NEWS

In Brief

EURO

Utility prices fixed until June, minister says All state-run enterprises will have their rates fixed until June while the price of public services (such as PPC, OTE and public transport) have been «rounded off downwards» to facilitate the smooth transition to the euro, National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said in an interview with To Vima newspaper yesterday. Christodoulakis said the euro’s key function was to boost the competitiveness of the Greek economy along with various market reforms and improvements, adding that privatization and strategic partnerships for state enterprises would be crucial strategies in the new economic environment. Asked about prices in the private sector, Christodoulakis said he expected agreements signed by the business unions would be honored. YIOURA MIGRANTS Prosecutor orders repatriation of 193 found on islet last week A Volos prosecutor has ordered 193 illegal immigrants discovered on the small central Aegean islet of Yioura, near Alonissos, on Thursday to be sent back to their country of origin or the country from which they left for Greece. Most of them are Iraqi Kurds believed to have been on a fishing boat that set sail from Izmir, Turkey, last week. Also facing deportation is Turkish national Necdet Abdullah, 21, who was alleged to have been involved in the illegal transportation of the immigrants but was exonerated by the prosecutor this weekend due to the lack of evidence. The migrants have been housed at the mainland port of Volos since they were picked up on Thursday. Meanwhile, a small Turkish-flagged ship carrying 50 illegal immigrants was escorted to the Turkish shore after port authorities on Chios spotted it adrift on the Greek-Turkish sea-border. NEW YEAR’S EVE Traffic affected in Athens center A concert in Athens’s Syntagma Square celebrating New Year’s Eve tonight is expected to close off all or parts of the following adjacent streets between 10 p.m. tonight and 5 a.m. tomorrow: Stadiou, Voukourestiou, Vassileos Georgiou, Vassilisis Sofias and Panepistimiou. Parts of these streets may be affected also on New Year’s Day. Murder. The failed robbery of a newsagent in Ano Liosia last night resulted in the death of the store’s owner after he resisted the two armed assailants, police said. Athanassios Georgakis, 70, was shot twice in the chest as he tried to stop the two would-be robbers. Police are searching for the two men who reportedly fled empty-handed. Taxi knifing. A taxi driver was knifed in the stomach on Saturday night after picking up three men in the Melissia area of Aspropyrgos. The three men, who police believe are Albanian nationals, allegedly robbed Constantinos Liakris of 20,000 drachmas before fleeing. Liakris was taken to Thriaseio hospital where his condition was reported as stable. Landslide. A pensioner was hit by falling rocks and killed while hunting on the Tomaros mountain near Ioannina yesterday. Fotis Kostis, 65, was 1,400 meters above sea level when rocks fell on him, causing him to fall 140 meters.