NEWS

In Brief

MIDDLE EAST

Karamanlis condemns Yassin killing, KKE urges severing of ties with Israel Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday condemned acts of violence in the Middle East, following Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. «Not only do [such acts] not help the peace process but they threaten to engender further vicious cycles of blind violence,» Karamanlis told ND’s parliamentary group. Members of the Communist Party (KKE) staged a protest against Yassin’s murder outside the Israeli Embassy in Athens yesterday evening, and urged the government to «cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel.» Police stopped protesters from creating a human ring around the embassy building. AEGEAN INCURSIONS Turkish jets violate Greek air space 31 times during military exercise Six formations of Turkish fighter jets yesterday entered the Athens Flight Information Region six times and violated Greek national air space in the Dodecanese 31 times, military officials said, noting that a Turkish military exercise had been under way at the time. The 12 Turkish jets were chased off by as many Greek aircraft and there were five simulated dogfights, the officials said. INDEPENDENCE DAY EXODUS Extra lanes of traffic will be open An extra lane of traffic is to be opened up on the Athens-Corinth national road from today to aid the hordes of Athenians expected to take advantage of the March 25 national holiday to leave the capital for a long weekend. An extra lane will also be available for Athenians returning to the capital as of 2 p.m. on Sunday. The weather is expected to be fair over the next few days. Kaningos The section of Academias Street in central Athens which runs across Kaningos Square is to reopen at 5 a.m. on Friday. A detour had been built to allow construction of an underground car park to get under way. Drivers on Halkokondyli St will be able to cross Kaningos Sq to access Academias St, while drivers on Kaningos St will be able to turn left onto Kaningos Sq and cross over to Academias. Icaria listing The farmhouse on Icaria where composer Mikis Theodorakis was exiled during the Civil War is now a listed building, according to a decision by the Aegean Ministry’s environmental office which was made public yesterday. The decision followed a campaign by island residents, who were backed by the prefectural authorities of neighboring Samos. Authorities are now aiming to secure Culture Ministry funding for the restoration of the farmhouse, which is located in the island’s Vrakades district. Olympic briefing Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki yesterday briefed President Costis Stephanopoulos on Olympic preparations during a meeting at the presidential residence. ID cards New Democracy retains the same position regarding the reference to religious belief on citizens’ identity cards as it did when it was in opposition, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday. While in opposition, ND had proposed that citizens should have the right to choose whether their religious beliefs are referred to on their ID cards or not. Easter hours Traders yesterday announced the store hours for the Easter period – from Thursday, April 1 to Easter Saturday, April 11. Stores will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 1 and Friday, April 2; from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 3; from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Monday, April 5 until Thursday, April 8; from 1 to 7 p.m. on Good Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Easter Saturday. On Easter Monday, April 12, stores will be closed, reopening on Tuesday.