NEWS

In Brief

FLIGHT DISRUPTIONS

Domestic routes to be affected by today’s 24-hour civil aviation strike Today’s 24-hour strike by Civil Aviation Authority staff is expected to lead to the cancellation of several scheduled domestic flights from Athens International Airport and some from Thessaloniki airport. Passengers due to travel today can telephone Olympic Airlines on 210.966.6666 for further details. A few Aegean Airlines flights will also be affected. Passengers can call 801.112.0000. There was no indication that international flights would be affected. MESSAGES TO POPE President sends congratulations, patriarch appeals for dialogue President Karolos Papoulias yesterday sent a telegram congratulating new Pope Benedict XVI. Papoulias expressed his conviction to the new pontiff «that the international community will see in you a champion of Christian values, a defender of human rights and a clear and loud voice that will speak of peace.» Meanwhile, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios appealed to the new pope to pursue the dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox churches launched by John Paul II. COURT DISRUPTION Judges stage 2nd work stoppage Court proceedings are to be disrupted for the second day in a row today as the country’s judges and prosecutors stage a two-hour work stoppage in protest at the planned mass transfer of judicial employees. The government has set up a committee of lawmakers to assess judges’ appeals against the transfers, Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras said yesterday. But he stressed that «the judicial sector is self-governing, an independent power.» Meanwhile, Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos distributed a circular stressing that strike action by judges is unconstitutional. Reckless drivers The driver of a tourist coach which crashed into a truck on Tuesday night, slightly injuring 12 secondary school pupils and a teacher, has been charged with causing bodily harm, police in Athens said yesterday. The driver allegedly reversed on the Athens-Corinth national road after missing his turn at Nea Peramos. Meanwhile, police in Pella have arrested and fined the driver of a school bus who had allegedly been drunk on duty. He was arrested while waiting to take Edessa primary school pupils on an excursion yesterday morning. State subsidies Of the European Union’s 15 original member states, Greece is among those granting the lowest level of state subsidies, according to European Commission statistics made public in Brussels yesterday. According to the data, in 2003 Greece issued 0.6 billion euros in state subsidies, as compared to 16.4 billion euros granted by Germany, 8.8 billion euros granted by France and 7.1 billion euros by Italy. Salonica cabbies There will be no taxis serving Thessaloniki today as the city’s taxi drivers stage a 24-hour strike from 5 a.m., demanding access to bus lanes. Yesterday, the city’s cabbies caused traffic problems by parking their vehicles in front of the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry. Taxi drivers were objecting to Transport Minister Michalis Liapis’s statement that a final decision regarding their access to bus lanes is to be made after Easter. Kilkis quake A moderate earthquake, measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale, struck the area of Nea Santa in the northern prefecture of Kilkis shortly before 11 a.m. yesterday. The quake, which was felt in Thessaloniki, did not cause any injuries or damage. Fireworks crackdown A total of six owners or employees of stores in different parts of Attica have been arrested after a total of 4,020 firecrackers and 3,254 fireworks of other kinds were confiscated, police said yesterday. The seizures from the stores in Petroupolis, Peristeri, Drapetsona, Galatsi and Moschato were part of a police crackdown on the illegal manufacture, trade and use of fireworks in the countdown to Orthodox Easter.