NEWS

In Brief

QUAKE RULING

Six to be tried for ‘murder’ of 16 who died in collapsed building Six people are to stand trial for the murder of 16 people who died in the wreckage of a block of flats in the Athenian district of Metamorphosis during the 1999 earthquake, the Appeals Council ruled yesterday. An Athens court had originally cleared four property owners, a civil engineer and a contractor of the responsibility for the building’s collapse, ruling that the charges they faced had elapsed under the statute of limitations, as the building had been constructed in 1979. But the Appeals Council countered that the charges applied from when the building collapsed, not when it was built, and so the six should be tried. TRUCKERS STRIKE Fuel distribution and deliveries face disruptions today Owners of haulage trucks and tankers are considering launching an open-ended strike today following the government’s refusal to approve tax reliefs for the sector. In a meeting yesterday, Deputy Economy Minister Apostolos Fotiadis told unionists that no exceptions would be made for their sectors, adding that their tax obligations should be fulfilled by December 31. Unionists are expected to meet with Fotiadis again today, after which they will announce their final decision. WORK POSTPONED Poseidonos clear until January 7 The Public Works Ministry yesterday postponed until after the Christmas holidays roadworks at the junction of coastal Poseidonos and Alimou avenues, due to the traffic snarl since the works began on Monday. The works – scheduled to last five months – are to be relaunched on January 7. Hunting Deputy Agriculture Minister Fotis Hadzimichalis yesterday approved amendments to hunting legislation, following last week’s decision by the Council of State to suspend a ministry decision allowing the hunting of animals and birds until February 28. The hunting of the stock dove is now completely forbidden and the hunting seasons for various other birds and animals have been shortened, according to the amendments. Against all odds An armed robber and his accomplice made off with 56,700 euros, following a bank raid yesterday morning in the most heavily policed part of Thessaloniki. The branch of Egnatia bank the two men targeted is practically next to the city’s police headquarters and a block from the general police headquarters near the Egnatia Highway. The duo fled on a motorcycle. Net advertising Companies wanting to promote themselves in Athens’s historical center can do so by sponsoring one of hundreds of buildings currently undergoing renovation, the President of Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens SA (UASA) told businessmen yesterday at Zappeion Hall. Firms can advertise on the netting covering the building they choose to sponsor, UASA President Yiannis Kalantidis said. The refurbishment drive – under which 200 buildings are being renovated – started in 1997 and has resulted in the removal of most of the capital’s billboards. More schools An extra 800 day-long kindergartens and primary schools will be established during the next school year, alongside a program to reduce by 27 percent schools that operate double shifts, Education Minister Petros Efthymiou said yesterday after opening a new primary school in the Athenian district of Aghios Dimitrios. Dead accountant The remains of a 40-year-old Trikala accountant, who disappeared in February 2001, were discovered yesterday at the bottom of a 200-meter ravine. Workers at Aghia Triada, near Meteora, stumbled upon the skeleton of Stefanos Migas next to his wrecked car. Police did not confirm the cause of Migas’s death. His bones were sent to a Larissa coroner. Power plant Residents of Ilioupolis and Argyroupolis yesterday staged a protest rally outside Parliament, reiterating their demands for an immediate halt to the construction of a high-voltage power station on the border of the two southeastern districts of Athens which they say is a health risk.