NEWS

In Brief

TAXI STRIKE TODAY

No cabs from 5 a.m. as drivers seek higher fares, bus lane access Taxis will be on strike from 5 a.m. today as cab drivers stage a nationwide 24-hour protest. Cabbies in Athens want to be able to use bus lanes and to charge higher fares. They are due to stage a march through the city center this morning. As of Saturday, and until January 7, a 90-cent Christmas bonus will apply to all cab fares. TEMPE CRASH Six to face criminal charges The driver suspected of causing Greece’s worst road accident is among six people who will face criminal charges over the deadly April 13, 2003 crash, following a Supreme Court decision yesterday. Dimitris Dollas’s truck collided with a coach in the Vale of Tempe killing 21 schoolchildren as plywood from the lorry sliced into their bus. In June, a regional council of appeals court judges in Larissa had ruled that Dollas should only face manslaughter charges, but the criminal section of the Supreme Court has now overturned this decision. Dollas and another five defendants, the owners and three employees of the plywood factory, will face charges of having shown «possible malice aforethought» in «breaching the security of transport» – a criminal offense which can carry a maximum life sentence. 2005 tickets Annual public transport tickets for 2005 are available for purchase today at Syntagma, Ethniki Amyna and Omonia metro stations as well as at the headquarters of the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) at 15 Metsovou Street. An all-year-round ticket for all forms of public transport, including the use of the suburban railway up to Doukissis Plakentias station, costs 380 euros. A ticket that does not include use of the suburban railway costs 350 euros and one for just buses and trolley-buses costs 175 euros. Presidential candidate Socialist former Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, 75, who was nominated by ruling New Democracy on Sunday as its candidate for the March presidential election, met opposition with PASOK leader George Papandreou yesterday. Papoulias served in the 1980s and 1990s under Papandreou’s father, party founder Andreas Papandreou. Christmas tree The main Athens Christmas tree will be lit up at 7.30 p.m. today in central Syntagma Square. Island protest Residents of the Aegean Islands together with regional and local authority officials from the archipelago are to stage a Piraeus protest this afternoon seeking better and cheaper ferry services. They will march from the Piraeus electric railway station to the Merchant Marine Ministry, which is also located in the port. Rally postponed The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the Civil Servants’ Union (ADEDY) postponed a rally due to be held yesterday at the Pedion tou Areos park in central Athens due to the KTEL bus hostage crisis. Demonstrations went ahead as planned in Thessaloniki. A new date for the Athens protest has not been set. Slow sex A 29-year-old man is being sought by Thessaloniki police for allegedly punching a prostitute after she got fed up waiting for him to finish and went off to satisfy another customer instead. The enraged client is then said to have snatched his 25 euro fee back and struck out at the prostitute and the brothel owner before fleeing the premises.