NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPIC SECURITY

Major three-day drill simulating terrorist attacks starts today Around 1,100 police, coast guard and fire brigade officers are to participate in a three-day pre-Olympics security exercise starting today in Piraeus and Palaia Fokaia in southern Attica. The drill, code-named «Blue Odyssey,» will be based on a theoretical terrorist attack involving a hostage crisis at sea and the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. British advisers will also be attending, as well as observers from the US, Germany, France, Spain, Australia, Israel, Russia and Japan. It will be the largest-scale security exercise of its kind in Europe. FARMERS MOLLIFIED Olive growers lift roadblock after deal on oil subsidies Protesting olive growers yesterday retreated from the Patras-Corinth national road, which they had blocked since Wednesday, after receiving assurances that 2,500 farmers would get subsidies for 60 percent of the oil they have produced and another 450 for their entire production. The deal followed negotiations between Agriculture Ministry officials and local unionists which were mediated by Achaia Prefect Dimitris Katsikopoulos and local politicians. Earlier yesterday protesting farmers had clashed with riot police who fired tear gas. TAXI PROTEST Cabbies threaten to strike over fares The union representing taxi drivers across the country yesterday demanded the right to increase their fares by two to three cents per kilometer, threatening strike action. Unionists maintain that cab fares have been frozen over the past two years. They are also demanding money they say they are due to replace ageing vehicles, and maintain that they have a plan for how taxis should operate during the Olympic Games which they want to discuss with Transport Ministry officials. Ferry tickets Passengers traveling to the islands to vote in the March 7 elections are entitled to a 20 percent discount on ferry tickets, according to a decision by the Union of Coastal Shipowners made public yesterday. Voters entitled to the discount – which applies from March 5 through March 9 – should present the ferry ticket office with written proof that they are registered on the electoral list of their destination. Work site accident A 21-year-old laborer died yesterday after falling off four-meter-high scaffolding while doing a welding job on the iron roof of a factory warehouse near Peteinos in Xanthi, Thrace. Demir Demir’s employer was arrested and police were searching for the owner of the furniture factory. OA action Protesting Olympic Airlines flight attendants yesterday launched another series of three two-day strikes. The workers, who have been on strike for 10 weeks now, object to plans by the revamped firm to change the conditions of their employment. OA is using temporary staff. ELA trial The Athens Bar Association yesterday issued a document to all defense and prosecution lawyers who will be participating in the trial of five Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) suspects, which starts on Monday, reminding them of their obligation not to propagate any of the court proceedings to the media. «Communicating the trial proceedings… to the media… is not compatible with the statutory role of the lawyer as defender… but also casts doubt upon the… procedures and credible judgment of the judicial system,» the document read. Bullet scare Police in Thessaloniki were yesterday investigating the discovery of a nine-millimeter bullet found on the doormat outside the office of Giorgos Petsos, a candidate opposition New Democracy deputy for the northern city. Petsos was a PASOK minister in the 1980s. He was the target of an unsuccessful November 17 terrorist attack in 1989. Drug hauls Thessaloniki police yesterday arrested a 30-year-old man after spotting him collecting a plastic bag containing more than a kilo of heroin from the city’s vegetable market. Also yesterday, border guards near the village of Mazio, in the prefecture of Ioannina, arrested a 15-year-old Albanian boy carrying more than 11 kilos of cannabis in a rucksack.