NEWS

In Brief

CHRISTMAS REPRIEVE

Justice minister wants 3,700 prisoners out by the holidays Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said yesterday that he would do his best to ensure that some 3,700 prison inmates entitled to early release according to new reforms would be home by Christmas. Hatzigakis said the government was making a «symbolic and active» effort to allow 3,720 inmates to «make a new start» in 2009. The reforms foresee the early release of some 5,500 inmates by April. They also allow those convicted to terms of up to five years in jail to pay off their sentences. Convicted large-scale drug dealers will be excluded from the new arrangements. TRANSPORT CONTRACTS Bus drivers agree on pay pact An agreement has been reached between bus drivers and the government over their contracts but metro employees are still holding out for a better deal. It was revealed yesterday that some 5,500 drivers have agreed to a collective contract that will see their pay rise from between 3 and 5.5 percent over the next year. Workers on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway are expected to agree to the deal soon as well. But metro staff, who have staged a series of strikes recently, are refusing to accept the same offers. Meanwhile, a three-hour work stoppage from noon today, which has been called by civil servants’ union ADEDY, will result in 11 Olympic Airlines and three Aegean Airlines flights being canceled. PPC targeted Unidentified vandals used sledgehammers, stones and petrol bombs to wreck the entrance to the main offices of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) on Halkokondyli Street in central Athens. There were no reports of injuries during the vandalism spree which resulted in serious damage to five parked cars outside the PPC premises. Police blocked off the road after the attack but there were no arrests. University upheaval Suspected anarchists burst into the Athens Law School where students were in session yesterday and ran amok with clubs and hammers, breaking windows and causing other damage, witnesses said. Two students were injured by broken glass. University professors yesterday launched a 48-hour strike, protesting a European Court ruling obliging Greece to grant full recognition to degrees awarded by foreign colleges, most of which operate as franchises of universities abroad. Pharmacies closed Pharmacies across the country will be closed today as the Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists protests outstanding debts to their members. Pharmacists aim to step up their protests from next Monday when they are to stop giving prescription medicines on credit. Truth hurts Antenna, which broadcasts the popular TV game show «The Moment of Truth,» was fined 200,000 euros yesterday after the National Council for Radio and Television (ESR) decided that it demeans the contestants. Those who take part are connected to a lie detector before the show and are then asked a range of questions, some of which are personal and potentially embarrassing, on the program. ESR’s president, Yiannis Laskaridis, recommended that the show be taken off air temporarily. Antenna said contestants have the right to refuse to answer questions.