NEWS

In Brief

Dangerous buildings

Stability of some public structures questioned by quake organization Six years after the launch of a government initiative to test the durability of some 70,000 public buildings, only 6,000 have been checked and some of these inadequately, it was revealed yesterday. Of the 6,000 reports received by the Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization (EPPO), some 1,300 contained inadequate information about the buildings’ ability to withstand a strong tremor, the organization said. Some local authorities have yet to submit a single report, EPPO said. Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros said that all the capital’s buildings have been checked. Illegal immigrants Authorities intercept more than 170 migrants, many dehydrated The coast guard in Hania, Crete, yesterday detained 87 illegal immigrants originating from Arab countries after residents spotted a fishing boat bearing Egyptian lettering off Sfakia. The migrants, many of whom were suffering from dehydration and exhaustion, were administered first aid and given food and water. The migrants, all men aged between 18 and 27, are believed to have been en route to an Italian port. Meanwhile, police in Volos, central Greece, intercepted 90 would-be migrants from India, Afghanistan and Pakistan crammed inside a truck. It was unclear where the truck had been headed. The driver eluded arrest. Pension rally Protesters call for earlier retirement Members of the Communist Party (KKE)-affiliated union PAME yesterday staged a rally in central Athens, protesting at the government’s plan for pension reform. Protesters, who were joined by KKE leader Aleka Papariga, gathered in Kotzia Square. They are calling for a retirement age of 55 for women and 60 for men. Teacher needs Some 1,740 permanent teaching positions at the country’s state secondary schools are vacant two months into the academic year, according to a group of 37 opposition PASOK deputies who yesterday demanded an explanation from Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis. According to the MPs, the staff shortages are compounded by inadequate funding. The worst-hit subjects are technical and vocational training, music and foreign languages, according to the MPs, who called on Stylianidis to clarify what remedial action the government would take. Court strikes Court clerks are to stage a series of two-hour rolling strikes, beginning today at 9 a.m., to press their demands for extra staff, the provision of much-needed equipment and the computerization of files. The next two work stoppages are scheduled for next Wednesday and the Wednesday after that. Coast guard talks Greece and Turkey have agreed to bolster their cooperation against illegal immigration by creating a secure communication system between their respective coast guard forces, Greek authorities said yesterday. The measure was decided at the close of a three-day visit to Athens by Turkish coast guard chief Can Erenoglu, the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said in a statement. «The installation of a secure automated system of information exchange has been decided, enabling both sides to exchange online information about vessels and persons involved in illegal activities, including clandestine immigration,» the statement said. (AFP) Explosive device A homemade explosive device went off in a small park located in Patissia, central Athens, yesterday but there were no reports of injuries or damage. The explosion took place shortly after midnight, police added. ‘Time bomb.’ Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis described yesterday the large number of illegal immigrants in the capital as a «time bomb that will erupt» after meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the issue. The mayor said that there needed to be joint plans between countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain in order to better handle the problem.