Diversions on Kifissou Avenue, more demolition by the river Drivers on Kifissou Avenue will have to use diversions until January 19 as both lanes have been closed from the junction with Pireos Street to allow for the construction of road links with the temporary metal bridges set up last week over the flood-prone Kifissos River. Pireos Street will also be closed between Karaoli Dimitriou and Chrysostomou Smyrnis streets in Moschato. Meanwhile, yesterday protests failed to stop the ongoing demolition of illegal buildings along the banks of the Kifissos in Menidi, northwestern Athens. The owner of a stockyard was given two months to transfer his animals elsewhere. BALKAN TOUR Papandreou to visit Albania, Croatia Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Kosovo Foreign Minister George Papandreou will visit Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on Tuesday as part of his tour of western Balkan countries next week, the ministry said yesterday. Papandreou starts his tour in Albania on Monday. He is then due to attend the inauguration of the European Union police force in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Wednesday before traveling on to Pristina, Kosovo. ABATTOIR CONDITIONS Minister condemns taped horrors Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys yesterday deplored scenes depicting the cruel and protracted slaughter of animals in Greek abattoirs, in a video forwarded by animal rights groups to the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels. But he said the video made no reference to the progress Greece has made in improving the treatment of animals, including the closing of 42 slaughterhouses last year. Drys condemned «the outdated practices used in the handling of animals» shown in the video but said they were «isolated incidents.» The contents of the tape are being analyzed by state veterinarians «and according to the evidence which comes to light, those responsible will be brought to justice,» Drys added. Psychico roadworks Drivers using the Pharos junction in Psychico, northern Athens, face disruptions from Monday until February 3 due to works for an underpass. Road signs have been set up to guide drivers, and traffic police will be on hand. Hospital strike Staff at state hospitals across the country are to stage a five-hour work stoppage from 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 29, demanding the recruitment of permanent staff and the payment of a 176-euro bonus. Protest marches are planned for Athens and Thessaloniki on the day of the action. Restive farmers Thessaly farmers yesterday decided to stage a rally in Trikala town center on January 23 to protest against a regional economic recess. The region is being abandoned, which is driving up youth unemployment and putting many farmers out of work, unionists maintained yesterday at a meeting in Trikala. Farmers from the central town of Karditsa have planned a protest rally for the same date. Phone protest Residents of the port of Methana, in the northeastern Peloponnese, yesterday tried to stop the departure and arrival of ferries in protest at the imminent closure of the local Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) branch. «If services start disappearing from Methana, the area will become downgraded… and we will have to start visiting [the nearby island of] Poros,» Methana Mayor Christos Pallis said yesterday. OTE said it is shutting the branch from Monday due to high operation costs but that three OTE technicians would remain to deal with any problems arising from 1,700 local telephone connections. Bank robbery A gunman made off with 17,000 euros yesterday after robbing a bank in the Athenian district of Halandri. The unidentified robber fled on a motorcycle which, police later confirmed, had been stolen from the same area last week. Poison Members of 33 animal welfare organizations will be holding a demonstration on Amalias Avenue opposite the Anglican Church at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday in protest at the poisoning of dozens of stray cats and dogs in the area on New Year’s Eve.