NEWS

In Brief

TRAM PASSENGERS

Network now carries 35,000 daily, capacity to double with Piraeus route The Athens tram is currently used by around 35,000 passengers daily but the planned extension of the network to Piraeus should virtually double this figure, the managing director of the firm managing the tram, Dionysis Psilianos, said yesterday. Before the tram went into operation last spring, it was predicted that 80,000 commuters would use the new system daily. The Piraeus extension should attract another 30,000 to 35,000 passengers, Psilianos said. The Piraeus route is not expected to be ready until the end of 2008. TSUNAMI VICTIM Another dead Greek is identified A 38-year-old Finnish national married to a Greek, Anna Maja Espo-Hadzialexiou, was identified yesterday as the third Greek victim of last December’s tsunami in southeastern Asia, according to an Athens News Agency report from Rhodes, where the woman lived. Espo-Hadzialexiou had been on holiday in Phuket with her husband, son and mother when the tsunami struck. Her mother was also killed. Road tax There will be no increase in road tax for another two years, Deputy Economy Minister Adam Regouzas said yesterday, following press speculation to the contrary. «Road tax charges went up this year and will not increase over the next two years. That is clear,» he told state television channel ET3. TIM sale Italy’s telecommunications giant Telecom Italia has sold an 81 percent stake in Greek mobile telephony firm TIM Hellas for 1.1 billion euros, TIM Hellas officials said yesterday. The offer for the majority share of TIM Hellas, Greece’s third-largest mobile phone operator, was made by private equity firms Texas Pacific Group and Apax Partners Worldwide. Oil scam About 1,000 tons of Tunisian seed oil have been confiscated from a Georgian-flagged cargo vessel at Souda Bay, Financial Crime Squad (SDOE) officers on Crete said yesterday. The alleged oil smugglers had intended to mix the oil with a small quantity of Greek olive oil and sell it as the latter product in Italy, according to SDOE officers. Street vendors A group of around 80 street vendors clashed with police yesterday as they tried to set up stalls in a part of the Pedion tou Areos park in central Athens, for which they had no licenses. The vendors launched a protest, briefly blocking Alexandras Avenue, after cranes arrived to remove the stalls. Only the park’s Protomayias Square has been set aside for use by street vendors with special licenses, prefectural officials said. Anti-drug protest Schoolchildren from Thessaloniki’s Dendropotamos district yesterday staged a protest calling for stricter policing of their area to crack down on drug dealing. Residents and municipal authority officials briefly blocked the Lachanagora junction on the Athens-Thessaloniki national road, demanding the immediate allocation of 12 police officers to guard local schools. The protest followed the discovery of two bags containing half a kilo of heroin near a local school. Careless arsonists Two former convicts who allegedly torched a car belonging to the chief of police of their hometown near Kozani, in northern Greece, early yesterday were tracked down by police who found their lighter, a promotional handaway from a local firm, at the scene of the crime. The pair allegedly doused with petrol and set alight the car of Servia’s police chief which had been parked outside his home.