Privacy watchdog says security airship does not need its permission Greece’s Data Protection Agency said yesterday that police did not need to get a permit from the privacy watchdog in order to operate an airship that has been rented to keep an eye on Athens with high-tech surveillance equipment during the Olympics. The dirigible will provide the police Olympic Security Center with real time images which will be kept on file for seven days before being destroyed. Strong winds kept the airship grounded for a second day yesterday. PIRAEUS ACCESS Passengers for Argo-Saronic ferries will not be affected by August ban People wanting to board ferries to islands in the Argo-Saronic Gulf during the month of August will not be affected by a ban on access to the port which is being implemented as part of security measures for the Olympics, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. According to restrictions made public by the Piraeus Port Authority earlier this week, individuals and vehicles will only be able to access the port area in August if they have tickets for travel or special passes. VARTHOLOMAIOS Patriarch warns Turkey over orphanage Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios has told Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper that he will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if the Turkish government tries to claim a Greek orphanage on the islet of Pringipos off Istanbul, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. Vartholomaios also demanded that the debate over the possible reopening of a seminary on the nearby islet of Halki be resolved by December, the ANA said. Insurance The Association of Insurance Companies yesterday appealed to Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis to introduce stricter penalties for traffic violations with the aim of reducing road accidents. Statistics show a disturbing increase in the number of road accidents on highways caused by drivers carrying out illegal U-turns, which often result in the offending vehicles veering into oncoming traffic, the president of the association’s committee against road accidents, Giorgos Skourtis, said in a memorandum to Liapis. The current imposition of a small fine is not enough to discourage offenders, Skourtis said. Kifissou Avenue Traffic will be disrupted on Kifissou Avenue from today as road resurfacing work gets under way on the sections between Lenorman and Rossignol bridges and between Treis Gefyres and the Metamorphosis junction, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday. The works are to be carried out on a 24-hour basis for the next seven days, the ministry said. Olympic Village Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos is to officially hand over the Olympic Village to Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, ATHOC said yesterday. Around 16,000 athletes and officials are to be accommodated at the newly constructed complex in Thracomakedones, on the northern outskirts of Athens. Ambulance protest Ambulance staff and paramedics in Thessaloniki yesterday threatened to go on strike during the Olympics unless they receive a special bonus being given to police and other security services for forgoing vacations to be on standby during the Games. Chinese ties Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis yesterday discussed Olympic security and information-sharing for the 2008 Games in Beijing with Chinese Ambassador to Greece Tang Zhenqi, the ministry said. Skandalakis told the ambassador that Greek authorities would do all they could to help the Chinese prepare for the 2008 Games. ELA trial Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) suspect Irini Athanassaki yesterday denied any involvement in the terror group’s activities. She told the court that she was only familiar with one of the four other defendants, Constantinos Agapiou, with whom she was friendly. Athanassaki also claimed that she had never seen the trial’s chief prosecution witness Sofia Kyriakidou – the former wife of ELA suspect Angeletos Kanas.