NEWS

In Brief

BAD WEATHER

Citizens forewarned, transport problems foreseen The country is bracing itself for a new wave of bad weather expected to disrupt transport and maritime services until early next week, following a warning issued yesterday from the Civil Defense Agency. Citizens are warned to take precautions as low temperatures and frost are expected. Drivers are advised to check the state of the national road network before they travel and to use anti-skid chains. Pedestrians are also advised to be cautious, particularly in areas where snow is expected, such as Thessaly, Evia, the eastern mainland, the Peloponnese, Crete and on the islands in the northern and eastern Aegean. Storms are expected on Crete and in the Dodecanese. Heavy snowfall in Attica yesterday led to the blockage of roads on Mt Parnitha and Mt Penteli. MISSING CYPRIOTS Denktash says meeting on 1974 issue ‘probable’ Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday he will probably meet Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides ahead of their scheduled meeting on January 16 for a discussion of the issue of the Cypriots missing since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Denktash told Turkish-Cypriot TAK news agency a meeting was «probable» if Clerides also agrees. UN-mediated talks on the Cyprus problem are due to begin on January 16, but the issue of the 1974 missing came to the fore when it was discussed by the two leaders at a dinner hosted by Clerides for Denktash on Saturday, December 29. Year’s first Unemployed teachers protest Teachers who passed exams in 2000 by the Public Sector Hiring Council (ASEP) but have not been appointed due to limited posts yesterday protested outside the Education Ministry. The protesters, representing the 7,500 teachers around the country, briefly blocked Mitropoleos Street in downtown Athens yesterday morning before taking a petition to Parliament demanding that the exam results be honored. Simitis US trip Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to visit the site of the World Trade Center next Wednesday, January 9 in New York city before an official visit to Washington on Thursday where he will meet President George W. Bush for talks on the situation in the Balkans, Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday. Simitis will discuss Cyprus in more detail with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Beglitis said. Express Samina The captain and first mate of the Express Samina passenger ferry, which sank in September 2000 with the loss of 80 lives, are to face investigating judge Nikos Karadimitriou on Monday on new charges in connection with the disaster. Vassilis Yiannakis and Anastasios Psychogios, who have been in prison on the island of Chios since the sinking, have been taken to the island of Syros, where they will appear in court on Monday. Karadimitriou has also issued indictments against 23 other people, including coast guard officials, Merchant Marine Ministry officials, Minoan Flying Dolphins managers and members of the Samina crew. Investigations so far have attributed the tragedy to crew negligence and a failure of the ship’s electrical system. Beach ban? The mayor of the Aegean island of Myconos, Christos Veronis, has denied a report in an Australian publication that Greek law allegedly allows only pretty girls to bathe on its beaches, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. «This month on main beach» magazine said Australians should mimic Greeks in creating a «special law» which ensures only beautiful women grace their beaches. Exchange hours Customers will have an extra hour a day to exchange their drachmas for euros after banks agreed to extend exchange desk opening hours, the Greek Federation of Bank Employees Unions (OTOE) said yesterday. Exchange departments will now be open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 8 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. on Fridays – until February 28 after which the drachma will no longer be in circulation. Water protests Businesses in Thessaloniki have been hard hit by «exorbitant» increases in water rates following the flotation of the Thessaloniki Water and Sewage Company (EVATH) on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE),the Federation of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE) said yesterday.