NEWS

In Brief

SOMETHING ROTTEN

Main meat markets to move to modern installations ‘immediately’ Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said yesterday that the main wholesale meat markets in Athens and Thessaloniki will be relocated «immediately» to new premises built partly with European Union funds. Tsochadzopoulos’s remarks followed an outcry over a continuing visit, begun on Monday, by EU inspectors to Athens’s Rentis meat market, where they found unacceptable disregard of hygiene and a series of transgressions, including the fact that none of the operators there had a license. Since the revelations, the Development and Agriculture ministries and the Unified Food Control Administration have been trying to shift responsibility away from themselves, saying they do not have a clear-cut mandate. Tsochadzopoulos downplayed the hygiene issue, but added that all state agencies involved «must find ways of daily, effective intervention.» UNIVERSITY PROTESTS Professors and union leaders demand more funding and pay Representatives of academic unions meet this morning in front of Athens University to demand more funding for the city’s universities with higher salaries and pensions for professors. Meanwhile, the National Federation of Teachers Unions (POSDEP) begins its demonstration at 12 noon outside the Education Ministry. Athens academics claim lack of funding is crippling higher education, which has seen a huge increase in demand – university enrollment has jumped 80 percent in recent years – while POSDEP wants basic professorial pay scales raised, as benefits artificially boost salaries. Strikes are foreseen for February and June if the academics’ demands are not met. US ARCHBISHOP Demetrios slams anti-Greek reports Archbishop Demetrios of America, continuing his Athens visit yesterday, criticized recent reports in the international media implying Greece is soft on terrorism and praised Greeks for their efforts following the September 11 attacks in the USA. Speaking to reporters, Demetrios said he was particularly moved by contributions from the Greek government and US organizations toward the reconstruction of the St. Nicholas church in New York, which was crushed by the collapsed Twin Towers. Demetrios also said the US backlash against isolated anti-American incidents in Greece following the attacks had subsided. Road protests Farmers in Thessaly decided yesterday to drive their tractors to the Tempi Gorge – where the National Road crosses Macedonia into Thessaly – when they renew their protests on January 28. The action, decided by the Farmers Cooperative Union, will effectively block traffic in both directions. The union has said farmers would also drive their tractors into Athens if the government does not support its demands. Farmers started protesting in November, demanding government support for cotton and tobacco subsidies. Immigrant girl An 8-year-old Kurdish girl from Iraq, who earlier this month landed at Ierapetra on Crete with her family and hundreds of other immigrants, is to have her rare congenital heart condition treated by top surgeons, after the government agreed to pay for her treatment at the Onassis Heart Clinic. Souhid Salim arrives at the clinic today with her father to prepare for open-heart surgery. The child was diagnosed to be suffering from a «Tetralogy of Fallot» defect while in Iraq – a diagnosis confirmed by doctors in Ierapetra who pushed her case with the government. Adoption trial The trial of three people charged with involvement in a case of illegal adoption, dating back to 1968, opened at a Thessaloniki appeals court yesterday. Former clinic director Nikolaos Sourmelides, the child’s adoptive mother Fotini Navrozidou, and the latter’s sister allegedly adopted Isaac Navrozidis, now 33, through the city’s Aghios Stylianos orphanage. The issue came to light after former appeals judge Daniil Daniil brought charges against the trio, supplying DNA test results proving he was the natural father. At the time, many parents were told by the home that their children had died, whereas the children had been given up for adoption. Rain and snow Heavy snow in central and western Macedonia yesterday heralded another wave of wintry weather expected to spread nationwide today. Towns and villages in the prefectures of Kastoria, Florina, Kozani, Kilkis, Imathia, Pella and Pieria all had snowfall throughout yesterday.