NEWS

In Brief

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Restricted services today as workers join general strike There will be disruptions on public transport today as staff join a general labor strike. Trolley services will be suspended between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., the metro between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., the Athens-Piraeus urban electric railway (ISAP) between noon and 3 p.m. and the suburban railway between noon and 1 p.m. Buses, including airport services, will not be operating from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. and from 10 p.m. to midnight. The tram will operate as normal. Similar strikes will take place in Thessaloniki. SEWAGE PROBLEM Ano Liosia officials reject sludge The municipal council of Ano Liosia – the site of Athens’s main landfill – has rejected a proposal by Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias to accept thousands of tons of treated sewage which would undergo a biodegrading process at the dump. «From now on, all I can do is enforce the law,» said Souflias, implying that he would call on legal authorities and the police to help ensure the transfer of the sludge. Istanbul train Modern trains that will begin serving the Thessaloniki-Istanbul route from July 15 will slash the journey time to 11.5 hours as compared to the current 14.5 hours, the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) said yesterday. There will be daily departures from both cities at 8 p.m., according to OSE, which said the sleepers will cost 85 euros for a first-class single compartment and 48 euros for a double in second class. The air-conditioned trains will stop at Kilkis, Rodopolis, Serres, Drama, Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis. Scrapie alarm The Greek government did not arrange for further tests on dozens of sheep and goats found to be infected with transferable spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) – also known as scrapie – last year, nor did it order the destruction of the infected herds, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou said yesterday. Kyprianou was answering a question submitted by MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis regarding the discovery of 71 infected sheep and 24 goats last year. Irenaios defiant The embattled former patriarch of Jerusalem, Irenaios, yesterday failed to defend himself before a session of the Patriarchate’s Holy Synod, arguing that «such a procedure is illegal.» The 12-member Synod reiterated its invitation for the former patriarch to appear before it today and answer to charges that he leased prime Patriarchate property in Jerusalem’s Old City to Jewish investors. If he fails to attend again, he is expected to be given a final chance before a court rules on the charges in his absence. British ties Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis is to meet with his British counterpart Chancellor Gordon Brown in London today for talks on the future structure of European Union funding and subsidies – which is to top the agenda at today’s EU summit in Brussels – and Britain’s priorities in the economic sector when it assumes the EU presidency next month. Fossils discovered Geologists on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos yesterday discovered petrified tree trunks near the port of Sigri, in the island’s west. The fossils were up to 7 meters long and many had a trunk diameter of more than 3 meters. «The composition of the petrified flora show that it developed within a sub-tropical climate that abruptly switched to a warm continental atmosphere,» said the director of the Natural History Museum in Lesvos’s petrified forest, Nikos Zouros. Forced landing A military helicopter yesterday carried out an emergency landing in a farm in the region of Thermi, near Thessaloniki, without any injuries to the three officers on board, according to an armed forces statement. Security briefing A senior official from China’s Public Security Ministry was yesterday in Athens for talks on Olympic security issues with Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis as part of Beijing’s preparations for hosting the 2008 Games. Sun Mingshan is also to meet with senior police officials. Indonesian visas Indonesia will allow tourists from 14 more countries, including Greece, to buy visas upon arrival in a bid to boost its tourism industry, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday.