NEWS

In Brief

SERBIAN TIES

PM backs Belgrade’s EU bid, proposes moderation on Kosovo Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday reassured Serbia’s President Boris Tadic of Greece’s support for the country’s bid to join the EU. Karamanlis also told the visiting Serbian leader that he supported a «mutually acceptable solution» for Kosovo’s status and called for «moderation and restraint in the post-Rugova era.» As regards the future union of Serbia and Montenegro, Karamanlis said the will of the Montenegrin people should be respected. Tadic called for closer bilateral cooperation on the Kosovo question and other regional issues. NEW SERVICE Bus begins running between Piraeus and Kifissia through the night A new nighttime bus line between Kifissia in northern Athens and Piraeus began running yesterday. The number 500 buses run every half-hour in both directions from 12.30 a.m. to 4.30 a.m. The line, which stretches some 33 kilometers, has 87 stops, including at electric railway stations. The bus is intended to serve those wishing to travel between Piraeus and Kifissia during hours the electric railway is not working. BODIES WASH UP Two missing crew members identified The captain and two members of the Cambodian-flagged freight vessel A AKIF, which sank off the northern Sporades on Tuesday, identified the bodies yesterday of two fellow crew members who had gone missing during the rescue operation. Two men had fallen into the water as the remaining 14 crew members were picked up from an inflatable dinghy in difficult weather conditions. The bodies were found washed up on Myconos on Saturday. Gray area Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos suggested yesterday that the Turkish government should publicly condemn the Gray Wolves extremist group after its members in Smyrna staged the mock exiling of Greek Orthodox Patriarch Vartholomaios. A member of the group was dressed up as the patriarch and taken to a boat, which was rowed out to sea. Roussopoulos said the actions of the extremists were «totally unacceptable» but that they did not reflect opinion in the whole of Turkey. Young offenders Youth crime in Thessaloniki skyrocketed by 1,783 percent last year, the local police chief Giorgos Andravizos said yesterday. He attributed the sharp rise to more intense checks by police officers on nightclubs and stores with electronic games. The city’s police also found a 63 percent increase in human trafficking offenses last year. Asbestos removal An initiative to remove asbestos from school buildings has resulted in the potentially carcinogenic material being purged from 58 schools since June 2004, the Health Ministry said yesterday. Asbestos-removal works are under way at another 167 schools, the ministry said. A total of 25 million euros has been earmarked for the project. Rubbish protest Residents from Grammatiko, northeastern Attica, will stage a rally in Rafina, where Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis lives, on Sunday morning to protests against plans to build a landfill site in their area, community leaders said yesterday. Residents argue that the planned location of the dump is near a collection of holiday homes and has been earmarked for reforestation. They want Attica’s rubbish to be transported out of the region. Forced prostitution Police arrested three Albanian nationals in Hania, Crete, accused of kidnapping a 19-year-old woman and forcing her into prostitution, authorities said yesterday. The men allegedly kidnapped the woman, also from Albania, from Loutraki, west of Athens, about 15 days ago and took her to Crete. An undercover policeman acting as a customer was led to the girl on Monday night when authorities stepped in and detained the three-member gang. Road deaths The number of people killed on the country’s roads in November reached 130, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday, about 18 percent higher than the same month a year earlier. The number of people seriously injured fell 20 percent from November last year to 157, the NSS added.