NEWS

In Brief

STRIKE

Transport chaos expected as labor demands more pay, less work A nationwide 24-hour strike today is expected to paralyze all forms of public transport, excepting taxis and civil aviation. The Hellenic Railways Organization will operate only a few routes. Ferry service between the Peloponnese at Rio and the western mainland at Antirio will stop, as will all other ferries. The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), the biggest umbrella group in the country, has called the strike to press its demand for a collective labor agreement that will provide an 8 percent wage increase and a lighter work week (from the current 40 hours to at most 39). The strike is expected to cause chaos in Athens, as people will have to resort to cars, while workers will also be demonstrating in central Athens in the morning (11 a.m. onward) and the Olympic Flame will be arriving at the Panathenaic Stadium in the evening. OFFICER CLEARED Court acquits policemen of raping Ukrainian sex slave A Patras jury court early yesterday acquitted a policeman serving in the western Peloponnesian town of Amaliada of raping a 25-year-old Ukrainian woman who had been forced to work as a prostitute in a local bar. The 4-3 ruling was the second acquittal for officer Nikos Brikolias, 43. In the first trial, the alleged victim had not been invited to testify. The case had attracted the attention of several human rights groups. Yesterday, the court accepted Brikolias’s claim that he had had sexual relations in 1998 with the woman – who had been abducted by a sex-trafficking gang and bludgeoned into prostitution – with her consent. PAY-LINE FINES Three TV stations to pay 150,000 The National Radio and Television Council (ESR) yesterday imposed fines totaling 150,000 euros on three television stations that encouraged their viewers to phone in on high-toll pay-lines to take part in live games or quizzes. The three stations were Extra (90,000 euros), Seven and 06 TV (30,000 apiece). Murder arrest A gardener at a Thessaloniki psychiatric hospital with a history of mental illness was arrested yesterday on suspicion of having brutally murdered his grandmother in her flat in the northern port town on Sunday afternoon. Police said the 32-year-old suspect – whose name was not released – had confessed to first trying to strangle and then stabbing to death Zoi Katsika, 74. He allegedly told police that his grandmother was to blame for his mental illness. Katsika’s body was found by her daughter, the suspect’s mother. ELA trial The estranged former wife of Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorism suspect Angeletos Kanas is to testify today at the ongoing ELA trial. Sofia Kyriakidou is the main prosecution witness, who provided police with information that led to the arrest of four ELA suspects. Kanas, who was elected mayor of Kimolos shortly before his arrest, claims that Kyriakidou invented the ELA connection to get revenge on him after their separation. May Day Labor and Social Security Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos yesterday signed a decision declaring May 1 an official holiday for all employees who do not work on Sundays. Roadwork Work on the new tram line that is to link the center of Athens with the southern suburbs will affect traffic on coastal Poseidonos Avenue as of today. The exit from Poseidonos Avenue to Kallithea and Moschato – near the old racetrack – will be closed. Motorists heading from Palaio Faliron toward Moschato and Kallithea will have to turn off Poseidonos before the Delta exit at Fix Street, while drivers heading from Athens to Neo Faliron should turn off Syngrou Avenue before the Amfitheas Avenue exit. No roadwork While work to resurface Greece’s national roads is to intensify ahead of the August Olympics, builders will desist between Thursday, April 8 and Monday, April 12, to facilitate holidaymakers heading out of Athens for Easter on the Athens-to-Thessaloniki and Athens-to-Corinth highways, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday.