NEWS

In Brief

STRIKE

24-hour action by civil servants to delay flights, shut down public services A 24-hour nationwide strike by civil servants today will virtually shut down most public services and cause flight disruptions. Olympic Airways has canceled 23 domestic flights and Aegean Airlines, five. State secondary school teachers are to join the protest with their own 24-hour strike. And state hospitals will be operating on emergency staff as doctors begin a 48-hour strike. Protesters, who are demanding more pay and better working conditions, will be staging a demonstration at noon through central Athens. POLICE SUPPORT Larger pensions for relatives of officers who die in the line of duty Police officers who die in the line of duty will be posthumously awarded the rank they were expected to attain at the end of their service and their families will receive the corresponding pension, Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis said yesterday. The move is a response to appeals by families of police victims and follows the death of a motorcycle policeman late on Sunday. Panayiotis Dimos, 33, had drawn alongside a motorcycle-borne suspect when the latter kicked him off his bike on the corner of Vassileos Constantinou and Pafsanias streets before fleeing. CRIME-FIGHTING Total of 96 special new units for Attica A total of 96 new criminal investigation departments are to be established across Attica – mostly alongside regular police stations – over the next year as part of a drive to crack down on crime across the prefecture, Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis said yesterday. Of the 96 new departments, 68 are to start operating in January and the remaining 28 from next November. The departments will be staffed by an extra 1,383 officers, with another 400 to be recruited later. PASOK Socialist PASOK MP Maria Arseni yesterday became the latest in a list of government deputies to announce they would not stand for re-election in the forthcoming national polls. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister George Papandreou denied reports that he would try to topple Prime Minister Costas Simitis. «I respect our institutions, and that is exactly why I have always, and will continue to, support the prime minister’s decisions,» he said. Bank raid Police were yesterday investigating the theft of 400,000 euros from a bank in Vilia, western Attica, carried out by unidentified assailants overnight. The robbers deactivated the alarm, cut the telephone cable and broke into the bank’s safe and ATM, using welding equipment in an operation which probably took place at around 3 a.m. yesterday, police said. Migrants detained Border police yesterday arrested a Greek truckdriver hiding 30 illegal immigrants in a built-in compartment in his vehicle near the town of Komotini. The 60-year-old had been due to receive about 1,700 euros from each of the migrants – of various origins – upon their arrival in Athens, according to police who said the suspect was part of a smuggling ring. Also yesterday, Turkish police detained 64 Pakistani migrants with two Greeks and two Turks – their suspected smugglers – after stopping a boat taking them to a ship waiting off the Aegean port of Cesme. Conscript suicide A 19-year-old conscript fatally shot himself with his service rifle just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday night while on sentry duty at a military camp near the Peloponnesian town of Sparta, an army announcement said. The victim was identified as I.S., from Thessaloniki. Railway disruptions Services on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway will end about an hour earlier than usual today due to track works on the route’s northern section. The last train for Kifissia will leave Piraeus at 11 p.m. and Omonia at 11.18 p.m. Iraklion airport A new international airport with better services is to be built 45 kilometers southeast of the popular tourist destination of Iraklion, Crete, Transport Minister Christos Verelis pledged yesterday. A total of 813 million euros is to be invested in the new airport, which is to come into operation in 2009, Verelis said.