NEWS

In Brief

TAXI STRIKE

No service from 5 a.m. today, traffic disruption in Athens center There will be no taxis on the streets of Athens today as Attica cabbies hold a 24-hour strike from 5 a.m. Unionists, who want more taxi ranks and free access to bus lanes, have planned a protest march through the city center to Parliament at 10 a.m. They will then stage a symbolic occupation of new bus lanes on central Academias and Harilaou Trikoupis streets. ANTI-WAR PROTESTS Unions call on citizens to join 30-minute work stoppage today The General Confederation of Greek Workers and the civil servants’ union (ADEDY) yesterday called on citizens to participate in a symbolic 30-minute work stoppage from noon today – which will be happening simultaneously in other European cities – in protest against the imminent war on Iraq. An anti-war protest will be held outside the Defense Ministry on Meseogeion Avenue at 5 p.m. today and other rallies are to take place in Athens and Thessaloniki tomorrow. Demonstrations are also to be held outside NATO installations at Souda Bay, Aktion and Larissa on Sunday. EU-NATO PACT Security agreement to be signed today Foreign Minister George Papandreou, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson are due to sign an EU-NATO security cooperation pact at 12.30 p.m. in Athens today. A two-day informal meeting of EU defense ministers starts today at the Vouliagmeni Astir Hotel. In retrospect A Supreme Court prosecutor has called for the annulment of a life sentence imposed on the late journalist Grigoris Staktopoulos in 1948 for his alleged part in the murder of American CBS reporter George Polk who had been in Greece covering the civil war, court sources said yesterday. The prosecutor proposed that the appeal by Staktopoulos’s widow be accepted in view of fresh evidence regarding the journalist’s innocence. Staktopoulos, who died in 1998, was released after serving 12 years. He was widely believed to have been framed. Kidnapper charged A 28-year-old man was charged yesterday with kidnapping a boy with the intention of sexually abusing him after being arrested last Sunday in Aghioi Anargyroi, western Athens. The man, identified as I. Vetsis, allegedly forced the boy into his car and drove off, but was thwarted by an off-duty policeman who gave chase on his motorbike. Vetsis released the boy and drove away, but was tracked through his car number plates. Good report An inspection team of international football federation (FIFA) officials yesterday expressed satisfaction with recent progress in works on Olympic soccer venues after a visit to Thessaloniki on the third day of a five-day visit. Ex-pupils exonerated A Thessaloniki court yesterday exonerated 77 former pupils who had faced criminal charges for allegedly participating in the occupation of schools during protests in the northern city in December 1999. Earlier yesterday, parents, pupils and teachers demonstrated outside the law courts, demanding that the charges against the 77 former members of school councils – now graduates, students or conscripts – be dropped. Happy callers The overwhelming majority of customers are satisfied with the directory inquiry and complaint hot lines (131 and 134 respectively) operated by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), according to the results of a poll conducted between 2001 and 2002 on behalf of OTE which were made public yesterday. The courtesy, speed of service, and accuracy of information offered by the 131 service was satisfactory for 96 percent, 92 percent and 90 percent of the 3,000 respondents polled, respectively. The corresponding percentages for the 134 service were 98 percent, 96.2 percent and 90.3 percent. Donor baby An operation to transplant the kidney of an 18-month-old baby into a 26-year-old man is the first of its kind in Greece, the president of the National Transplant Organization said yesterday. The operation at the Rio university hospital, near Patras, was a success.