NEWS

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15 new cameras to crack down on drivers using Athens bus lanes The installation of another 15 electronic cameras on major roads in Athens to crack down on drivers illegally using bus lanes is due over the next few days, traffic police said yesterday. The new cameras will be positioned on Patission and Stadiou streets, and Vassilisis Sofias, Kifissias, and Mesogeion avenues a short distance after warning signs for drivers. There are already two such cameras operating on Patission and Kifissias. TRAFFIC DISRUPTION City center faces congestion as Acropolis Rally begins today Drivers in central Athens will face disruptions today ahead of the 8 p.m. start of the 49th annual Acropolis Rally from the the Zappeion Hall near Syntagma Square. The international championship circuit car race, which finishes on Sunday, will affect many central roads including Vassilisis Sofias, Amalias, Panepistimiou and the Athens-Lamia National Road. Drivers are asked not to stop on these roads. DRUGS AND THE ARMY Minister heralds joint preventive drive A nationwide drive to crack down on drugs use in the army by boosting cooperation between military units and drug prevention centers was approved yesterday by Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou. The agreement provides for the provision of informative seminars and rehabilitation programs. Between 1998 and 2000, 1,130 army personnel were arrested for possessing or trading narcotics and 3,500 conscripts managed to have their service suspended or terminated by claiming drug addiction, the Defense Ministry said. Four conscripts were arrested on Sunday for allegedly trafficking in drugs from their outpost on the Albanian border. Internet offender The first Greek to have allegedly set up – and profited from – Internet sites offering erotic images and gambling opportunities has been arrested in Alexandroupolis, northwestern Greece, police said yesterday. The 27-year-old student is charged with having created sites offering views from cameras hidden in Greek gyms and toilets. He, however, claims he merely provided links to such material offered on foreign Internet sites. Green patriarch Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios yesterday accepted the $100,000-dollar Sophie Prize for his environmental work from a Norwegian environmental protection foundation that held a ceremony in his honor in Oslo. IKA action Social Security Foundation (IKA) clinics are only handling emergency cases today as IKA doctors stage the third in a series of seven 24-hour strikes planned for June. State hospitals in Athens and Piraeus will also be operating on skeleton staff today as hospital doctors launch the first in a series of three 48-hour strikes, with action due to resume on June 20 and 27. Immigration summit Ministers of Justice and Public Order Philippos Petsalnikos and Michalis Chrysochoidis will join EU justice and interior ministers in Luxembourg today to discuss combating illegal immigration and safeguarding EU borders ahead of an EU summit in Spain next weekend on the issue. Karamanlis in USA New Democracy opposition leader Costas Karamanlis met US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the State Department late on Tuesday. They discussed international terrorism, the functioning of the nascent EU defense force and Cyprus. Tower restoration Restoration work is to begin «immediately» on a decaying ancient tower on the tiny uninhabited island of Ro in the eastern Aegean near Turkey, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The Hellenistic rectangular tower served as a lookout point to monitor sea traffic in ancient times, and as a shelter for freedom fighter Lambros Katsonis in the late 18th century. Rewards The government has set aside 3.34 million euros to reward Greek athletes who gained exceptional distinction either for individual or team performances in 2001, the General Sports Secretariat said yesterday. Some 198 athletes are entitled to a share of the bonus, which they can claim as of June 19.