Officers have been ordered to show more tact at union gatherings The Greek police force has issued explicit orders that officers attending union assemblies should be «extremely discreet» and stay on the fringes of the gathering, Deputy Public Order Minister Christos Markoyiannakis told Parliament yesterday. Markoyiannakis submitted the police order in Parliament after Communist Party (KKE) MP Antonis Skyllakos questioned the government about the presence of two plain-clothes officers at a meeting of the Communist-affiliated union PAME in Athens last week. AEK PUNISHED Soccer club must play two games to empty stands after fan violence AEK soccer club will have to play two games behind closed doors and pay a 60,000-euro fine after some 100 of its fans rioted during Sunday’s away game with Levadiakos, a sports tribunal ruled yesterday. Levadiakos was fined 10,000 euros for the trouble, which led to 14 policemen being injured and a broadcast van belonging to Alpha television station being burned. AEK Chairman Demis Nikolaidis has posted photos of some of the alleged troublemakers on the club’s website. VARTHOLOMAIOS SUPPORT Greece hails US backing for patriarch Greece expressed its satisfaction yesterday after US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns wrote a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios refering to the latter as «a global religious leader and champion of interfaith dialogue and tolerance.» Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos took the opportunity to reiterate an appeal for Turkey to recognize the ecumenical nature of the Istanbul-based patriarch. Esphigmenou visit Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis yesterday said he would visit Mount Athos by the beginning of next month to help find a solution to the Esphigmenou dispute. Monks from Esphigmenou and representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate met at the Foreign Ministry yesterday to try and make peace after monks clashed with Church officials over plans to install monks from another order next to Esphigmenou. Attica arrests A police operation in Attica on Thursday involving more than 2,000 officers led to 649 arrests, authorities said yesterday. The operation was the latest in the series of countrywide crackdowns named Polis. Officers conducted checks on more than 15,000 people, 930 stores and 11,500 cars. Stuck in Salonica Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Thessaloniki’s international airport for several hours yesterday after thick fog caused dozens of scheduled flights to be canceled. Among those inconvenienced was US Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries, whose flight from Athens was rerouted to Kavala. Farmers end sit-in The Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (EAS) yesterday ended a daylong symbolic sit-in at the union’s premises in Thessaloniki and announced that they would visit Athens soon for a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The farmers want ATE Bank (formerly Agricultural) to freeze the liquidation of cooperatives within their union. Lawyer out on bail Lawyer Petros Machas was released on bail yesterday after appearing before investigating magistrate Yiannis Sideris on charges brought against him last month of breach of duty in connection with an alleged trial-fixing ring. Machas posted bail of 2,000 euros. Customer complaints The Greek Consumer Center said yesterday that most of the complaints which it received from dissatisfied shoppers over the last two months regarded faulty products (26 percent) but that almost a fifth were about spoiled food. One in 10 consumers also complained about public utilities and state services during September and October. Sick conscripts The army said yesterday that 27 conscripts at a camp in Rethymnon, Crete, had developed gastroenteritis. The outbreak occurred on Thursday, the army said, and only nine of the 27 were still off duty yesterday.