NEWS

In Brief

RIO-ANTIRIO

Bridge partially reopens today as repair work on cable continues The Rio-Antirio bridge is to reopen at 5 a.m. today as works to replace damaged suspension cables continue, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday. Only two out of the four lanes will be operating for the next month or so as works get under way at the other side of the bridge to replace the cables that were damaged in a fire last Thursday, he said. Souflias said he trusted that the bridge was safe following assurances by the French operating company. The fire is thought to have been caused by lightning. TAXIS Fares up 8.3 percent from Feb. 15 Taxi fares are to increase by an average of 8.3 percent from February 15, according to a decision made public yesterday by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. The «flag charge» will rise to 85 cents (from 75 cents), the single charge to 30 cents per kilometer (from 28 cents), the double, nighttime charge to 56 cents per kilometer (from 53 cents) and the minimum charge to 1.75 euros (from 1.60 euros). The minister also announced rate increases for truck transport. Zakynthos quake A strong undersea quake, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale, occurred southwest of the island of Zakynthos shortly after 3 a.m. yesterday but no injuries or damage were reported. A 4-magnitude tremor struck the same area about 10 minutes later, seismologists said. List of journalists The Athens Journalists’ Union (ESHEA) said last night that it would publish on its website a list of journalists – provided by government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos – who allegedly held state-sector jobs while also working in the media during 2003. Roussopoulos, who earlier this month maintained that journalists as well as publishers were to blame for entangled business interests, refused to make the list public himself, saying that this would have violated privacy laws. ESHEA’s website is at www.esiea.gr Heavy snowfall A woman walks on the snow-covered mountain of Penteli, northeast of Athens, yesterday. Snow also covered nearby mounts Hymettus and Parnitha as well as much of northern Greece. The prefectures of Fthiotida and Ioannina were the worst affected, with road access cut off to dozens of villages and schools closed. Bank strike Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis is due to have talks tomorrow with unionists representing bank employees, who are demanding the creation of a single auxiliary pension fund. Unionists said participation was high in yesterday’s 24-hour nationwide strike by bank employees. Unionists have called rolling 24-hour strikes for every Monday in February unless their demands are met. Coach crash The 45-year-old driver of coach that crashed into three oncoming vehicles in the Athenian district of Menidi on Saturday evening, killing four people, died of the injuries he incurred in the multiple collisions, a coroner said yesterday. Colleagues of Ioannis Karamanis in the northwestern town of Ioannina had told police that he was an experienced driver and had probably suffered a heart attack at the wheel. Iraqi polls The relatively smooth manner in which Sunday’s Iraqi elections were conducted, and the high voter turnout, constitute a «positive development» in a country which has not had free elections in 50 years, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday.