NEWS

In Brief

CHURCH RAPPROCHEMENT

Patriarch, pope sign accord on environmental protection Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios and Pope John Paul II yesterday signed an historic accord for the protection of the environment in a move regarded as having narrowed a 1,000-year-old division between the Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches. The «Venice Declaration,» which the prelates signed from Venice and the Vatican respectively, thanks to a live video link, calls for people to take a more proactive role in preventing further damage to the environment. Vartholomaios, dubbed the «green patriarch» for his environmental work, is due in Oslo today where a Norwegian environmental protection foundation will present him tomorrow with its $100,000 Sophie Prize «for his pioneering efforts to link religion to the environment.» TRAIN DISRUPTIONS No services until 9 a.m. today as workers strike Services on the Athens Kifissia to Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) will be suspended between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. today as workers stage a four-hour work stoppage, following a decision by unionists yesterday. The workers’ key demands include the signing of a collective work contract and the immediate recruitment of 100 staff to fill long-term vacancies. ISAP currently has a staff of 1,400, compared to 2,000 eight years ago. WHALES Greece could join protection drive President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday told New Zealand’s Prime Minister Helen Clark that he hoped Greece would soon join the fight to protect whales by joining the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Stephanopoulos, on the second day of a three-day trip to New Zealand, made this remark during a joint press conference with Clark after the latter appealed for the support of Greece «as a conservation-minded country.» Oil cleanup A slick of crude oil discovered 50 kilometers north of Crete’s northern port of Iraklion on Sunday was cleaned up yesterday following an operation involving several boats and an aircraft armed with pollution-fighting equipment. The 8-kilometer-long slick is believed to have come from a tanker which police are trying to identify. In trouble again Police are seeking Greece’s most notorious retired criminal for allegedly shooting a man during a drunken bar brawl in his home village of Vassiliko in central Evia last Thursday, press reports said yesterday. Vangelis Rohamis – discharged from prison in April 2000 under restrictive terms after serving time for most offences on the criminal code – shot Yiannis Simitzis, 36, after the latter flirted with a barwoman Rohamis liked, witnesses said. But Simitzis, who sustained minor head injuries, later claimed his assailant was some other, unidentified person, according to police who said they had been informed of threats to Simitzis to conceal Rohamis’s alleged actions. IKA strike Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors yesterday staged the second of a series of seven 24-hour strikes planned for June, obliging most of the country’s clinics to operate on skeleton staff. Doctors, who are seeking permanency for 5,500 colleagues on short-term contracts, have strikes planned for June 13, 18, 21, 25 and 28. They will be joined by hospital doctors this Thursday and next Tuesday. Distomo memorial A memorial ceremony in honor of the 218 villagers of Distomo, in the prefecture of Viotia, slaughtered by German occupation troops on June 10, 1944, was attended by Deputy Defense Minister Loukas Apostolidis in the village yesterday. Teachers’ strike Teachers are to join next Tuesday’s 24-hour strike by civil servants following a decision yesterday by leaders of the Federation of Secondary School Teachers and the Teachers’ Federation. Unionists want higher wages and pensions. Firebomb A homemade gas canister bomb caused minor damage to the ATM of a bank in Kaisariani, eastern Athens, after detonating early yesterday morning. There were no injuries. The two youths who planted the device before fleeing on a motorbike were caught on camera.