NEWS

In Brief

PENSIONERS PROTEST

Hundreds march in Athens, seeking better benefits, tax breaks Hundreds of pensioners marched from Kotzia Square in central Athens to the Finance Ministry yesterday in an attempt to secure higher state pensions. The retirees are seeking a rise in the minimum pension, a 500-euro heating allowance, a price freeze on medicines and tax breaks. FEBRUARY INFLATION Consumer price index rose 3.2 pct, unchanged from January The consumer price index in February rose 3.2 percent on an annual basis, unchanged from the previous month, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. Cheaper shoes and clothing last month helped offset higher food and housing costs. In the 12-month period leading up to February, the average inflation rate came in at 3.5 percent. STORE VIOLATIONS Supermarkets breach health code Inspections by prefectural officials in Piraeus found two supermarkets guilty of multiple health and safety violations and other transgressions. A branch of Carrefour-Marinopoulos was found to have dirty cooking and storage facilities and employees without the required documents permitting working with food. Meanwhile, an Atlantik store was found to be storing goods that had passed their sell-by date and running departments within the store without the necessary licenses. The cases were referred to a local prosecutor. Illegal immigration Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis yesterday discussed with the visiting European commissioner for security affairs, Franco Frattini, Greece’s proposal for the creation of a European Coast Guard to curb illegal immigration and organized crime. Frattini said he backed the establishment of patrols to help EU member states that have particular problems. Plans to set up a satellite system to monitor the Mediterranean are being discussed, the commissioner added. Consumers Day Environmentalists Greenpeace called on consumers yesterday to use their buying power to put pressure on companies into adopting environmentally friendly techniques ahead of World Consumer Day on Wednesday. Body found Authorities found yesterday the body of a man, aged about 40, on the seabed off the port of Patras in the Peloponnese. The man, who police say is a resident of Patras, was found underwater chained to a motorbike. Police have launched an investigation into the cause of his death and the conditions surrounding the incident. Hydroplane routes Passengers will be able to travel by hydroplane from the port of Patras to the island of Corfu by the end of the month, authorities said yesterday. The journey will take about 40 minutes, as opposed to the average six-hour ferry trip, and will set back passengers 80 euros. Further details are available from port authorities. Driver killed A 40-year-old man was hit and killed by an oncoming car in Thessaloniki yesterday after he parked and got out of the vehicle he was driving. The second driver suffered minor injuries. Saab recall The Development Ministry said yesterday that 1,497 Saab cars, produced between 2003-2005, are being recalled from the market due to a problem with the brake system. The recall affects a convertible and a four-door model. Joint airport The Municipality of Trigono in the northeastern area of Evros is examining, along with its neighboring Bulgarian city of Svilengrad, setting up a joint commercial airport on the Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish border. The exact site of the possible new airport – which is expected to boost trade in the region – has yet to be decided as plans are still at an initial stage.