NEWS

In Brief

METRO STRIKE

No service today or tomorrow as workers stage walkout A metro strike that was due to affect commuters just today will also trouble them tomorrow, as train drivers announced yesterday that they will also walk off the job tomorrow in support of their colleagues. The drivers issued a statement yesterday saying that they are also opposed to management’s failure to sign a collective contract with employees. Managers say a recently passed law only allows them to offer pay rises that are in line with those agreed to with Greece’s main union, GSEE. But the employees want to be free to negotiate their contracts without a pay-rise ceiling. HOLY ROW Confusion over religious classes The confusion over whether schoolchildren have to attend religion classes or not continued yesterday when Deputy Education Minister Andreas Lykourentzos said that they are compulsory. He was reacting to a report by the Ombudsman, which concluded that a pupil could skip the class if he or she has a parent’s approval. Jerusalem patriarch The head of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, Theophilos III, held lengthy talks with the Jordanian government yesterday in a bid to convince Amman to reverse its decision earlier this month to withdraw its approval of the Patriarchate’s Holy Synod, claiming that the makeup of the holy council contravenes a 1958 Jordanian law that requires all council members to have Jordanian nationality. This decision comes just 18 months after Jordan refused to recognize Theophilos. Bank blast A branch of Millennium Bank on Pendelis Avenue in the northeastern Athens suburb of Halandri was destroyed yesterday following an arson attack. The assailants smashed the bank’s windows and then poured a flammable liquid onto the floor, which they set on fire, according to the firefighters who prevented the blaze from spreading to other buildings. Prisoners hospitalized Three inmates of Diavata Prison in Thessaloniki, believed to have been on hunger strike, were yesterday transferred to the hospital. The inmates, two men and one women, had suffered minor health problems and would return to prison soon, doctors said. Land register With the arrival tomorrow of the deadline for homeowners’ declaring their properties on the land register, authorities said that the majority of assets had been declared. Those who have not yet declared their properties face fines of up to 250 euros per right to each property. But submitting declarations before December 12 will halve the prescribed fines. The land register office at the Syntagma Square metro station will be closed today and tomorrow due to a metro strike. Ileia tour US Ambassador Daniel Speckhard yesterday expressed his «strong feeling for Ileia» following a tour of the Peloponnesian prefecture on Tuesday. The ambassador joined a ceremony at Pyrgos fire station where international charities donated 255 fire shelters to the local fire service. «Not only Greek Americans but all Americans have warm feelings for Greece,» Speckhard said.