NEWS

In Brief

MUSEUMS CLOSED

Guards to hold new three-day strike this weekend State museums and archaeological sites across the country will be closed over the weekend and during Monday’s public holiday due to a strike by Culture Ministry guards who are demanding higher salaries and the recruitment of 1,100 extra staff. Last week the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agents (HATTA) appealed to the Economy Ministry to fulfill the demands of protesting guards, complaining of the negative impact of such action on the tourism industry. GAZA ATTACK Presidency condemns Israeli rocket strike against Palestinians The Foreign Ministry, representing Greece’s European Union presidency, yesterday condemned the Israeli rocket attacks in Gaza on Tuesday, which killed at least five Palestinians and wounded many others, saying they undermined efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. «This kind of retaliation and extra-judicial killing perpetuates the cycle of violence and further deteriorates the security environment,» a ministry statement read. SUGGESTED PRICES Crackdown on soft drinks from July All firms producing bottled water and soft drinks in Greece will be obliged to retail their products at a «suggested price» that should be indicated on the product from July 7 when a new market regulation comes into force, the Development Ministry said yesterday. A state inspection team is to monitor sales in areas frequented by tourists from next year, the ministry added. Kokkalis probe Calls by the Supreme Court prosecutor for a reopening of an investigation into alleged espionage, embezzlement and fraud by telecoms and lottery software tycoon Socrates Kokkalis «cannot be justified in any way,» Kokkalis maintained yesterday. Prosecutor Evangelos Kroustallakis on Tuesday convoked the plenary session of Greece’s appeals court judges to discuss whether the case against Kokkalis – shelved in January due to lack of evidence – should be subjected to top-level investigation. Green fingers A Thessaloniki man has been arrested following the discovery of hundreds of cannabis plants on the balcony of his apartment, police in the northern city said yesterday. The haul – of 240 plants from the balcony and another 522 uprooted plants inside the apartment – is one of the biggest of its kind, police said. Thessaloniki summit Prime Minister Costas Simitis and European Commission President Romano Prodi yesterday met in Brussels to discuss preparations for next week’s European Union summit in Thessaloniki. School fees Private school fees will rise 4-5 percent (4 percent for lessons on the state curriculum and 5 percent for auxiliary lessons) for the 2003-2004 academic year, Deputy Development Minister Christos Theodorou said yesterday after meeting with school representatives. School directors asked to double their fees this year, saying that their operational costs have increased significantly. On Tuesday, the ministry fined seven private schools between 5,000 and 80,000 euros for illegally large increases to their tuition last year. WWII reparations A German court will today hear a suit for compensation from the German State by a Greek-Swiss family who lost their parents during the 1944 massacre by Nazi troops in the northern Greek village of Distomo in Viotia. Nicosia alert Police in Nicosia were yesterday put on standby following reports that Chechen rebels were planning an attack on the Russian Embassy today during planned celebrations of Russian independence in the Cypriot capital. According to the reports, leaked by foreign diplomats and confirmed by a senior police officer, the terrorists would strike in a car rigged with explosives. Railway accident A 38-year-old man identified as Nikolaos Hadzisavvas was killed instantly after being struck by an intercity train in Ferres in the northern prefecture of Evros, police said yesterday.