NEWS

In Brief

STRIKE OFF

Municipal street cleaners cancel protest action over money dispute City street cleaners early yesterday called off a five-day strike, due to start today, after Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis pledged to draft legislation categorizing their profession as a health risk, a status that carries additional pension benefits. Cleaners cancelled their strike action, which would have resulted in thousands of tons of trash piling up on the streets, following talks between Alogoskoufis and senior union officials. Alogoskoufis said the new provision would be drafted in time to be tabled in Parliament by the end of the year. CEPHALONIA LANDSLIDE Woman injured as mountainside gives way due to heavy rainfall An elderly woman sustained minor injuries and four homes were damaged following a landslide on the Ionian island of Cephalonia yesterday, caused by heavy rainfall during the previous night. The shower loosened earth and rubble from a mountain in the island’s Argostoli region, causing chaos on local roads. The elderly woman was injured while trying to escape from her home in which she had become trapped. HIGH-SPEED HASSLE Passengers safely transferred The 103 passengers of a high-speed ferry heading from Piraeus to Poros and other Argosaronic islands were safely transfered to another vessel after their ship broke down a couple of kilometers off Aegina yesterday morning. The ferry developed a mechanical problem after hitting a floating tree trunk, according to the Merchant Marine Ministry which coordinated the rescue effort. All passengers had their fares reimbursed and received an extra ticket for future use. Weather alert The National Meteorological Service (EMY) warned yesterday of deteriorating weather conditions over the weekend with rainfall, storms and windy conditions expected in most parts of the country. A slight dip in temperatures is expected today and tomorrow with a further drop expected on Monday, according to EMY. Climber safe A 36-year-old Spanish national who was injured during a mountain climb on the slopes of Mount Olympus on Thursday was safely rescued yesterday, authorities said. The man’s girlfriend had notified authorities of the accident on her mobile phone. There were no immediate details available concerning the man’s condition. Bank holdups Police said yesterday three banks were held up in Thessaloniki yesterday in the space of an hour by two armed assailants on each occasion. The first holdup took place at 10.35 a.m. at a branch of Piraeus Bank followed by raids on two Eurobank branches at 11.10 a.m. and 11.40 a.m., according to authorities. Police did not comment on whether they believe the holdups are in any way connected. There were no reports of injuries. Taxi theft Two Albanian nationals were arrested in Peristeri, western Athens, yesterday accused of repeated counts of holding up taxi drivers, authorities said. Police said they had placed undercover officers in different areas across Athens to keep a look-out for the two suspects. The men were nabbed after they held up a taxi driver on Thursday. Police managed to locate the men, a short distance from where Thursday’s incident took place, after being quickly notified by the victim. Illegal immigrants The Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday 20 illegal immigrants were arrested on the islands of Mytilene and Kos. In the port of Mytiline, 14 immigrants, including one child were detained, after crossing over into Greece on board an inflatable boat. Separately, on the island of Kos authorities detained six men in the Skandari area. New kindergartens The Education Ministry said yesterday it will build 600 new kindergartens across Greece between 2008 and 2012 in a bid to upgrade preschool education facilities.