NEWS

In Brief

POLICE PAY DEAL

Gov’t recognizes job as dangerous, gives 2 percent salary increase The Public Order Ministry said yesterday that it had satisfied demands by police officers and other security services staff in the recognition of their profession as dangerous and a health risk. According to a ministry decision, officers of the rank of second lieutenant and above will receive a 2 percent rise in their basic salary for four years as of September 1 next year. Also, five-year pensionable service is being extended to all personnel, irrespective of their time in service. Security services staff had planned to demonstrate on the matter outside police headquarters on central Alexandras Avenue on Wednesday, but called off the protest after receiving pay pledges. POLYTECHNIC VIOLENCE Five youths charged with rioting in Wednesday’s annual protest march An Athens prosecutor yesterday formally charged five youths arrested on Wednesday during the march from the Polytechnic to the US Embassy in memory of the 1973 student revolt. The suspects were charged with breaching the peace and attempting to inflict unprovoked bodily harm. SMUGGLERS SENTENCED Four jailed for shipping 116 migrants An Ileia court has convicted 11 people in connection with the attempted smuggling of 116 illegal immigrants intercepted off the western Peloponnese on Sunday, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Four of the smugglers were sentenced to two years and two months in jail and seven are to be deported, the ministry said. Consumer Ombudsman Draft legislation tabled in Parliament yesterday by the government paves the way for the creation of a Consumer Ombudsman. The chief role of the ombudsman would be to resolve consumer complaints. Minority rights Europe’s top human rights body yesterday called upon Greece to develop legislation forbidding the discrimination of minorities in Greece. Anti-Semitism has risen in Greece and Gypsies have been neglected by the government, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance charged. Cabbies rebuffed The government has made no agreement with taxi drivers that allows them to remove receipt dispensers from their cabs, Deputy Economy Minister Adam Regouzas said yesterday. This followed claims by taxi unionists to have received the government’s assurance that a scheme to tax cabbies on the basis of their income – which the previous PASOK government introduced last year along with the receipt dispensers – would be replaced by a flat tax rate. Ex-mayor murdered An unidentified gunman shot dead a former mayor in his office in Vonitsa, in the central prefecture of Aitoloacarnania on Wednesday night while neighbors were watching the national soccer team play Kazakhstan, police said yesterday. Passers-by said they heard sounds that seemed to be gunshots but thought nothing of them, according to police. The former mayor of Anaktorio, Spyros Asimakis, had been due in court yesterday in connection with his 1986-1990 term as mayor, police said, without elaborating. Patras museum A new archaeological museum is to be built in Patras, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis said yesterday. The project is to be financed with 21.5 million euros in European Union funds and is due for completion in April 2006, Tatoulis said. Alcohol dependency Around 200,000 Greeks are believed to have a problem with alcohol dependency, according to Health Ministry figures made public yesterday. Nearly a third (30 percent) of youngsters have driven under the influence of alcohol at least once, according to the ministry, which added that weekly consumption of alcohol among European Union states is highest in Greece and Italy. Cyprus de-mining Two Greek-Cypriot mines were destroyed in controlled explosions in the Cyprus buffer zone yesterday, marking the beginning of an EU-funded project to remove hundreds of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines from across the zone. (Page 2)