NEWS

In Brief

NO TAXIS

Cabbies declare nationwide indefinite strike as of 5 a.m. today There will be no taxis on the roads today, and it is unclear when service will be resumed, following last night’s decision by unionists to call a nationwide, indefinite strike from 5 a.m. this morning. Cabbies are protesting checks being conducted on them by the Finance Ministry’s financial crime squad to determine whether they have ordered receipt-issuing meters which the government wants them to have installed in their vehicles by January 1 but which taxi drivers oppose. Unionists are to discuss the course of their action during a meeting today. OLYMPIC AIRWAYS Flights to run as scheduled despite continuing workers’ action, OA says Olympic Airways flights will run as scheduled over the next few days despite the latest in a series of four-day strikes by flight attendants which is to culminate on Saturday night, OA management said yesterday. OA has been using temporary staff to replace protesting workers who oppose the firm’s plans to cut salaries and jobs as part of a bid to reinvent itself as a slimmer company called Olympic Airlines, which is due to start operations tomorrow. CHRISTMAS TREE A present from Vienna to Athens A 12-meter fir tree from Vienna is to be presented to Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni next Wednesday by Viennese Municipal Councilor for Environmental Matters Isabella Kosina. The tree, felled from forestland in the municipality of Vienna, is to be decorated with traditional Viennese Christmas decorations before being set up on pedestrianized Voukourestiou St in central Athens where it is to remain for at least three weeks. Court stoppages Court proceedings across the country will be disrupted today and tomorrow as lawyers and court clerks stage a 24-hour strike, demanding that the government pay 342 million euros in alleged arrears to their pension fund. Cretan quake An undersea quake, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, occurred off the islets of Koufonissia, near Crete’s southeastern coast, shortly before 8 a.m. yesterday but caused no damage or injuries. Three strong tremors – measuring 5.2, 4.5 and 4.7 on the Richter scale – struck Tympaki, off southern Crete, during the last week of November. EU Constitution Prime Minister Costas Simitis is due in Brussels today for a European Union summit which is to finalize an EU Constitution. Yesterday Simitis prepared for the summit in a meeting attended by Press Minister Christos Protopapas and Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, among others. Doctors’ strike Doctors at state hospitals in Athens and Piraeus and Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors across the country are to stage a 24-hour strike tomorrow, demanding higher salaries and measures to decrease unemployment in their sector. Fairground death A 19-year-old Armenian kick-boxing champion is to face a magistrate tomorrow in connection with the fatal injury of a 25-year-old Thessaloniki fairground worker following a fracas on Saturday. The unnamed Armenian is charged with inflicting fatal bodily harm upon Yiannis Baharelis, who died of head injuries in the hospital on Tuesday. The Armenian’s lawyer claimed his client only pushed Baharelis who then struck his head on a rock. US visas The US Embassy in Athens will accept non-immigrant visa applications only by appointment as of January 5, the embassy said yesterday, noting that the change was being made to streamline visa issuance. Greek-Albanian ties Deputy Defense Minister Theodoros Kotsonis yesterday welcomed his Albanian counterpart Pavli Zeri in Athens for talks on bilateral cooperation in the two countries’ defense sectors and security in Southeastern Europe. Book presented A book by columnist and former Kathimerini editor Stamos Zoulas titled «What I Didn’t Write» was presented at the Athens Journalists’ Union yesterday by former Greek Prime Minister Georgios Rallis and Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis.