Protest against war on terror to disrupt traffic in central Athens A protest rally against the ongoing US occupation of Iraq, due to begin at noon today in Syntagma Square, is likely to cause traffic disruptions in central Athens. Synaspismos Left Coalition yesterday called upon citizens to participate in today’s rally to protest against what it called the negative repercussions of the international fight against terrorism. PASOK has also expressed its support for the rally. Parallel demonstrations are due to take place in Thessaloniki and in around 60 cities worldwide. KARACHI FIVE Seamen’s case to be referred to EU General Affairs Council Greece will refer the case of the five Greek seamen who remain under house arrest at a Karachi hotel to the European Union’s General Affairs Council on Monday, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis told the detainees’ relatives yesterday. The personal intervention of European Commission President Romano Prodi may also be sought, according to ministry sources. The Tasman Spirit tanker caused a massive oil spill when it sank off Karachi last August. The seamen have been held ever since. KOSOVO UNREST Unclear whether Greek troops will stay Defense Ministry sources yesterday did not rule out the eventuality of extending the stay of Greek peacekeeping troops in Mitrovica, northern Kosovo, due to the resurgence of fatal interethnic violence, the Athens News Agency reported. But no changes have been made to plans for the battalion to return to Greece next week, the ANA cited the same – unidentified sources – as saying. Also yesterday, the spokesman for Archbishop Christodoulos, Epiphanios Economou, said the Greek Church was in constant contact with the Church of Serbia and ready to provide support. Aliakmon trial A Thessaloniki court yesterday began discussing 15 legal suits lodged against Thessaloniki’s intercity bus company (KTEL) by the relatives of the 16 people who died when a KTEL bus plunged into the Aliakmon River in February last year. The relatives are demanding more than 25 million euros in compensation from Thessaloniki’s KTEL. A court decision is expected in 30-40 days. Coach pays Greece’s national basketball coach said yesterday that he had sent the money to pay a 433-euro fine for setting off a fire alarm by smoking in Sweden last year during a European championship game, Reuters reported. Yiannis Ioannidis, who was elected to Parliament on March 7, violated a smoking ban in the basketball arena in Boras, southern Sweden, during the match last September. Traffic disruptions Work today to erect electronic road signs will mean that the right-hand lane and hard shoulder of Athens-bound traffic on the Athens-Lamia national road will be blocked off between Ploutarchou and Dodecanisou streets. Tomorrow the left-hand lane of Athinon Avenue, near the Sarakakis building, will be blocked. From Monday, and until April 5, Glyfada-bound traffic on Poseidonos Avenue will be diverted between Amfitheas Avenue and the entrance to the Kalamaki yacht club. MP sworn in Civil engineer Athina Korka-Consta was yesterday officially sworn in as an MP on New Democracy’s Corinth ticket, replacing Stavros Dimas who has taken the post of European Union Social Affairs Commissioner. Vartholomaios Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, speaking from New York on Thursday, argued that Turkey’s eventual accession to the European Union would be a positive development once various barriers are overcome, and once again called for the reopening of the Halki Orthodox seminary. The patriarch also appealed for funds for the reconstruction of the 800-year-old Helandari Monastery on Mount Athos, which was ravaged in a fire earlier this month. Church raid Two burglars yesterday morning broke into a church in the northern town of Florina and made off with a silver pyx (a receptacle for Eucharist wafers) and a cross, according to police who have arrested a drug addict in connection with the crime.