NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPIC SECURITY

Advisory group discusses planning; Synaspismos says costs are soaring Members of a seven-nation advisory group for the Olympics yesterday discussed security planning for next year’s Games during a meeting at the Public Order Ministry attended by government and Athens 2004 officials as well as Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner David Veness. The advisory group comprises officials from Australia, Britain, France, Israel, Spain, Germany and the USA. No details about the closed-door meeting were made public. Meanwhile yesterday, the Synaspismos Left Coalition party complained that the costs of security arrangements for the Olympics were constantly increasing and that a climate of hysteria about a possible terrorist attack has been created. HARBOR PROTECTION Minister meets British counterpart, agrees to cooperate on security Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Paschalidis and his British counterpart at the Department of Transport, David Jamieson, agreed to set up a joint committee for harbor and shipping security during a meeting in London yesterday. The committee will examine ways of increasing security in the harbors of both countries and on their ships as part of international efforts to crack down on terrorism, Paschalidis said. TAXI ‘SHAME’ Hoteliers rap cabbies over strike Attica hoteliers yesterday complained that striking taxi drivers were giving an unfavorable impression to tourists after cabbies at Athens International Airport on Sunday evening suddenly started refusing to take passengers as they staged a three-hour work stoppage ahead of yesterday’s 24-hour strike. The hoteliers appealed to the taxi drivers to display more responsibility. Athens cabbies object to legislation obliging them to install receipt-issuing meters by January 1, and demand access to the capital’s bus lanes.. Weather problems Temperatures fell below freezing point in many parts of the country yesterday with gale-force winds keeping ferries anchored at Piraeus and Rafina. Snowfall in northern Greece over the weekend caused problems on the roads and forced many schools to close. Icy roads around Thessaloniki obliged drivers to use anti-skid chains. The lowest temperature recorded was -7C (19.4F) in the northern village of Kato Nevrokopi. Arms trafficking Two Greeks and two Serbs were charged with arms-trafficking yesterday after police discovered a package containing six pistols with ammunition (plus ammunition for Kalashnikov assault rifles) allegedly smuggled from Serbia in the workplace of one of the Greeks. Police said one of the Serbs arranged for the package to be sent as unaccompanied luggage aboard a tourist coach from Belgrade and subsequently collected it in Athens. Salonica death A 48-year-old man, whose body rescue workers recovered yesterday from the bay of Thessaloniki, had consumed around 1.5 liters of agricultural chemicals before falling into the sea, a coroner said. Dimitris Christanis, whose car was parked 300 meters from the spot where his body was found, would have been fatally poisoned had he not drowned first, according to the coroner. Dismembered corpse Garbage collectors in the town of Argos, in the northeastern Peloponnese, discovered the dismembered corpse of a 42-year-old Romanian national while emptying the contents of their truck into a local landfill yesterday morning. Constantin Ugureanu had been visiting Greece on a three-month tourist visa, according to police who said the body had been sent to Athens for an autopsy. Tax declarations There was a significant drop in the number of incorrectly completed tax declarations this year, with nearly half as many incorrect ones as last year, according to Finance Ministry data made public yesterday. This year, there were 352,157 incorrect declarations from a total of 5,090,299 (6.91 percent of the whole), as compared to 591,767 from a total of 4,931,395 (12 percent of the whole) in 2002, according to the ministry’s data.