NEWS

In Brief

TAXI STRIKE

No cabs in Athens until tomorrow, fresh action to block roads, bus lanes Athens taxi drivers, who today continue their 48-hour strike which ends at 5 a.m. tomorrow, will also block streets and bus lanes when they start a four-day strike on September 22, unionists decided yesterday. The drivers – who are protesting against a government decision to install cash registers in their vehicles – yesterday demonstrated through the city centre (photo). Taxi drivers also want access to bus lanes and the right to charge higher fares. A meeting between government officials and unionists yesterday failed to yield a compromise. AUSTRALIAN PENSIONS Minister condemns Canberra over delay in transferring Greeks’ rights Deputy Labor Minister Rovertos Spyropoulos yesterday said the Australian government «lacks sensitivity» in delaying approval of the transfer of the pension rights of Greek-Australians who have moved back to Greece. The behavior of the Australian government «shows no respect for our bilateral ties,» Spyropoulos said, adding that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had written to his Australian counterpart John Howard on the matter. Currently, Greek-Australians living in Greece must return to Australia for two years before they are granted an Australian pension. ATTIKI ODOS Problems on Exit 12 today Drivers on the Attiki Odos highway heading west in the direction of the Athens-Lamia National Road will not be able to turn off Exit 12 for Pendelis Avenue until midnight today, due to roadworks. They should use the previous exit for Doukissis Plakentias Avenue. Eastbound traffic heading for Athens International Airport will not be affected. Antiquities arrests Three men have been charged with illegally trading in antiquities after trying to sell an 18th century wooden cross for 1.5 million euros on the pretense that it was the stolen Cross of the Megisti Lavra – one of the most significant Greek Orthodox relics – police said yesterday. Highwaymen A 47-year-old truckdriver was attacked near the Metamorphosis junction on the Athens-Lamia National Road around 1 p.m. yesterday by three armed assailants who forced him to stop and drove off with the truck, which was loaded with cigarettes. Soccer clashes Dozens of supporters of Greece’s traditional soccer rivals clashed with sticks, stones and fire extinguishers at Athens International Airport yesterday morning when Panathinaikos fans returning from their team’s 5-0 defeat by Manchester United in England on Tuesday met Olympiakos supporters awaiting their flights to Spain where their team met Real Sociedad yesterday. No arrests were made. Beggar ring A group of 11 Romanian nationals believed to have been living in a central Athens hotel on the proceeds of children they forced to go begging around the capital faced a prosecutor yesterday. The 11, who were not identified, were arrested following a police raid on the hotel where officers confiscated hand-written signs bearing appeals such as «I am an orphan» and notebooks recording the daily takings of each child. Court strike Court cases across the country are to be disrupted when court clerks hold a 48-hour strike from October 1 and a three-day strike from October 15 called yesterday by the union representing them. Clerks want higher salaries and 1,700 new hirings.