NEWS

In Brief

VIOLENT PROTEST

Police, coast guard clash with workers in Piraeus over pension reforms The police and coast guard clashed with metal workers protesting the government’s pension reforms in Piraeus yesterday. Two people were slightly injured and four men were arrested when protesters attempted to force their way into the Merchant Marine Ministry to meet with Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis. Television footage showed workers tearing down the ministry’s steel fence as riot police prevented their entry via the main gate. «We are opposed to the reform and to plans to privatize the port of Piraeus,» said Sotiris Poulikoyiannis, chairman of the metalworkers’ union. METRO EXPANSION Tunnel linking Aghios Antonios with Anthoupolis and Peristeri is ready The tunnel linking the Aghios Antonios metro station on Line 2 with the new stops of Anthoupolis and Peristeri has been completed, the Public Works and Environment Ministry said yesterday. Work has already begun on the two new stations so that they can be ready to open next year. It is estimated that some 50,000 commuters will travel to and from Anthoupolis and Peristeri, in western Athens, every day. Work to renovate the central square in the neighborhood of Peristeri is also been carried out. LEDRA STREET Nicosia crossing closed again Cyprus last night shut a symbolic checkpoint on Nicosia’s Ledra Street, just hours after it was opened for the first time in almost half a century. Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou indicated that the crossing had been closed because Turkish-Cypriot police illegally entered the United Nations buffer zone. A UN spokesman told Reuters last night that the organization was still trying to establish what happened. (Page 2) Recycling Greece recycled a total of 345,000 tons of recyclable material in 2007, up 29 percent from the previous year, but falling well short of European Union goals. According to information presented by the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation (HERRCO), participation in recycling programs by municipalities has risen as the group plans to invest 17 million euros this year. EU goals specify that Greece recycle 555,000 tons of recyclable material every year. In 2008, HERRCO plans to inaugurate three or four recycling centers while more may operate with the backing of private investors. Referendum vote The opposition parties lost a vote in Parliament late on Wednesday night on whether to hold a referendum over the pensions reform law. The motion, tabled by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), was supported by 146 MPs but was voted against by 152 deputies. In order for a motion for a referendum to carry, the support of at least 180 MPs is needed. Road fatalities Police were seeking the driver of a vehicle involved in an apparent hit-and-run after discovering the dismembered body of a woman on Kifissou Street. The woman’s remains were discovered near the junction with Lenorman Avenue. Officers also were investigating the circumstances of the death of a 24-year-old police officer whose car crashed into an electricity pylon on the side of Athinon Avenue shortly after 4 a.m. The off-duty officer had two friends in the car, neither of whom were injured. Police targeted A group of around 20 youths yesterday morning attacked a group of riot police officers stationed outside a police station in Goudi, close to one of Athens’s largest student complexes. The youths pelted the officers with stones and bottles, injuring one officer. There were no reports of arrests. Caught in the act Police in Trikala yesterday arrested two men after the pair allegedly tried to sell a religious icon to a plainclothes officer. A search of the home of one of the two unearthed a second icon. The two icons are believed to have been stolen from a warehouse. Thessaloniki arrests Police in Thessaloniki said yesterday they caught two men attempting to withdraw cash from an ATM with forged bank cards. The cards had been copied in England. The two suspects are Romanian nationals. The city’s police also said that they have arrested three men suspected of conducting armed robberies at four minimarkets in Thessaloniki.