NEWS

In Brief

GARBAGE WOES

Municipal workers decide to extend four-day strike until Friday Municipal employees, including garbage collectors, decided yesterday to extend their ongoing strike for another 48 hours from today. Mounds of rubbish have piled up in Athens and other cities as a result of the four-day strike. Yesterday, an Athens prosecutor brought charges against anyone responsible for health hazards to Athenians resulting from the rubbish strike. Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni accused the government of exacerbating the crisis by refusing to negotiate with the strikers. COMMISSION RAP Greece threatened with court action for environmental failings The European Commission yesterday threatened to take Greece, Spain and Ireland to the European Court for not outlining penalties for people who use materials, such as volatile cleaning solvents, that harm the earth’s protective ozone layer. Greece was also found to be at fault for not providing information on its disposal practices regarding 60 percent of the hazardous waste it produces. DRUGS REPORT Fewer deaths last year Greece serves more as a point of transition for drug-smuggling gangs rather than as a destination, according to official data published yesterday, which also recorded a drop in drugs-related deaths in the country last year. The annual report by the narcotics coordination authority – a joint body made up of police, customs, coast guard and financial crime squad officers – also noted drug addicts seem to be embracing new forms of synthetic drugs rather than Greece’s traditional scourges – heroin and cocaine. In 2002, the report said, 259 people died of drug-related causes in Greece, 19.3 percent lower than the 321 deaths in 2001. It was the first such decline since 1993. Byzantine relic Part of a Byzantine mosaic floor, showing a deer and an octopus, is seen in this photo distributed by Israel’s Antiquities Authority yesterday. The work was discovered at a Byzantine archaeological site damaged by the Israeli Defense Ministry while building a security barrier around Jerusalem. Traders fined The government yesterday imposed stiff fines on five street fruit and vegetable market traders who attacked Development Ministry price inspectors at a street market in the Athens district of Ilissia last week. Two traders had their permits revoked, while the other three were fined 2,000 euros each and banned from selling goods for up to six months. IKA strike An Athens court yesterday banned as illegal a four-day strike by Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors that started on Monday. Albanian vote Local elections in part of southern Albania inhabited by the ethnic Greek minority will be repeated following complaints of irregularities during the October 12 vote, Albania’s electoral commission decided yesterday. The vote will be repeated in two polling stations in the Himare area, where a party representing the ethnic Greek minority won the vote.