In Brief


PM sends Olympics invitations to world leaders and UN head Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday sent formal invitations for next year’s Olympics to world leaders, including his counterparts in the other 24 current and future European Union member states and EU hopefuls Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. Also invited were the heads of state of the USA, Russia, China, Japan, India, Canada and Australia, as well as United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. NEW YEAR’S EVE SCHEDULES Athens Metro and electric railway services will finish earlier tonight Transport services on the Athens Metro and Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) will be closing earlier tonight. The last trains from Syntagma to all destinations are at 11 p.m. The last trains from Dafni and Sepolia will both depart at 10.49 p.m. The last trains from Monastiraki and Ethniki Amyna will depart at 10.55 p.m. and 10.46 p.m. respectively. The last ISAP trains for Kifissia and for Omonia from Piraeus are scheduled for 9.55 p.m. and 10.35 p.m. respectively. The last trains for Piraeus and Omonia from Kifissia will leave at 10.35 p.m. and at 10.50 p.m. respectively. ARCHBISHOP’S MESSAGE ‘Corruption, injustice thriving’ The world, and Greece in particular, is rife with corruption and injustice, Archbishop Christodoulos maintains in his New Year’s speech, the text of which was made public yesterday. «[There is] corruption everywhere, a lowering of moral standards, hypocrisy and insecurity, injustice for the weak, an undermining of institutions, the crumbling of established supports,» the message said. «Our country is at the heart of most of these problems.» Soldier death Eighteen-year-old US soldier Michael Michalakis, killed in Baghdad last Friday according to a report in The New York Times, was the first Greek-American to be killed in Iraq. Mobile transmitters Mobile telephony transmitters must be located at least 300 meters from universities, colleges, schools and hospitals, according to draft legislation which was presented in Parliament yesterday by the Transport Ministry. Transmitters that have already been erected too close must be removed within a year. Albanian exodus Around 35,000 Albanian nationals who live and work in Greece have returned to their homeland for the Christmas and New Year holidays so far – creating long queues of cars and buses at the Kakavia border crossing in Epirus – and that total is expected to reach 40-45,000 today, Greek officials said yesterday. Iranian aid The Greek Red Cross yesterday appealed for donations for Iranian earthquake victims following an urgent call for humanitarian aid by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Donations can be paid into the Agricultural Bank, account number: 01704005437-32. Condolences Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday sent a telegram to his Bulgarian counterpart Simeon Saxe-Coburg expressing his condolences for the death of five Bulgarian soldiers in a multiple car bombing in Iraq on Saturday. The soldiers were buried yesterday. FYROM name The prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Branko Crvenkovski, said he believed the dispute with Greece over his country’s official name will be resolved before the end of his term, that is by September 2006, the Athens News Agency reported from Skopje yesterday.