NEWS

In Brief

TRANSPORT FREEZE

General strike will bring city to a standstill today as workers protest Commuters need to be armed with lots of patience today as a strike by two of the country’s main umbrella labor unions, GSEE and ADEDY, is expected to bring public transport to a city-wide halt in Athens. The metro, the Athens-Piraeus electric railway, the suburban railway and the tram will not operate at all while airport and rail schedules will be heavily disrupted. Blue buses, however, will run between 7.30 a.m. and 10.30 p.m. CRETE MURDERS Police charge son of dead British couple with their killings Police in Hania yesterday charged a 32-year-old British man, Ryan Johnson, with murdering his parents. The bodies of Roger Johnson, 53, and his wife Josephine, 52, were found stabbed and strangled to death in their home in the nearby village of Almyrida on Sunday. Officers said that the suspect told them he was in the house when the murders occurred but had not heard anything suspicious. Ryan Johnson denies any involvement in the murder of his parents. He is due to face a magistrate in Hania today. DIRTY RIVER Asopos is beyond repair, officials say Local authorities told 10 MPs from Parliament’s environment committee yesterday that the damage caused by pollution in the Asopos River was no longer reversible. The deputies visited sections of the river in Attica and Viotia and were told that nine companies in those areas had been fined some 250,000 euros over the last two years for polluting the river. A presidential decree in 1969 allowed use of the river for channeling treated waste, but authorities said that irreversible damage had been caused by companies dumping untreated waste into the water. Con men caught Police in Attica said yesterday that they had arrested two men, aged 28 and 38, who allegedly tricked mentally ill victims into taking out bank loans and buying electrical goods. Officers said the pair are thought to have gained 16,000 euros over the last two months by keeping half of the loans taken out by their victims and selling the electrical equipment. The two men were not named. Mental health Non-profit mental health foundations in Greece are desperately short of money because EU funding has dried up and the Health Ministry has approved only a fraction of the amount needed to keep institutions running, officials told Kathimerini yesterday. A 10-million-euro shortfall was recorded in 2005, when funding from the EU stopped. This year the ministry has approved 22 million euros in spending, even though 57 million is needed to keep 27 foundations running and 1,700 experts employed, according to the sector watchdog Argos. Glyfada floods Work to construct drains in the beachside suburb of Glyfada in southern Athens has started in order to help reduce flooding during heavy rain, authorities said yesterday. Locals believe flooding has become more frequent since the construction of the tram in 2004. The work on Angelou Metaxa Street is expected to be completed in six months. Heroin arrests Two men, aged 20 and 25, were arrested at the port of Mytilene yesterday for possession of 58 grams of heroin. Port authorities said that the two dumped their belongings, which contained the opiate, into a boat as they tried to escape arrest. UN contribution The government will contribute $100,000 (83,809 euros) to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), said Greece’s permanent representative, Ambassador Adamantios Vasilakis. The fund aims at providing aid workers with sufficient funding for relief operations. Moving office The City of Athens’s town-planning office will be closed from tomorrow until next Tuesday because it is being relocated, municipal officials said yesterday. The new office will open at 57 Socratous Street in central Athens. The new phone number for the town-planning office will be 210.520.5000-70.