NEWS

In Brief

DEFENSE PROBE

Former arms procurements chief testifies to Parliament committee Former Defense Ministry General Director for Armaments Yiannis Sbokos is to testify today before a parliamentary committee probing arms deals carried out by the previous PASOK government. Sbokos is the first of a circle of politicians due to testify before the committee, including ex-defense ministers Akis Tsochadzopoulos and Yiannis Papantoniou. OPENING TIMES Extended store hours from Dec. 17 Athens retailers yesterday announced extended store hours in the countdown to Christmas. Shops will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday December 17, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday December 18, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday December 19. They will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday December 20 to Thursday December 30 (inclusive) except for Friday 24 (Christmas Eve) when they will close at 6 p.m. On Friday December 31, stores will close at 5 p.m. All stores will be closed on Christmas Day, and on January 1-3. Airport strike Flight delays are expected again at Athens International Airport today as security staff are set to continue striking for a fifth day. Toy warning The Consumer Institute (INKA) yesterday warned consumers buying Christmas gifts for children to watch out for imitation versions of popular toys that may not meet safety standards. Shoppers should look out for the CE safety mark. INKA also called upon government and local authorities to step up inspections so that substandard products can be removed from shelves. INKA also warned consumers to shop around, as price differences for a single product can reach 81 percent. Olympic venues A draft bill tabled in Parliament yesterday foresees the allocation of armed forces staff to guard Olympic venues. Film awards Pandelis Voulgaris’s «Brides» yesterday won the first prize for Greek films competing in the annual Thessaloniki Film Festival, and another nine awards. The second prize and awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor went to «Rakushka,» by Foteini Siskopoulou. Alexander appeal An Athens court will today hear a suit by a group of 25 Greek lawyers to block the screening of a US film about the life of Alexander the Great if it contains references to the famous Greek warrior’s alleged homosexuality, the Eleftheros Typos reported yesterday. Disabled protest Representatives of a disabled rights group yesterday staged a protest outside the Education Ministry, asking the government to improve schools for children with special needs. The group submitted a petition to the ministry, complaining about the inadequate infrastructure and staff in special needs schools. It noted that only 15,000 disabled children – 7 percent of the 200,000 listed as disabled – attend such schools. University strike University professors yesterday called a 24-hour strike for December 10, protesting underfunding and plans to establish private universities. Soccer violence Four fans of Panathinaikos soccer club were injured following clashes with supporters of rival AEK in the Athenian district of Zografou early yesterday morning. A local branch of the fast-food retailer Everest was severely damaged during the clashes, which were instigated by AEK fans who then fled on scooters, according to store staff. There were no arrests.