NEWS

In Brief

POLYTECHNIC RIOTS

Court clears four suspects, minors face trial in June An Athens court yesterday exonerated four young men arrested during riots on the sidelines of Monday’s Athens rally marking the 30th anniversary of the 1973 Polytechnic student uprising. Two students and a flower salesman had been detained since their arrest on Monday, on charges of grievous bodily harm, attempted GBH and resisting arrest. Also, a misdemeanors court exonerated a fourth man who had been charged with illegal arms possession. Four minors, released after being charged with illegal arms possession, are to be tried in June. FIRE PROBE Prosecutor to determine whether truck’s load violated cargo laws A Piraeus prosecutor yesterday ordered a preliminary investigation to determine whether a truck’s cargo of chemicals, which caught fire aboard the Knossos Palace ferry early on Wednesday, had violated existing legislation regarding dangerous loads. The probe is also to determine whether Port Authority workers, responsible for checking the cargo of vehicles, carried out the necessary checks. Meanwhile, Iraklion police said they arrested two men disembarking from the ship at the Cretan port on Wednesday after discovering more than 700 grams of heroin, nearly 200 grams of cocaine and over 500 ecstasy pills in their car. TAXI STRIKE No cabs in Athens tomorrow There will be no taxis in Athens tomorrow as cabbies participate in a 24-hour strike called by the Association of Attica Taxi Drivers in protest at the government’s insistence that they install receipt-issuing meters in their vehicles by January 1. Unionists, who are to meet tomorrow morning, are asking that all the reforms proposed by the Economy and Transport ministries, including the installation of meters, be discussed from scratch once again. «Everything happened so quickly and no one really understands the implications of the law,» unionists said. Island protection An Aegean Ministry bill for the partial architectural restoration and protection of Greek islands, where illegal construction is rife, was yesterday voted through by ruling PASOK and Left Coalition Synaspismos deputies. The bill offers cash incentives to property owners for the demolition and renovation of their properties with the aim of reducing eyesores in the Aegean. It is the first piece of legislation to be tabled by the ministry in its 18 years of operation. Himare vote The treatment of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania is a matter of concern to Washington and the international community, US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said when asked to comment on complaints by Greece about irregularities in ethnic Greek areas of Albania during recent municipal elections. Late last night the Athens News Agency reported that Vassilis Bolanos, the candidate for an ethnic Greek minority party had been elected mayor of the southern town of Himare in Sunday’s repeat vote. Forest bill A controversial new bill aimed at clarifying the status of the country’s forests was yesterday approved by the majority of MPs on Parliament’s production and trade committee. The bill now faces approval by Parliament’s plenary session. Mesolongi supermarket The construction of a supermarket near a historical monument in Mesolongi has been suspended by the fifth section of the Council of State, which contested a decision by the Culture Ministry and local authorities allowing the project. Residents had appealed against the plans to build the 1,678-square-meter supermarket a short distance from a monument to the desperate break-out by the western town’s besieged garrison in 1826, during the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. Fishing surveillance Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys yesterday approved the release of 1.27 million euros for the creation of a satellite surveillance system to monitor fishing activities. The system is to be operating by the end of January and will focus on fishing vessels of 18 meters or more in length, the ministry said. There is already satellite surveillance for trawlers.