NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPIC SECURITY

USA will work with Greece whether gov’t changes or not, Cheney says The USA will continue to cooperate with Greece to ensure security at the Athens Olympics regardless of the outcome of forthcoming elections in Greece, US Vice President Dick Cheney said during an interview with nine European newspapers, including Kathimerini, in Rome yesterday. «We are working very closely with the Greek government and with the International Olympic Committee… to ensure that the Olympics can be conducted without exposing citizens and all visitors to the risk of terrorism. And I see no reason why this cooperation will not continue,» Cheney said. AMBULANCE CRASH Driver dies after hitting truck on way to Xanthi hospital A 52-year-old ambulance driver was killed yesterday after crashing into a truck on his way back from Thessaloniki to the prefectural hospital in Xanthi where he worked. Father of three Nikolaos Tonikidis, who had gone to Thessaloniki to pick up medicinal supplies, crashed into a truck driving in front him at the 116th kilometer of the Thessaloniki-Kavala national road, police said. The 24-year-old truckdriver was taken to the hospital in Kavala with minor injuries. It is unclear what caused the accident. WORK SAFETY Crackdown on hundreds of sites The Labor Ministry’s labor inspectorate temporarily suspended operation at a total of 1,689 construction sites in Greece where workers’ safety was deemed to have been at risk, the ministry said yesterday. Out of 307 registered sites in Athens’s historic center, the inspectorate conducted 208 checks that have led to the imposition of 120 penalties, 30 fines, 17 indictments and 73 work suspensions, the ministry said, adding that the checks would intensify. Salonica arson An unidentified British national has been detained on suspicion of carrying out three arson attacks on parked motorcycles and cars in central Thessaloniki early yesterday morning. The first attack on a motorcycle, which also spread to two adjacent cars, is believed to have caused 3,000 euros in damage. The two attacks on nearby motorcycles occurred a few minutes later. Aegean dogfights Three formations of Turkish fighter jets yesterday violated the Athens Flight Information Region three times, military officials said. The eight Turkish jets were chased off by as many Greek aircraft and there were simulated dogfights in two cases, the officials said. Israeli awards Israeli Ambassador to Athens Ram Aviram yesterday awarded the title of «Righteous Among the Nations» to nine Greeks who saved the lives of Jews during the Nazi WWII occupation, in a ceremony at the Athens Concert Hall attended by Foreign Minister George Papandreou. The title is awarded to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Courts closed Courts across the country will be closed tomorrow as lawyers strike in protest at pension legislation due to be discussed in Parliament. Protesters want legislation to provide for the repayment into their pension fund of more than 350 million euros they claim the government owes them. They are to stage a march to Parliament from the offices of the Athens Bar Association on Academias St at 10.30 a.m. tomorrow. Captain arrested The Greek captain of a cargo ship, registered in the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent, is being detained in the Italian town of Rovigo after allegedly trying to help eight illegal immigrants enter Italy via Porto Levante, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Italian customs officials arrested the unnamed captain of the Talavera on Saturday. 35-hour week The Communist Party yesterday tabled a draft law in Parliament for the establishment of a 35-hour and 30-hour workweek. Channels fined The National Broadcasting Council yesterday fined all television channels (apart from state channel ET3) a total of 630,000 euros for failing to give proportional airtime to all political parties in their news bulletins aired between December 15 and 19.