NEWS

In Brief

STRIKE

Garbage collectors and other municipal workers launch action Municipal employees – including garbage collectors – yesterday announced a four-hour strike tomorrow and a three-day strike next month, in pursuit of larger pay increases and bonuses. The union (POE-OTA) will also hold a march through central Athens to the Interior Ministry at 12.30 tomorrow. In addition, POE-OTA will hold 24-hour strikes on January 17, 18 and 19. Athens municipal garbage collectors usually launch strikes during the Christmas holidays, leaving thousands of tons of rotting garbage to pile up on the capital’s streets. SOTIROPOULOU N17 terrorism suspect allowed to see her son, other demands rejected The only woman among the 18 suspects incarcerated in Korydallos Prison pending trial for terrorist acts by the November 17 group will be allowed to receive half-hour visits from her son once a week in full privacy and without being separated from the 12-year-old by a barrier, according to a court decision made public yesterday. But the Piraeus council of lower court judges rejected a bid by beekeeper Angeliki Sotiropoulou, 40, to be able to see her husband, fellow-suspect Dimitris Koufodinas – whom she married in prison last Wednesday – or make more than seven phone calls a week, exchange notes with her lawyer, access prison recreation facilities and follow a university course by correspondence. Sotiropoulou, who, like all N17 suspects is held in isolation, launched a hunger strike hours after her wedding to back her demands. BOILER EXPLOSION Adulterated fuel caused killer blast An explosion in the boiler room of a building in a new workers’ housing estate in northern Greece two months ago that caused four deaths was due to adulterated heating fuel, a fire brigade report has found. The driver of a petrol tanker delivering fuel to the building near the village of Kato Nevrokopi, near Drama in Macedonia, as well as a resident, died instantly in the October 17 explosion, while another two residents succumbed to their injuries afterward. The report, which was leaked yesterday, also found that most of the buildings on the estate had been shoddily constructed. Patras death An illegal immigrant who died in the Peloponnesian port of Patras on Sunday trying to escape an irate lorry driver on whose vehicle he had hidden, hoping to get to Italy, was not killed by an intentional blow, a Patras coroner ruled yesterday. Mahmot Slav, 18, died after falling from a high wall in an attempt to avoid Panayiotis Pandazis, 28, who was chasing him with an iron bar after discovering the illegal immigrant in his truck. Pandazis was charged with causing the youth’s lethal injuries. Slav’s death prompted a protest by some 300 of the mainly Kurdish illegal immigrants who live in the port of Patras, waiting for a chance to clandestinely board a ferry for Italy. Police strike Police, fire brigade and port police employees will hold a demonstration outside Parliament from 6 p.m. today to noon tomorrow, seeking better pay. Corruption charges Supreme Court prosecutor Evangelos Kroustallakis yesterday ordered the acceleration of the legal process for a senior Agriculture Ministry employee accused of illegally approving subsidies to 76 farmers in the Troezen area of the northeastern Peloponnese in 1999. Chryssoula Grigoratou allegedly failed to inspect the farms in question, as she was legally obliged to do. Her agriculturalist husband allegedly drew up the farmers’ applications, and benefited from the subsidies. Syngrou works Drivers using Syngrou Avenue will encounter difficulties from today until October 2003, due to roadworks at the junction with coastal Poseidonos Avenue in southern Athens. The lanes from Piraeus to Athens and from Glyfada to Piraeus will be closed to all traffic. Bank robbery A gunman wearing a motorcycle helmet stole 6,000 euros yesterday morning from a Eurobank branch on the corner of Acharnon and Kaftatzoglou streets, in the Athens district of Patissia. He escaped on a motorcycle.