NEWS

In Brief

POLL ON WAR

Overwhelming majority of Greeks found to oppose a war on Iraq A nationwide poll has found that 91.3 percent of Greeks are opposed to war in Iraq, with 5.1 percent in favor. The VPRC telephone poll conducted among 700 people for SKAI radio between Feb. 27 and March 1, found also that 71.5 percent believe Greece should play no part even if the UN decides on military intervention in Iraq. Also, 61.7 percent belives that war in Iraq will undermine the EU and 75.4 percent fear an outbreak of Islamic terrorism in the world. RUSSIAN LAND Court rejects appeal against development of Halandri plot The Council of State yesterday rejected an appeal against the development of a large plot of Russian-owned land in the northern suburb of Halandri, court sources said. The land was purchased in 1986 by what was then the Soviet Union, which donated one hectare of its land for recreational use by residents of Halandri. The ruling means that Babis Vovos International Technical, a building firm, can continue its development of the plot unhindered. RAILWAY DISRUPTION? Unclear if Monday’s strike is on It is unclear whether drivers on the Athens Kifissia-to-Piraeus electric railway are to go ahead with a 24-hour strike scheduled for Monday after yesterday’s court ruling deemed the proposed action illegal. Protesting workers, who are demanding a collective work contract, are to decide on their course of action tomorrow. Last Friday, train drivers staged a four-hour work stoppage after a court ruled a planned 24-hour strike illegal. Safe holidays Education Minister Petros Efthymiou yesterday denied rumors that his ministry had issued a circular to schools urging them to conduct excursions for pupils on Ionian islands rather than in the Aegean and Crete, due to the feared effects of a war on Iraq. «All of Greece is safe,» Efthymiou said, adding that the reports – which caused deep consternation among Rhodes hoteliers – were «completely groundless and false.» Well death A 63-year-old farmer found dead in a 6-meter-deep well in a village in Xiropotami, Halkidiki, apparently lost his life in an effort to save his sheep – whose drowned body was also found in the well, police said yesterday. An autopsy is to determine the exact cause of death of the man, identified only as K.G. Xanthi fire The government will financially support the rebuilding of a sports complex near Xanthi which was ravaged in a fire last Friday, Sports Minister Giorgos Lianis said yesterday, after meeting with a major shareholder of the northern town’s Skoda-Xanthi soccer team that trains at the complex. The blaze is believed to have caused millions of euros’ worth of damage. Lianis, who is to visit the complex’s site this afternoon, said he would discuss the matter with senior government officials next week. Parliamentary gymnastics An alleged proposal by Parliament that a celebrity television gymnastics trainer offer her services at the parliamentary gymnasium «is a figment of an unhealthy imagination,» according to an official statement issued by Parliament yesterday. «No parliamentary official made such a proposal to [Eleni Petroulaki],» the statement continued, adding that the rumor nevertheless constituted «first-rate advertising for her business plans.» Panathinaikos win Panathinaikos on Thursday beat Portuguese home team FC Porto 1-0 in the first round of the UEFA Cup quarterfinals. Polish striker Emmanuel Olisadebe scored for the Greek team 73 minutes into the game. Panathinaikos is now favored to advance to the semifinals after next week’s second-leg match in Athens. Bus crash An airman was slightly injured yesterday after a truck ran into the KTEL coach in which he was traveling a few kilometers outside Thessaloniki. The 56-year-old driver of the truck – which crashed into the back of the coach while it was picking up passengers – accepted the blame for the accident, saying he had been inattentive. There were no other injuries.