NEWS

In Brief

ND LEAD

Poll shows ruling party ahead, public support for Regouzas’s exit New Democracy is 3.5 percent ahead of its main rival PASOK, according to an opinion poll conducted by VPRC on behalf of SKAI radio, which was made public yesterday. The ruling conservatives garnered 42.5 percent of support while PASOK got 39 percent – a 0.5 percent rise from a VPRC poll last month. Almost three-quarters of those questioned said former deputy finance minister Adam Regouzas was right to resign from the Cabinet while eight in 10 respondents said levels of corruption had either not changed or increased. EXPORT WOES Agriculturalist strike ‘catastrophic’ The Panhellenic Exporters’ Association (PSE) described yesterday an ongoing strike being held by state agriculturists as catastrophic and said it is hurting Greece’s competitiveness. The agriculturists, who have been on strike for 11 days, are blocking exports from leaving the country at two customs offices in northeastern Evros as their stamp of approval is needed before products exit the country. Illegal immigration A total of 65 illegal immigrants have been intercepted near the Albanian border in the past 24 hours, police said yesterday. Greek border guards, who met with their Albanian counterparts in Gjirokaster earlier this week, have stepped up patrols near border crossings in an attempt to thwart suspected smuggling rings bringing Albanians over the border. Twenty-eight Albanians were detained in Ioannina and another 37 have been repatriated in the past 24 hours, officers said. Yesterday, officials on Chios detained 42 would-be migrants believed to have reached the island from Turkey. Stolen column The prefect of Trikala has lodged a complaint with a prosecutor over the theft of an extremely valuable ancient column from the site of the ancient city of Atrax, prefectural officials said yesterday. The complaint notes there had once been a guard appointed to watch the site, suggesting that the guard’s absence facilitated the theft. The theft is believed to have taken place between August 4 and September 20 after a drop in the level of the Pineios River revealed sections of a fourth-century Doric temple. Bus risks Police on Wednesday sidelined five buses used to transport schoolchildren because the vehicles failed to meet the necessary safety standards, authorities said yesterday. Among the five buses, which all belonged to one school, one was found to have been reported stolen and had false number plates. Zephyri schools A pupil of a primary school in the Athenian suburb of Zephyri, mostly inhabited by Gypsies, poses in front of a mural at her school yesterday. Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, who visited the school, was told that only around 30 pupils of the 200 who register actually see the year through as their parents only enrol them to get state benefits. Boat towed Coast guards were called in to tow to safety a leisure boat with 13 people on board. The boat was adrift due to mechanical problems off the Ionian island of Corfu, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. None of the 10 passengers and three crew members was harmed. Food choices The Federation of Primary School Canteens has called on the government to impose stricter measures on canteen operators, requiring them to predetermine the list of food items that can be sold to schoolchildren. The federation also wants to offer training to canteen employees and state subsidies for the food schoolchildren are encouraged to eat.