NEWS

In Brief

UNEMPLOYMENT

Macedonia, southern Aegean worst off last year, according to Eurostat data Western Macedonia had the highest unemployment levels (14.7 percent) in Greece last year – followed by the Southern Aegean (with 14.2 percent) and Central Macedonia (with 11.5 percent) – while the lowest joblessness levels were in the Peloponnese (7.3 percent), Crete (7.7 percent) and the Ionian Islands (9 percent), according to figures made public yesterday by the statistical service of the European Commission. Eurostat said Cyprus had one of the lowest rates of unemployment (3.3 percent) last year among European Union states (current and acceding). FARMERS DEMONSTRATE Greek tobacco producers join protest in Brussels over planned subsidy cuts Greek tobacco farmers joined their counterparts from Spain, Italy, France and other tobacco-growing countries in blocking off the European Union headquarters in Brussels yesterday to protest against planned subsidy cuts they say pose a threat to their livelihoods. The farmers, who lit firecrackers and burned bundles of tobacco leaves, are demanding continued support despite the Union’s increasing anti-smoking policy. New EU legislation adopted last year will ban tobacco adverts in the press and at international sporting events from 2005. Greece and Italy produce most of the EU’s crop of raw tobacco. NOVEMBER 17 Koufodinas backs cause on ‘nameday’ «Today is our nameday and in a few days we will be wished many happy returns,» November 17 terror group’s alleged hit man Dimitris Koufodinas remarked yesterday during the ongoing trial of 19 N17 suspects on the 30th anniversary of the Polytechnic student uprising after which the group named itself. «We too are children of the November uprising and our struggle was in the spirit of the people,» Koufodinas said. The trial at Korydallos Prison is due to resume on Thursday as lawyers launch a 48-hour strike today. Souda murder A 22-year-old Olympic-level soccer player, implicated in the murder of a 31-year-old interpreter for the US army base in Souda Bay just over a week ago, turned himself in to police yesterday. Anastassios Dagounakis and 22-year-old Christos Lefakis, who is in detention, have both been charged with the manslaughter of Dimitris Karinakis. Dagounakis, who has played for second and third division clubs as well as Greece’s Olympic soccer team, is to testify before an investigating magistrate today. Cyprus envoy US special envoy for Cyprus Thomas Weston is expected in Nicosia tomorrow following fleeting visits to Ankara and Athens, the Athens News Agency reported from Nicosia yesterday. Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to meet the US envoy during Weston’s last visit to the divided island in late October. Hospital stoppages State hospitals and Social Security Foundation (IKA) clinics will be operating on skeleton staff on Thursday and Friday when doctors and hospital staff stage a 48-hour strike. National First Aid Center (EKAB) employees are also due to join the strike action. Protesters want more money, permanent contracts and better working conditions. They are due to join a civil servants’ rally at noon on Thursday on Korai Street in central Athens. Migrants detained Port Authority officials on Lesvos detained six illegal immigrants late on Sunday, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The men, whose nationality was not known, had reached the island in a plastic rowboat from neighboring Turkey, the ministry said. Archbishop visit The archbishop of Canterbury arrived in Istanbul yesterday for a three-day visit to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the Patriarchate said yesterday. It is Archbishop Rowan Williams’s first visit to Vartholomaios since he was appointed spiritual head of the 77-million-member Anglican Church in February. Coach strike Greece’s estimated 5,000 tourist coaches will be off the roads for three days from November 26 following a decision yesterday by unions to call a strike in protest at what they say are unfulfilled promises by the government to their sector.