NEWS

In Brief

REPATRIATION REBUKE

Turkey not cooperating with Greece in taking back migrants, Athens says Ankara has not been cooperating with Athens in taking back illegal immigrants who cross into Greece from Turkey, despite a bilateral repatriation agreement, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis told the parliamentary equality and human rights committee yesterday. Turkey accepted only 14 of 2,500 applications by the Greek government to repatriate immigrants who entered Greece from Turkey – despite Greece offering to cover travel costs, Chrysochoidis said. The minister warned of «acute social problems» if the influx of migrants continues after the Olympics, when unemployment is expected to rise. RUBBISH Minister admits nearly half Attica’s waste ends up in protected areas Attica produces a total of 42 million tons of organic waste annually, only 55 percent of which is disposed of in specially designated waste recycling sites, Environment and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou admitted yesterday. «The rest is deposited at various sites which we should be conserving, such as beaches, ravines and other protected areas,» she told a conference on waste disposal. ENVIRONMENT EU cautions Greece again The European Commission yesterday sent Greece, France, Spain and Ireland a letter of warning – the final stage before legal action – for violations of EU legislation for the protection of the environment, and cautioned Greece over its failure to provide evidence that it is protecting an endangered species of hawk in Crete. The EC had asked the Greek government to prove that it had taken measures to protect the Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae) after receiving complaints of the bird’s high mortality rate. Olympic visas The European Commission yesterday proposed to introduce legislation to facilitate the process by which members of the «Olympic family» (athletes, escorts, officials) can apply for – and be issued – visas to attend next year’s Athens Olympics. EU Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs Antonio Vitorino stressed the need for «a temporary period of deviation from certain EU provisions to facilitate the organization (of the Olympics).» ELA defense Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorist group suspects Angeletos Kanas and Irene Athanassaki are to appear before examining judge Leonidas Zervobeakos next Tuesday after their request for time to prepare their defense was granted yesterday. Kanas and Athanassaki are to answer to fresh charges brought against them last week which link them to another small terrorist group, May 1. They and two others – Christos Tsigaridas and Costas Agapiou – have been charged with participation in a string of attacks between 1988 and 1995. All were imprisoned in January, pending trial. Del Ponte Government spokesman Christos Protopappas yesterday refuted a Financial Times report that Foreign Minister George Papandreou has been avoiding requests by the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court at The Hague, Carla del Ponte, for a meeting to discuss cooperation between the court and Balkan states (chiefly Serbia). The FT’s claims were «completely inaccurate,» Protopappas said, adding that: «It is well known that (Papandreou’s) schedule has been remarkably heavy due to the Iraqi crisis,» and Greece’s EU presidency. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said a meeting will be organized as soon as possible. IKA strike Social Security Foundation (IKA) clinics will be operating on emergency staff tomorrow and Friday as IKA doctors stage a 48-hour strike demanding permanent jobs for colleagues on short-term contracts and higher salaries. Prison protest Seven Iraqi-Kurdish inmates at Korydallos Prison yesterday staged a two-hour demonstration next to the chief warden’s office, maintaining that they continue to be detained despite having allegedly completed their jail sentences. The prisoners, who asked not to be deported if released, stopped their protest after prison officials reassured them they would forward their demands to the Foreign Ministry.