Teachers ask for help from PM as they consider extending strike The Primary School Teachers Federation (DOE) yesterday asked Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to intervene in the educators’ ongoing pay dispute. The teachers want an increase in their basic salary from 950 euros to 1,400 euros. Nursery and primary school teachers are in the second week of industrial action and are threatening to strike for a third week unless their demands are met. However, government sources said yesterday that Karamanlis is satisfied with the way that Education Minister Marietta Giannakou is handling the situation. (Editorial, Page 2) MINISTER SUED Consumer group accuses government officials of defamation over prices The consumer organization New INKA yesterday filed a lawsuit against Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou and the ministry’s general secretary for consumer affairs, Thanassis Skordas, after the pair earlier this month accused the group of fiddling with the numbers it used to show that some school goods had increased in price since last year. New INKA, which is not linked to the Consumer Institute (INKA), accused the officials of defamation and is demanding 300,000 euros in damages. BIRD BANE Pensioner cleared over noisy canaries An 80-year-old man was cleared by a court in Iraklion, Crete, yesterday after facing charges of disturbing the peace due to the sounds from six canaries he kept in cages on his balcony. The court ruled that there were no grounds for the legal suit brought against the bird-lover by his neighbor. Rice recall The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) said yesterday that it has ordered the recall of US genetically modified rice being sold in Greece by Minerva because it has not received the necessary approval. EFET was notified by the EU’s food warning system about the rice being sold locally. Homes flooded Firefighters received seven calls of help from homes in Halkidiki, northern Greece, that flooded after storms hit the area yesterday. Authorities added that a number homes in the Thessaloniki area had also called for assistance after flooding. Driver injured The driver of a car who ignored a stop signal at a level crossing in Thessaloniki early yesterday was injured after his vehicle crashed into an oncoming train, authorities said. No further details were available. Court blessing Following the recent controversy over the traditional religious blessings of Greek courts, Supreme Court President Romylos Kedikoglou said in a letter to Kathimerini yesterday that the head of the court is obliged by law to arrange for the ceremony to be carried out at the start of the judicial year. More than 100 high-ranking judges snubbed the head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Christodoulos, earlier this month as he blessed the Council of State. They said the religious ceremony might compromise the neutrality of the court. Shipment released Cypriot authorities yesterday released to Syria a consignment of North Korean aircraft defense systems intercepted on an Interpol alert earlier this month, officials in Nicosia said yesterday. The Grigorio I was detained by Nicosia on September 5 on suspicion it was smuggling arms. The ship’s consignment had been billed as weather-observation equipment. «(The consignment) has now been released to Syria after all the proper legal procedures were followed,» an official in Nicosia said. Ferry stuck A ferry carrying 526 passengers ran aground near the port of Rethymnon, Crete, on Tuesday night, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Nobody was injured in the incident, which occurred at 8.05 p.m., and the Prevelis was pulled free a little later. The vessel was allowed to continue on its journey just before midnight. Athos renovation The Regional Authority of Central Macedonia yesterday approved a 1-million-euro project to renovate the west wing of the14th century Pantocrator Monastery on Mount Athos.