NEWS

In Brief

TAXI STRIKE

No cabs on Athens streets until 5 a.m. on Friday There will be no taxis serving the streets of Athens from 5 a.m. today until 5 a.m. on Friday as drivers are expected to join in a 48-hour strike after talks between unionists and government officials yesterday broke down. «The installation of cash registers in taxis is a legal requirement… so there is no question of it being revoked,» Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis said. Apart from objecting to cash registers, drivers want to charge higher fares and access to city bus lanes. The ministry’s response on bus lanes was «absolutely negative,» Transport Minister Christos Verelis said. There are at least 15,000 taxis in Athens. AIR TRAFFIC Greece and Turkey agree to improve services over Aegean before Olympics Greece and Turkey have agreed to improve air traffic services covering routes over the Aegean Sea ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in Athens, the International Civil Aviation Organization said yesterday. The «historic» accord, which comes into effect on December 25, will result in «increased air space capacity, improved efficiency and a continued high level of safety,» the organization said. Today, Greek and Turkish diplomats are to meet at the Foreign Ministry for a 14th round of exploratory talks on Greek-Turkish issues. TEACHER ACTION Elementary school staff strike on Oct. 6 Elementary school teachers are to stage a 24-hour strike on October 6, unionists seeking higher pay decided yesterday. On Monday, university and technical college professors started a five-day strike demanding a 20 percent salary increase over the next two years. High school teachers have called a strike for October 6-7. «We are offering the best that we can,» government spokesman Christos Protopappas commented. Olympic volunteers The Athens 2004 organizing committee yesterday said that by Monday it had received a total of 110,596 applications for volunteer workers for next year’s Games. Some 28,000 would-be volunteers have already been interviewed in Athens, and interviews in the remaining Olympic host cities (Iraklion, Patras, Volos and Thessaloniki) started in Iraklion last week. Volunteer applications will be accepted up until May 2004. Organising officials are seeking a pool of 150,000 applications from which it will pick 60,000. Rio-Antirio services Striking Rio-Antirio ferry employees yesterday called off the six-hour daily work stoppages they started on Monday after unionists declared themselves satisfied following talks with Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Paschalidis. An angry motorist Opposition New Democracy MP Petros Mantouvalos tabled a question in Parliament on Monday claiming the government purposefully started roadworks at the end of last week on the Athens-Lamia national road north of Thebes in an underhand bid to inconvenience ND supporters returning on Sunday from Thessaloniki where they had attended party leader Costas Karamanlis’s speech, according to a report in yesterday’s Eleftheros Typos. The roadworks caused massive traffic jams on Sunday night. Bus upgrade Transport Minister Christos Verelis yesterday presented Ioannina bus drivers with checks for 876,000 euros to be spent on upgrading the northwestern town’s fleet of 25 buses. The government is to invest 88.04 million euros on upgrading the services offered by the Intercity Road Transport Companies (KTEL) which operate the long-distance buses connecting Greek towns, Verelis said, adding that the modernization of the KTEL fleet would be boosted by the transformation of existing cooperatives into privately run companies. Price freeze Street market traders yesterday agreed to freeze the price of manufactured goods (including food, clothes, household goods) at the prices they were at on September 13. Hunting accident A 70-year-old hunter in the northern prefecture of Serres was hospitalised yesterday after being shot in the face by a friend who mistook the elderly man for prey and fired. The extent of Giorgos Takimbalis’s injuries was not clear.