NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

Flights go ahead despite strike, OA sacks two flight attendants Olympic Airways said yesterday that it will carry out all 110 scheduled flights out of Athens today, using temporary staff to replace striking flight attendants whose eight-day action is due to end today. The only disruptions will be the merging of six flights: OA 145 with OA 147 (Athens-Brussels-Athens), of OA 329 with OA 337 (Athens-Larnaca-Athens), of OA 115 with OA 117 (Athens-Tirana-Athens), OA 506 with 510 and 514 with 518 (Athens-Iraklion-Athens), and OA 570 with OA 572 (Athens-Lesvos-Athens). Late on Wednesday, OA dismissed two male flight attendants for attacking a female colleague who agreed to work despite the strike. VOLUNTEER DAY 130,000 Greeks and foreigners have offered to work for Olympics A total of 130,000 Greeks and foreigners have expressed interest in working as volunteers during next year’s Olympic Games, the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) said yesterday ahead of today’s International Volunteer Day. Around 48,000 would-be Olympics volunteers in Athens and the other «Olympic cities» (Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos and Iraklion) have passed an initial screening interview conducted by ATHOC officials, while another 40,000 foreign residents (including diaspora Greeks and foreigners) are due to undergo the same interview in absentia, using a questionnaire being sent out to them by ATHOC. CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS Website offers details of events Athenians and visitors wanting to find out what events are planned for the capital over the Christmas period can visit the Athens Municipality’s newly established website (www.christmasinathens.gr) for details. The website, which is in Greek, has a list of all the events scheduled to take place from December 12 to January 6. Visitors to the site can also participate online for a competition for the best festively decorated window and balcony. Cook on Marbles European Socialist Party President and former British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, visiting Athens to speak at a conference on modern socialism yesterday, expressed his support for Greece’s campaign for the return of the British Museum’s Elgin, or Parthenon, Marbles to Athens, in exchange for the loan of significant Greek antiquities to museums in Britain. Electoral committee Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis yesterday sent a letter to all political parties asking them to appoint representatives for a cross-party electoral committee. Skandalidis stressed that appointments be made as soon as possible in view of the pressure of forthcoming general elections. FYROM-Greek ties During a meeting in Skopje yesterday Deputy Defense Minister Lazaros Lotidis and his counterpart in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Rizvan Suleymani, signed a pact for military cooperation between their two countries next year. The pact foresees the training of FYROM troops, including members of a newly established special forces brigade, in Greek military schools. 2004 security A delegation of high-ranking Greek police officials today conclude a two-day visit to Iraklion where they have been briefing senior police officers on operational planning for security at the Olympics. The delegation’s mission was to assess plans for security in the Cretan port and to determine solutions to possible problems. Police conducted similar visits to the other «Olympic cities» of Volos, Thessaloniki and Patras over the last few days. Durres base A draft bill for the reconstruction of the naval base of Bisht-Palla in the Albanian coastal town of Durres was approved yesterday by a majority of members of a parliamentary committee in Athens. The deal, which has already been approved by the Albanian government, also foresees the construction of a military hospital at Gjirokaster. The Albanian government is to allow Greek navy vessels to dock in return for modernizing works to be carried out by the Greek government.