NEWS

In Brief

ROADWORKS

Motorists face hardship at Faliron, Kifissou, Corinth highway Following the completion of works on an intersection at the Faliron Delta, as of Tuesday drivers on Syngrou Avenue who are headed for Glyfada should follow the right-hand lane and those heading toward Piraeus should stay in the left-hand lane. Works to extend Kifissou Avenue toward the coast over the next few months will mean disruptions from the Dyrrachiou junction to Athinon Avenue. Also, drivers approaching Athens on the Athens-Corinth national road will experience disruptions over the next two months as works get underway to resurface the road. HENRI DUNANT HOSPITAL Red Cross president and 22 officials cleared over alleged sale of assets The president of the Greek Red Cross, Andreas Martinis, and 24 board members were yesterday cleared of breach of faith in connection with the alleged sale of assets – to the tune of 29.34 million euros – for the construction of the Henri Dunant Hospital. An Athens appeals court exonerated all 23 defendants, finding no evidence to support the charges against them. Originally, the defendants had all been found guilty, with Martinis receiving a suspended four-year jail sentence and the others suspended three-year jail sentences. THESSALONIKI BLAST Third gas canister attack this year Three homemade gas-canister bombs, placed under a car belonging to a private security firm, caused no injuries but some damage to the vehicle when they detonated early yesterday morning in central Thessaloniki. The attack was the third this year in the northern city. Thessaloniki’s central town-planning offices were hit on New Year’s Day, and a security firm vehicle was burnt a few days later. Olympic Airlines Olympic Airlines flight attendants embarked on yet another four-day strike yesterday after voting to reject a compromise offered by OA managers. Of the 376 workers who participated in Thursday night’s secret vote, only 23 favored the compromise. Flights have not been affected by the action, which started nearly six weeks ago, as OA has been hiring temporary staff to replace the protesters. Bond loan The government yesterday announced that its syndicated bond loan for 5 billion euros had been oversubscribed two and half times. The 10-year loan carries a 4.5 percent interest rate and is part of the government’s borrowing program for 2004. Metro accident A 35-year-old Albanian laborer died yesterday afternoon after being buried under a mass of earth in a ditch where he was working at the metro works on Vouliagmenis Avenue in the Athenian district of Aghios Dimitrios. It is unclear what caused the accident that led to Emilio Zopia’s death. Weather warning The General Secretariat for Civil Defense yesterday warned regional authorities to prepare for bad weather over the weekend. Heavy rain and storms are forecast, with snow in mountainous areas, and winds are expected to reach 9 Beaufort today and 10 Beaufort in the Aegean tomorrow. Schoolbus checks Traffic police yesterday took two school buses off the road after inspections revealed they had not been fitted out with seat belts. Inspection units were set up yesterday at Amerikis Square, Aghios Panteleimonas on Acharnon Street and Veikou Avenue following Thursday’s collision between a school bus and a car at a northern Athens intersection which resulted in seven primary school children and two adult escorts sustaining slight injuries. Sales dispute The extended duration of the winter sales in Greece constitutes a «hotbed for the growth of illicit trade practices, and we should quickly shorten their duration and determine the beginning and end of the (sales) period with the aim of protecting healthy trade and the consumer,» the National Consumer Institute said yesterday. Sales are due to start on January 15 and run until the end of February. Funds ’embezzled’ Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos yesterday sued the Greek State regarding the alleged embezzlement of 82,291,236 euros from the municipality’s independent funds.