NEWS

In Brief

PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY

MPs to be prosecuted for non-political offenses, ethics committee says Parliament’s ethics committee yesterday drew a distinction between political and non-political offenses as regards parliamentary immunity, noting that deputies would henceforth be prosecuted for non-political crimes such as traffic violations. The committee proposed that parliamentary immunity should be waived in the case of six MPs whose alleged offenses were deemed to be non-political, but not for two deputies whose alleged crimes were considered political. Parliament’s plenary session is to issue final decisions. There have been 700 appeals for parliamentary immunity to be waived since 1974. Only five have been granted. POLICE UNREST Unions herald new protest for feast day of force’s patron saint Police, coast guard and fire service officers are to stage protests across the country in uniform next Monday, which is the feast day of the Greek Police’s patron saint Aghios Artemios, unionists said yesterday. A central Athens protest by uniformed officers last week was violently suppressed by the riot police, who used copious amounts of tear gas against their colleagues – some of who were reportedly carrying their service weapons. The governmenmt had denounced the protest as verging on mutiny. Protesters are demanding that their professions should be recognized as dangerous and hazardous to health – which would entail them significant benefits and earlier retirement. MONUMENTS CLOSED Strike continues today, tomorrow Several museums and archaeological sites across the country will remain closed today and tomorrow as Culture Ministry contract workers continue strike action for higher pay and permanent contracts. The Acropolis, the archaeological sites and museums of Pella, Dion and Vergina and the Castle of Platamonas in northern Greece will remain shut today but are due to reopen tomorrow. The archaeological sites and museums at Knossos, Mycenae, Ancient Corinth and Epidaurus will be closed today and tomorrow. Metro extension Work to extend the Athens Metro Line 2 from Dafni to Aghios Dimitrios is due to be completed by next February, Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday during a visit to the site of the new «Alekos Panagoulis» station. And extension of the metro to the old international airport at Hellenikon – a 5.5-kilometer route which will have four stations – is due for completion by 2007, she added. Himare blast Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano yesterday denounced the unidentified assailants who threw an explosive device near a polling station in Himare in southern Albania, an area populated by minority ethnic Greeks, during Sunday’s mayoral elections, attributing the attack to «groups trying to challenge… the sovereignty and integrity of (Albania’s) borders and its affiliation to the European Union.» The ethnic Greek candidate won in Himare. Garbage strike Garbage collectors and other municipal employees are to stage a 48-hour strike from tomorrow, unionists decided yesterday following an impasse in talks with Deputy Interior Minister Lambros Papademas last week. Synaspismos MP Yiannis Dragasakis was yesterday sworn in as a Synaspismos Left Coalition party MP, replacing Maria Damanaki, who last week announced that she was leaving the party she led in the early 1990s and resigning her seat in Parliament. OPAP show The Press Ministry in no position to dictate or propose which media groups state organizations choose to cooperate with, Deputy Minister Telemachos Hytiris said yesterday in a letter responding to five New Democracy MPs who asked why the state soccer pool and lottery organization (OPAP) chose to collaborate with private Mega channel for a TV game show using the unclaimed winnings of OPAP players. Teachers protest State secondary school teachers will stage a demonstration outside the Education Ministry in central Athens at 1 p.m. today in protest at a lack of teaching staff in many high schools.