NEWS

In Brief

TOLL RISES

Highway charges to increase by more than 40 percent starting tomorrow Distance trips by road become dearer from Sunday as national highway tolls increase by over 40 percent. In a move unveiled by the government last month, cars will be charged 2 euros at each toll gate, as opposed to the current 1.40 euros on the vast majority of national roads. One of the few exceptions will be the Corinth-to-Patras section, where drivers will be charged 2.50 euros, up from 1.80 euros. The increases will not apply to the privately run Attiki Odos highway in Attica. RECORD ARRESTS Police mount biggest-ever operation A record 5,230 officers and border guards took part in the latest of a series of police raids on criminal activity in major cities around Greece, resulting in over 1,300 arrests, authorities said yesterday. The operation, nicknamed «Polis,» was mounted on Thursday and resulted in some 34,642 people and 23,186 vehicles being checked by officers. Most arrests took place in Attica, where almost 800 people were taken into custody. Police said it was the biggest operation of its type ever mounted. Drug withdrawal Drugs manufacturer Pfizer said yesterday that it was withdrawing from European circulation the drug Bextra, used mainly by arthritis sufferers, as a precautionary measure. The move came a day after the US Food and Drug Administration asked Pfizer to stop selling the medicine after fears that it increased the risk of heart disease. Greece’s National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) said that some patients who had been using the drug had suffered allergic reactions. Jewish remembrance Officers from the Greek and Israeli armies yesterday placed wreaths in Thessaloniki in remembrance of Greek Jews who died in World War II Nazi concentration camps or fighting in the Greek armed forces. The visit by 185 Israeli soldiers was part of an annual Israeli army program called Uniformed Martyrs, which includes a visit to Auschwitz and a trip to a European city with a historic Jewish presence. No taxis No taxis will be available between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Monday as drivers stage a six-hour work stoppage to attend their general meeting. Among other issues, they are to discuss a series of new measures aimed at improving conditions in their sector, which were unveiled on Tuesday by Transport Minister Michalis Liapis. The measures include the extension of a ban on issuing new taxi licenses until the end of 2008. Inflation drops Greece’s consumer inflation rate eased by 0.2 percent to 2.9 percent in March, compared to the same period last year, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. However, NSS chief Manolis Kontopyrakis said it could rise to 3.4 percent this month, due mostly to higher oil prices. The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), Greece’s largest umbrella union, challenged the figure as, it said, prices were constantly rising. Tax dodging Almost one in 10 landlords who rented out a property in 2003 did not declare all or part of the money they received in rent, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. Some 126,793 property owners did not declare this part of their taxable income, the ministry said.