NEWS

In Brief

MINORITY FREEDOMS

Schroeder meets patriarch, calls for greater respect for minorities German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder yesterday stressed the importance of respecting the freedom of minority and religious groups following a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios in Istanbul. Schroeder and Vartholomaios discussed the problems faced by the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate and by the local Greek minority. Vartholomaios called for the return of Greek assets plundered by the Turks in Istanbul and stressed his conviction that «Turkey’s European course will bring better days for the Greek community (in Istanbul), the Patriarchate and all minorities in Turkey.» RADIATION DETECTION Piraeus one of 2 equipped ports The US Energy Department has installed radiation detectors at only two of 20 supposedly high-risk foreign shipping ports – Piraeus and Rotterdam, according to a US Government Accountability Office report made public by The Associated Press yesterday. Five countries have agreed to start work on installing detection systems and the USA is negotiating with another 18, AP cited the report as saying but did not elaborate. In any case, the Greek and Dutch ports do not represent a high-security priority like China, it said. May Day A group of 60 labor union representatives, including the president of the main civil servants’ union (ADEDY), Spyros Papaspyros, yesterday issued a joint appeal to workers’ unions to join May Day celebrations next Wednesday. Two rallies are planned for central Athens on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry distributed a circular asking public services to let staff join the celebrations if possible. May Day was shifted to May 11 from May 1, which coincided with Orthodox Easter. The ministry stressed that May 11 is not a public holiday. Fatal wake A 43-year-old man who had traveled to Athens from Igoumenitsa to attend his cousin’s funeral was shot dead yesterday by the father of the deceased during the wake. Nikolaos Haliamouris was killed instantly after Grigorios Gikas, 78, fired at him with an illegal shotgun. Police said Gikas had probably acted irrationally due to his grief. School fees Press reports claiming that private school fees are to increase by at least 6 percent for the next academic year are incorrect, according to a statement issued yesterday by the Development Ministry. «The reports… do not reflect the true state of affairs. Increases will definitely be much smaller,» the statement said. Salonica cabs Striking Thessaloniki taxi drivers yesterday covered two road surveillance cameras with black plastic bags to stop transgressions of bus lanes being recorded. The cabbies, who are demanding access to the city’s bus lanes, caused transport chaos by driving their cars through the town center. The protesters, whose 24-hour strike was due to end at 5 a.m. today, have threatened further action unless their demands are met. Bank robberies Police in Attica yesterday reported three armed robberies on banks in different parts of the prefecture. In the first raid, at 8 a.m. in Petroupolis, a sole gunman netted 20,000 euros. The second raid, in Kallithea at 10.30 a.m., yielded 15,000 euros for an armed duo. And three gunmen dressed in security guard outfits fled with an undisclosed sum following a raid on an Egaleo bank just before 1 p.m. No one was injured. More cars A total of 135,824 new and second-hand cars were first registered in Greece between January and April this year, a 2.8 percent increase compared to the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. The number of newly registered motorcycles grew by 16.4 percent to 21,587.