NEWS

In Brief

SCHOOL SHUTDOWNS

Increase in Athens sit-in protests but numbers drop elsewhere The number of secondary schools that have been shut down in Athens due to student sit-in protest action has increased but in regional parts of the country it is falling, according to Education Ministry data released yesterday. The total number of schools that have been shut down nationwide is between 400 and 450. Students are demanding the government raise spending in education to 5 percent of gross domestic product from around 3 percent currently. Students have scheduled a protest march in central Athens for Friday at midday. MISSING FISHERMAN Eight patrol vessels take part in search operation off Peloponnese Eight coast guard patrol vessels were yesterday scouring the coast off Kardamyli, on the Peloponnesian peninsula of Mani, for a 30-year-old fisherman who has been missing since Sunday afternoon. By late yesterday, rescuers had discovered the missing man’s car, fishing boat and buoy as well as a torch and a bag full of fish. Divers and patrol boats continued to scour the area late last night. WORK STOPPAGE Ambulance staff seek pay hike Ambulance workers will walk off the job today between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to press demands for higher pay and an increase in the number of staff employed at the emergency service. Employees at the National First Aid Center (EKAB) claim that a further 500 employees need to be hired to cover vacant positions and that there have been no new hirings since 1996. The workers added there has been an increase in the number of unlicensed ambulances operating due to EKAB becoming less efficient. Church thief A 39-year-old man suspected of stealing money deposited at candle stands in some 60 Thessaloniki churches has been charged with multiple counts of theft, police said yesterday. The suspect is believed to have targeted mostly small churches from early 2005 to December 2006. It is unclear how much cash he had accumulated from his activities. Hash hauls Police in Kilkis charged two men on drug-related charges yesterday after finding them in possession of more than 50 kilos of cannabis. A 51-year-old was first found in possession of 125 grams of the substance. A subsequent raid on the home of a 56-year-old revealed a further 54 kilos of cannabis. Sexual abuse A 60-year-old man in Hania, Crete, has been arrested, accused of sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl, police said yesterday. Police arrested the man, a friend of the girl’s family, after the child told her parents that she had been abused by the suspect at his home. An inspection of the the man’s home uncovered various weapons, including hand guns and large knives. Police are continuing their investigation into the case. Rotten meat Thessaloniki prefecture authorities said yesterday they had seized about 6 tons of meat from food wholesalers in October. Just over 5 tons of meat was not properly labeled to show its origin, while an additional 400 kilos was deemed to be unfit for human consumption. Rhodes battered Strong winds caused extensive damage to farms and homes at Ataviros on Rhodes late Monday night, authorities said yesterday. The storm damaged greenhouses and roofs of village homes. A team from the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) is expected to visit the area to decide whether compensation will be paid to victims. Train routes The Proastiakos suburban railway will reduce a few scheduled itineraries tomorrow and Friday between Piraeus and Kiato due to construction work. Commuters can call 1110 for further information.