NEWS

In Brief

HOSPITAL RED INK

Cabinet today to discuss tackling 2-billion-euro debt to suppliers The Inner Cabinet is today due to discuss way of curbing state hospital debts, estimated at 2 billion euros, and establishing a new system of procurement. Yesterday, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said the debt, which state hospitals are believed to have amassed since May 2001 «is yet another heavy legacy from the mismanagement of the previous government,» Alogoskoufis said. And, according to ministry data, the debt is increasing at a rate of 200 million euros every three months. NIGHTCLUB PARKING Athens municipality issues final deadline on car spaces Athens nightclubs have six months in which to ensure that they offer parking spaces for customers, municipal authorities said yesterday. The municipal council will propose the reform of a legislative provision requiring that parking spaces be located within 100 meters of the club premises – a provision which has impeded the implementation of legislation, authorities said. Very few of the city’s nightclubs, which attract hundreds of customers, have parking facilities. As a result, club employees or affiliated entrepreneurs park the cars on pavements and in double or triple lines on major streets, charging their customers for the service. TUBERCULOSIS OUTBREAK Ten schoolchildren display symptoms A group of 10 schoolchildren from an elementary school in Mantoudi, Evia, yesterday displayed symptoms of tuberculosis, believed to have been contracted from their teacher who was recently diagnosed as a TB sufferer. The pupils, aged 11 to 12, were sent to the Aglaia Kyriakou Children’s Hospital in Athens for tests after testing positive in preliminary tests for TB at a local health center. Price lists An official list, including recommended prices for coffee, bottled water, taxi rides, vehicle hire and other goods and services, is to be circulated in various languages between June and September with the aim of protecting visitors from being overcharged, the Consumer Institute (INKA) said yesterday. The lists will be published in English, French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic, INKA said. ‘No GMOs’ Tests carried out on food products last year to determine whether their content corresponds to ingredients listed on the labeling did not reveal any traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) said yesterday. ELA trial A lawyer for Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) suspect Angeletos Kanas yesterday asked the Athens court trying five ELA suspects to ban Kanas’s ex-wife Sofia Kyriakidou – a key prosecution witness – from consulting notes during the hearing, charging that she had been receiving advice by mobile phone during breaks. Later, a spectator was arrested for disturbing the proceedings when her mobile phone rang. Despina Bourdakou claimed she had left her phone on intentionally to show that an electronic blocking system – used in the court to stop mobiles from ringing – was not in operation. Dogs poisoned Between 60 and 80 sheepdogs have been poisoned over the last month in the prefecture of Trikala, central Greece, shepherds complained during a meeting on Sunday with prefectural officials. Shepherds believe the culprits may be hunters who regard sheepdogs as a hindrance. The local hunting association denied the charges. Olympic preparations Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki yesterday briefed Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on the progress of preparations for the Olympics. Papariga expressed concern over the cost of preparations and the safety of workers on Olympic projects. Grenade accident An army bomb disposal expert received a minor leg injury yesterday morning while trying to conduct a controlled explosion on a live hand grenade outside a confectioner’s shop in central Lamia. The expert was called to the scene after an anonymous caller informed local police that a grenade had been planted in front of the store.