NEWS

In Brief

Transport fees

Taxi charges, intercity coach fares increase by 5 percent from today Taxi charges and tickets for intercity coaches are 5 percent dearer from today, the Transport Ministry said. The decision to increase the fares followed talks with taxi drivers and coach drivers who had originally sought a 15 percent hike due to rising petrol costs. Fatal bullies Youths scare woman, 83, to death An 83-year-old woman died of a heart attack on Saturday night after a group of six hooded youths pelted the windows of her Piraeus home with stones. Questioned by the police, the youths, all aged 15 to 16, allegedly admitted to have bullied the elderly woman in the same way a week before «for fun.» The parents of the six youths have been charged with neglecting to supervise a minor. Smoking ban Parliament is expected to soon pass a bill banning smoking in all public areas as of 2010. The ban will apply to all indoor areas, including restaurants and nightspots, and will impose a 300-euro fine for those caught breaking the law. Business owners will, however, be obliged to offer a suitable area for smokers or risk being penalize. The new law will also ban cigarettes from being sold to those under the age of 18. Environment protest Environmental groups and residents of Oropos, north of Athens, gathered yesterday to call for a stop to factories polluting local water reserves used by farmers for irrigation. The Municipality of Oropos had instructed its residents last year to stop drinking tap water after tests found it to contain toxic substances. Since then government officials have decided to stop drawing drinking water from the Asopos River but evidence now indicates the broader area has been affected. Protesters called for an immediate end to factories dumping untreated waste in the river. Dawn attacks A group of youths hurled stones at a riot police van parked outside the headquarters of opposition party PASOK in central Athens early yesterday but no one was injured. Early on Saturday a group of youths hurled a homemade bomb at a bank branch in Thessaloniki, causing minor damage. In a separate incident in the northern city, a group of youths emerged from a university building and hurled homemade bombs and stones into the street. There were no injuries. Fire aid The government will immediately release 100 million euros for works to regenerate the parts of Ileia, in the Peloponnese, that were ravaged in last summer’s fires, Agricultural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos said on Saturday following a tour of the municipality. The minister did not determine how exactly the funds would be invested in the region. Flight disruptions Several Olympic Airlines flights were canceled or rescheduled over the weekend as part of the ongoing strike by pilots of propeller-driven planes. Passengers are advised to call the airline on 210.966.66.66 or 801.11.44.4444 before setting off to catch a flight. Volos fire An old shopping mall in the eastern port of Volos was completely destroyed on Saturday morning when a fire broke out there. At least 14 stores were destroyed, according to the fire service which had not determined the cause of the blaze by late yesterday.