NEWS

In Breif

NEW YEAR TRANSPORT

Buses, trolleys, metro, electric railway to stop running an hour earlier tonight Buses, trolleys and the metro will stop running at 11 p.m. today. The Athens-Piraeus urban electric railway will stop at 11.30 p.m. Trams will run according to their normal schedule until 8 p.m. and then every 20 minutes until 10 p.m. before resuming their usual nighttime service. There will be no change to the timetables of the suburban railway and express buses to the airport. Tomorrow and on January 2, buses, trolleys and the metro will run according to their Sunday schedule. ATHENS CELEBRATIONS Concert from 11 p.m. at Kotzia Square, lavish firework display at midnight The capital’s official New Year’s celebrations kick off at 11 p.m. today at central Kotzia Square with a concert featuring singers Dionysis Savvopoulos, Nikos Portokaloglou and Giorgos Margaritis and a lavish fireworks display. A traditional New Year cake measuring 14 square meters will be among the attractions. ARCHBISHOP’S MESSAGE Greece relative ‘paradise’ for Christians At a time when most of Christian Europe is in spiritual decline, Greece «remains a paradise,» Archbishop Christodoulos said yesterday in his New Year’s message. «We are witnessing a process of de-Christianization,» Christodoulos said, adding, «Our nation is religious and this is the source of its strength and hope.» Presidential distinctions President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday awarded honorary distinctions. The Commander of the Order of Honor was bestowed upon Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. Writer Galatia Saranti was among those awarded the Supreme Commander of the Order of the Phoenix. ATHOC Executive Director Marton Simitsek and Dimitris Papaioannou, who choreographed the Olympic ceremonies, were among those given the Gold Cross of the Order of Honor. Armed robbery Two armed robbers yesterday netted 23,000 euros in a supermarket raid in the Athenian district of Kolonos before stopping a motorist outside the store and fleeing in his car. The young men entered the Galaxias supermarket at around 10 a.m., just after a security firm employee had walked in with a bag containing the cash. Cyprus warning Cyprus will not enter negotiations regarding Turkey’s accession to the European Union until Turkish authorities sign a protocol extending its EU customs deal to the 10 new member states including Cyprus, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday. Papadopoulos’s statement followed Ankara’s declaration that it would not sign what it called unilateral decisions by EU states. Aluminium purchase Greek metals group Mytilineos Holdings yesterday said it will buy 53 percent in Aluminium of Greece from Canadian aluminium giant Alcan for 6.95 euros per share. Shares in Aluminium of Greece dropped 2.22 euros or 17.45 percent – close to the 18 percent daily volatility limit – to close at 10.50 euros on the Athens Stock Exchange. Road accidents There were 1,290 accidents on Greek roads last October – a drop of 13.8 percent from the 1,460 accidents recorded in October 2003, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. However, the number of serious injuries in road accidents rose 24.5 percent to 244, from 196 in October 2003, it said. There was a 5.4 percent increase in fatalities, to 138 last October compared to 131 in October 2003. Afghan protest A protest march by members of Greece’s Afghan community scheduled to take place in central Athens yesterday has been postponed until the middle of January. The protest is over the alleged abuse of Afghan detainees by Greek police officers.