NEWS

In Brief

HASH HAUL

Border patrol arrests woman with 140 kilos of marijuana in car Border police on a routine patrol some 90 kilometers from the northern town of Kastoria arrested a woman yesterday after finding 140 kilos of marijuana in the car she was driving. The officers searched the vehicle after stopping the woman near the village of Eptahori, close to the Albanian border. They found three sacks and two hold-alls packed with 140 bundles of the drug. The woman, whose identity has not been made public, said she was transporting the marijuana for two men she had never met, according to police. HOSPITAL STRIKE Doctors want more hirings, funds State hospitals will operate on skeleton staffs today due to a 24-hour doctors’ strike. Protesters are seeking more hirings, better pay and an increase in state funding for health. Syntagma Syntagma Square was reopened to the public yesterday as Athens municipal authorities inaugurated a series of Christmas decorations and installations on the central square. Together with the city’s main Christmas tree and a cluster of prefabricated confectioners’ stalls in the shape of vaguely central European rustic houses, a merry-go-round will operate on the square. Later in the month, an ice-skating rink will open outside Zappeion Hall. An oversized metal Christmas tree billed as the tallest in Europe that had been installed in the square in recent years is due to spend its second season in the main square of the Peloponnesian town of Argos this year. Literature prizes The 2004 state Grand Prize for Literature has been awarded to Costas Stergiopoulos, the Culture Ministry announced yesterday. The poetry prize went to Antonis Fostieris, and the novel award to Vassilis Alexakis. TV crew attacked A journalist and camera crew from state television channel ET-3 were attacked yesterday by a group of hooded youths as they left the grounds of Thessaloniki Polytechnic. Nobody was injured but the crew’s car suffered minor damage. The crew had been covering a student function at the polytechnic, whose rector said that the incident was not representative of the school’s staff and students. KTEL increases Ticket prices for intercity KTEL buses will rise by 7 percent as of January 1, 2005, according to an agreement signed by Transport Minister Michalis Liapis yesterday. The fare increase applies to both local and long-distance routes. Bus owners had been asking for a price rise of at least of at least 15 percent. Turkish violations Four formations of Turkish fighter jets flew over the Aegean yesterday without submitting flight plans and in eight cases breached Greek national air space, Defense Ministry sources said. In all cases, the Turkish jets were chased off by Greek fighters and in two cases, planes engaged in simulated dogfights. Sailors safe Some 18 sailors aboard a tanker stranded overnight at sea yesterday near the island of Astypalaia in the Dodecanese were in good health, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The seamen were on board the Turkish-flagged ship which was traveling from Israel to Slovenia when it suffered engine failure. Lesvos migrants A coast guard patrol picked up five illegal immigrants yesterday morning just off Lesvos shores in a rubber dinghy which they had rowed over from Turkey, the Merchant Marine Ministry said.