NEWS

In Brief

DEFENSE TALKS

Papantoniou to meet Albanian, FYROM counterparts at Prespes Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou is on Monday due to meet his counterparts from Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pandeli Majko and Vlado Buckovski, respectively, at the Greater Prespa Lake – where Greece, Albanian and FYROM border each other – ahead of three-way talks in Kastoria. A military agreement between Greece and Albania, foreseeing cooperation in training, joint exercises and the sharing of experience and know-how, is to be signed during the meeting. OLYMPICS COVERAGE Deputy minister: ‘Islands will have television link by next year’s Games’ All Greek islands will have full television coverage «well ahead of the Olympic Games,» Deputy Communications Minister Manolis Stratakis said yesterday in response to a question tabled in Parliament by opposition New Democracy MP Costas Carras. «An extensive program is being currently realized to ensure that the majority of Greek territory, and chiefly the islands stretching from the Dodecanese to Samos, Chios and certainly Lesvos and the Cyclades, will have full coverage,» he said, adding that «new transmitters will continue to be set up so that there will be no shortcomings by the time of the Olympics.» KIFISSOU AVENUE Disruptions until mid-February Drivers in Athens will face disruptions on Kifissou Avenue from this weekend and every weekend until December 14 as roadwork gets under way on the section from the Dyrrachiou junction to Kavala Avenue. The works will take place from 8 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Also – starting today and until the middle of February – traffic will be suspended in both lanes on Kifissou Avenue between Pireos Street and the bridge leading back to the vegetable market at Rendi. Human trafficking A Greek-Bulgarian smuggling ring had been bringing young Bulgarian women and other foreigners into Greece and selling them for 1,000 euros each to gangs that made them work as prostitutes, police in the northern town of Komotini said yesterday after arresting three suspected ring members – two Bulgarians and a Greek – and a Bulgarian woman near the Paterma Forest in Rhodope. Unwelcome hostel Regional health authorities are pressing Thessaloniki’s Psychiatric Hospital to find a new venue for a hostel for recovering patients after plans to establish one in nearby Melissohori were met by violent protests by residents. The building the hospital had chosen in which to accommodate psychiatric patients deemed ready to be reintegrated into the community was vandalized by protesters who also cut off its water and electricity supply. Residents were concerned about the hostel’s proximity to the village’s central park and that its presence would stigmatize the area. Lawyers strike Court proceedings are expected to be disrupted again next Thursday and Friday when Athens Bar Association members are set to stage another two-day strike, which will be confirmed on Monday. Lawyers, who also abandoned their duties last Monday and Tuesday, are demanding that the government return 352.16 million euros to their pension fund. Sorting center The establishment of a sorting center for recyclable materials on a farm in Thermi, about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) east of Thessaloniki, will not have any adverse effects on the environment but, instead, may bring many benefits, Thermi Mayor Theodoros Papadopoulos told concerned residents of nearby Nea Raidestos yesterday. The mayor invited the residents – who are concerned about possible health risks – to visit a similar unit currently operating in the Athenian suburb of Maroussi to see for themselves the advantages of such a center. Tomb raid Two men who had allegedly hidden 35 kilos of cannabis and a Kalashnikov assault rifle with several rounds of ammunition in a tomb in a cemetery in Nea Michaniona, north of Thessaloniki, are to face a prosecutor on drugs and arms charges, police in Edessa said yesterday after arresting the duo.