NEWS

In Brief

PASOK MP for Evia and former Deputy Development Minister Christos Theodorou yesterday said he would not be standing as a candidate in forthcoming elections after an Athens prosecutor called for the swift conclusion to an ongoing investigation into allegations of bribe-taking by one of the MP’s relatives. Earlier yesterday, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said the investigation, which started last spring, was almost complete. Theodorou remarked, «PASOK’s silence is suspicious and expedient at the very least,» adding that it «consciously offered fertile ground to New Democracy to continue the mudslinging against (him) through the ‘friendly press’.» EURO Greeks familiar with new currency but complain that it has cost them Greeks are among the Europeans most familiar with the euro but are also unhappy about abandoning their national currency, according to a Eurobarometer poll conducted last month. According to the survey, conducted on 12,017 citizens from the 12 EU member states, 63 percent of Greeks no longer have any problems with the euro two years after its introduction, compared to a 51 percent EU average. However, 44 percent of Greeks said they were unhappy with the euro, with an overwhelming 92 percent saying they believed the changeover had occurred at the expense of consumers. TAXI STRIKE Indefinite action continues today Taxi drivers are today to continue their indefinite strike, unionists said yesterday, despite speculation that action would end as cabbies seek their Christmas tariff bonus. There have been no taxis on the roads over the past four days as drivers protest a government decision obliging them to install receipt-issuing meters in their vehicles by January 1. Protesting taxi drivers from Serres, Drama and Kavala blocked off the Thessaloniki-Kavala national highway at Nea Kerdyllia for nearly two hours yesterday. Dumped body A corpse wrapped in a plastic bag, with its hands and feet bound with chains and its head wrapped in a towel, was yesterday dredged out of the sea off coastal Saronida after becoming caught in the nets of a fishing boat. The corpse – it was unclear if it was male or female – was in an advanced state of decomposition, according to a coroner. He had not determined the cause of death yesterday. Olympic inspections A total of 1,348 inspections conducted on 31 construction sites for Olympic venues over the last three years have resulted in the imposition of 509 penalties (ranging from fines, legal action and project suspensions), the Labor Ministry’s labor inspectorate said yesterday. Over the same period, it was informed of 154 work site accidents on Olympic venue sites, 11 of which were fatal, it added. New jails Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday laid the foundation stones for new detention centers in the northern prefectures of Drama and Serres. The two jails, in the municipalities of Nigrita and Nikiforo respectively, are to accommodate between 280 and 300 inmates each. They are to be completed in 2006. Migrants rescued A group of 31 illegal immigrants, whom a smuggling boat abandoned off the coast of Siteia, eastern Crete, late on Sunday night, were all safe following a successful rescue operation involving the coast guard, fire service and police officers. The rescue operation, which was launched after six migrants briefed authorities on swimming to shore, ended at 2.30 a.m. yesterday. The Palestinian migrants told authorities they had paid 2,000 euros each to be taken to Italy from the Egyptian port of Alexandria. There was no sign of the smuggling ship. Athens medals Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni yesterday awarded medals on behalf of the City of Athens to Albanian Archbishop Anastasios, author Nicholas Gage (who wrote the novel «Eleni» about his family’s struggle to survive the Greek Civil War) and the president of the World Council for Hellenes Abroad, Andrew Athens. A representative from the archbishop’s office collected the cleric’s medal. Tonight, Bakoyianni is due to open the newly decorated Omonia Square for Christmas.