NEWS

In Brief

NARCOTICS – Government announces five-year action plan for ‘national priority’ Declaring that the fight against narcotics is a an issue that is a national priority, Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday announced a five year National Action Plan aimed at reducing the demand for narcotics, cracking down on the supply and tripling spending to deal with prevention and treatment. One of the targets, Simitis said, is to develop an infrastructure and programs for deterrence and prevention, so that the whole population can be covered, especially schools. There must be a continual campaign on this issue. GM products Greeks are most opposed to modified foodstuffs Greeks are more opposed to genetically modified (GM) products than any other EU citizens, according to a new Eurobarometer survey which showed 93.3 percent rejecting them -10 percent higher than last year. The pro-GM lobby has actually intensified consumer rejection of GM food, with educated consumers even more negative, the survey said, adding that 85.9 percent of Europeans want more information about GM foods, while 70.9 percent reject them outright. Meanwhile, a new consumer guide to GM products, published yesterday by Greenpeace, shows food manufacturers attempts to respond to consumer concern about GM produce. Only four companies listed in the guide are unable to guarantee that no GM ingredients will be used in eight of their products – mostly chewing gum and seed oil – while at least 16 companies have managed since last year to meet criteria guaranteeing the absence of such ingredients, a Greenpeace spokesman said. PRISON BRAWL Interethnic fight at Korydallos Two Romanian nationals were hospitalized and 15 inmates slightly injured when a fierce brawl broke out in Wing C of Athens’s Korydallos Prison early yesterday morning. Prison officials found 70 homemade guns after breaking up the scuffle, which started between Kurdish and Russian prisoners and escalated as other prisoners took sides, including Romanians. It was not clear what caused the fight. Journalists strike. Journalists have been called upon to join a nationwide industry strike today between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., following a joint decision by unions to continue their protest over a spate of recent sackings. Journalists will meet at the Akadimos Theater at 1 p.m.. ID cards. Archbishop Christodoulos said yesterday following a meeting with Education Minister Petros Efthimiou that his position on the issue of identification cards remains unchanged. This thorny issue was not discussed in the meeting. Christodoulos clashed with the government this summer over ID cards, which the archbishop says should include the carrier’s religious beliefs. Neo-Nazi arrest. Police in Amaliada, northwestern Peloponnese, have arrested an Austrian neo-Nazi activist wanted by police in Austria since 1999, when he escaped while serving a two-year prison sentence for neo-Nazi activities, the Austrian Foreign Ministry confirmed yesterday. Karl Polacek, 67, who has five previous convictions for neo-Nazi crimes in Germany, was head of the ultra-right Freiheitliche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei of Germany’s Lower Saxony region and is thought to have instigated several acts of neo-Nazi violence at the beginning of the 1990s. Polacek was arrested after Greek authorities received an anonymous tipoff. Euro-cabs. Taxi meters will display fares in euros as of March 1, leaders of the Greek taxi drivers’ unions agreed yesterday with Transport Ministry officials. In January and February, taxi drivers will display a board with the euro/drachma exchange rate. New courts. Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday visited the site where the Administrative Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance will be based from January 2002. The courts, currently located on Sophocleous Street, will function at the new site in Athens’s Ambelokipi district from January 7. US visit. Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday met with US Ambassador Thomas Miller to discuss preparations for Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s visit to the USA next month. The agenda for Simitis’s meeting with President George W. Bush on January 10 includes developments in the Balkans and the Middle East, as well as the thorny issue of the European defense force.