Employees launch rolling 24-hour strikes today Today’s nationwide 24-hour bank-workers’ strike will be the first of a series of rolling strikes that will continue until the government responds to unionists’ demands, the general council of the Bank Employees’ Federation decided yesterday. Unionists want a guarantee that pension payments will not be reduced, a collective pension fund will be created, auxiliary funds will be exempted from pension reforms currently being discussed in Parliament and the ceiling on retirement lump sums will be abolished. WORKER KILLED Olympic Village laborers to strike tomorrow in protest over safety A construction worker at the 2004 Olympic Village in Menidi, northwestern Athens, was fatally injured late on Monday in an accident on the site, supervising officials said yesterday. Albanian national Vangelis Imeris, a 45-year-old father of two, is the third worker to die on site in the past year, prompting unionists to call a strike tomorrow seeking better safety measures. The Associated Press said the man was hit by a reversing van. KARAMANLIS Opposition leader meets Bush New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis met US President George Bush late on Monday at a White House reception for leaders of center-right parties which form the International Democratic Union. Bush asked Karamanlis about progress in preparations for the 2004 Olympics and the Greek opposition leader replied: «We are preparing and we expect you to be there. The Games will be very good and safe.» Bush then responded, according to Karamanls: «If you say so then they will be. And I’ll be there.» Karamanlis, still in Washington yesterday, met US Vice President Dick Cheney with whom he discussed terrorism, the nascent EU defense force and Cyprus. Divers protest The entrance to the port of Piraeus will be blocked by divers on Friday following yesterday’s call for action by the national association of diving training centers which charges that provisions in a draft law for the protection of antiquities could lead to undersea exploration being construed as illicit trade in antiquities. Protesters are proposing the creation of underwater archaeological museums which they say would be a great boost to tourism. Work site holdup A Moldovan worker on the Attiki Odos construction site in Menidi, northwestern Athens, was in stable condition in hospital yesterday afternoon after being shot in the shoulder by two armed men who burst into a hut where staff were waiting for their pay packets. The Moldovan was shot after trying to disarm one of the assailants who left the hut with 20,000 euros. After crashing their motorbike into a car entering the work site, the robbers forced a nearby scooter driver to hand over his vehicle on which they made their getaway. Catamaran crash A high-speed catamaran ferry sustained damages after crashing into the port of the Aegean island of Tinos yesterday but none of the 183 people aboard were injured, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. Efforts were being made to drain the flooded engine room of the Sea Jet II, operated by Blue Star Ferries, before it could be towed to the nearby island of Syros for repairs, the ministry said. Cocaine smuggler A Lebanese national, believed to have embarked on a transcontinental journey with 600 grams of cocaine in his stomach for the promise of $5,000, was in custody in Cyprus yesterday, Reuters reported. The 45-year-old man – en route to Lebanon from the Caribbean island of Curacao – was arrested at Larnaca airport during a stopover and detained without charges, pending completion of a police investigation. An X-ray revealed 60 pellets in the man’s stomach, 12 of which were excreted yesterday and tested positive for cocaine. Keeley honored The Athens Academy yesterday officially welcomed as a corresponding member US author and translator Edmund Keeley, credited with introducing English-speaking readers to modern Greek literature. A philhellene who has been translating modern Greek works for the past 35 years and teaching them at foreign universities, Keeley is currently writing an account of Henry Miller’s experiences in Greece just before WW II. Greece awarded Keeley with the Order of the Phoenix in April.