NEWS

In Brief

COMPETITIVE SPIRIT

Competition watchdog wants backing from MPs in its probes The president of Greece’s Competition Commission, Spyros Zisimopoulos, pleaded with Parliament yesterday for the country’s politicians to support his efforts to crackdown on improper market practices. Zisimopoulos informed deputies that the competition watchdog is investigating a number of sectors of the economy, including cosmetics, cement production and fertilizers. «The commission has opened up a lot of fronts where there are some powerful interests at stake,» he told MPs, as he alleged that some companies are trying to undermine the watchdog’s work. Zisimopoulos did not name any firms. Ferry sit-in Angry seamen occupy ship A passenger ferry that had been due to take 200 passengers to Chios and Lesvos was occupied by protesting sailors late on Wednesday night and remained moored in Piraeus. The seamen occupied the vessel, owned by NEL Lines, to protest the firm’s alleged failure to pay staff several months’ unpaid salaries. Earlier in the week, the management of NEL Lines claimed to have settled the outstanding payments. Sea Diamond Merchant Marine Minister Anastassis Papaligouras is today due to meet the mayor of Santorini, Angelos Roussos, and other local officials to discuss what is to be done about the sunken Sea Diamond cruise liner. According to sources, the ministry is exerting pressure on the Sea Diamond’s insurance company to cover the cost of pumping out hundreds of tons of fuel from the sunken vessel. Drug haul Police in northern Greece yesterday were questioning three Greeks and seeking an Albanian national, after finding more than 20 kilos of cannabis in their possession. The suspects were caught after two officers posed as potential buyers and met the four suspects in Pieria, near Thessaloniki, ostensibly to buy the drugs for 26,000 euros. The foreign national, who is a wanted, convicted drug dealer in Albania, managed to elude arrest. Vessels docked High-speed vessels serving routes to islands in the Argosaronic Gulf remained moored yesterday as winds exceeded 8 on the Beaufort scale. Ferries to several Aegean and Ionian islands also remained docked. The coast guard in Thessaloniki warned of stormy weather in the Thermaic Gulf today with wind speeds expected to reach 9 Beaufort. Farmers demonstrate Farmers yesterday continued to block the national highway at the Halkidona junction, protesting against rising production costs and falling sale prices and at European Union plans to cut their subsidies. The farmers are expected to continue their protest action today, causing traffic disruption in the area. The right track The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) is to enlist the services of a French firm on safety issues following a spate of train derailments this year, sources revealed yesterday. The proposals to be offered by the French firm will be for the stretch of railway connecting Athens and Thessaloniki as well as the capital’s suburban railway network, the same sources said.