NEWS

In Brief

THESSALONIKI SUMMIT

More than 100,000 protesters expected, organizers tell minister More than 100,000 protesters will descend upon Thessaloniki and the environs of the Porto Carras Hotel in Halkidiki, where an EU summit will be held on June 20, representatives of anti-globalization groups told Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis yesterday. The Greek arm of the European Social Forum and Action Thessaloniki 2003 said they expected 50,000 and 45,000 supporters respectively. ARCHBISHOP ON MIGRANTS Christodoulos urges government to tackle roots of immigration Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday urged the government to tackle the causes of illegal immigration rather than merely cracking down on the influx of would-be migrants at the country’s borders. «Europe’s immigration policy since 1973 has neither succeeded in tackling the causes of immigration… nor has it restricted immigration,» Christodoulos said during a meeting at the archbishopric. The policy also created fertile ground for smugglers and boosted xenophobia, Christodoulos said. He appealed to Greek and European leaders «not to fight the immigrants – fight the causes of immigration.» SAUDI ARABIA ‘Barbaric’ attacks condemned The Foreign Ministry, speaking for the EU presidency, strongly condemned Monday night’s suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia, which resulted in the deaths of at least 29 people. The presidency «expresses its deepest sympathy to all governments and peoples and condolences to the families of the victims who suffered as a consequence of this attack,» a ministry statement said yesterday. «Those responsible for this horrible and barbaric act of terrorism should be prosecuted and brought to justice,» it added. FYROM Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos will this afternoon recommend that Parliament’s committee for national defense and foreign affairs ratify a pact between the EU and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia aimed at FYROM’s stabilization and eventual EU accession. Satellite launch The launch of Greece’s first telecommunications satellite was due to take place just before 1 a.m. today (6 p.m. at Cape Canaveral in Florida) after being delayed shortly before its launch time on Monday because of an instrument problem. The Hellas Sat satellite will be used to broadcast the Athens 2004 Olympic Games next year, among other uses. Israeli ambassador Israel’s new ambassador to Greece, Ram Aviram, yesterday presented his credentials to President Costis Stephanopoulos. Aviram directed the office of former Israeli prime minister and foreign minister Shimon Peres and has participated in peace talks with Syrian and Palestinian officials. He replaces David Sasson. Driving licenses Transport Minister Christos Verelis yesterday appealed to prefectural services to help crack down on widespread irregularities in the issuing of driving licenses, urging them to replace staff involved in such practices. The minister added that a special computerized version of the theory test for driving has been established at five national prefectures (Argos, Drama, Ileia, Karditsa and Magnesia), adding that the system will be extended to the country’s remaining prefectures by the end of the year. Submarine tours Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis and Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos yesterday submitted amendments to legislation for «professional marine training» permitting underwater sightseeing tours in submarine boats. Should the amendments be approved, the revised legislation would grant permission to tour specific underwater areas at the discretion of the relevant Port Authority office. Permits would be valid for two years and renewable. Railway disruption Kifissia-bound trains on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) will not be stopping at Aghios Nikolaos from tomorrow due to construction work at the station. ISAP did not say when the works would be completed.