NEWS

In Brief

Metro – Employees to hold 24-hour strike tomorrow Athens Metro trains will not run tomorrow following a decision by the workers’ union yesterday to hold a 24-hour strike. They want the operating company, Attiko Metro, to settle outstanding questions regarding their work hours and terms of employment, and to hire more employees. BSE fallout ‘Mad cow’ fears caused 10-pct drop in beef sales Beef consumption in Greece fell 10 percent in the first nine months of this year compared to the corresponding period of 2000, according to a European Commission report published yesterday on the effects of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy scare in the 15-state union. This was one of the three highest figures, while the EU average showed a 5.7 percent reduction. In Britain, consumption grew by 3 percent. Fake death? Doctor sentenced for lost baby A Thessaloniki gynecologist was handed a three-year suspended sentence yesterday by a local court, after being found guilty of abducting a minor after a woman accused him of faking the death of her new-born girl 15 years ago in order to hand over the infant for adoption. Constantinos Papathanasiou, who delivered Andromachi Traki’s child in a private Thessaloniki clinic, claimed that he had not performed an autopsy on the baby in accordance with its grandfather’s wishes. But he was unable to prove this to the court’s satisfaction. Identity crisis. The Church of Greece yesterday said it would draft a directive to the faithful regarding its campaign to keep the mention of religious belief listed on state identity cards. During a session of the Church ruling body, the Holy Synod decided to explain to congregations next month why the campaign was held. A Synod spokesman said there was no question of believers being instructed not to accept the new ID cards – which have yet to be issued – and conceded that the law may be tough, but it is the law. Illegal immigrants. Coast guard patrols off the islands of Kos and Chios arrested a total of 24 Afghan and Iraqi illegal immigrants yesterday, both on land and in the sea. Meanwhile, an Athens court sentenced Turkish human traffickers Basil Adem and Bilici Cihat to 10 years’ imprisonment each for trying to smuggle 97 illegal immigrants into Greece on Sunday. They were also fined 101 million drachmas each. Man overboard. Navy helicopters and coast guard patrol boats combed the sea off Chios yesterday for a man believed to have fallen overboard from the Theophilos ferry in the early morning hours. Theodoros Mangos, 37, was declared missing by his wife around 1.30 a.m. She told the ship’s captain that she last saw her husband on deck around midnight. The Theophilos was sailing from Lesvos to Piraeus with 600 passengers on board. Foreign workers. Cyprus has the highest percentage of foreign nationals among its work force in Europe, Cypriot Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou told a Parliamentary committee yesterday. He said foreign workers account for 9 percent of the population, and over 18 percent of the economically active population. This, he said, was worrying. Birth incentive. The mayor of the eastern Macedonian town of Drama yesterday announced a one-million-drachma benefit to couples for the birth of a fourth child. Mayor Margaritis Tzimas said the Drama area suffers from a low birth rate. Mani fire. A fire burnt large areas of scrub yesterday above the village of Nyfi, near Areopolis in the Mani. Kea protest. Residents of Kea blockaded the Cycladic island’s main port and children stayed away from school yesterday to protest at proposed new government regulations that would curb building activity on the relatively unspoiled island. The Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry has stated its intention to include 64 percent of the island in the EU’s Natura protection program, while designating much of the land as agricultural and banning construction on steep hillsides and small plots of land. Although Kea has stayed relatively free of the holiday home rash that disfigures many of the Cyclades, building activity has rocketed in recent years.