NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPIC SECURITY

Public order minister insists there will be no armed foreign guards Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis yesterday emphasized that there would be no foreign armed guards in Greece during the Olympics. «For the umpteenth time, I want to stress categorically that this has never been an issue, is not an issue now and will not become one,» Voulgarakis said in response to reporters’ questions. He added: «Greece has invested the unprecedented amount of 1 billion euros in Olympic security. We have done whatever is humanly possible to safeguard the Games from any threat, exploiting international experience and cooperation on every level.» SITES CLOSED No access to Acropolis, agoras this morning due to strike Several major archaeological sites and museums – including the Acropolis, the Theater of Dionysus, the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, and the Acropolis and Ancient Agora museums – will be closed between 8.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. today as Culture Ministry contract workers stage a four-hour work stoppage. The protesters, who are due to march to the Interior Ministry at 10 a.m., are demanding permanent posts. TANKER CREW FREED Eleven sailors can leave Georgia Eleven sailors from a Greek-flagged fuel tanker, who have been in detention at the Georgian port of Poti for the past 10 days, have been allowed to return home while negotiations are continuing to secure the release of the other two crewmen, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday. The crew of the Vassileios 16 were detained by Georgian authorities for violating a fuel embargo imposed upon the secessionist province of Abkhazia. Georgian authorities say the tanker had delivered a consignment of oil to the port of Sukhumi in September 2002. Bomb claim A group called Popular Revolutionary Action yesterday claimed responsibility for planting a bomb outside a British car showroom near Athens’s old airport at Hellenikon on May 19, in a proclamation published in yesterday’s Eleftherotypia daily. After two warning calls (a first inspection failed to pinpoint the bomb) police defused the device. Iolas villa fire The Iolas villa in northeastern Athens, which belonged to art collector Alexandre Iolas who died in 1987, was damaged in a fire which broke out in the basement yesterday afternoon, municipal authorities said. The Culture Ministry will take measures to restrict access to the listed Aghia Paraskevi property, according to municipal officials, who said the blaze was probably started by children playing with firecrackers. Negotiations by the previous PASOK government with a view to purchasing the building came to nothing. Consumer protection The Development Ministry has prepared draft legislation for the establishment of a Consumer Ombudsman and has proposed the creation of an Institute of Consumer Policy, Minister Dimitris Sioufas said yesterday. He added that the government is planning reforms to existing legislation for consumer protection – with an emphasis on curbing the negative impact of goods and services on the mental health of minors. Robbers thwarted Two gunmen who fired at policemen outside a supermarket in Nea Erythraia on Tuesday night had been preparing to stage a robbery, officers said yesterday after finding tools used for break-ins and a revolver holster in a truck abandoned by the men. Officers had been shot at while approaching the Nissan in which the men had been waiting, on a by-road of the Athens-Lamia National Road. The men abandoned the truck and disappeared on foot following a car chase. Cafe bullies Two men who drew knives on a waiter at a cafe in the harbour of Piraeus when asked to pay their bill have been arrested, police said yesterday. The men, aged 42 and 22, had been at a cafe for ferry passengers at the Tzelepi quayside, police said. Promotion tour Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis today begins a five-day trip to the USA where she is to brief US media organizations on the progress of preparations for the Olympics and promote the Games.