In Brief


Iranian president in Athens today for three-day visit Iranian President Mohammed Khatami arrives in Greece today for a three-day state visit. Greece and Iran are due to sign agreements on cooperation on matters related to customs affairs, education, energy and investment. Shipyards HDW current policy to continue, despite sale It will take more than six months to clear the air over the sale of Hellenic Shipyards after the buyer, Germany’s Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG (HDW), itself changed ownership on Monday, government officials privately declared yesterday. ETBA bank, the majority owner of Hellenic Shipyards yesterday released an HDW statement which said that «HDW has reached an agreement with the new shareholders that its current policy, which aims at a consolidation of European shipyards, will continue.» HDW is now controlled by One Equity Partners, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Bank One. HDW had reached an agreement to buy Hellenic Shipyards last October, but ongoing negotiations cast doubt on the sale. Tram Palaio Faliron council weighs in The municipal council of the coastal Athens suburb of Palaio Faliron yesterday unanimously rejected government plans to build tram tracks along the seafront in time for the 2004 Olympics. It called for the tram lines to be built along the coastal highway, which the council wants rerouted underground. The tram will run along the coast from Glyfada to Palaio Faliron, starting from Zappeion Park in central Athens. On Monday, Palaio Faliron residents appealed to the Council of State against the planned route, arguing that it would destroy the waterfront and prevent their access to the sea. Hospital strike All state hospitals will function on skeleton staff from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today due to a strike by non-medical staff who want more staff and implementation of their collective work contract. Strikers in Athens will hold a march from central Mavili Square to the ministries of the Interior, Finance and Health. Soccer Cypriot authorities yesterday launched a massive security operation in view of tomorrow’s UEFA Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Israel’s Hapoel Tel Aviv and Italy’s AC Milan. The game will be played in Nicosia following a UEFA decision to ban international matches in Israel because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to Cypriot media, the Hapoel squad will be accompanied by members of the Mossad intelligence service, and escorted by Israeli fighter jets. Stadium closes Greece’s indoor Peace and Friendship Stadium in the coastal suburb of Neo Faliron will close on Friday for renovation work ahead of the 2004 Olympics, when it is scheduled to host the volleyball competition. The stadium opened in 1985. Olympic Olympic Airways employees yesterday demonstrated outside the chronically ailing state carrier’s central Thessaloniki offices, demanding that the company should not be privatized. They also want full work status for Olympic employees on short-term contracts. After repeatedly failing to privatize the firm, the government is planning to restructure Olympic – shedding 2,000 jobs – in the hope of finding a buyer. Athens News The Athens News English-language newspaper yesterday celebrated its 50th anniversary at a function attended by Press Minister Christos Protopappas. Founded by the late Yiannis Horn in 1952 as a daily, the paper became a weekly last year. Seahawk down A US Navy helicopter crashed 80 miles off the western coast of Greece about 10.30 a.m. yesterday with three airmen aboard, the US Sixth Fleet said in a statement from its headquarters in Gaeta, Italy. The SH-60B Seahawk had been carrying out a routine flight from the destroyer Hayler. By late yesterday crash debris had been located but there was no sign of the crew. Milk smugglers Three Albanian nationals were arrested on Greece’s northwestern border this week for trying to smuggle into the country 250 kilos of milk loaded on a mule train. Vasilak Katsa, 27, Mehmet Kaso, 18, and Bekiri Jilftar, 26, told financial crime squad officers the milk had been destined for Greek farmer Charalambos Simos, 52.

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