US State Department removes Greece from its blacklist The US State Department yesterday removed Greece from its blacklist of countries failing to adequately fight sex trafficking. «Greece was reassessed as Tier 2 in September 2003 after releasing significant funds to NGOs for prevention and assistance, and taking targeted law enforcement actions,» the department’s annual report on human trafficking said. «It is placed on Tier 2 Watch List this year for failure to finalize promised actions, most notably regarding protection,» the report added. UNEQUAL OPPORTUNITIES Court ruling rejects decree equating technical colleges and universities A 1994 presidential decree that foresees equal employment opportunities for civil engineering graduates from state technical colleges (TEI) and universities (AEI) is illegal and unconstitutional, the Council of State ruled in a decision made public yesterday. «Total equation on a professional level leads to a violation of the Constitution, which requires that AEIs are distinguished from other schools…» the Greek Technical Chamber (TEE) commented yesterday after the ruling was made public. ROADWORKS Athens, Artemision tunnel affected Athens-bound traffic will be disrupted near the Helexpo junction on Kifissias Avenue today and tomorrow as work gets under way to build a pedestrian crossing at the Hygeia Hospital. Traffic will be diverted via the Spyrou Loui exit between midnight and 5.30 a.m. when the work will be in progress. Also, the Artemision tunnel on the Corinth-to-Tripolis highway in the Peloponnese will be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. each night until Friday morning, starting today. Traffic will be diverted via the old Tripolis-Argos national road. Power cut Parts of central Athens, including Syntagma Square and Plaka, were yesterday left without electricity for nearly four hours after a problem with an underground cable caused a power cut. The power cut was due to an «unforeseeable problem» with a cable and had not been caused by poor maintenance of the power grid, The Associated Press quoted officials at the state-run power company as saying. Fraudsters arrested Two men have been arrested for posing as Social Security Foundation (IKA) employees in order to exact hundreds of euros from bar owners, police in Attica said yesterday. The two suspected fraudsters, aged 48 and 28, threatened to conduct an inspection on a bar in Pangrati unless the bar owner paid them 600 euros, according to police who caught the duo in the act of collecting the cash in pre-marked bills. The same two men had exacted 400 euros from a cafe owner in the same district earlier that day, police said. Ferry birth A young woman from Samothrace yesterday gave birth on a ferry which had been en route to her native island from Lemnos. A doctor from Samothrace aboard the Nissos Limnos helped Eleni K. to give birth to a son. The ferry docked at Alexandroupolis shortly afterward and mother and child were transferred to the maternity clinic of the port’s main hospital along with the father. Both were in good health yesterday, doctors said. Bank robbery Masked intruders stole 24,000 euros in an armed raid on a bank in Thessaloniki yesterday. The gunmen fled on a motorcycle they had parked outside the bank. Hash haul Border guards in Kastoria confiscated more than 33 kilos of cannabis that had been hidden in bushes in the agricultural district of Ieropigi, police said yesterday. The drugs, which had been packed into rucksacks, had been spotted a few days ago but left untouched so police could ambush whomever collected them. They were confiscated after no one appeared. Jet-ski death A jet-skier, who was killed on Sunday after he collided with a 7-meter speedboat off the island of Salamina, was yesterday identified by the Merchant Marine Ministry as 40-year-old Aristides Bakopoulos. The three people who had been aboard the speedboat emerged from the collision unscathed.