NEWS

In Brief

PARTHENON MARBLES

Activists to launch new drive to press for return of sculptures to Greece Activists will tomorrow launch a new campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum to Athens before the summer Olympics, a spokesman for the public relations firm which is coordinating the campaign, Burson Marsteller, told Reuters yesterday. The campaign, being run by a new pressure group called Marbles Reunited, is based on research showing that some 80 percent of Britons believe the Marbles should be returned. «This is a new campaign. Wednesday is an attempt to move the agenda forward,» the spokesman told Reuters. IRAQ Greece will not send troops, Foreign Ministry insists Greece will not be sending any troops to Iraq, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday in reaction to a report in the Makedonia newspaper on Sunday. The paper said US Ambassador Thomas Miller sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry, requesting that Greek soldiers be sent to Iraq. «We have repeatedly stated that Greece will not be sending troops to Iraq. We are sending a significant amount of humanitarian aid… and will continue our humanitarian policy for the relief of the Iraqi people,» Beglitis said. NEGLECTED FATHER Two daughters to be tried Two sisters who allegedly held their 83-year-old father prisoner in a dirty room with dozens of cats and dogs are to be tried by a misdemeanors court, Thessaloniki’s Misdemeanors Council ruled yesterday. Police, alerted by neighbors who heard the man’s cries, rescued him from a locked room of the family home in the village of Angelohori, near Thessaloniki. The undernourished man was taken to hospital, police said, adding that it was unclear how long he had been kept prisoner. Olympic Airlines Olympic Airlines flight attendants are to stage a protest march through central Athens today after yesterday’s meeting between unionists and Economy Ministry officials failed to yield a compromise. It was unclear what time the march was to start. Some protesters threw cups of coffee and bottles of water at police officers at the ministry yesterday. Workers, who have been on strike for more than six weeks, object to plans by the revamped firm to change conditions of their work conditions. Road accidents Last year saw a drop of 6.1 percent in the number of road accidents in Greece compared to 2002, with a fall of 3.8 percent in fatalities, according to Public Order Ministry statistics made public yesterday. Figures showed a large drop in December (14.2 percent) in the number of fatal road accidents compared to December 2002. Fuel traders The country’s gas station operators yesterday threatened to strike on January 26 in protest at what they call the government’s failure to ensure transparency and competitiveness in their sector. Kindergarten support A total of 30,000 families are to receive a state subsidy for the cost of sending their children to kindergarten, according to a decision made public by Deputy Labor Minister Lefteris Tziolas yesterday. The monthly allowance, which only applies to families with two working parents, will start at 50 euros, the minister said. Anti-mining protests Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the main court of Alexandroupolis yesterday to express support for Evros Prefect Nikos Zambounis, who faces legal action for refusing to allow the operation of a local gold mine. Falling plaster Four high school students were taken to hospital with minor injuries yesterday after being struck by plaster falling from the ceiling of their school classroom in the Thessaloniki suburb of Asvestohori. The school opened six years ago. Farmers protest Protesting olive growers caused traffic chaos on the Athens-Patras National Road after parking tractors and other vehicles at the junction near Aigion. The protesters demand subsidies for all the oil they produce and not 60 percent of it.