NEWS

In Brief

Education

Strikes affect state schools and TEIs; private schools may also close down Parliament passed a law yesterday which will make it much harder for private school owners to sack teachers whom they have employed for over six years. Private school teachers expressed satisfaction, but private school owners will meet on Saturday to discuss closing their schools in protest. Meanwhile, yesterday state secondary and primary school teachers decided to hold a 24-hour strike on February 8, instead of February 4, as they had originally planned, in reaction to a recent law according to which their work will be evaluated. And technical college (TEI) teachers in Piraeus and Patras decided yesterday to strike, seeking changes to a law that gave TEIs university status. Thessaloniki’s TEI is already on strike. TERROR TAPS Claim that Papandreou’s phone was under surveillance Acting on a list of 124 terrorism suspects – many of whom were PASOK party members – an Athens prosecutor had organized the tapping of PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou under the 1990-93 New Democracy government, and even for some months under the Papandreou government that succeeded it, Ethnos daily claimed yesterday, quoting an anonymous source in the judiciary. The list, which included Papandreou, was published earlier this month in To Karfi tabloid, which claimed it had been compiled by Nikos Gryllakis, once a close aide of Constantine Mitsotakis, who was prime minister from 1990-93. Cultural Olympics Lack of chairman ‘no problem’ Although Greece’s ambitious «Cultural Olympics» program of performances leading up to the 2004 Games still lacks a chairman «this does not hold us back in any way,» Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos asserted yesterday. The previous chairman, poet Titos Patrikios, 73, resigned on December 29 «to dedicate himself to his poetry,» a year after being appointed. His predecessor had also resigned. Venizelos said it would have been unseemly to appoint Patrikios’s successor – who was to have been named at the beginning of January – as the poet is still in the hospital recovering from major surgery. Demonstration Municipal employees will hold a demonstration through central Athens today. The march will start at Omonia Square at noon, and will lead to the Ministry of the Interior. Not mad cow A 70-year-old woman was hospitalized in serious condition in the northern town of Xanthi yesterday with what local doctors believe could be Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. But they stressed that her ailment is caused by a virus and not linked with mad cow disease. Suspicious fire A five-story apartment block in central Athens was endangered by a fire that broke out early yesterday morning in a ground floor restaurant. Residents, who sought refuge on the roof, said they heard an explosion before the blaze, at 5-7, Vassileos Alexandrou Street in the Caravel area. The Mike’s restaurant was destroyed. It belonged to Lebanese national Mohammed Halif, 34, who, on January 11 was arrested for imprisoning – in the restaurant – an Angolan who allegedly defrauded him of 13,800 euros using the audacious «black-dollar» confidence trick whereby bits of black paper are supposedly transformed into US dollars. The fire brigade is investigating the blaze. Hard to get Two Thessaloniki policemen were charged yesterday with dereliction of duty and issuing a false statement after they allegedly ignored an arrest warrant against a local vet whose 14 dogs mauled a 9-year-old orphan caroler on New Year’s Eve. The vet, Ioannis Psomas, said the officers had never looked for him at home. Fireworks Three men were arrested on Monday for stealing 300 kilos of explosives from a road works firm in Aspropyrgos, western Attica, police said yesterday. Athanassios Koliandzakis, 27, his brother Lambros, 26, and Evangelos Papavangelis, 23, all from a village near the western town of Agrinio, said they had planned to use the explosives for Easter fireworks. Stone threat A suspected psychopath who throws stones at cars at night at the junction of Syngrou Avenue and coastal Poseidonos Avenue struck again on Sunday, the Eleftheros Typos daily reported yesterday. A taxi was damaged but nobody hurt. At least 11 such attacks have taken place since December 17, with two people seriously injured.