Inflation unchanged at 3.1 percent, 2005 will be ‘crucial,’ minister says Inflation was unchanged at 3.1 percent last month but is expected to rise to 4 percent this month, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. Meanwhile, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said 2005 would be a «crucial year.» The main challenge will be to create an «outward-looking economy and boost competitiveness,» he said after talks with the head of the Federation of Greek Industries, Odysseas Kyriakopoulos. The government will announce its income policy by the end of this month, Alogoskoufis added. EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION Athens plans awareness campaign following Strasbourg ‘yes’ vote The government is to launch a major campaign to inform the public of the significance of the European Constitution, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis said yesterday shortly after the proposed constitution was overwhelmingly approved in the European Parliament. The constitution was approved by 500 deputies in Strasbourg, with 137 «no» votes and 40 abstentions. Valinakis conceded that the constitution represents a compromise but claimed that «Greece will be among the first member states to ratify the treaty.» ALLERGIC RHINITIS Olympic works ‘increased cases’ The excessive dust created by Olympic works, and chemicals used on work sites, have provoked an increase of up to 70 percent in cases of allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal membranes) in Attica, experts told a press conference yesterday. The most remarkable increases were among residents of Maroussi, Neo Iraklion, Thracomakedones and Faliron – where major works were under way, representatives of the European and Greek Rhinological Societies said. Tsunami aid Money-collection boxes were yesterday set up at nine major Athens metro stations to gather commuters’ contributions for tsunami victims in southern Asia, Attiko Metro said. There are boxes at Syntagma, Omonia, Monastiraki, Panepistimio, Ambelokipi, Ethniki Amyna, Dafni, Aghios Dimitrios and Aghios Antonios. The contributions will go toward Unicef’s humanitarian aid efforts. Fraudster sought Police in Thessaloniki were yesterday seeking a youth believed to have fraudulently taken 250,000 euros from a 51-year-old man, ostensibly to remove the coloring from 1.5 million euros’ worth of colored 100-euro bills he claimed to be smuggling into the country. The youth had allegedly told the man that it would cost 250,000 euros to remove the coating from the notes using chemicals, offering 20,000 euros as payment. In vitro fertilization Ruling New Democracy and opposition PASOK yesterday approved in principle new Health Ministry legislation regarding in vitro fertilization. Rape ambush A 19-year-old woman was raped by a 20-year-old work colleague and an 18-year-old accomplice wielding a screwdriver at her Metamorphosis workplace, police said yesterday after arresting the youths. The 18-year-old burst into the store at closing time and pretended to force the elder youth to rape the woman before raping her himself, police said. The pair admitted that the woman’s repeated rejection of her colleague’s overtures inspired them to plan the ambush, according to police. Fatal accidents Four people were killed in two motorcycle accidents in Athens yesterday morning. The first accident occurred at 2.30 a.m. when a motorcycle veered off coastal Poseidonos Ave and into a bus stop, killing the driver and passenger. The second accident occurred at around 10.30 a.m. when a motorcyclist swerved to avoid an elderly man crossing Syngrou Avenue but could not. Both were fatally injured. Cyprus talks? Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday told CNN-Turk television that he would broach the subject of resuming Cyprus talks with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan after he returns from a trip to Indonesia. Erdogan is due to visit Indonesia early next month, the channel said.