NEWS

In Brief

KOUFODINAS AILING

Convicted N17 hit man fragile after 23 days of hunger strike Convicted November 17 hit man Dimitris Koufodinas was yesterday reported to be in an extremely fragile state following a 23-day hunger strike over detention conditions at Korydallos Prison. Koufodinas, who was transferred to G. Gennimatas state hospital last Wednesday, has suffered serious damage to vital organs as he refuses to be fed even intravenously, hospital sources said. Questioned about the hunger strike yesterday, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said, «There are international regulations governing detention conditions and international security measures determining the stance of the authorities.» PETROL COST Prices soar to an historic high, heating fuel to reach 43 cents Retail fuel prices in Greece hit an historic high yesterday as international oil prices continued to skyrocket. The average price for unleaded petrol climbed to 85.3 cents per liter – 1.07 percent up from last week – while heating fuel is expected to cost a minimum 43 cents per liter, 30 percent up from last year. ROAD TAX Banks taking 2005 fees from Nov. 1 Owners of cars and motorcycles can buy their road tax stickers for 2005 from banks from November 1 until December 31. Road tax charges have increased by 15 percent, according to legislation tabled in Parliament yesterday. Aegean patrols Coast guard patrols of the seas east of Lesvos and Chios have been stepped up following a decision by Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis to reduce the number of illegal immigrants reaching Greece by boat via Turkey, the ministry said yesterday. There are now a total of nine patrol vessels monitoring the coastlines of the two islands, the ministry said. Gastroenteritis Authorities yesterday ordered the chlorination of water in Nafpaktos after more than 150 people from the central Greek town and surrounding area were struck with gastroenteritis or severe dehydration. Five people were hospitalized and citizens were told to avoid drinking tap water until later today. Bulgarian visit President Costis Stephanopoulos and his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Parvanov yesterday agreed to work together to push forward plans to construct an oil pipeline linking the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis. Stephanopoulos, who is on an official visit to Sofia, stressed that the plans could not advance without the approval of Russia and said that both countries would attempt to convince the Russians of the pipeline’s benefits. Road deaths Two sisters, aged 15 and 21, and their 27-year-old friend were fatally injured yesterday morning when the car they were traveling in on the Thessaloniki-Kavala national road collided with a bus. Paschalis Yiouvanakis, who was driving, Ekaterini Mavrou, 21, and her sister, Nikoleta, 15, were killed instantly. The driver of the bus, which was transporting 40 soldiers, sustained minor injuries. It was unclear what caused the crash. Exports down Greek exports were down by 8.4 percent during the first six months of this year, the Panhellenic Association of Exporters said yesterday, noting that the largest drop was in agricultural produce. The value of exports fell to 5.85 million euros from 6.11 million euros in the first half of 2003. There was a 6.1 percent increase in imports, the association said. Ermou accident The National Bank of Greece yesterday expressed its regret for Sunday’s accident in which a pedestrian was struck on the head by a marble slab falling from a building belonging to the bank on Ermou Street in central Athens. The bank said it would investigate the causes of the accident and offer support to the family of Giorgos Liambas, 35, who was still in a serious condition in hospital yesterday. Eric Hobsbawm British historian Eric Hobsbawm, 87, yesterday received an honorary doctorate from Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University.