NEWS

In Brief

POTHOLE HOT LINE

Citizens can report holes in roads by calling ministry number From Monday, motorists will be able to report potholes in roads by telephoning a special hot line on 1521, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday. The hot line will be active between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. Also yesterday, the ministry revealed that damage to the country’s road infrastructure so far this year amounts to 100 million euros – not including last week’s two major incidences of subsidence on the national roads from Corinth to Tripolis and from Megalopolis to Kalamata. HIGHWAY CHARGES Euro MP asks EC to intervene to reduce fees after complaints Euro MP Alexandros Alavanos yesterday asked the European Commission to intervene to reduce toll charges on the new Attiki Odos Athens ring road and introduce a system whereby drivers are charged according to the distance they have covered. The Synaspismos Left Coalition EMP, who maintained the current system made local trips unreasonably expensive, appealed to the EC following complaints by citizens over the costs of toll charges and the fact that they are uniform, irrespective of the distance covered. ALBATROSS CRASH Victims’ families compensated An Athens court yesterday awarded a total of 308,143 euros in compensation to the relatives of three air force staff who were killed when their military aircraft crashed at Elefsina in January 1992. The court attributed the explosion of a fuel pipe in the left engine of the Albatross aircraft of 112 Combat Wing to inadequate repairs to the pipe and technical faults, according to the ruling which rejected state claims that the pilots were also to blame for the crash. Loutsa shooting Confirming a lower court’s decision, an Athens appeals court yesterday found a former policeman who shot a teenager in the back three years ago, permanently disabling him, guilty of attempted murder with possible premeditated malice. Theodoros Haloulakos, 41, who was sacked from the force after shooting Sotiris Katsiotis, then 18, in Loutsa, eastern Attica, was sentenced to 10 years and three months imprisonment. He had been allowed to walk free after the initial decision, until his appeal could be heard. Cyprus UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan may visit Cyprus this month, following his scheduled trips to Ankara and Athens on February 24 and 25, Annan’s spokesman Fred Eckhard said yesterday. Annan, who is due to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Brussels on Monday, was due in Nicosia on February 26, sources said yesterday. Meanwhile, entries continued to stream in for a competition to compose a national anthem and flag for a reunited Cyprus, a UN representative on the island said yesterday. Monday is the deadline for entries which have come from Cyprus, Britain, Japan and New Zealand.  Slot machines An investigating magistrate is to launch an investigation to identify individuals who may have violated a law banning the public operation of electronic slot machines following the results of a year-long probe by a Patras prosecutor which suggests criminal activities took place, it was revealed yesterday. The prosecutor’s investigation did not name any suspects but the magistrate has the power to freeze individual bank accounts if evidence emerges that illegal transactions took place. Witnesses are to be summoned to testify in connection with alleged criminal activities over the next few days. Strays The government has no plans to exterminate Attica’s stray animals ahead of the Olympic Games, the Culture Ministry’s general secretary in charge of Olympic preparations assured representatives from 34 animal welfare groups during a meeting yesterday. Moschato carnival Moschato municipality’s annual carnival kicks off at Moschato railway station at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday. This year the carnival’s theme is the floods which have inconvenienced residents in the Athens suburb several times over the past year.