NEWS

In Brief

ATHENS MOSQUE

Church opposes cultural center, not place of worship, archbishop says Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday said that the Greek Church did not oppose plans to build a mosque in Athens but did object to a center for propagating Islamic culture. «The Church is not opposed to the construction of a mosque. It is opposed to the establishment of an Islamic Cultural Center,» he said. The archbishop also drew attention to objections by residents of Paeania, where the mosque is to be built. «It is not that they don’t want Muslims to have a place of worship but they believe their district is not populated mostly by Muslims,» he said. OLYMPIC DOCTORS Multilingual surgeons available for set fee during Olympics A network of 300 doctors, many multilingual, will be offering their services to foreigners visiting the capital for the Olympics and Paralympics for a set fee, the Athens Medical Association said. Patients visiting doctors at their surgery will pay a fee of 70 euros and those requesting house calls will be charged 90 euros, the association said. A guide containing more details about the service (in English, French, German, Italian or Russian) will be available in hotels and public service offices. More information can be found on www.isathens2004.com. RENA VLACHOPOULOU Popular comic actress dies at 81 The much-loved actress and singer Rena Vlachopoulou, best known for her comic roles, died yesterday at the age of 81. Vlachopoulou died of heart failure two weeks after being admitted to the Athens Medical Center for stomach surgery. The vivacious, abrasive Corfu-born performer had starred in dozens of films over the course of a career spanning more than half a century. She will have a state funeral in Athens tomorrow. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said, «With her authentic talent, she defined an era.» Hotel workers Staff of hotels in Athens and Piraeus yesterday reiterated threats to strike during the Olympic Games if their wages are not doubled. The Association of Athens and Piraeus Hotel Workers has already called a strike for next Wednesday. «If our demands are not accepted, we will most likely continue our protests,» a union statement said. The workers want a monthly minimum salary of around 500 euros to be doubled, and are also pressing for an Olympic bonus deal and better working conditions. Australian concerns Australian Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday that he was concerned about the safety of his country’s 482-member Olympic team during the Athens Games. «I don’t think anybody wants the Australian team not to go… but equally, people worry about the safety of the team,» Howard said in a local radio interview. «At the moment we are satisfied (with security arrangements) but I have to say I can’t guarantee there won’t be an incident, though. It’s a very awkward situation,» he said. EKAB action Unionists representing National First Aid Center (EKAB) staff are today due to decide whether to continue with strike action after Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis offered to pay them overtime for extra hours worked over the Olympics. EKAB staff, who include ambulance workers and paramedics, had threatened to strike during the Olympics if their demands were not met. Extradition request Authorities in Serbia-Montenegro yesterday lodged a formal request for the extradition of a key suspect in the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic who was arrested in Thessaloniki earlier this month. Dejan Milenkovic, 34, is one of 13 people being tried for the March 2003 murder of Djindjic. He had been at large for 15 months before his arrest. Hash trawl Thessaloniki coast guard officers yesterday arrested a 45-year-old man after discovering nearly half a kilo of cannabis on a Croatian-flagged ship at the city’s port, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The ministry gave no details about the remaining crew members of the Pecine.