No Athens cabs from 5 a.m. today and for 48 hours There will be no taxis operating today and tomorrow as the Association of Attica Taxi Drivers (SATA) goes ahead with a 48-hour strike starting at 5 a.m. today, despite opposition by 17 radio taxi firms. The latter have challenged SATA’s objection to new legislation governing the operation of taxis, stressing that reforms offer security to taxi owners and provide state funds for the renewal of vehicles. However, they are to participate in the strike and in a noon protest march to Parliament, where the new reforms are to be debated. EARTHQUAKE Another 4.5 tremor strikes western Greece A moderate earthquake, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, occurred near the village of Vartholomio, in Greece’s western Ilia prefecture yesterday afternoon but caused no injuries or damage. Seismologists said the tremor was the third aftershock following a 5.8-magnitude quake which struck the same area on December 2, adding that there was no cause for concern over the tremors in such a quake-prone region. Two quakes, measuring 4.5 and 4.6 on the Richter scale, occurred in western Greece on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. MISSING AT SEA Rescue patrols search for 2 people Coast guard patrol boats and a military helicopter yesterday scoured the waters off the coast of Porto Lagos in Xanthi for a 37-year-old amateur fisherman missing since Monday. There has been no sign of Aristides Papadopoulos since he left a beach near Porto Lagos in a small boat on Monday morning. Port authorities on Evia were also searching for a 50-year-old woman who disappeared yesterday afternoon after she and a friend returned to shore in heavy winds and moored their fishing boat. Christina Saharcuk fell into the sea while attempting to gather fishing nets. Impotent The ability of the state Competition Commission to monitor price rises in the market is seriously restricted by Greece’s legal framework, the commission’s president, Dimitris Tzouganatos, said yesterday. Zappeion Hall Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday officially handed over to Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis the newly renovated Zappeion Hall in central Athens which is to be used for the needs of Greece’s six-month EU presidency. A total of 5.89 million euros was invested in the hall’s renovation and another 4.5 million euros is earmarked for works ahead of the Olympic Games, when it will be used again. Teachers strike Private school teachers are to strike today and tomorrow in protest against the work and pay conditions of teaching staff at the Paidagogiki School in Piraeus. Tomb raiders Unidentified vandals who broke into Xanthi’s municipal graveyard desecrated more than 80 tombs and stole dozens of bronze candleholders and crosses, the Athens News Agency said yesterday. Local police dismissed rumors that the vandals were Satanists, saying they probably intended to sell their loot. Landslides Landslides continued in the small community of Plaka in the mountainous area of Zagori, near Ioannina in northwestern Greece, for the fourth day in a row yesterday. Experts said it was safe for Plaka residents to remain in their homes – for the time being – although stables and vehicles have been buried in tons of earth and rocks over the last few days. The mud yesterday reached the Ioannina-Trikala national road but caused no traffic problems. Prison criticism Synaspismos Left coalition leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday called for the immediate segregation of known drug addicts from other prisoners in Korydallos Prison during a visit to the jail where three inmates died on New Year’s Eve after a drug and alcohol party in their cell. «It is deplorable that people can die while in the care of the state,» Constantopoulos said. He said drug addicts should not be jailed but receive treatment for their addiction and called for greater transparency and checks in the operation of prisons.