In Brief


Parliament passes 2010 ban on smoking in public places A bill foreseeing the imposition of a blanket ban on smoking in public places from January 1, 2010, was voted through Parliament yesterday. The bill, which was backed by all parties, will lead to smoking being prohibited in all restaurants, bars and offices and on public transport. In offices, and certain other spaces, designated areas will be set aside to accommodate smokers. The ambitious legislation also foresees fines of between 1,000 and 20,000 euros for traders found to have sold cigarettes or alcohol to minors. BUS PROTEST Traffic jams likely on Monday Traffic in Athens is likely to be disrupted by school buses on Monday morning because of a protest by the Greek Union of Childcare Centers which plans to express its anger at the government’s refusal to allow it to operate kindergartens. A total of 200 buses will line up along Kavalas Avenue next to the Sarakakis building, on Syngrou Avenue near the Ledra Marriott Hotel, on Vouliagmenis Avenue next to the First Cemetery and in front of the Pedion tou Areos park before they converge on Syntagma Square. Grounded helicopters Sources revealed yesterday that there are at least 12 Apache helicopters, similar to the one that crashed on Evia on Wednesday, presently grounded at the Megara air base. The helicopters, according to sources, are not being used because they did not meet technical specifications when they arrived in Greece. Adviser axed Gay rights campaigner Grigoris Vallianatos has been sacked from his position as media adviser to PASOK leader George Papandreou after appearing on private TV channel Extra 3 and saying that he was in favor of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia being called just «Macedonia» as well as claiming that there is a «Macedonian minority» living in Greece. Arson attacks Unidentified arsonists destroyed a car parked outside the Libyan Embassy in the affluent Athens district of Neo Psychico, in the early hours of yesterday morning, using a homemade explosive device. No one was hurt in the attack. Traffickers detained Police in Thessaloniki were yesterday questioning five Iraqi nationals believed to have smuggled 15 fellow Iraqis into the country. The suspects, believed to belong to a ring ferrying migrants across the Evros River separating Greece from Turkey, were arrested after their truck was stopped on the Egnatiou Highway. Cabbie mugged Police were yesterday seeking two assailants who beat up a taxi driver and fled with his vehicle, which was found to have been torched later. According to the account of the taxi driver, the pair got into his cab in Haidari, western Attica, and asked to be taken to Peristeri. Store raid A group of around 20 youths stormed into a supermarket in the Athens district of Petralona, filled several shopping carts with food and charged past cashiers without paying. They distributed the food to shoppers at a local street market.