NEWS

In Brief

TRANSPORT CHANGES

Lights at major junctions to favor trams after Olympics; bus route 111 to stop Athens’s new tram will continue to rely on traffic police until changes are made to the signaling system at seven major junctions, officials said yesterday. The changes, which will give priority to the tram, are due to come into effect after the Olympics. The arrival of the tram will mean that bus Route 111 – which covers exactly the same route as the tram between Palaio Faliron and central Athens – will be discontinued. Routes A1 and A2, linking the southern suburbs to Piraeus and to Athens respectively, might be subject to changes, officials added. STRAYS Minister refutes UK press allegations of exterminations before Olympics Deputy Agriculture Minister Alexandros Kontos yesterday rejected reports in the British press maintaining that Greek authorities would exterminate thousands of stray dogs before the Olympics. «We categorically refute the malicious, ill-intentioned and groundless reports aimed at discrediting our country ahead of the Olympics,» Kontos said. He drew attention to legislation introduced last year to punish animal abuse and to the government’s cooperation with municipal authorities in a program for sterilizing and tagging strays before their release or adoption. BUSES 200 new vehicles during the Games A total of 200 new buses will be serving Attica over the Olympics, Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said yesterday, noting that the first vehicles to be replaced will be those serving Piraeus, Drapetsona and Keratsini. The fleet will be boosted by another 200 or so buses in the second half of September, Liapis added. Of a total of 404 new buses due to be in operation by early fall, 283 will run on diesel and 121 will run on natural gas, he said. London visit Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis is due to meet with his British counterpart Jack Straw in London today for talks on Greece’s priorities in various areas of foreign policy, ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday. The issues of Cyprus, the Middle East and the Balkans are also on the agenda. Tram accidents Two people sustained minor injuries in separate tram accidents yesterday. The first occurred at 3.30 a.m. when a motorist drove onto tram lines on coastal Poseidonos Avenue near the Hellenikon depot. The second accident involved a motorcyclist. Killer committed A 24-year-old woman who admitted to murdering her 6-year-old brother is to be committed to the psychiatric clinic of Korydallos Prison, according to a joint decision by an investigating magistrate and prosecutor yesterday. Eleni Kalogyrou admitted to killing her brother Dionysis on Monday but did not explain why. She and her mother, who was released after defending herself on charges of exposing a child to danger, were both said to be suffering from psychological disorders. Necropolis State archaeologists have unearthed an entire necropolis near Paphos dating from between the fifth and seventh centuries AD, the Athens News Agency reported from Nicosia yesterday. The excavation near the village of Geroskipou is regarded as unique to Cyprus, the ANA said. ELA trial Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) suspect Michalis Kassimis yesterday denied any involvement in the terror group’s activities. He told the court trying five suspects that he was being persecuted as he is the brother of Christos Kassimis, the alleged founder of ELA who died in a 1977 shootout with police. He also reiterated his alibi for the night of the attempted murder of top labor union chief Giorgos Raftopoulos in 1987. Strike Public sector contract workers will stage a 24-hour strike and protest rally in Athens’s Klafthmonos Sq at 9 a.m. today, in demand of permanent hiring. Cyprus The new US envoy for Cyprus, Laura Kennedy, was due to arrive in Nicosia yesterday for talks with Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot officials. Kennedy, who was in Ankara earlier this week and is to visit Athens after Nicosia, succeeds Thomas Weston. Her visit is the first by a US official since the April 24 referenda.