NEWS

In Brief

FIRST-AID STRIKE

Ambulance crews back to work after minister meets their pay demands Attica National First Aid Center (EKAB) workers called off their strike late on Wednesday in response to a new pay offer from Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis. Kaklamanis offered the workers – who include ambulance staff and paramedics – a 40-euro monthly «readiness» bonus from September, which will rise to a 50-euro, inflation-indexed bonus from January 2005. He also promised that staff would be paid for overtime during the Olympics. EKAB workers, who staged six 24-hour strikes over the past month, had threatened walkouts during the Games. NERANTZIOTISSA STATION New link between electric railway and suburban railway opens today The new Nerantziotissa station, which connects the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) and the suburban railway line between Larissa Station and Athens International Airport, is due to open to the public today. Located near the Olympic Stadium in Maroussi, Nerantziotissa station is the 24th station on the ISAP route. ZEPPELIN SUIT Ruling postponed in privacy case An Athens court yesterday postponed until next week a ruling on a request by a civil rights group to ground the Olympic security zeppelin floating over Athens because it allegedly violates privacy rights. Government spokesman Thedoros Roussopoulos said every possible effort was being made to safeguard citizens’ privacy. He added that the operation of the airship was being monitored by the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data. Theodorakis ill Composer Mikis Theodorakis, 79, was recovering in the Athens Evangelismos Hospital yesterday after being rushed in late on Wednesday with an inflammation of the gall bladder. Road death A 10-year-old British boy was killed and two other Britons, aged 9 and 27, were seriously injured on Wednesday night when they were hit by a car while crossing a busy road in the Cretan resort of Malia. Police said their coach driver had let them off on the roadside instead of driving them to their hotel. Amar Phyll, 10, was killed instantly. Nikhil Ponja, 9, and Dean Ferrar, 27, were hospitalized. NATO handover Greek Commodore Ioannis Karaiskos yesterday assumed command of NATO’s Mediterranean fleet at the Marathi base near the Cretan port of Hania. Karaiskos had been due to take over command of NATO’s Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) from German Rear Admiral Hans-Jochen Witthauer in September but the transfer was brought forward because of the Olympics. Factory fire A fire that broke out yesterday morning in a paint factory in Megara, west of Athens, caused thousands of euros’ worth of damage before a team of 100 firemen and 30 fire engines extinguished it by noon. The blaze provoked a series of explosions but there were no injuries, as workers managed to flee the site in time. Pallini ring road The section of the Attiki Odos highway linking the western part of the Hymettus ring road with Marathonos Avenue and the rest of the road network in the Mesogeia area came into operation yesterday. The 1.2-kilometer stretch serves as a shortcut, circumventing the town of Pallini. Hunting season This year’s hunting season will begin on August 31 – 11 days later than the traditional launch on August 20 – so as not to interfere with security measures for the Olympics, Deputy Agricultural Development and Food Minister Evangelos Bassiakos said yesterday. The season will end on February 28. Mobile complaints Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos yesterday confirmed that certain mobile phone companies had written to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to complain that they are experiencing problems with their signal at Olympic venues. Roussopoulos said the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee had been informed about mobile reception in the International Broadcasting Center in Maroussi where the problem is apparently particularly bad.