PASOK MP steps down in order to run for Athens mayor next month PASOK MP Costas Skandalidis resigned as a deputy with the Socialist party yesterday so he could be free to compete in next month’s mayoral election in Athens. «I remain a faithful member of PASOK and proud of my party’s progress,» said Skandalidis, who, according to a VPRC opinion poll, trails New Democracy hopeful Nikitas Kaklamanis by 25.5 percent for the role of Athens mayor. Skandalidis proposed yesterday that the candidates appear in four televised debates before the October 15 election. His place in Parliament will be taken by former education and defense minister Gerasimos Arsenis. FIREMEN ‘UNDEREQUIPPED’ Staff on short-term contracts lack basic safety gear, union says Firefighters on short-term contracts lack basic equipment, such as helmets and fireproof jackets, the head of their union said at a press conference yesterday. Constantinos Papantonis also accused the government of treating the 5,000 contract firefighters unfairly by only paying them 650 euros a month and not offering them contracts longer than five months. He also charged the ruling conservatives with not committing enough resources to bolster defenses against forest fires. PREFECTURAL POLLS PASOK set for Athens-Piraeus win PASOK looks set to retain control of the Athens-Piraeus prefecture in next month’s local elections, according to results of a VPRC poll for Skai TV which were made public yesterday. The Socialist candidate, and current prefect, Fofi Gennimata looks set to receive 37.5 percent of the vote compared to 21 percent for Argyris Dinopoulos, the New Democracy candidate. The winning candidate will need to garner at least 42 percent of the vote on October 15, otherwise a runoff election between the two top candidates will be held a week later. Mesogeion death A 13-year-old boy was killed yesterday when he was hit by a car as he was trying to cross Mesogeion Avenue in Aghia Paraskevi, northeastern Athens, yesterday. The 21-year-old driver was arrested but police did not reveal his or the victim’s name or any further details about the incident. Buses halted Drivers from the Athens public bus company (ETHEL) are scheduled to hold two work stoppages today in protest at the sacking of 38 colleagues. The first break will start in the early morning hours and run until 7.30 a.m. while the second stoppage will be held in the evening, from 10.30 p.m. until the end of the shift. Games over Dozens of teachers hired in 2004 to teach schoolchildren about the history of the Olympic Games protested outside the Education Ministry yesterday demanding that they be kept on as permanent substitute teachers and not be paid based on the number of hours they work. The head of their union, Yiannis Harisopoulos, said the teachers had been earning 1,100 euros a month but would have to make do with just 280 euros. Physical education teachers joined in the protest demanding that they be hired permanently as well. Cannabis haul Border guards yesterday discovered seven sacks of cannabis, weighing more than 160 kilos, in a cave in the area of Delvinakio. The sacks had been placed there by drug traders from Albania and had been destined for collection by associates in Greece, according to police who observed the area for several days. No one came to collect the drugs but police believe they have enough evidence to trace the dealers with the help of Albanian drug squad officers. Car chase Police in Greece and Albania yesterday chased the driver of a small truck which refused to stop when ordered to and then crashed through Greek and Albanian border checkpoints. But despite police efforts, the driver of the Nissan four-by-four, which lacked license plates, managed to evade arrest. Police believe the driver of the car is an Albanian national. Food violations Food checks on supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants and fast-food stores in the last 45 days have resulted in 65 businesses being called to face the prosecutor, the Athens prefecture said yesterday. The list of companies accused of serving food unfit for consumption include fast-food stores Everest and Grigoris.