NEWS

In Brief

BUS DISRUPTIONS

No early morning and nighttime routes today as workers stage protests Bus drivers are due to strike today over a contract dispute with the Athens public bus company (OASA). There will be no buses until 8 a.m. and again after 9 p.m. On September 8, bus drivers will hold another work stoppage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to attend their union’s general assembly. ACCIDENTS ACCELERATE Car crashes up significantly on 2004 Traffic accidents in June this year were up by almost 18 percent compared to last year, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. There were 1,710 crashes in June, resulting in 160 deaths, 232 serious injuries and 2,063 minor injuries. The death toll was up 11.1 percent from last year despite efforts by traffic police to patrol national highways more effectively. US condolences Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis sent a letter of condolence to US President George Bush yesterday after the death toll from Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi rose above 100. Archbishop Christodoulos also sent his condolences. ELA trial An Athens prosecutor yesterday appealed against the acquittal of four convicted members of the far-left terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) for a string of bomb attacks between 1985 and 1995. In July, Christos Tsigaridas, Angeletos Kanas, Irini Athanassaki and Costas Agapiou were cleared of 10 bombings, mostly on police and US-linked targets. Boy crushed A 6-year-old Albanian boy was crushed to death yesterday by a reversing truck in a Corinth schoolyard. The boy had been riding a bicycle with friends in the yard, where works were under way, when a truck reversed over him. The truckdriver, an unnamed Greek, called for help on his mobile telephone and the boy was taken to the hospital but died of his injuries. The driver was arrested. Croat arrested The Greek coastguard yesterday arrested a runaway Croatian businessman wanted by police for kidnapping and suspected of helping fugitive general Ante Gotovina avoid arrest for a war crimes indictment, officials said. Police said Hrvoje Petrac, a 50-year-old businessman, was arrested at the western port of Igoumenitsa, on board a ship bound for Italy. He is wanted in Croatia for masterminding the kidnapping of a 12-year-old child and extorting money from his wealthy family. (Reuters) Cypriot crossing A new crossing point between the Greek- and Turkish-held parts of Cyprus opened yesterday under the watch of UN troops. The Zodhia checkpoint is the fifth crossing between the island’s two communities. The crossing will be open to vehicles between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily but not to pedestrians. Addict assistance The Organization Against Drugs (OKANA) signed a 12-year lease with the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) yesterday to take over a property on the outskirts of Thessaloniki. A 300-square-meter prefabricated building will be erected on the site to provide rehabilitation for drug users. Fires curbed Firefighters yesterday managed to curb 12 small fires in Epirus in northwestern Greece. Local farmers started a number of the fires after burning off dry grass on their land, authorities said. Games security As part of Germany’s preparation for the 2006 World Cup, Interior Minister for Bavaria Gunther Beckstein yesterday visited police operational units used during the Athens Olympics. Beckstein commended Greek police for implementing security measures that respected spectators.