NEWS

In Brief

MEDIA LAW

Gov’t submits ‘EU-friendly’ version of controversial bill to Parliament The government yesterday submitted to Parliament a watered-down version of its bill which aims to stop media tycoons from having access to state contracts but insisted that it would continue its efforts to regulate the media. The draft law has been made less strict after intervention by the European Commission and bans owners from exercising «illicit influence» over their media organizations. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the bill is «fully within the spirit of the constitution» and would prevent media barons from exercising their influence to gain state contracts. AEGEAN QUAKE 5-force tremor shakes Chios, Samos, no injuries or damages reported An earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale shook the Aegean islands of Chios and Samos early yesterday but there were no reports of damage or injuries. The epicenter of the tremor, which struck at 7.25 a.m., was on the seabed between the two islands. Last week, a 6-Richter earthquake hit the area. ARMED RAIDS Attica hit by four robberies in a day Four armed robberies were carried out in Attica yesterday with suspects fleeing the scene before any arrests could be made, police said. Two branches of Eurobank in the suburbs of Kamatero and Galatsi were held up in the morning, the first by an armed man who made off with 4,500 euros and the second by two men who escaped with an unspecified sum. Two men held up a Piraeus Bank branch in Aghios Dimitrios and a lone gunman held up a Western Union exchange bureau near Omonia. Patriarch support The Foreign Ministry yesterday expressed its full support for Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios after Friday’s protest outside the Patriarchate by a group of Turkish extremists. Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis said he discussed with Vartholomaios the significance of the incident’s timing in relation to Turkey’s bid to join the EU. Immigrants abandoned Police are searching for a gang responsible for smuggling illegal immigrants into the country after discovering a warehouse close to Thessaloniki where 60 people had been abandoned. The immigrants were from Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Bus strike Buses will not be serving Athens between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. today as drivers stage a work stoppage. Tomorrow, there will be no trolleybus service between noon and 3 p.m. as workers demand the government honor their collective labor contract as well as seeking wage hikes. Route shift The terminal for bus routes 203, 204, 103, 108, 111, 206, 208 and 237 on Academias Street in central Athens is to be abolished from today and the terminals for bus routes A4 and B4 are to move to Sina Street, the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) said yesterday. Commuters can phone the OASA information line on 185 for more details. Bar bust Police arrested a total of 22 people after raiding a strip joint in central Athens yesterday. The owner of the unnamed establishment was detained, as were eight workers and 13 women from Eastern Europe, employed as dancers but also allegedly forced to work as prostitutes. Marching firefighters More than 4,500 firefighters are expected to demonstrate outside the Public Order Ministry on Thursday over a pay dispute regarding an allowance paid for dangerous work conditions, unionists said yesterday. Braille medicine The National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) yesterday sent a circular to all drug companies in Greece informing them that in a year’s time all medicines sold here will need to have certain details written in Greek Braille on the packaging. At least the name of the product and the contents of each packet will need to be provided in Braille to comply with an EU directive, said EOF.