year, in combination with a restructuring of the traffic police, has resulted in a 23 percent reduction in fatal road accidents in the Thessaloniki area, according to figures presented yesterday. Thessaloniki Traffic Police Chief Ioannis Marnas said 29 more people died in the first 11 months of 2001, compared to the first 11 months of this year. In 2001, the corresponding drop in fatal accidents was 16 percent. Taxi strike Athens taxi drivers are to hold a 24-hour strike from 5 a.m. on Monday, demanding higher fares and access to the capital’s bus lanes. They are also against the planned extension of bus lanes in the city, which suffers from acute traffic congestion – to a considerable extent blamed on the 15,000 taxis in circulation in Athens. Taxi drivers in the rest of Attica will also be on strike. This follows a two-day strike on Wednesday and Thursday. Athens public transport officials had been considering allowing taxis restricted access to bus lanes. Besieged Over 500 illegal immigrants have entered Greece by sea over the past 10 days alone, Deputy Public Order Minister Evangelos Malesios told a European Union conference on illegal immigration yesterday. Malesios told justice and internal affairs ministers meeting in Brussels that the wave of illegal immigrants heading for EU countries has grown recently, and urged a common policy on addressing the problem. He said that Greece expelled to Albania alone 160,000 illegal immigrants in 2001 and 170,000 in 2000. Teachers’ exam Over 33,000 university graduates in English, French, German and computer science, as well as qualified nursery school teachers, seeking state teaching jobs are to sit written exams today, held by the state hirings agency (ASEP). Immigrants Police on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos yesterday arrested four illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, who are believed to have made their way from Turkey by boat. The island is one of the main dropping-off points used by migrant smugglers, who convey thousands of illegal immigrants from the Turkish shores to the Greek islands every year. Also yesterday, coast guard located two bodies in an advanced state of decay floating off the small eastern Aegean islet of Arkii, near Agathonissi. It is believed that they may have been illegal immigrants. Disarming Ukraine Greek officials are to lead the first phase of a NATO project to eliminate an estimated 133,000 tons of munitions and 1.5 million small arms owned by the Ukrainian military, NATO said yesterday. The Greeks will identify sites, determine safe and cost-effective methods of disposing of the arms, and vet Ukrainian contractors. Kouros A rare 2,600-year-old kouros statue has been discovered in occupied northern Cyprus, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. The marble statue of a young man was unearthed near the village of Aghios Theodoros, in the vicinity of Famagusta.