NEWS

In Brief

DEADLY COLD

Three Albanians died of exposure on snow-clad border mountain Border guards yesterday discovered the bodies of three missing Albanian illegal immigrants on the snow-covered slopes of Mount Grammos following their attempt to cross into Greece last week. Ani Benga, 22, Elidon Doyia, 18, and another Albanian national, identified only as Neki, apparently died of exposure after getting lost in a snowstorm on their way toward the village of Aetomilitsa in the northwestern prefecture of Ioannina, according to police who were informed of the trio’s disappearance by fellow immigrants who returned to Albania after losing their compatriots. HABITS BROKEN? MEPs approve resolution seeking to allow women on Mount Athos The European Parliament yesterday approved by a marginal majority a 135-article resolution, submitted by Dutch MEP Joke Swiebel, which, among other matters, seeks to lift a millennium-old ban on women entering the all-male monastic community on Mount Athos as part of a broader reinforcement of the fundamental rights of EU citizens. The ban on women entering Mount Athos is a violation of sexual equality and EU legislation governing discrimination, equality and citizens’ freedom of movement, according to the resolution, which was approved by 277 votes to 255. MOBILE NUMBERS Initial 0 to be replaced with 6 Mobile phone numbers will change on Sunday when the initial 0 will be replaced with a 6. The way of dialing Greek mobiles from abroad will also change with the addition of a 6 after the country code 30. There are no more number changes scheduled after Sunday’s alteration, the National Telecommunications and Post Commission said yesterday. Taxi strike Taxi drivers will hold a 24-hour strike from 5 a.m. today and will march to Parliament in a protest against new legislation governing taxis. Stray home Greece’s first state-run center for stray dogs opened yesterday at Schisto near Piraeus. The Intra-municipal Center for the Care of Stray Animals aims to vaccinate, sterilize, tag and nurse animals collected from the streets of Western Attica and Piraeus before re-releasing them at their old haunts. The center’s long-term aim, however, is to find homes for the strays. Municipal staff are to run the center in association with representatives from local animal rights groups. Mortars Pupils in a Katerini secondary school stayed away from lessons for a second day yesterday following the discovery of nine mortar bombs buried near their classroom. The 60-millimeter bombs were unearthed following Tuesday’s discovery by workmen of four other such bombs. The bombs probably date to WWII or to the civil war, the mayor of the central town said yesterday. Evros level The River Evros in Thrace, which came close to breaking its banks on Tuesday, dropped 15 centimeters yesterday, assuaging fears of widespread flooding in the area. It was the first drop in the level of the rain-swollen river since Sunday. EU president? Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday displayed caution in his response to a suggestion by French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that the European Union should be led by a president. Simitis said the responsibilities of such a role would need to be clearly defined and distinguished from those of the Commission president. He also noted that the Franco-German proposal had already been made by Britain, France and Spain but had been opposed by smaller EU states. Dentists strike Dental surgeries across the country will be closed tomorrow as dentists stage a 24-hour strike against a measure demanding they keep details of all who visit them for treatment. Dentists will march to the Health Ministry in Athens. Korydallos Mayor Stefanos Christou yesterday appealed to the government to move Greece’s largest prison away from Korydallos. In a letter to Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, he said the government was obliged to relocate the «nest of corruption.»