NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPICS – Athens 2004 head races to PM to clarify minister’s role Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, the president of the Athens 2004 organizing committee, yesterday met with Prime Minister Costas Simitis after requesting an urgent meeting earlier in the day. Sources said that she had gone to the prime minister to express her displeasure and to hammer out precisely what her jurisdiction is, following an announcement by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos that Simitis informed the International Olympic Committee that Venizelos will sit in on the IOC coordination committee’s meetings,will attend the news conference at the end of its visits and will be briefed by the Athens 2004 committee on a weekly basis. The sources said also that Angelopoulos-Daskalaki’s complaint carried a veiled threat of her possible resignation. But aides of the prime minister said that he had expressed his confidence in her and had put her at ease regarding conflicts of authority. It was not clear what Simitis said during the meeting, which lasted more than an hour. Venizelos said that Simitis had sent a letter to the coordination committee president, Denis Oswald, who is to lead a visit to Athens on November 22-23, telling him of Venizelos’s expanded role. Army Recruitment drive said to be a disappointment A drive to recruit 4,500 professional military personnel for the three services has met with a disappointing response, it was reported yesterday. Despite an expensive media campaign, only 1,100 youths have so far applied for the 4,500 army posts advertised. The deadline for applications is November 20. The drive is aimed at reducing compulsory military service by two months per year until 2003. A relevant ministerial decree reducing the length of service has been ready since October 17, it was reported yesterday. Aegean cooperation Islanders want travel tax scrapped Proposals to abolish visas and travel taxes for Turks on day trips to the Aegean islands were sent to the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers, currently meeting in Athens, by members of the Movement for Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean on the island of Lesvos. They said the tax of $50 on day trips had led to a reduction in the number of tourists from Turkey. Taxi strike. There was chaos in central Athens yesterday when taxi drivers, on a 24-hour strike since 5 a.m., held a demonstration on Marne Street to press their demand for higher fees. Elsewhere, the capital’s streets were relatively empty, devoid of the 15,000-odd taxis.Antiquities arrests. Police arrested three men on Tuesday, including a police officer, in Halkida, Evia, for allegedly trying to sell antiquities initially valued at over 25 million drachmas. Athanassios Athanassiou was trying to sell 73 ancient Corinthian artifacts looted from ancient graveyards. Officer Ioannis Frageriadis was arrested for keeping watch during the sale, along with the farmer, Spyros Davris, who supplied Athanassiou with the objects.Onassis center. Surgeons at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens have been on a work-to-rule strike for the past 10 days despite a recent decision by the Health Ministry to increase fees for cardiac surgery from 2 to 3 million drachmas. Doctors are working only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and treating only urgent cases. European Institute. The European University Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary in Fiesole, outside Florence, in Italy yesterday. European Commission President Romano Prodi convoked a meeting of the European Commission at the Institute to mark the occasion and to underline the importance to be placed on culture in the process of European integration.Singer’s car. Arsonists set fire to a luxury car belonging to popular singer Angela Dimitriou, which was in the ground floor parking area of an apartment building in the eastern Athens suburb of Ilioupolis early yesterday morning. Dimitriou told police she had not received any threats. US Embassy. The US Embassy in Athens, the Consulate Generals in Athens and Thessaloniki and all US government offices in Greece will be closed on Monday, November 12, which is Veterans’ Day, a public holiday in the USA.