NEWS

In Brief

HARBOR CORPSE

Decomposed body washed up in travel bag at Elefsina The badly decomposed body of what appeared to be an Asian man was discovered yesterday in the small harbor of Elefsina. The corpse had been wrapped in a plastic trash bag that was swaddled in tape and stuffed into a travel bag. According to initial reports, the body bore stab wounds. Coast guard officials said the bag had been originally weighted down with stones but came loose and was washed ashore. POLICE ‘WAR’ Prosecutor launches inquiry into federation’s threat against guards A senior prosecutor has launched an urgent inquiry into a statement by the national policemen’s federation, POASY, which warned of «war» on Wednesday over the government’s moves to permanently employ 7,000 border guards and special guards. Deputy Appeals Court prosecutor Anastassios Kanellopoulos yesterday called on a prosecutor of a lower course to investigate whether the POASY statement indicates a threat of any illegal action. The policemen’s federation has previously called on its members to arrest guards if they see them conducting police operations, such as checking identity documents. The issue caused a heated exchange between Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis and New Democracy MP Petros Mandouvalos after the latter read the POASY statement in Parliament on Wednesday. SAMOS BLAZE Forest fire blamed on arson A strong force of firemen, aided by four water-dumping planes and three helicopters managed to bring a forest fire on Samos under control at 7 a.m. yesterday after battling it all night. Provincial Governor Manolis Karlas blamed the fire on arson and said that the islanders were determined to stop anyone from damaging Samos, which was devastated by fires that destroyed thousands of hectares and caused the deaths of several people in 1999. Another fire yesterday, at Psili Rahi near Drama in northern Greece, destroyed 12 hectares before being brought under control. Railway disruption Trains will not be stopping between Omonia and Tavros on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway from early in the morning tomorrow until 4 p.m., due to works at the Thiseion station, the railway company (ISAP) said yesterday. Commuters will be able to shuttle between the two stations on blue buses, using their ISAP tickets. Late hours Athens metro train services will be extended to run until 2 a.m. tomorrow on the Dafni-Sepolia line in order to cater to spectators attending the beach volleyball Olympic test event being held at Faliron. English courses Schoolchildren will start learning English from the age of nine (during their third year at primary school) this year, Deputy Education Minister Nikolaos Gesoulis told Kathimerini yesterday. Until now, English was first taught in the fourth year primary school curriculum. Patriarch Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios yesterday appealed for respect from Greeks, in an indirect reference to tension with the Church of Greece over the appointment of a new bishop for Thessaloniki. «Modern Greeks should not throw stones at the Phanar,» Vartholomaios said, referring to the Istanbul neighborhood that houses the patriarchate. «We will stay here in Constantinople, guarding spiritual Thermopylae; we will pray for our people, for Orthodoxy and the whole world,» Vartholomaios told a group of pilgrims from Arta in western Greece. Bishops close to Archbishop Christodoulos have criticized Vartholomaios for wanting to exert his right to appoint a new bishop of Thessaloniki, which falls under the patriarchate’s spiritual authority. Municipal police Attica’s regional government yesterday published the first tender for the hiring of 424 people to serve on the municipal police of 12 municipalities. The new force is expected to be up and running for next year’s Olympics. Officers will be unarmed and will not have the right to make arrests. But they will be able to question suspects and to check identification. More than half of the new officers (296) will be hired by Athens Municipality.