NEWS

In Brief

ATHENS TAXIS

No cabs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today after unionists reject minister’s offer There will be no taxis serving the streets of Athens between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. today as cabbies stage a work stoppage. Unionists representing Attica taxi drivers were unsatisfied with yesterday’s offer by Transport Minister Michalis Liapis of a 13.3 percent increase in flag charges, a 7 percent increase in normal rates and a 5.5 percent increase in night rates. Liapis also pledged to immediately set up five taxi ranks at busy junctions in the Greater Athens area. PANIONIOS PROBE UEFA looking into press claims of match fixing at game with Tbilisi team UEFA said yesterday that it has launched an investigation into allegations of soccer match-fixing surrounding a Group D match between Greece’s Panionios and Georgia’s FC Dynamo Tbilisi last Wednesday. Panionios won the match 5-2. The probe was being launched on the basis of media reports, UEFA said. AIR SPACE VIOLATIONS Turkish jets reappear in the Aegean Six formations of Turkish fighter jets yesterday violated Greek national air space in the central and northern Aegean 15 times. The 12 aircraft were chased off by Greek jets, and there were three simulated dogfights. Alexander movie A US movie about the life of Alexander the Great opened in Greece yesterday after a group of lawyers who had threatened to take legal action over references to the Macedonian king’s homosexuality dropped their opposition following a private viewing of the film late on Thursday. The lawyers concluded that the «innuendo» about the ancient warrior’s bisexuality in Oliver Stone’s «Alexander» was not offensive. Arms probe The president of a parliamentary investigative committee probing the purchase of arms by the previous PASOK government is to request an extension of the committee’s operation until January 14, it was revealed yesterday. Ioannis Tragakis requested the extension to allow six more witnesses, called by deputies of various political parties, to testify. Public works Athens prefectural authorities are to receive 485,000 euros to continue the regeneration of the Pedion tou Areos park in central Athens, according to a decision by Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias made public yesterday. Also yesterday, Souflias approved the release of 4 million euros for the completion of a sewage processing plant in Thessaloniki. Patras fines Patras chief Appeals Court prosecutor Anastassios Kanellopoulos yesterday ordered a preliminary investigation into 60 fines for traffic offenses issued to motorists in the Patras area that have been found to be forgeries. The probe is to determine whether the fines were issued legally and why they had not been paid. Embezzlement A Thessaloniki appeals court yesterday gave a 14-year jail sentence to the former director of a Social Security Foundation (IKA) branch in the city’s Evosmos district after finding Christos Papanikolaou guilty of embezzling 739,545 euros between 1995 and 2000. French connection There is to be a fillip in the teaching of French as a second foreign language in Greek schools and in cooperation between Greek universities and universities in French-speaking countries, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou said yesterday after meeting with General Secretary of the International Organization of Francophone Countries Abdou Diouf. Greece became a member of the organization last weekend. Kastanias free Greek seaman Costas Kastanias, who served 15 years of hard labor in Egyptian prisons for drug smuggling, was yesterday released from Korydallos Prison where he had been transferred to serve the rest of his life sentence. Raining shells Residents of the village of Palaiohorio in Ileia have complained to authorities after their roads and fields became littered with spent shell cases from airforce exercises being conducted overhead, the daily Ethnos reported yesterday.