NEWS

In Brief

RENOVATIONS FOR 2004

Homeowners on ‘Olympic Route’ to get 30 percent of costs subsidized Citizens owning homes on roads in Athens where Olympic events are scheduled to take place next year are eligible for generous state subsidies if they undertake renovations of the facade of their building, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday. The ministry said it will pay 30 percent of renovation costs for buildings on the «Olympic Route» and 50 percent of the refurbishment of listed buildings. Meanwhile, 200 Athenians can benefit from a 10 percent state subsidy, preferential rates on bank loans and other benefits if they renovate their homes, the ministry added. CHRYSOCHOIDIS BLAMED Police charge ex-public order minister failed to solve their problems The Panhellenic Federation of Police Officers yesterday criticized former Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis – who became PASOK’s general secretary last week – for failing to solve the problems faced by their sector and accused him of exploiting the force’s successes for his own personal gain. Unionists said promises to declare their profession dangerous, to extend management bonuses to lower-ranking officers and to pay overtime for night work had been unfulfilled. They also apportioned some blame to Chrysochoidis’s successor, Giorgos Floridis, during his previous role as deputy finance minister but said they were willing to support his efforts. 5.7 QUAKE Tremor shakes Thrace, Macedonia An undersea quake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale and with its epicenter in the Xiros Gulf near the Greek-Turkish border was felt across Thrace and Macedonia just after 10 p.m. on Sunday, seismologists said yesterday. The quake, which shook the Dardanelles strait, was felt particularly strongly in the northern Greek town of Alexandroupolis and on the island of Samothrace. No injuries or damage were reported. Roadwork Road resurfacing work will disrupt traffic on Ermou Street, from Asomaton Square to Athinas Street, and on Alexandras Avenue, from Patission Street to Ippocratous Street, from today until Sunday, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Protesters exonerated An Athens misdemeanors court yesterday exonerated 15 residents of Aspropyrgos, on the western outskirts of Athens, who had been charged with blocking the Athens-Corinth National Road at the end of last month in protest at financial penalties they faced in order to legalize their illegally constructed homes. The residents were mostly ethnic Greeks from the former Soviet Union and included the deputy prefect of eastern Attica, Panayiotis Grigoriadis. They claimed to have been misled when they bought their homes and asked for the penalties to be waived. Pharmacists’ payments The government will pay pharmacists for medical prescriptions provided on credit to state-insured patients 45 days after the bill for the credit has been filed, according to reforms to Health Ministry legislation tabled in Parliament yesterday. In the event that the credit applied for is excessive, the organization responsible for healthcare for the country’s civil servants (OPAD) will withhold the difference from the next credit repayment, according to the reforms. Pharmacists had been threatening to stop providing medicine on credit until OPAD paid its debts. Doctors strike Doctors at hospitals in Athens and Piraeus are to stage a 24-hour strike on Friday in protest at what they call the government’s abandonment of the state health system. They want higher pay, shorter work hours and better work conditions. Moscow attack The Foreign Ministry yesterday denounced two suicide bombings that killed 15 people at a Moscow rock festival on Saturday, widely believed to have been carried out by Chechen rebels. «Greece strongly condemns the recent terrorist attack in Moscow which undermines efforts for stabilization of the situation and the discovery of a political solution,» ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said. Bank robbery An armed man yesterday made off with 87,000 euros after raiding a bank in Thessaloniki’s Kalamaria district. The robber was chased by passers-by but stopped a driver at gunpoint and escaped in his car.