NEWS

In Brief

TRAM STARTS

Long-awaited route linking Athens to the coast operational from Monday The Athens tram, linking Athens with the coastal suburbs, is to be fully operational from 9 a.m. on Monday when travel will be free to the public. The tram will conduct its first official journey, from Hellenikon to Neo Faliron with track athletes Angelos Pavlakis and Pigi Devetzi and the national disabled children’s basketball team traveling in the first carriage. The tram, which is due to operate on a 24-hour basis, is to be extended to central Syntagma Square after the Olympics. RETURNING MIGRANTS Valid passport, residence permit will be necessary; deadline Sept. 30 Immigrants living in Greece who are planning to visit their homelands for the summer must bear certain valid documents on their return to Greece in order to avoid any problems upon re-entering the country, the Public Order Ministry said yesterday. They must have a valid passport, a residence permit (for whose renewal they have already applied) and a document certifying that they have applied for a new work permit or residence permit, the statement said. The deadline for their re-entry into the country is September 30. GAS STATIONS Hours to be extended over Olympics Gas stations across the country will extend their opening hours from July 20 to September 15 in order to fulfil the increased demand for fuel expected over the Olympic period, the Development Ministry said yesterday. Gas stations will operate from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Prefectural authorities would nominate certain stations to stay open throughout the night. Security checks Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos on Wednesday led inspections of early warning systems against aerial threats at air force units on Lemnos and at Hortiati, Thessaloniki. The Hortiati center forms a crucial part of the national security network for the Olympics, the ministry said. Barroso PASOK objects to the appointment of Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso as the new president of the European Commission as Barroso strove to bypass the EC and the United Nations in March 2003 so that the war in Iraq could go ahead, Euro MP Nikos Sifounakis said yesterday. Barroso had opposed the anti-war initiative being promoted by the Greek EU presidency at the time, Sifounakis told the European Parliament. Volvi quakes Two moderate quakes, measuring 4 and 3.9 on the Richter scale, struck the area of Apollonia, south of Lake Volvi, early yesterday but there were no reports of any damage or injuries. The first quake struck at 3.40 a.m. and the second at 7.10 a.m. Despite its proximity to the epicenter of a major 6.5-magnitude tremor that struck the area in 1978, seismologists said there was no cause for concern. Media strike There will be no newspapers available tomorrow and Sunday as journalists, printers and others involved in producing newspapers join in another 48-hour strike starting at 8 a.m. today. There will also be restricted news coverage on radio and television channels. Unionists are demanding the immediate signing of a new collective labor contract. Cyprus commemorations Greek Cypriots yesterday participated in commemorative events marking 30 years since the coup against Archbishop Makarios that triggered the Turkish invasion. Talks Greek and Turkish diplomats met in Athens yesterday for a 26th round of exploratory talks on bilateral issues, the Foreign Ministry said.