NEWS

In Brief

TAXI STRIKE

No cabs on the streets again as drivers confirm action as indefinite There will be no taxis on the roads again today after a meeting between unionists and Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis failed to yield a compromise. Cabbies are protesting at checks being conducted on them by the financial crime squad to determine whether they have ordered receipt-issuing meters which the government wants them to have installed by January 1 but which the taxi drivers oppose, favoring simple printing machines. ‘POTHEN ESCHES’ Parliament approves bill checking declaration of assets by MPs, others Parliament’s plenary session yesterday approved by a majority a new Interior Ministry bill for checking the source of funds and assets (pothen esches) declarations made by several professional groups, including MPs, journalists, judges, policemen and soccer referees. A proposal by the opposition New Democracy party, that the bill also apply to executives of state-controlled banks, was accepted by Deputy Interior Minister Nikos Bistis. DOCTORS STRIKE State hospitals affected Doctors at state hospitals in Athens and Piraeus and Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors across the country are to stage a 24-hour strike today, demanding higher salaries and measures to decrease unemployment in their sector. Chtenas escapes Police in Kavala issued an alert to regional police and border guards late Wednesday night after the escape from the northern town’s police headquarters of a businessman being held pending trial for allegedly masterminding a double bank robbery last year. Andreas Chtenas, 46, who is suspected of masterminding two simultaneous bank heists in nearby Eleftheroupolis in October 2002, escaped from the toilets of a Kavala jail late Wednesday. He escaped through a steel grate in the restrooms. Olympic Airways Olympic Airways flights are expected to run as scheduled again today despite on ongoing strike by flight attendants that is due to culminate tomorrow night. OA has been using temporary staff to replace protesting workers who oppose its plans to cut salaries and jobs as part of reinventing itself as a new streamlined firm, Olympic Airlines, which came into operation at midnight yesterday. Metro extension Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou on Wednesday announced the extension of the metro’s Line 3 from Aegaleo to Haidari. The 1-km extension is estimated to cost 137 million euros and due to come into operation by the end of 2007. Koskotas rebuffed Former banker Giorgos Koskotas, who was at the heart of a massive corruption and embezzlement scandal that helped bring down Andreas Papandreou’s Socialist government in 1989, must remain in Greece, the Piraeus Council of Appeals Court Judges ruled yesterday, rejecting an appeal by Koskotas against a ban on his leaving the country. He is on parole. Papandreou-Annan Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday discussed Cyprus, in view of elections in the island’s Turkish-occupied north this Sunday, with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Geneva on the sidelines of a UN summit. After meeting with Annan, Papandreou suggested that the USA reconsider its decision to block opponents of the Iraq war, such as France, Germany and Russia, out of reconstruction contracts in the postwar country. «It would be useful if the United States revised its decision,» Papandreou said. TV games probe A Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday ordered an investigation into the legality of games aired on television channels promising gifts to viewers who call via telephone numbers beginning with 090. This followed a complaint by a viewer who was faced with a massive phone bill after channel staff kept her on hold for about two hours when she called to claim her gift. Sibling fraudsters A 48-year-old Athenian, Lefteris Lambropoulos, and his jailed brother defrauded at least 20 people by tricking them into paying to have their stolen cars returned, police said yesterday. The two allegedly found their victims by scanning newspaper classified seeking information on stolen cars.