NEWS

In Brief

TAXI STRIKE

No cabs for 24 hours from 5 a.m. tomorrow There will be no taxis operating in Athens from 5 a.m. tomorrow as the Association of Attica Taxi Drivers (SATA) stages a 24-hour strike in protest against draft legislation governing the operation of taxis. Drivers from Athens’s radio taxi firms, who had originally challenged SATA’s objection to scheduled reforms, are due to join the strike. A protest march through the city center is scheduled to culminate at Parliament. SATA maintains that the planned reforms – which include strict penalties for taxi drivers who mistreat their customers – threaten cabbies’ very survival. ROGGE ‘SNUB’ Failure of IOC chief to visit her, ‘unbecoming,’ Athens mayor says International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge’s failure to respond to an invitation to visit City Hall constitutes «unbecoming» behavior toward the city and its citizens, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni said yesterday. «I regret that a visit to the town hall of the city hosting the 2004 Games was not included in Mr Rogge’s program,» said Bakoyianni, who took over from Dimitris Avramopoulos on January 1. But she added that the snub «will not affect our decision to work hard and contribute with all means at our disposal to ensure the Olympic Games are a success.» KAVALA QUAKE 4.2 tremor an ‘isolated incident’ An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale occurred 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of the northern town of Kavala yesterday morning but no injuries or damage were reported. The quake «was an isolated incident and is no cause for concern,» Athens seismologists said. Miller apology US Ambassador Thomas Miller yesterday visited a 76-year-old woman in the Cretan port of Hania to apologize for an assault she suffered earlier this month at the hands of a drunken US Air Force officer. Maria Dretoulaki was hospitalized with facial injuries after the 24-year-old officer – who had been staying at a hotel in Hania but was not based on the island – broke into her house and attacked her on January 4. The assailant was also hospitalized after falling off the balcony of Dretoulaki’s home in Hania’s old port district while trying to flee. Forged euros Police in northern Greece yesterday arrested three Albanians, who had used 97 forged 50-euro notes to purchase citrus fruit saplings in Arta, before the trio could cross the border back into Albania. Jorgo Toto, 32, Roland Biftari, 28, and Spyros Taho, 42, paid a total of 12,000 euros for the saplings. Farming compensation Citrus fruit farmers who suffered crop damage during recent heavy rainfall should make applications for compensation to the European Union as the State cannot cover their losses, according to a statement by the Agriculture Ministry yesterday. According to the regulations governing its operation, Hellenic Agricultural Insurance (ELGA) is not obliged to cover damages resulting from rainfall between December 1 and March 15, the ministry said. It is obliged to cover damages provoked by frost, however. Migrants detained A 50-year-old Frankfurt resident stopped at the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa at the wheel of a truck carrying 23 Kurdish immigrants is part of a German smuggling ring, local police said yesterday. Bokto Rautschusch told police he had been sent to Greece by his boss – 41-year-old Kristoff Brigg – and picked up the migrants on the Athens-Lamia National Road in a truck he collected from an Iranian middleman. Sniffer dogs alerted police to the migrants when Rautschusch arrived at Igoumenitsa. Shells under school Pupils in a Katerini secondary school were sent home yesterday after workmen discovered three World War II artillery shells buried near the classroom. The shells were discovered during works to extend two of the school’s classrooms. An explosives expert was called in to examine the shells, police in the northern Greek town said. Bank robbery A sole assailant made off with 12,000 euros after staging an armed raid yesterday on a bank in Ano Glyfada, southern Athens.