NEWS

In Brief

JERUSALEM PATRIARCHATE

Jordan withdraws support for Orthodox church’s Holy Synod The government in Amman yesterday withdrew its approval of the Holy Synod at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, claiming that the makeup of the holy council contravenes a 1958 Jordanian law, which requires all council members to have Jordanian nationality. This decision comes just 18 months after Jordan refused to recognize Patriarch Theophilos III, prompting the involvement of the Greek government. It is thought that Amman’s latest decision was triggered by the removal of the Bishop of Petra, Cornelius, from the Holy Synod in September. Theophilos excluded the bishop due to a poor working relationship with him, but sources said that the Patriarch felt Cornelius was undermining him. POLYTECHNIC RALLY Police plan for annual march The police presence in central Athens was boosted yesterday as authorities prepare for Monday’s annual march to the US Embassy in memory of a 1973 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic, which is often marred by violence. Much of central Athens will be closed on Monday when more than 8,000 policemen will be on duty. Driving through the city center will be severely restricted and bus and trolley services will be re-routed to avoid protesters. The Athens Archaeological Museum, which is next to the Polytechnic, will be closed for the day. The police presence will also be boosted in Thessaloniki where a corresponding march is planned. Arson attacks Suspected anarchists hurled petrol bombs at offices of the Communist Party (KKE) in Thessaloniki early yesterday, causing damage but no injuries. The KKE’s Kalamaria offices had been closed at the time of the attack. Meanwhile police in the northern city were questioning three suspects who have been implicated in a string of arson attacks in Thessaloniki this time last year. The two men and a woman are believed to belong to local anti-establishment organizations. Samothrace trash Authorities on the island of Samothrace in the northern Aegean were on the verge of declaring a state of emergency yesterday as thousands of tons of trash rot in the streets following a 40-day blockade of local landfills. Garbage has been piling up in the streets of the island and now poses a health risk, after residents prevented municipal lorries from dumping trash at four landfills on the island. Citizens’ helpline The Interior Ministry yesterday announced the operation of a new helpline, 1500, which citizens can call for information on issues of public administration and other services. Citizens can also call the line for information on consumer matters, immigration issues and advice for abused women. The service is multi-lingual, offering information in English, French, Albanian, Russian, Bulgarian and Russian as well as Greek. Bitter pill Civil servants will have to pay for their medicine from their own pockets as of Monday due to a decision by pharmacists not to accept prescriptions from the public officials’ pension fund (OPAD). The pharmacists say they are owed 70 million euros by OPAD.