NEWS

In Brief

FLIGHT DISRUPTION

Restricted services as ground staff strike Passengers with scheduled flights from Greece today are advised to confirm departures with their airline following yesterday’s decision by air traffic controllers to hold a four-hour strike from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Airlines will be restricting their services to just one flight to every destination. VIDEO ARCADES Employees protest against blanket ban on electronic games Employees of Athens video arcades are expected to demonstrate in the capital today after yesterday’s protest by about 600 arcade employees in Thessaloniki, who demanded security for the nation’s 200,000 workers facing redundancy as a result of last week’s ban on all electronic games from establishments open to the public. The government imposed the ban as a last resort in its losing fight against the spread of illegal slot machines. PESTICIDES Threat to consumer health Consumers’ health is threatened by excessive chemicals in the food chain resulting from the government’s failure to enforce adequate limits and tests on pesticide use, the Consumer Protection Institute (INKA) said yesterday. Levels of chemicals in fruit and vegetables, as well as in breast milk exceed the recommended limit by 25 times and 19 times respectively, INKA’s study showed. Deputy Agriculture Minister Vangelis Argyris said yesterday that Greece conducts regular national and EU-regulated tests on pesticide levels. All zeal A Thessaloniki man beaten up by police for trying to get into his own car is taking legal action against the officers who assaulted him, reports said yesterday. Christos Anagnostopoulos, 50, said the two officers, who were watching him as he sheltered from the rain under a shop canopy opposite his car, took him for a car thief. They allegedly attacked and swore at him when he approached the vehicle, before taking him to the police station where Anagnostopoulos showed them his driving license and keys. Balkans The parliamentary committee on defense and foreign policy yesterday approved a draft bill on Greece’s 187.5-billion-drachma Balkan reconstruction plan. The bill will next be debated by the House’s plenary session. Missing seaman Rescue ships and helicopters yesterday continued to scour the sea off the western Aegean island of Skyros for a seaman missing since early Tuesday morning when a Greek freighter abruptly listed and sank in a heavy swell. First Mate Giorgos Delinikolaou, 53, was the only one of 10 people aboard the Philippos KII not to be found by an air force helicopter that arrived at the scene after the incident. One of the passengers, Eleni Kaiafa, 61, suffered a fatal heart attack after she was rescued. Railway protest Residents of Metamorphosis yesterday blocked the main roads of the Athens district in a symbolic protest against government plans to build a suburban railway which will pass through their municipality but not stop there. The imminent disruption caused by the railway’s construction would be endurable if they were to benefit from the service, citizens said. Euro-pop Greece will be represented at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest by veteran pop singer Michalis Rakintzis performing a tune entitled «I Love You» (S’Agapo), it was decided late on Tuesday. The contest will take place in the Estonian capital of Tallinn in May. Diver recovery Coast guard divers yesterday sent an underwater robot with cameras and sonar equipment into murky waters off the coast of Lambiri, near Patras, to help them determine how to recover the body of a diver they discovered on Monday held fast to the seabed by fishing nets. Thanassis Nikolaropoulos, 26, disappeared during a diving expedition with friends on Sunday. He apparently drowned after becoming entangled in nets 80 meters below the surface. Reforestation More than 2,000 schoolchildren from municipalities neighboring Mt Pendeli on the northern outskirts of Athens lent their support to firemen, soldiers, volunteers and forest workers yesterday to plant 15,000 trees on the mountain’s scarred slopes, ravaged by fierce fires in the late 1990s. Regional authorities want to have the whole mountain replanted within the next two years.