NEWS

In Brief

DRUGS IN SCHOOL

Education and Health ministries agree to establish advisory committee Education and Health ministers Petros Efthymiou and Costas Stefanis yesterday signed a memorandum of cooperation to combat drug use by schoolchildren. The agreement foresees the establishment of an advisory committee, comprising ministry officials and members of the state-run Organization Against Drugs, whose chief roles will be to propose programs and seminars for schools and to take initiatives to identify those pushing drugs to children. Stefanis stressed the importance of cooperating with the Education Ministry, noting information was a key factor in protecting children against drug use. SAILORS SAFE Crew of tanker buffeted in storm off Hydra airlifted by coast guard The 13-strong crew of a Cambodian-flagged tanker were all safe last night after their ship drifted helplessly for hours, buffeted by gale-force winds off the coast of Hydra yesterday. A towboat that dashed to the Afrika’s aid from Piraeus had its cables snapped in the gigantic waves. Eventually, the Afrika managed to anchor off the island of Milos before a Super Puma rescue helicopter transferred six of the sailors to Elefsina. The remaining crew members remained aboard the tanker. PATISSIA MURDER Robber shoots resisting shop owner A 63-year-old shop owner was shot dead in his store in Patissia early yesterday morning for refusing to give a robber a bag containing his employees’ wages, police in Athens said yesterday. Police, who discovered the body of Athanassios Petropoulos at 7.30 a.m., believe that the unidentified robber had known that Petropoulos usually arrived at his store very early in the morning and that he had been planning to pay his staff that day. ‘Pothen esches’ New legislation on funds and assets (pothen esches) declarations made by several professional groups, including MPs, journalists, judges, policemen and soccer referees, will apply to around 18,000 individuals, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said yesterday after discussing the bill with Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and other officials from the government and Supreme Court. Syrian ties Syrian President Bashar Al Assad said late on Tuesday that his country would continue talks with the USA despite Washington’s recent imposition of sanctions on Syria. «We are optimistic about our dialogue with the USA, which has never been stopped,» Assad told reporters following talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Assad returned to Syria yesterday after a three-day state visit. New party Former PASOK MP Stelios Papathemelis yesterday founded his political party. «Democratic Revival’s» emblem is to be three swallows on a blue background. Flu measures State hospitals have implemented all necessary measures to deal with a possible flu outbreak and children’s hospitals are on standby, Health Minister Costas Stefanis told reporters yesterday. Doctors confirmed this year’s first flu case in a 3-year-old on Tuesday. Bomb blasts An explosion outside a bank in Thessaloniki early yesterday morning, which caused minor damage to the branch’s ATM, brought to 53 the number of bomb blasts in the northern city since the beginning of this year. Yesterday’s blast, whose perpetrators were unknown, was carried out using a liquid gas canister. Most of the attacks this year targeted banks, the offices of political parties and parked cars, police said. Church thief A 26-year-old Thessaloniki man has admitted to pilfering from 19 collection boxes from churches in the city’s Langada district, police said yesterday. The unnamed looter netted 8,000 euros in thefts between July 2002 and July 2003, police said. Greek-Russian relations The Interior Ministry is today due to celebrate the 175 years since Greece and Russia established diplomatic relations with a display of documents from both countries, drawn from its diplomatic and historical archives. The exhibition at the ministry is open to the public from 2.30 p.m.