NEWS

In Brief

HUMAN RIGHTS

US report: Greece democratic but abuse of migrants, women abides Greece is, overall, a democratic country with respect for its citizens but it is still marred by instances of the abuse of immigrants – especially in custody – according to the US State Department’s annual report on human rights made public yesterday. The report referred to instances of racism against Albanians and to the abuse of foreign women by prostitution rings. It also cited the fatal shooting of an Albanian by a border guard. The report acknowledged the approval of a presidential decree to protect human-trafficking victims, but urged the government to cooperate more closely with non-governmental organizations. OLYMPIC ARSONISTS Group named after twin mascots behind blasts on government trucks A group of arsonists named after the mascots of the Olympic Games yesterday morning claimed responsibility for the firebombing of two government trucks in the Athenian suburb of Aghioi Anargyroi a few hours earlier. The two vehicles were seriously damaged in the blast, which was carried out using homemade gas canister bombs placed under the vehicles. An unidentified caller told Skai Radio that a group called Phevos and Athena was behind the attack, which was timed to coincide with a visit to Athens by International Olympic Committee officials. GAMES SECURITY Gov’t officials discuss NATO role Senior Defense and Public Order Ministry officials met with NATO officials in Brussels yesterday to discuss the extent to which the alliance would be able to boost security at the forthcoming Olympics. Practical matters, including the organization and cost of a NATO contribution, were due to be discussed, with the aim of drafting a plan to be submitted to the alliance for approval. While implying that it would like NATO help, Greece has not made an official request. Voting information Voters who experienced problems during municipal elections or who have recently changed address should inform themselves of the location of their voting center as soon as possible to avoid complications in forthcoming general elections, the Interior Ministry said yesterday. Greeks need only to present their identification card or passport in order to vote, the ministry said. Between 10,000 and 17,000 citizens are not on the voting lists, the ministry added, and these need to furnish themselves with a form from their municipalities saying they had been registered there no later than December 31, 2003. In Athens, information is available on the hotlines 1564 and 195. Moroccan aid Two Greek military transport aircraft yesterday transported a team of rescue workers and doctors, along with search-and-rescue equipment and medical supplies, to the Moroccan town of Nador to boost the search for survivors from Tuesday’s fatal earthquake in Al Hosseima. Railway work Kifissia-bound trains on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) will be stopping at Monastiraki and Attiki stations from Monday when the stations’ platforms reopen after months of renovation works. However, Piraeus-bound passengers will not be able to stop at Monastiraki from Monday when the opposite platform closes for works. Airborne radar Greece is to take delivery of its first airborne radar system next month, defense officials said yesterday, adding that another three airborne radars are due to be delivered at the end of September. The systems will have to undergo many months of testing before they are fully operational. Cross-border network The heads of the neighboring Greek, Turkish and Bulgarian prefectures of Evros, Edirne and Haskovo yesterday agreed to develop a cross-border network to tackle common problems such as the damage wreaked by natural disasters. The prefects, who met in the northeastern Greek town of Orestiada, agreed that the network would cover several prefectures in the three countries’ border areas and discussed the framework for its operation. The final proposals are to be submitted at a meeting scheduled to take place in the Bulgarian town of Smolen next month.