NEWS

In Brief

FUEL STRIKE

Tanker owners launch nationwide action that could threaten supplies Fuel tanker owners launched a nationwide strike from midnight on Monday in an open-ended action which could threaten fuel supplies to the country’s gas stations. Strikers are complaining that fuel-marketing firms had failed to raise charges for fuel transportation, as had been originally agreed, and are demanding that the Development Ministry intervene to resolve the dispute. The strike is likely to affect islands and remote areas first before its repercussions are felt on the mainland. Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said he hoped for «effective and serious dialogue in order to reach a solution.» FIREFIGHTING PM briefed on upgrading of service ahead of Olympic Games Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday visited the fire service’s coordinating operations center in Halandri and was briefed on its upgrading ahead of next year’s Olympic Games. The service has 735 fire engines at its disposal – 60 of which have jibs that can reach a height of 80 meters – as well as 341 water-carrying vehicles, 258 personnel-carrying vehicles and 55 rescue vehicles, fire service chief Panayiotis Fourlas told Simitis during a meeting. The service will also be boosted by seven firefighting vessels and four mobile operations centers, Fourlas said. BAGGAGE THIEVES Handling firm to act as civil plaintiff Private baggage-handling firm Goldair Handling yesterday said that it would play the role of civil plaintiff during the investigation, and subsequent trial, of seven of its employees alleged to have pilfered luggage at Athens International Airport. Police arrested six of the seven suspected thieves last Friday after catching one of them rummaging through a piece of luggage that had been checked in. It is believed the group of seven had been stealing from luggage over the past two years. UN office Synaspismos Left Coalition party leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday appealed to the government to stop the planned closure of the United Nations office in Athens which, he said, had played a crucial role, especially in defending the rights of refugees. Last month, the UN’s Paris offices announced that its offices in Greece and another eight countries would be closing by the end of the year, to be replaced by a European regional office in Brussels. TV fines The National Broadcasting Council yesterday fined three private television channels for airing inappropriate images and language. The council fined Antenna 80,000 euros for its program «Proinos Kafes,» which showed closeup shots of scantily clad women during a promotional slot at a lingerie store. Star was fined 30,000 euros for airing an extended report about a father allegedly sexually abusing his daughters during a news bulletin – which, the council deemed, breached laws on presumption of innocence. Mega was fined 20,000 euros for coarse language used on its «San Sto Spiti Sas» show. Haidari hospital The new Attiko hospital in Haidari is due to start accepting its first patients in the second week of September following the transfer to its premises of the first few university clinics, Health Minister Costas Stefanis confirmed yesterday during a meeting with hospital directors. Dual citizenship The Greek government must ensure that Albania will fully and irrevocably accept the dual citizenship status of ethnic Greeks living there, groups representing ethnic Greeks living in Albania stressed in a letter to Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday. Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis last month got the go-ahead to begin talks with Albania aimed at allowing the country’s ethnic Greeks to hold dual citizenship. Cyprus trials A Turkish proposal that court cases of Greek Cypriots reclaiming property in the island’s Turkish-occupied north should be heard in Turkish-Cypriot courts will be evaluated by the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe’s General Secretary Walter Schwimmer said yesterday. Cyprus does not recognize courts of the unilaterally-declared Turkish-Cypriot state.