Gov’t, archbishop pledge readiness to send humanitarian aid to victims Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis said Athens was ready to send humanitarian aid to help victims of the 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Turkey earlier yesterday, killing 18 people. A C-130 transport plane is on standby to deliver medical supplies and a first aid team to Turkey, Stylianidis said. Also yesterday, Archbishop Christodoulos sent telegrams to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing the Church of Greece’s willingness to send humanitarian aid to Turkey. SOCCER PASSPORTS Prefectural services open today so fans can attend Portugal encounter Prefectural passport-issuing services in Athens and Thessaloniki will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today to allow soccer fans to apply for or renew passports so that they can attend the Euro 2004 soccer championship final between Greece and Portugal in Lisbon tomorrow. Applicants must submit two photographs, proof of payment of a special fee to the tax office, an old passport (if they have one), personal identification card as well as a validated photocopy of it, and a utility bill or tax statement. ATHENS TRAFFIC DISRUPTIONS Center and coastal suburbs affected Repaving work on central Athinas St will cause disruptions from Omonia to Ermou St until July 14, from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. daily. Nighttime work on Vas. Constantinou, Ardittou and Kallirois avenues are also expected to cause problems until July 14. Traffic on the section of Vari-Koropi Ave between Kalymnou Ave and the Vari Church will be disrupted until July 10 due to work. And traffic will also be disrupted on the coastal Karamanli-Alkyonidon Ave in the suburb of Voula until July 12. Bike trade-in As of Monday, owners of motorcycles and scooters with engines of up to 300 cubic centimeters that have been on the road for more than 10 years will be able to trade in their bikes for a certificate offering them exemption from classification tax and road tax when buying a new model. The old bikes should be handed in to offices of the Public Property Management Organization (ODDY). The tax breaks are part of new legislation aiming to replace old and noisy bikes with more environmentally friendly models. Pope invitation Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios said in a Vatican Radio interview broadcast yesterday that he had invited Pope John Paul II to visit the Istanbul-based patriarchate and that the pontiff had seemed willing to make the trip, the Associated Press reported yesterday. «My impression is that the pope was very happy to accept the invitation. Naturally, he will have to talk with his aides but his first reaction was positive,» AP cited the patriarch as saying. The pope visited Vartholomaios’s predecessor, Dimitrios, in Istanbul in 1979. Trade crackdown A cross-party government committee, chaired by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, yesterday decided to establish an interministerial work group to crack down on illegal traders and smugglers. The group, to be established following a joint ministerial decision, will aim to define weaknesses in existing legislation and propose measures for tackling them. Deputy spokesman The former president of the Foreign Press Association, Evangelos Antonaros, was yesterday appointed deputy to government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. Antonaros will be involved in promoting the Olympic Games. Fewer complaints Citizens’ complaints about the high cost of living were down by 15.8 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, the Consumer Institute (INKA) said yesterday. However, high prices remain the major grievance of citizens, INKA said. Turkish wedding Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited Greek PM Costas Karamanlis to attend his daughter’s wedding, which is due to take place soon, spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos confirmed yesterday.