Church of Greece sends condolences for Alexy death The Church of Greece yesterday paid tribute to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II after it was announced that he had died at the age of 79 of a suspected heart attack. «It is with great sorrow that we were informed of the death of our brother in Christ,» the Holy Synod said in a letter. «For three decades, he steered the Church of Russia through tempestuous times to a period of spiritual rebirth.» Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church also sent his condolences. Earlier this year, Alexy threatened to break from the Ecumenical Patriarchate over its possible recognition of the Ukrainian Church. GENERAL STRIKE Disruptions due on Wednesday The country’s main labor and civil servants’ unions, GSEE and ADEDY respectively, yesterday confirmed that they will proceed with a general strike on Wednesday, December 10, in protest at the government’s economic policy and at a spate of redundancies. Public transport will be disrupted severely, as staff on most forms of transport stage walkouts. Killer drinkers Police in Athens said they were seeking two Polish nationals, aged 24 and 26, believed to have killed a fellow Pole, aged 40, in February when he refused to mug passers-by to get money for alcohol. The two suspects are believed to have beaten the elder man to death. His body was found on the second floor of a derelict building on central Patission Avenue. Scavenger murdered A 75-year-old used-goods scavenger was found dead yesterday in a pool of blood in his home in the Cretan prefecture of Hania. The man, whose body was found by his daughter, had been stabbed twice in the chest, according to a coroner. Police said his home was full of old furniture, bric-a-brac and garbage. Officers found three bank books with details of small sums of money in three accounts he had opened. Sea Diamond Merchant Marine Minister Anastassis Papaligouras yesterday did not rule out the possibility of the state shouldering the cost of the removal of the sunken Sea Diamond cruise ship from the seabed off Santorini if the vessel’s owner refused to fund the project. The job is expected to cost some 120 million euros. The shipping firm that owns the cruise liner, which sank off Santorini after hitting a reef in April last year, has blamed inaccuracies in official sea charts for the collision. Free skin tests Doctors at the Andreas Syngros Hospital in Athens and the State Hospital for Skin and Venereal Diseases in Thessaloniki said yesterday that they would be offering free dermatological tests for children for the whole of 2009. Parents interested in taking advantage of the offer should call the Greek Dermatological Society on 2310.886.600 or 2310.886.391 between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. before Christmas. Stroke help line The Hellenic Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has set up a free telephone help line designed to provide advice to people who are recovering from a stroke. The help line accepts calls on 800.11.25000 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.