Attica prepares for piles of refuse as street cleaners begin 48-hour strike Garbage is set to pile up across the streets of Athens over the next few days as street cleaners launch a 48-hour strike today. The situation is expected to deteriorate further over the weekend, when garbage collection services are restricted. Street cleaners will be joining other municipal employees calling for a basic salary of 1,100 euros. They are also protesting against the creation of a new waste-recycling plant at Fyli in western Attica. HOSPITAL INVESTIGATION Minister wants damage assessed; prosecutor launches probe Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis yesterday appealed to the Technical Chamber of Greece to assess the damage sustained by Athens’s Attiko Hospital following Monday’s heavy rainfall. Earlier yesterday, Athens chief prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos ordered a preliminary investigation into what caused the damage at the Attiko following press reports about alleged defects in the construction of the hospital building. Kaklamanis said that hospitals in Alexandroupolis and Serres had also been damaged. ACROPOLIS PROTEST Ministry workers block access Culture Ministry contract workers yesterday staged a protest rally outside the Acropolis, blocking entrance to tourists for half an hour. The workers, who are demanding permanent posts, criticized the announcement of a new ministry program offering work experience to hundreds of unemployed skilled laborers, archaeologists and conservators while colleagues of theirs have either lost their jobs or face redundancy. Cypriot deadlock A committee of permanent representatives of European Union member states in Brussels yesterday failed to approve a package of economic support for Turkish Cypriots and to endorse direct trade between the EU and the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus. As a result, the issues are not expected to be debated at the next summit of EU foreign ministers. Dangerous fodder Thousands of tons of agricultural produce and animal fodder deemed a risk to public health have been confiscated by customs officials in Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Patras, the Development Ministry revealed yesterday. Albanian jails Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras is to discuss plans to transfer some 2,000 Albanian convicts from Greece to jails in their homeland with Albania’s Deputy Justice Minister Anastas Duro who is due to arrive in Athens on Monday, the ministry said yesterday. Greece is to fund the construction of new jails in Albania to accommodate the influx of Albanians. Officer suspended A senior navy officer has been suspended for six months after being found responsible for a 250,000-euro deficit at the fleet headquarters last month, according to a decision by Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos which was made public yesterday. The officer’s case has also been forwarded to a military court. Karnezis short-listed Greek-born, British-based author Panos Karnezis, whose 2003 collection of short stories «Little Infamies» received rave reviews, has been short-listed for the 2004 Whitbread Awards for his first novel, «The Maze,» it was announced yesterday. The winners of the prestigious UK literary award will be announced on January 6.