NEWS

In Brief

ANTI-WAR PROTEST

Demonstration tomorrow against visit by US secretary of state Anti-war activists and the small leftist Synaspismos party, backed by Greece’s largest labor organization, have scheduled a demonstration in central Athens at 7 p.m. tomorrow to protest US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit for the Olympic closing ceremony. The protesters will march from the Old University building on Panepistimiou Street to the US Embassy. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said «there is no issue of security» because of the march, adding that people had a constitutional right to demonstrate. «I would like to believe that organizers of such protests will keep in mind that this is an especially critical period for the country in the middle of the Olympics Games and that they will protect the image of Greece that has been perfect so far,» he said. PUBLIC WORKS Bidding process to change, more self-financing planned, minister says The government is scrapping the complicated «mathematical formula» introduced by the former PASOK government for the awarding of major public construction projects. The formula was widely condemned as favoring specific big companies through its complicated procedure of evaluating bids. Projects will now go to the lowest bidder, according to legislation presented yesterday by Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias. This will also encourage self-financed projects, like a new subterranean roadway under Thessaloniki’s bay and a bridge across the Malliakos Gulf in central Greece that will slash about 80 minutes’ driving time between Athens and Thessaloniki, and improvements to the Corinth-Patras highway. FLYING HIGH Albanian-born student heads for US Odysse Cenai, a young Albanian immigrant who became a test case of tolerance and intolerance in Greece twice as a school pupil, received one of the highest scores on this year’s university entrance exams. He scored 19,100 points, when the top score was 19,182 and was accepted into the mechanical engineering school of Thessaloniki University. Twice, as the top student of junior high and then senior high, Cenai was at the center of a national storm when local protesters prevented him from carrying the Greek flag in school parades, an honor granted to each school’s top student. Cenai told Ta Nea yesterday that he would be taking up a scholarship to study science at Boston College in the United States. Polish president President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland met yesterday with Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Lambropoulos at the artillery base at Megalo Pefko, west of Athens, during the Polish leader’s visit to 52 of his country’s troops who are part of a NATO battalion specialized in dealing with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The battalion is here to provide help during the Olympics if necessary. «Our country will never forget this contribution, which will strengthen the historic bonds of friendship between our two people,» Lambropoulos said. Run aground Coast guard from the southern Cretan town of Ierapetra yesterday detained 46 people who were aboard a Turkish-flagged yacht that ran aground near the port yesterday. Two trawlers were used to pull the yacht free and it was taken over by coast guard officers who sailed it into port. Three Turks, aged 35, 34 and 30 are to be charged today with immigrant smuggling. There were 39 men, six women and a child on board the 16.5-meter Sultanim. Holdup Two armed gunmen held up a National Bank branch in central Thessaloniki yesterday morning and made off by motorcycle with 19,000 euros and the guard’s handgun. The robbery took place at the branch on the corner of Vas. Olgas and Markou Botsari at 8.15 a.m. Serb visit Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will meet with Serb President Boris Tadic at 10 a.m. in Athens today, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday. Killer tracks Two people were killed in separate incidents when they tried to cross unmanned train tracks in Athens yesterday morning. Sever Pasa, 65, was killed on Constantinoupoleos St in Votanikos at 6.55 a.m. A short time later, an elderly woman, whose identity had not been established, was killed near the Athens station.