NEWS

In Brief

MARKET CRACKDOWN

Presidential decree will enforce legislation curbing illicit trade A presidential decree to be issued during the next few days will enforce legislation to crack down on illicit trade, Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said yesterday. Papathanassiou also promised to boost the powers of the state Competition Commission to ensure healthy competition in the Greek market by intensifying inspections and launching initiatives to better inform consumers of product prices and quality. On Tuesday, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis pledged a municipal crackdown on unlicensed street vendors from the beginning of June. KARACHI FIVE EU Foreign Affairs Committee calls for release of Greek sailors The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday passed a resolution urging Pakistani authorities to immediate release five Greek seamen who have been under house arrest at a Karachi hotel for over six months. Last month, former Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis sent a letter to European Commission President Romano Prodi asking him to pressure Pakistan for the release of the sailors, one of whom attempted suicide in January. The Tasman Spirit tanker caused a massive oil spill when it sank off Karachi last August. TURKISH VIOLATIONS Jets violate Greek air space again Six formations of Turkish fighter jets yesterday entered the Athens Flight Information Region six times and violated Greek national air space in the region of Lemnos, Chios and Lesvos four times, military officials said. The 18 Turkish jets were chased off by as many Greek aircraft and there were five simulated dogfights, the officials said. It was the second day in a row that Turkish jets violated Greek air space. 2004 probe Athens prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos yesterday ordered a preliminary investigation into a recent press report that the Athens 2004 organizing committee leased hundreds of cars from a major Games sponsor for more than it would have cost to buy the vehicles new. The Kosmos tou Ependiti weekly claimed that the three-year lease on 800 Hyundai cars cost twice as much as a similar deal involving any other make of car would have cost. Roadwork Road resurfacing work starting today will disrupt both lanes of traffic on the section of Liosion Avenue between Stratigou Kallari Street and Vathis Square in central Athens, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday. The work, which will be carried out in sections over the next 10 days, will be conducted between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily. Contract workers Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos yesterday met unionists representing contract workers in the public sector to discuss their demands for permanent civil servant status. Unionists said they would not stage protests as long as there is dialogue. Exam timetable Examinations for second- and third-year students of senior high school begin on May 18 and finish on June 17, the Education Ministry said yesterday. Of the 204,400 students who will be sitting exams, around 82,000 are expected to pass, according to the ministry. Eight out of 10 students sitting examinations for university or technical college entrance this year are expected to get a place, the ministry said. Visitors from Bulgaria Around 400,000 visitors to the Olympic Games are expected to travel to Athens via Bulgaria, the country’s sports minister, Vasil Ivanov, said yesterday during a joint press conference with the general secretary of the Interior Ministry, Boiko Borisov. Bozkurt rally Left-wing groups in Thessaloniki said yesterday that they would stage a demonstration next Tuesday calling for the release of a German national sentenced to a year’s imprisonment last month for smuggling three Turkish immigrants into Greece. Ethnic Kurd Sinan Bozkurt, 30, is wanted in Germany for alleged involvement in the Dev Sol extreme-left-wing militant group during the 1990s and for a murder. Greek authorities are awaiting legal documents from Germany before extraditing Bozkurt.