NEWS

In Brief

CONSUMER GRIEVANCES

Complaints up 55 percent this year, Development Ministry says Consumer complaints addressed to a Development Ministry hotline increased by 55 percent in the first half of this year compared to January-July 2002, the ministry said yesterday. Over 4,500 people have called the 1720 line so far this year, mostly complaining about the price and quality of services. Slimming centers were named in 1,515 complaints, while other calls concerned food quality and electrical appliances. Meanwhile, ministry figures showed the prices of certain fresh fruit and vegetables had increased up to 63.10 percent yesterday over Monday, while none fell more than 22.7 percent. However, compared to last year, most fruit and vegetables were up to 54.88 percent cheaper. ARMY SHOOTINGS One conscript dead, one injured in apparent suicide bids Two young men doing their mandatory national service shot themselves in army camps over the past two days, the Defense Ministry said yesterday. Their names were not made public. At a Yiannitsa unit, a private fatally shot himself in the chest yesterday afternoon with the service rifle he was checking to see if it was loaded. An army statement said an examination of the 22-year-old’s mobile phone found he had earlier sent a text message to «a dear person… in connection with the incident.» On Monday night, a 20-year-old corporal tried to commit suicide while on sentry duty at a Lesvos unit, shooting himself in the stomach with his service rifle. The conscript, who had left a suicide note, was in stable condition in hospital yesterday. FLOOD AID 50,000 euros for Pakistan Greece is to provide 50,000 euros in humanitarian aid to Pakistan to address the needs of flood victims in the regions of Sindh and Baluchistan, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said yesterday. Floods have killed more than 200 people since monsoon rains began in July, while thousands were left homeless. On Friday, Loverdos pledged 100,000 euros in aid to Sudan, which has also been plagued by floods. Bakers shut All Athens bakeries will be shut from tomorrow until Monday, due to Friday’s religious feast of the Dormition of the Virgin, it was announced yesterday. Fyli fire A fire that broke out in scrubland in the area of Fyli, on the northwestern outskirts of Athens, around 3 p.m. yesterday was brought under control an hour later with the assistance of firefighting aircraft. Crop damage Over 4,000 hectares of crops, mainly cotton and corn, in Thessaly were destroyed by hail during storms on Sunday, Agriculture Ministry officials said yesterday. Deputy Agriculture Minister Fotis Hadzimichalis, who visited afflicted farms in the areas of Larissa, Tyrnavos and Trikala yesterday promised farmers would be compensated by the end of January. Temperature rise Following a long period of relatively mild heat, the temperature is forecast to rise from Friday, reaching a maximum of 38 degrees Celsius (100F). The heat wave is not expected to last long.