NEWS

In Brief

EASTER TRAVELERS

Over 2,600 police officers will be watching for speeding, drunk driving Over 2,600 police officers are already on standby at key junctions of the national road network in preparation for the traditional Easter departure, for the countryside, of thousands of people from Athens and other major cities, traffic police said yesterday. Special units have been assigned to notoriously dangerous junctions and will focus on stopping speed limit violators and drunk drivers. A nationwide fleet of more than 900 patrol cars will be aided by police helicopters in a crackdown that is to continue until May 8. CYPRUS PLEDGES Turkey ‘ready to sign’ customs deal; Nicosia praises EC’s ‘common stance’ Turkey «is ready to sign» a deal to expand Ankara’s European Union customs agreement to include Cyprus, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said in Luxembourg yesterday following talks with EU officials. Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn of Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU presidency, apologized to Gul for the EU’s delay in making good on pledges to provide economic aid to Turkish Cypriots. Meanwhile, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos praised the «common stance» expressed by the European Commission in talks with Turkey regarding Cyprus. GREEK-ALBANIAN TIES Police forces to boost cooperation Greek and Albanian police have agreed to boost their cooperation in curbing organized crime, the Public Order Ministry said yesterday following a visit to Tirana by Greek Police Chief Georgios Angelakos. Angelakos’s talks with his Albanian counterpart Bajram Ibraj and Albania’s Public Order Minister Igli Toska focused on cracking down on drug and arms trafficking as well as human smuggling. It was also agreed that Albanian police officers would be trained in Greece. Mast ruling The Council of State yesterday annuled decisions by the Transport Ministry and the Athens and Piraeus prefecture that allowed a private cellphone firm to set up a transmitter in Vyronas, eastern Athens. The court ruled that all such masts erected before 2002 were illegal. Migrants held Police in central Greece yesterday detained 92 Asian illegal immigrants discovered crammed into a lorry on the national road from Thessaloniki to Athens. The Turkish truck driver was arrested. Metro services The last trains serving Athens’s metro system will depart about an hour earlier on Saturday to allow workers to join in Easter celebrations. The last trains from Syntagma station to all terminating stops – Aghios Antonios, Aghios Dimitrios, Doukissis Plakentias and Monastiraki – will depart at 11 p.m. The last train to the airport will leave Syntagma at 9.52 p.m. The last trains from Aghios Antonios and from Aghios Dimitrios are to leave at 10.46 p.m. and 10.45 p.m. respectively. The last train from Monastiraki to Doukissis Plakentias is to leave at 10.55 p.m. Museums The current opening hours of state museums and sites (8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) will apply until May 31, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. Quarries Two Synaspismos Left Coalition deputies yesterday tabled a question in Parliament regarding the ongoing operation of what they called «illegal» quarries in Markopoulo, eastern Attica. One of the quarries operates on protected forestland and another on a declared archaeological site, according to MPs Yiannis Dragasakis and Athanassios Leventis, who asked the culture and public works ministers to determine when the excavations would stop. Cocaine bust Seven suspected members of a cocaine smuggling ring have been arrested after a raid on a car parked in the southern coastal suburb of Voula unearthed 2.2 kilos of cocaine, Attica drug squad officers said yesterday. Three Greek men, one Greek woman and three Pakistanis have been detained, they said. Weizman Members of the public can sign a book of condolences for former Israeli President Ezer Weizman at the Israeli Embassy between 10 a.m. and noon today and tomorrow. Weizmann died Sunday aged 81.