NEWS

In Brief

REFORMS AGENDA

PM says changes will fuel growth, support entrepreneurship Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said that the government will stick to structural reforms to boost economic growth and competitiveness. Karamanlis told a meeting of New Democracy’s central committee on Saturday that the government will aim at taking advantage of new tools to strengthen growth and support entrepreneurship. He added that the sale of up to 20 percent of state-controlled OTE telecom will top the state privatization agenda this year. Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis told Dow Jones Newswires that he expected the sale of OTE to wind up by early July. TEACHERS’ STRIKE University staff to walk off the job The Hellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (POSDEP) has called a 48-hour strike for Wednesday and Thursday in protest at planned government reforms to the tertiary sector. The teaching staff also agreed on a three-day strike between January 31 and February 2, during the student examination period. POSDEP is calling on the government to drop plans to allow the introduction of non-state universities in a move it believes will reduce the quality of free state education. Teachers and student groups have also scheduled a rally in central Athens for Wednesday. Thief caught A 28-year-old man was arrested in Thessaloniki on Saturday after his motorcycle crashed into a car when he was trying to escape from a supermarket he had allegedly just held up. Police said yesterday the suspect, along with three other men, threatened the supermarket employees at gunpoint at around 6.30 p.m. and escaped on motorbikes. One of the men, however, crashed into an oncoming car and was slightly injured. Police managed to arrest him after being notified of the robbery by the supermarket staff. Woman murdered A 33-year-old Romanian woman who had been reported missing in July in Platikampo, near Larissa, northern Greece, was murdered after being the victim of robbery, police said on Saturday. Authorities said that they arrested a male friend of the victim, a foreign national, who confessed to robbing the victim of 18,000 euros in cash as he was about to drop her off at a bus station. The suspect is then believed to have dumped the body in a nearby water channel and then deposited the money in his bank account. Authorities said that the body has yet to be located. Crime crackdown Police said yesterday they had arrested 36 suspects in a crackdown on petty criminals in Thessaloniki. A total of 251 people were stopped for questioning by foot patrols, while 268 vehicles where intercepted for checks. Four of the suspects arrested were accused of drug possession, while two were wanted on counts of theft.