NEWS

In Brief

FUEL STRIKE

Petrol station owners decide to launch action on July 14 Gas station owners across the country will begin an open-ended strike from July 14 in protest at the government’s decision to force them to use cash tills, the Federation of Greek Gas Stations said yesterday. Instead, unionists suggest adopting an electronic system to monitor fuel levels and crack down on widespread fuel smuggling. STAVROS INTERSECTION Bridge to go tonight as work gets under way for 3-level junction The flyover at the Stavros intersection on the eastern outskirts of Athens is to be demolished at 9 p.m. today, meaning extensive traffic diversions around the area over the next few days. Drivers will not be able to take the Stavros exit off Lavriou Ave and will be diverted via Cycladon St toward Marathonos Ave. Works are currently under way to build a three-level junction at the intersection which will result in Marathonos Ave going underground and is expected to serve an average of 140,000 vehicles daily. The project is due for completion by next April. SARS Hospital condemns TV journalists The director of Thessaloniki’s Georgios Papanicolaou hospital, where a Chinese businessman with severe acute respiratory disease (SARS) symptoms is currently under observation, yesterday condemned alleged attempts by journalists with hidden cameras to pay relatives of patients in the hospital’s hematology clinic, who are obliged to wear protective face masks during their visits, to claim to be panic-stricken. Tests on Wednesday showed that the Chinese patient, only identified as a Mr Lin, has not contracted SARS. Summit riots Thessaloniki businessmen yesterday called for the government to immediately compensate businesses damaged during anti-globalization riots in the northern city last weekend during the EU summit in Halkidiki. Representatives of three local and regional business chambers said they hoped the Ministry for Macedonia and Thrace would today start paying out compensation to businessmen who have reported damages. Cave protest Riot police in Athens yesterday used tear gas to quell around 100 angry residents of Mani, in the southern Peloponnese, who were demonstrating against plans to privatize the management of the local Dyros Cave. The demonstrators had attempted to break through a police cordon to gain access to the offices of Hellenic Tourism Properties whose decision it was to lease the cave to a private developer. Power cut Parts of central Athens lost their electricity supply for nearly an hour-and-a-half from 9 a.m. yesterday after works by the Athens Water Company in Ilioupolis damaged a 150,000-volt underground cable that feeds distribution centers in Pangrati and other parts of the city. Ferry fares Fares for ferry passengers are to increase by an average rate of 3.4 percent from next Tuesday, according to a joint decision by the Merchant Marine and Aegean ministries made public yesterday. Passengers traveling on or after that date with tickets purchased in advance will not be obliged to pay the difference. Fares for vehicles will not change. Stray support The Agriculture Ministry will fund local authorities with a total of 1 million euros so that they can start collecting, vaccinating and tagging stray dogs and cats as called for by new draft legislation, Deputy Minister Fotis Hadzimichalis said yesterday. Airport theft Two baggage handlers at Athens International Airport have been arrested for allegedly stealing 22,000 euros in cash from the suitcase of a Turkish passenger who flew to Istanbul from Athens on Tuesday morning, airport sources said yesterday. Airport authorities found the cash in the possession of the two airport employees after Goskun Ali, 27, flew back to Athens early on Wednesday to report the robbery. Road death A 71-year-old man, Nikolaos Keramitsoudis, was killed early yesterday morning after being struck by a police patrol car heading along the Athens-bound lane of Vouliagmenis Ave at high speed.