Government holds talks with local authorities on protection of mountain Efforts to protect areas of Mount Hymettus, east of Athens and burned by wildfires in the summer, received a boost yesterday when the government held talks with representatives from the 15 municipalities that border the mountain. «This meeting is the beginning of a fruitful cooperation,» said Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Costas Kiltidis. «We are demanding the end of any undesirable activity on the mountain, such as quarries, landfills and army barracks, and the implementation of a national park-style management scheme for Hymettus,» said the head of Association for the Protection and Development of Hymettus (SPAY) and mayor of Vyronas, Nikos Hardalias. EDUCATION PROTEST Teachers, students take to streets on Thursday demanding more spending Teachers and students will demonstrate in central Athens on Thursday demanding the government increase spending in education to 5 percent of gross domestic product. The State High School Teachers’ Federation (OLME) and the Greek Primary School Teachers’ Federation (DOE) have each called work stoppages to allow their staff members to take part in the march scheduled to start at the Athens University at midday. Educators are also calling for the government not to recognize degrees issued by private colleges. MIGRANTS INTERCEPTED 120 illegal travelers intercepted Port authority officials in the Aegean said yesterday that they had intercepted more than 120 illegal immigrants in the past three days, most of whom had arrived on Greek islands from neighboring Turkey. Authorities on Lesvos yesterday detained 18 would-be migrants who claimed to have arrived on the island from Turkey aboard an inflatable dinghy which sank. Port officials detained another 85 migrants on the islet of Pserimos on Sunday while 20 immigrants – and their two suspected smugglers – were stopped on Farmakonisi. Ambassadors’ forum The Foreign Ministry will host from tomorrow a regular series of talks by ambassadors to Greece, beginning with a speech by the Portuguese ambassador in Athens, Carlos Neves Ferreira. Portugal currently holds the presidency of the European Union. The ministry said that the events, known as the «Ambassadors’ Forum» will be held regularly in a bid to promote debate between diplomats, academics, researchers and journalists, among others. Infant deaths A coroner was yesterday investigating what caused the death of a pair of 2-month-old twins, found dead in their cot on Sunday morning in the Athens district of Ilion. Sources say the babies may have suffered an infection of the respiratory system. Police believe the air-conditioning system, which had been operating throughout the night, might have caused the deaths. Meanwhile two siblings who died of asphyxiation when a fire engulfed their home on Saturday were buried in Xanthi yesterday. The children’s mother is alleged to have been out shopping when the fire broke out. Ravine murder Another two suspects were arrested yesterday in connection with the death of a Romanian man on Crete last weekend. A 32-year-old man, who was arrested on Sunday, was charged with murder yesterday. The other two suspects have yet to face charges. The body of the 31-year-old victim, who had received a blow to the head with a blunt instrument, was found at the bottom of a ravine on Saturday, according to police. All three suspects are Albanian nationals. Police helicopter Police will use a helicopter to help ground forces provide improved traffic supervison of congested Athens streets in a recent decision made by senior government officials. The helicopter will fly above the capital between 7.30 and 9.30 a.m on days when traffic conditions are particularly bad and will provide police headquarters with images of city streets in real time through the use of a wireless camera. Fee drop The American Embassy in Athens said its non-immigrant visa application fee will drop to 74 euros from 80 euros as of Thursday due to exchange rate fluctuations. The embassy said applicants can pay the non-refundable fee at any Piraeus Bank branch.