NEWS

In Brief

STRIKE

Civil servants, transport workers in protest against pension reform State services and air and sea travel will be disrupted today as civil servants stage a 24-hour strike to demand higher salaries and protest against proposed pension reforms. State-run schools, public offices, state hospitals, some flights and ferry departures will be disrupted. Olympic Airways passengers should call 010.966.6666 before travelling as 21 flights have been cancelled. The civil sevants’s protest rally begins at 11 a. m. at Korai Square, central Athens. Travelers planning to use ferries should call the Piraeus Port Authority before setting out (010.459.3000). NATO-RUSSIA PM hails agreement, meets with US, Turkish, EU leaders Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday hailed the agreement leading to the NATO-Russia Council as «the official end of the Cold War.» Simitis, who was at the Rome summit for the signing, met briefly on the fringes with US President George W. Bush, Turkish President Ahmet Sezer (with whom he discussed Turkish-EU ties), German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac. Asked whether Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi had offered to mediate on the Euroforce issue, Simitis said, «We do not need anyone’s good services… the talks on the Euroforce are taking place within the usual channels.» AIR SPACE Turkish violations The recent increase in Turkish warplane violations of Greek national airspace is a worry but is being adequately dealt with by Greece’s armed forces, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday on Crete. Earlier yesterday, Greek F-16 fighters had spent two hours chasing a Turkish warplane which had crossed into Greek natonal air space near the island. Media Parliament yesterday approved new legislation limiting the ability of media owners to undertake public contracts, including a controversial article which extends the «incompatibility» of the media owners (with more than a 5-percent stake) to the wives or relatives – up to four times removed – of the media owners who cannot prove they are financially independent. Bad debt The owner of a private coach firm in Thessaloniki was yesterday sentenced to 15 years in jail for hiring a hitman in 1998 to try to kill a former employee to whom he owed 73,367 euros. Apostolos Leonidis, 48, suffered serious injuries after being shot three times by an unidentified gunman. Leonidis said he knew Miltiades Nikolaides, 63, was behind the attack as he had been warned by a Russian man to call off a suit against Nikolaides or be killed. Aired grievance Employees of private TV channel Tempo and radio station Planet yesterday took over both media to broadcast a press conference making public the fact they have not received their wages for months. The 600 staff members are backed by several media and workers’ unions. Murder A German man who killed his woman companion, chopped her into pieces with a hacksaw, burnt her body and hid her bones in a dried-out well was sentenced to life in prison by an Iraklion court yesterday. Igo Gutman, 32, killed Ursula Fless, 69, in September 2000 in Palaiohora, south of Hania. It took six months to detect his crime. Basketball ban The Greek Basketball Federation yesterday banned Panathinaikos center Yiannis Yiannoulis from playing in any competitions for the next two years after he tested positive for the forbidden performance-enhancing drug nardolene after the semi-final game against Olympiakos. Lambrakis Publisher Christos Lambrakis. 68, should be ready to leave an intensive care unit, which he has been in since his heart attack last Friday, by tomorrow and continue his recovery in a ward, doctors at the Evangelismos Hospital said yesterday. Quake trial Workers of the Ricomex company charged yesterday that they will lose their jobs if a former employee, Evi Sofilou, is granted 3.5 million euros she demands in compensation for spending 34 hours under the debris of a Ricomex building after Athens’s 1999 quake.