NEWS

In Brief

FOOTBALL MEETS OLYMPICS

Greek, Portuguese officials discuss security for Games, Euro 2004 Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and Portugal’s sports minister, Jose Luis Arnaut, yesterday discussed security at the August Olympics in Athens and the European football championships, to be hosted by Portugal in June. The meeting in Athens was attended by Greek Police Chief Fotis Nasiakos, National Intelligence Service director Pavlos Apostolidis, and Portugal’s Euro 2004 coordinating committee chief, Vasco Lynce. «Matters of mutual interest were discussed,» a Public Order Ministry statement said. Both Greece and Portugal have asked for NATO support in protecting the events against potential terrorist attacks. RETURNING IMMIGRANTS Valid passport, residence permit will be necessary, minister says Immigrants living in Greece who are planning to return to their homelands for Easter must have certain valid documents with them on their return in order to avoid any problems in re-entering the country, Deputy Interior Minister Thanassis Nakos said yesterday. They must have a valid passport, a residence permit (for whose renewal they have already applied) and a document certifying that they have applied for a new work permit or residence permit, the minister said. The deadline for their re-entry into the country is April 20. EU DEFENSE Transport hub to be set up in Greece A coordination center for marine transport, which will provide the European Union with transport capabilities for military operations, is to be set up in Greece, Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said yesterday from Brussels, following a meeting with his EU counterparts. The center will provide the EU with around 130 commercial ships to help fulfill the transport needs of defending a unified Europe, Spiliotopoulos said. Health hirings At least 9,477 extra staff are to be recruited into the health sector before the end of 2005, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis revealed yesterday, noting that 7,000 of these would be nursing staff. About 980 seasonal staff are to boost the health sector during the Olympics, the minister said. Olympic briefing Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki yesterday briefed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the progress of the preparations for the Olympic Games. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki told reporters that she was «neither overoptimistic nor pessimistic» about progress but that «things are developing favorably.» Contraband cigarettes Customs officials in Thessaloniki have confiscated 2.4 million packets of contraband cigarettes following an inspection of a cargo ship which had arrived at the northern port from Egypt, police said yesterday. Documents indicated that the vessel was carrying furniture but on opening the crates, officials discovered the cigarettes, which had been bound for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Easter food The Easter spread will be cheaper this year than last year, representatives of the country’s retailers assured Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou yesterday. Inspections of both the price and quality of meat and other Easter provisions have been intensified, Athens prefectural authorities said yesterday. Last month, 30 tons of food due for distribution was destroyed as unfit for consumption. Roadworks Athens-bound traffic will be disrupted on the section of Iera Odos between Thivon and Kifissou avenues until the early hours of Friday morning, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday. The works, which began yesterday, are to be carried out between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. ELA trial The estranged former wife of Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorism suspect Angeletos Kanas is to testify today at the ongoing ELA trial after an appeal by Kanas’s lawyer that she be prevented from taking the witness stand was rejected yesterday. Ex-king on Crete Constantine, the former king of Greece, will be spending Easter in Elounda, northeastern Crete, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday.