NEWS

In Brief

POLITICAL EXCHANGE

EU waiting for outcome of elections, ex-PM Simitis tells Stephanopoulos Former Prime Minister Costas Simitis, a member of Parliament after PASOK’s defeat in the March elections, met with President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday and discussed European and domestic politics. Simitis recently visited Germany, where he met with politicians and diplomats. OLYMPIC ROOF Final section of main stadium’s canopy starts sliding into place Construction workers yesterday started sliding into position the second half of the roof that will cover Athens’s main Olympic stadium in Maroussi. The east arch of the steel-and-glass structure, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was moved about 20 meters yesterday on special rails. It now needs to be moved another 44 meters into place, which officials believe should be accomplished by tonight. European Parliament President Pat Cox was briefed on preparations by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Athens 2004 head Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. ATHENS PROMOTION Bakoyannis starts tour in New York Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis yesterday announced the names of 140 New Yorkers who will be Olympic torchbearers, during a ceremony at Athens Square Park, in Astoria – the heart of the city’s Greek-American community – where the New York torch relay will begin on June 19. Bakoyannis, who is on a five-day trip to the USA to promote the Olympics, addressed the crowd alongside New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Today, she will meet Archbishop Demetrios. Strike chaos Traffic was disrupted in central Athens and flights canceled at the international airport yesterday as contract workers staged a 24-hour strike, demanding permanency. Nine Olympic Airlines flights were reportedly canceled, and roads were blocked as employees in the state and private sector abandoned their duties and marched through the city center. Church Members of the broader synod of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios are to convene today to discuss the restoration of communion with Archbishop Christodoulos, sources at the Istanbul-based Patriarchate said yesterday. Last week, the Church of Greece agreed to observe existing agreements on its relations with the Patriarchate in Istanbul, after defying it by electing three new bishops to contested sees in northern Greece. Ferry tickets Unilateral increases in ferry fares will not apply, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said yesterday, stressing that the fare ceiling imposed last December is still valid. He was responding to a question submitted in Parliament by Communist Party MP Ioannis Patsilinakos on reports of hikes in ferry charges. Landfill fire A team of 40 firefighters, with 11 fire engines, yesterday took just over an hour to extinguish a blaze which broke out near the Ano Liosia landfill shortly after midday. The cause of the fire, which started in a pile of recyclable materials near the landfill, was not clear. Agricultural trade Agricultural Development and Food Minister Savvas Tsitouridis and US Ambassador Thomas Miller yesterday discussed trade in agricultural products, the revision of common agricultural policy in the EU and negotiations in the sector by the World Trade Organization. After the meeting, Tsitouridis complained that agricultural issues do not get enough press coverage.