All OA, Aegean routes planned for tomorrow canceled due to strike Passengers due to board domestic or international flights tomorrow should telephone their airline today to reschedule their trips due to a 24-hour strike by air traffic controllers, who are joining the civil servants’ union’s (ADEDY) nationwide action. Olympic Airlines can be reached by telephone at 210.966.6666 and Aegean Airlines at 801.112.0000. MORE STRIKES Hospitals on emergency staff, school disruptions tomorrow State hospitals will be operating on skeleton staff as nursing staff and doctors in Athens and Piraeus join the civil servants’ union’s (ADEDY) nationwide 24-hour strike. Doctors are also planning to stage a four-hour work stoppage from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. Also tomorrow, kindergarten, primary and high school teachers will start a two-day strike over pay. PARNITHA QUAKE 3.5-force tremor not worrying A mild earthquake, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, shook Mt Parnitha and parts of Athens early yesterday but seismologists said there was no cause for alarm, even though the tremor’s epicenter was the same as the catastrophic September 1999 quake. Yesterday’s quake was a «a regular phenomenon,» experts said. MEP expelled Cypriot MEP Marios Matsakis was expelled yesterday from President Tassos Papadopoulos’s Democratic Party (DIKO) for tearing down a Turkish flag from a Turkish sentry post in the island’s UN-patrolled buffer zone last week. «We condemn the political behavior and action of Mr Matsakis and believe that he himself has chosen a different path and put himself outside the party,» a DIKO statement said. Alexandrakis dies Popular screen actor Alekos Alexandrakis died of cancer yesterday at the age of 76. Alexandrakis starred in more than 60 films, including «Stella» with the late Melina Mercouri. Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia paid tribute to «a wonderful person and great actor whose unique personality and great talent have left a lasting impression on the world of theater.» Explosive batteries Some 30,000 batteries from China seized in Thessaloniki could have exploded, EU officials said yesterday. The goods were confiscated as part of an EU-wide effort named Operation Fake, carried out in May, which netted 500 tons of pirated goods from China. The European Commission said that trade in counterfeit goods accounted for up to 9 percent of global trade. Food fines The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) yesterday fined eight companies a total of 143,000 euros for breaches of food safety regulations. The bulk of the fines (100,000 euros) was for PG Nikas, after inspectors found 8.8 tons of meat that was unfit for human consumption at its factory earlier this year. Customer satisfaction Two men who had been on a robbery spree in Thessaloniki were stopped in their tracks when a group of daring supermarket customers intervened, trapping one of the alleged thieves and handing him in, police said yesterday. One of the robbers, armed with a starter’s pistol, was tackled by customers at a store on Saturday and held until officers arrived. The 26-year-old man told police about his accomplice, 27, who was promptly arrested. The pair had carried out five robberies since July, police said. US visa Greece is not among the countries included in the US government’s Visa Waiver Program, the US Embassy in Athens said yesterday. Citizens from the 27 countries included in the program can stay in the US for up to 90 days without a visa. Murder victims Police said that they are close to tracking down the murderers of three men who were allegedly involved in a cigarette-and-alcohol smuggling operation in parts of northern Greece. The suspected murderers, believed to have run the smuggling racket, killed the three victims over disputes about money some nine years ago, police said. All of the people involved in the operation are from the former Soviet Union, police added.