NEWS

In Brief

EASTER DISRUPTIONS TODAY…

Center of town to be closed for Good Friday processions Traffic in the center of Athens will be disrupted this evening due to the annual Good Friday processions, traffic police said yesterday. From 7 p. m., Mitropoleos, Filellinon, Amalias, Stadiou, Vassileos Georgiou and Skoufa streets and Syntagma Square will be gradually closed off to vehicles, while drivers will encounter similar problems in most parts of town as parish processions wind through the streets. Tomorrow, Mitropoleos Street will be closed to traffic from 11 p. m. due to the midnight Resurrection service. … AND TOMORROW Last trains on Athens electric railway The last trains on the capital’s Piraeus-to-Kifissia electric railway will leave earlier tomorrow night due to Easter celebrations, the operating company said yesterday. The last train from Piraeus to Kifissia will be at 10 p. m., to Eirini at 10.15 p. m., to Patissia at 10.30 and to Omonia at 10.45. The last trains from Kifissia will leave for Piraeus at 10.30 p. m. and for Omonia at 10.51. The last trains from Omonia will leave for Piraeus at 11.01 p. m. for Patissia at 10.48, for Eirini at 10.33 and for Kifissia at 10.18 p. m. Metro timetables will not be affected. SOCCER STRIKE Players threaten action over insurance The Greek soccer championship organizers yesterday promised to pay overdue health insurance payments for club players who threatened on Wednesday to strike next Wednesday – the last day of the season – unless they were properly insured. «We wish to reassure soccer lovers that the games will take place normally,» the Association of Professional Football Clubs (EPAE) said in a statement. The soccer-players’ union has also threatened a strike at the beginning of next year’s championship unless all debts owed by clubs to players – an estimated 5 million euros – are paid. Shorty Detectives in the northeastern Athens suburb of Aghia Paraskevi have arrested a suspected confidence trickster known by the nickname «Shorty,» police said yesterday. The vertically challenged man, whose real name is Odysseas Andoniou, is believed to have defrauded companies out of a total of 17 million euros. His modus operandi was to appear as a bona fide exporter and buy goods from manufacturers, paying with post-dated checks that bounced. e-flame Tomorrow’s lighting of the flame ahead of the Resurrection service at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem will be broadcast live at 1 p. m. on the Internet, the Jerusalem Patriarchate said yesterday. The flame is then flown to Athens. The address is http: //www. jerusalem-patriarchate. org. Education Prime Minister Costas Simitis conferred yesterday with Education Minister Petros Efthymiou to discuss ongoing ministry programs and the ministry’s participation in the government’s National Plan on Employment. Bridge A new, 12.6-million-euro bridge on the road from Thessaloniki to Nea Moudania in northern Greece was inaugurated yesterday by Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas. The 267-meter bridge at Potidaia, is expected to facilitate summer traffic to tourist destinations in the Halkidiki peninsula. Maybe The Public Order Ministry yesterday agreed to look into a request for political asylum by a Kurdish man in Thessaloniki, who has been on a hunger strike since April 10 demanding a response to his application, which was tabled in June 2001. Thessaloniki human rights groups organized a protest in support of Zulqul Murad Bora last month.