Thessaloniki patients must pay full price for state-subsidized medicine Thessaloniki pharmacists yesterday said they would start charging state-insured patients the full price for medicine subsidized by the state from January 1, as the government has not been paying its share of the cost for several months – now owing a total of of 147 million euros for sales of subsidized drugs. Thessaloniki chemists have kept open the possibility of postponing their planned action to coincide with that of pharmacists from Attica and Piraeus who are due to meet – and to discuss possible action – on January 20 and 14 respectively. TRUCKERS Talks with government today under threat of open-ended strike action Owners of haulage trucks and tankers, who have threatened to launch an open-ended strike following the government’s refusal to approve tax relief for their sector, are to meet Deputy Economy Minister Apostolos Fotiadis this morning for talks aimed at reaching a compromise and averting a shortage of goods – and higher prices – over Christmas. Fotiadis had on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of exceptions being made, insisting that truck owners’ tax obligations be fulfilled by December 31. SOTIROPOULOU N17 suspect punished for interview Korydallos Prison authorities yesterday punished November 17 terrorism suspect Angeliki Sotiropoulou for an interview she gave to Epochi weekly by banning her from receiving visits or making telephone calls. Sotiropoulou has been on a hunger strike since last Wednesday. Rio crossing The Rio-Antirio route will operate as normal today, following yesterday’s decision by ferry workers to cancel daily two-hour work stoppages scheduled to continue until Christmas Day. Migrant permits Difficulties experienced by immigrants in renewing their residence permits could lead to thousands of them losing their legal status in Greece and facing deportation, the country’s biggest labor union said yesterday. The General Confederation of Greek Labor asked the government to simplify permit renewal procedures for migrants legally residing in Greece. Taxi bonus Taxi drivers will be adding a 0.80-euro Christmas bonus to to their fares from today until January 7. US visas US visas must be applied for at the Consular Section of the US Embassy from January 13 when travel agents will temporarily stop providing them, the embassy said yesterday. The temporary suspension is «part of an overall American effort to make visa issuance more rigorous after the September 11 terrorist attacks,» the embassy said. New operating hours for the Consular Section, which also come into effect on January 13, are from Monday-Friday, 7.30 to 10 a.m. Greek-Turkish talks An eighth round of exploratory talks on Greek-Turkish issues began yesterday between the Foreign Ministry’s Political Director Anastassios Skopelitis and the his Turkish counterpart Ugur Ziyal. Crew sentenced A Thrace appeals court yesterday sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail the Russian captain and three crew members of a cargo ship that ran aground off the northern Aegean island of Thasos in May with more than 1.5 million packs of contraband cigarettes aboard. All four paid off their sentences. The court ordered the confiscation of the Bolivian-flagged Pena, which had been en route to Montenegro from the Bulgarian port of Burgas. Frigate back The navy frigate Adrias is due to sail into Salamina Bay this morning having completed its stint in international Enduring Peace operations in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Adrias has already been replaced by the frigate Hydra. Power cut Doctors of the World will hold a sit-in outside the Public Power Corporation’s central offices in Halkokondyli St at 11.30 a.m. on Christmas Eve to protest against PPC cutting the electricity supply to the refugee center in the northern suburb of Pendeli.