NEWS

In Brief

POLICE STRIKE

Security forces to start action, complain their needs being overlooked Police, fire brigade and Port Authority federations are planning strike action over the next few days, culminating in a mass rally of officers outside the prime minister’s office next Thursday. They want their professions to be characterized as hazardous and are accusing former Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis of backing down on a commitment to settle this issue in the first half of 2003. No final decision was taken on strike action when unionists met yesterday, as fire brigade and port authority unions were to try to meet with the new public order minister, Giorgos Floridis. BEEF STANDARDS Strict provisions to determine quality certification from now on Beef will only be certified as a «quality» product from now on if it is produced subject to strict provisions governing the entire production chain, according to a decision signed yesterday by Deputy Agriculture Minister Fotis Hadzimichalis. The specifications that must be met – and which will be checked by the State Organization for the Certification and Inspection of Agricultural Products – include acceptable standards for cattle’s fodder and living environment, the observance of European legislation governing the transport of animals and the use of approved slaughterhouses. RAILWAY DISRUPTIONS Restricted services for a week Trains on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) will not be running between Piraeus and Tavros after 10 p.m. from today until next Tuesday (July 22), ISAP said yesterday. Services are due to return to normal next Wednesday, ISAP said. Pro-migrant rally The coordinating committee for Greece’s pro-immigrant groups yesterday called on migrants and Greeks alike to attend a rally for the legalization of immigrants in Omonia Square at 7.30 p.m. tomorrow. Among the committee’s demands are that work and residence permits be deemed sufficient for migrants to gain employment, that residence permits remain valid for at least three years, that migrants pay no levies for bureaucratic procedures as they already pay taxes, that the legalization procedure remain open and not subject to final deadlines, and that elderly migrants be legalized unconditionally. Ciampi visit President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday welcomed his Italian counterpart Carlo Azeglio Ciampi who arrived in Athens for a two-day official visit. Ciampi is to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis today. Bank blast A homemade explosive device damaged an automatic teller machine in a bank in central Athens yesterday but caused no injuries, police said. The damage was estimated at 15,000 euros. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. MP back PASOK deputy and the former chief of a parliamentary committee on illegal gambling Alexandros Chrysanthakopoulos yesterday pledged his allegiance to the ruling party after resuming his place within the ruling party’s parliamentary group. The MP had been ejected from the group in January 2002 after being caught playing illegal slot machines. Tackling corruption Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Greece’s general inspector for public administration, Constantinos Dafermos, yesterday discussed the need to intensify the crackdown on corruption in the public sector. Dafermos said it was important to ensure that existing laws governing dereliction of duty are more strictly enforced. Snake scare Rescue workers yesterday came to the aid of a 60-year-old driver in the Cretan port of Iraklion who spotted a large snake in his car. The vehicle, in whose engine the serpent had hidden, was towed to the nearest car wash in the hope that the water would scare the reptile out of the car. But the snake had disappeared. Vartholomaios Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios is to arrive on the Aegean island of Lemnos today for a five-day visit which will include a trip to Aghios Efstratios.