Watchdog says local authorities are ‘tampering’ with civil service hiring Local authorities are mainly responsible for issuing a series of short-term contracts to hire personnel instead of filling permanent positions, according to an annual report by the president of the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP), Giorgos Veis. In the report, which was published yesterday, Veis said that local officials continued to abuse the hiring system in 2005. Veis said that most of the discrepancies took place at local authorities, universities, technical colleges and research centers. The head of the civil service recruitment watchdog accused the bodies involved of «undermining the system of hiring.» TEACHER ARRESTED More unrest at Evia school where 16-year-old was allegedly raped A teacher was arrested yesterday at the high school in Amarynthnos, Evia, where the rape of a 16-year-old schoolgirl is alleged to have recently taken place. The unnamed teacher is accused of breaking a schoolgirl’s finger after striking her on the hand. The girl is one of the three students who allegedly witnessed the rape but did not do anything to prevent it. Meanwhile, a group of anarchists also arrived in the small town on Sunday and daubed anti-racist messages on walls and monuments before scuffling with locals. DOCTORS STRIKE Protests at hospitals on Thursday Doctors at state hospitals in Athens and Piraeus are due to stage a 24-hour strike on Thursday in protest at the national budget for 2007. The Union of Athens-Piraeus Hospital Doctors (EINAP) claimed yesterday that the national health system has been abandoned by governments over the last 15 years and that doctors have been left to work in medieval conditions. EINAP representatives are due to meet with Health Ministry officials today to discuss possible staff shortages next year when doctors will have to work shorter hours to comply with European Union guidelines. Rape suspect A 36-year-old foreign national was remanded in custody in Hania, Crete, yesterday, suspected of two counts of attempted rape, police said. The suspect has been identified by two of his alleged victims, who told police they were abused by the man, who apparently threatened them with a screwdriver. Police did not identify the foreign national, who testified before a magistrate yesterday. False alarm A section of busy Pireos Street in Moschato, southern Athens, was closed for some 35 minutes yesterday as bomb disposal experts inspected a suspect package. Authorities said that they found a car battery inside the package and reopened the road. OTE protest OTE telecom union members yesterday blocked off the entrance to an OTE building in central Athens, on Tritis Septemvriou Street, in protest at government plans to cuts its stake in the phone company. Last week unionists also blocked off the entrance to OTE’s headquarters in Maroussi, northern Athens, as part of their protest action. OTE said yesterday that it is taking legal steps against the worker representatives to protect customers, employees and shareholders. Thanksgiving closure The US Embassy in Athens, including the Consular Section, the US Consulate General in Thessaloniki, and all US government offices in Greece, will be closed on Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving Day, a US national holiday, the embassy said in a statement yesterday. Ambulance strike The ambulance service in Thessaloniki will be operating with minimal staff today because of a strike by National First Aid Center (EKAB) workers. Officials said that four ambulances will serve the western side of the city and another four will be available on the eastern side from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The action is part of rolling nationwide protests by EKAB workers who want better pay and more hirings in the sector. Arson attack Four motorcycles and a car were destroyed in a fire in front of a driving school in Iraklion, Crete, early yesterday. Police said that the fire broke out after arsonists set fire to one of the motorcycles. It was not immediately clear what provoked the attack.