NEWS

In Brief

FLOATING HOSPITAL

Cruise liner sets sail for Sri Lanka with medical staff, 800 tons of aid A cruise liner carrying dozens of medical personnel and over 800 tons of humanitarian aid for tsunami victims is to set sail from Piraeus for the port of Trincomalee in northeastern Sri Lanka at 2 p.m. today, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The ship, which is being provided free of charge for two months by Majestic Cruises, is to serve as a floating hospital when it docks. A consignment of around 37 tons of rice, confiscated in Piraeus this week together with a ton of the drug ephedrine, is to be sent to Southeast Asia, Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Adam Regouzas said yesterday. PARK APPEAL Protesters want green space in Goudi The creation of a metropolitan park in Goudi is absolutely imperative, a group of environmentalists, architects and academics, who oppose Public Works Ministry plans to build a soccer stadium on the site, stressed during a press conference yesterday. Athens has the lowest ratio of green spaces per inhabitant in the European Union, according to protesters who complained that Goudi already has a «glut» of hospitals, ministry buildings, educational facilities and sports complexes. Cyprus shrine Turkish-Cypriot administration leader Mehmet Ali Talat, his aunt and other family members yesterday visited a Muslim shrine in Larnaca, south of the Green Line, on the occasion of the Islamic festival Eid al-Adha. Muslims believe that Umm Haram, an aunt of the prophet Mohammed, is buried at the Hala Sultan Tekke site. Talat is the first senior politician from Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus to visit a Muslim shrine in southern Cyprus since Turkey’s invasion in 1974. Hash haul Customs officers on the Albanian border yesterday confiscated 506 kilos of cannabis from a truck parked at the Kakavia crossing and arrested two Albanians, police said. Officers said they could not understand how the truck, due to depart for Athens, had received a stamp from customs and documents stating that its cargo was electrical goods destined for Albania. The truck left Elefsina for Kakavia on December 17 but had not managed to cross the border, according to police who said they had found its legitimate cargo in another truck near a gas station in Kalpaki. Contract workers The plenary session of the State Audit Council yesterday deemed unconstitutional the provisions of a 2002 law foreseeing the granting of permanent posts to contract workers. However, Interior Ministry officials stressed that this ruling would not affect a new law passed in 2004, as the provisions of the older legislation state that workers only acquire permanency if they fulfill permanent needs. Online buildings Details about thousands of listed buildings and traditional settlements across the country will soon be accessible on an Internet site currently under construction, Deputy Public Works Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis said yesterday. The site will provide details of the history and current use of around 9,100 listed buildings and 770 traditional settlements across Greece along with photographs, Kaloyiannis said. The site is being created with the help of a committee of architects. Sea pollution Keratsini coast guard on Wednesday spotted a 500-square-meter slick of waste between the islet of Psyttaleia – where the capital’s main waste-treatment plant is located – and Kynosoura, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The waste is believed to have come from the area where solid waste is loaded onto trucks on Psyttaleia, the ministry said. Piraeus’s misdemeanors prosecutor has ordered a preliminary investigation into the incident. Horses shot Residents of Drama yesterday buried the corpses of four wild horses that had all been shot in the head using large bore pellets. The horses were found near the small town of Mikropoli. Local police were informed of the incident.