NEWS

In Brief

PIRATE AMBULANCES

Supreme Court prosecutor launches probe into alleged scam The Supreme Court’s prosecutor yesterday launched an investigation into reports that pirate ambulances have been charging patients at state hospitals hundreds of euros for a service that the state ambulance service (EKAB) provides for free. Dimitris Linos launched the probe following a request yesterday by Deputy Health Minister Elpida Tsouri. Linos is also due to investigate alleged irregularities in public works projects, highlighted by the State Audit Council in its annual report. OLYMPIC TICKETS Sales have reached 2.2 million euros since launch of 2nd phase on Monday A total of 2.2 million euros’ worth of tickets for next year’s Olympic Games have been sold since the second phase of ticket sales began on Monday, organizers said yesterday. The first phase of sales was purely for the reservation of tickets. There is still ticket availability for most sports, even the most popular, for which lots had to be drawn during the first phase of sales, organizers said. Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki yesterday briefed President Costis Stephanopoulos on the progress of preparations for the Games. AMBELOKIPI ROADWORKS New traffic restrictions from Sunday New traffic restrictions come into force at the central Athens Ambelokipi junction as of Sunday. Traffic on Mesogeion Avenue will be one-way between Vassilisis Sofias and Pheidippidou, and on Pheidippidou between Mesogeion and Kifissias Avenues. Drivers coming from Alexandras Avenue will be able to use Zacharoff Street to access Mesogeion Avenue. Also, the bus lane in the center of Mesogeion will be removed and a new one established in the right-hand lane. There will be no left turns from Kifissias into Pheidippidou and from Vassilisis Sofias into Alexandras Avenue. Lindh funeral Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis are both in Stockholm today to attend the funeral of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, who was stabbed in a department store by an unknown assailant last Wednesday. Papandreou is scheduled to speak at the ceremony. Festival threat The mayor of Samothrace yesterday threatened to ban an annual dance festival on the northern Aegean island in protest at a strict police crackdown on the participants at this year’s event. «The island has been defamed, because now everyone thinks that there is a rave party here every summer where the trade in hard drugs is rife,» Giorgos Hanos maintained. Officers arrested some 160 revelers during the five-day festival, mostly for possession of small amounts of soft drugs, such as marijuana. Detainee conditions The Athens office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees yesterday welcomed a recent circular, issued by Police Chief Fotis Nasiakos, regarding the treatment of foreigner detainees addressed to all police services in the country. «The document recalls Greece’s international human rights obligations and includes several instructions, some of which relate directly to the rights of asylum seekers,» a UNHCR statement yesterday said. Robber’s cache Police are seeking to determine the owner of a bag of weapons discovered in an uninhabited house in Athens’s central Plaka district yesterday morning by a laborer involved in renovation work on the building. The bag contained two guns, a pair of gloves, and a smaller bag with the identity card of the original owner of the bag which – police confirmed – had been stolen from an office on Ermou Street a few days ago. Religious dialogue «It is good for the Church to concentrate on its affairs without being influenced by matters of the State,» opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis told Archbishop Christodoulos during a dinner at the prelate’s home in Filothei. Karamanlis credited his religious mother for his ties with the Church. Immigrants Coast guards on Icaria yesterday detained 47 illegal immigrants believed to have reached the Aegean island with the help of Turkish smugglers.