NEWS

In Brief

FLIGHTS AS NORMAL

No disruptions expected after court finds planned strikes illegal Passenger flights are to go ahead as scheduled from Greek airports today following yesterday’s ruling by an Athens court that a series of proposed 24-hour strikes by civil aviation workers, due to have begun today, is illegal. The umbrella union representing civil aviation workers had threatened 24-hour strikes for today, Thursday, Friday, and next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Unionists are protesting against what they say are huge discrepancies in salaries in their sector. AEGEAN TRANSGRESSIONS Turkish jets harass cargo plane en route to Cyprus from Athens Two Turkish F-16 jets yesterday morning harassed a Greek cargo aircraft flying to Larnaca from Athens around 65 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Rhodes, Defense Ministry sources said. The Turkish jets, flying at 19,000 feet, came within 5 kilometers of the Veravia twin-engine before being chased off by Greek fighter jets. Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou is to discuss Turkish air space violations with his Cypriot counterpart Koulis Mavronikolas in Athens next Tuesday. HEAT WAVE PRECAUTIONS We are ready, Simitis says Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday told his Cabinet that all necessary measures have been taken to deal with the possible consequences of the heat wave forecast for this week and that he anticipated no problems, government spokesman Christos Protopappas said. Temperatures are today expected to reach 39C (102.2F) in western Greece and 37C (99F) elsewhere, 41C (106F) across much of the country tomorrow, and 42C (107.6F) on Thursday and Friday, after which they will drop. Storms are expected in central and northern Greece on Friday afternoon and Saturday. Iraqi aid A C-130 transport aircraft will bring 12 Iraqi children to Greece this week for treatment at the country’s hospitals, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday. «The children were wounded in military offensives or are suffering from diseases,» Beglitis said, adding that Greece would be conducting the mission in cooperation with the Paris-based Doctors of the World organization. On Thursday, a 250-ton shipment of aid for Iraqis – donated by Greek citizens – is to leave Piraeus for the Jordanian port of Aqaba. Chinese visit Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, in Athens for an EU Troika-China meeting, yesterday signed the Olympic Truce declaration. Zhaoxing met with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou and the EU’s foreign policy and security chief, Javier Solana. EU-US pact Synaspismos Left Coalition leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday submitted to Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis his party’s official demand that the agreement between the USA and the European Union for mutual judicial assistance should be submitted to Parliament for ratification. Road accidents There were 14.1 percent fewer road accidents this April than last although 5.2 percent more of these were fatal, according to National Statistics Service data made public yesterday. Of 1,143 accidents this April, 122 were fatal, while there were 1,331 accidents in April last year, of which 116 were fatal, the data showed. Mirage F1 retired The Greek air force’s Dassault Mirage F1CG fighter jets were decommissioned during a ceremony yesterday at the Tanagra air base, home of the 342 all-weather interceptor squadron that used the French jets which for two decades formed the backbone of Greece’s fighter defense. Greece has 24 F1CGs left of the initial 40, the first of which arrived in 1975. The F1 first flew in 1966.