NEWS

In Brief

GARBAGE WOES

Refuse set to pile up across country as street cleaners start 48-hour strike Garbage is set to pile up across the country over the next few days as street cleaners join other municipal employees in a 48-hour strike. The situation is expected to deteriorate further over the weekend, when garbage collection services are restricted. Protesters are calling for a basic salary of 1,100 euros per month. SCHOOL BUSES Reform imposes use of seat belts All school buses and tourist coaches transporting children to and from school or on excursions must henceforth be equipped with seat belts, according to a decision signed yesterday by Transport Minister Michalis Liapis. The decision, part of broader reforms to the highway code, will be strictly enforced from March 1, with offending drivers facing the loss of their licenses. It also applies to other vehicles taking schoolchildren on organized trips. The seat belts fitted into the vehicles must fulfill safety standards. Rapist released A Drama man convicted of two murders, four attempted murders and several rapes was yesterday granted a conditional release from Larissa jail where he has been for 22 years. Former reserve army officer Kyriakos Papachronis, who was given two life sentences and a 24-year jail sentence in 1982, is obliged to visit his local police station twice a month and to stay in Greece. It is believed he will settle in Larissa. On leaving jail, Papachronis said he had been «led astray by the ill judgment of youth and the utterly depraved company I kept.» Hero Athens salesman Polyvios Kossivas embraces Brazilian runner Vanderlei de Lima in Rio de Janeiro late on Tuesday. Kossivas rescued de Lima after a deranged former Irish priest attacked the runner as he led the marathon at the August Olympics. Kossivas was invited to Brazil’s top sports awards ceremony to receive an award for his intervention and to meet de Lima in a formal setting. De Lima managed to win the bronze medal at the Athens Games despite losing valuable time. Chicken poisoning A 50-year-old Cretan woman was charged yesterday with feeding chicken laced with pesticide to her husband and five children on Monday. Maria Dimitroulaki’s five children are still undergoing treatment for poisoning, three of them in an intensive-care unit. her husband was discharged. ‘Migrants’ handbook’ The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece yesterday decided to publish a special edition of extracts from the Bible and other holy texts in English, Russian and Albanian for immigrants in Greece. The book is to be called «The Migrants’ Handbook.» Blind love? The case of a 45-year-old married man charged with prostituting his 29-year-old blind lover is to be heard tomorrow after a Thessaloniki court accepted the woman’s request for an extension so she can «prove» she had been voluntarily working to gather money for an operation. The woman yesterday asked the court for extra time to acquire documents from a US health clinic allegedly stating that her disability is curable. Military affairs Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos yesterday had talks with NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe John Reith, who is in charge of the EU’s peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. Reith, on a two-day visit to Athens, also met with the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Giorgos Antonakopoulos, who briefed him on Greece’s cooperation with NATO and the EU. Farmers withdraw Farmers from Serres yesterday lifted a blockade at the Promachona Road junction after Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos agreed to meet them today to discuss their demands. It was the third day that farmers had blocked key road junctions with their tractors, protesting low crop prices and high debts.