NEWS

In Brief

BANK STRIKE OFF

Employees’ union suspends action after government satisfies demands Banks will be operating as normal today after the fourth in a series of 24-hour staff strikes scheduled for today was canceled on Saturday by leaders of the banking employees’ union (OTOE), who expressed satisfaction that the government had fulfilled their key demands. Unionists decided to call off rolling strike action following a meeting with Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Labor and Social Security Minister Rovertos Spyropoulos which finished late on Friday night. They had been seeking a guarantee that pension payments would not be reduced, that auxiliary funds would be exempted from pension reforms and that the ceiling on retirement lump sums would be abolished. Cyprus Turkey on Saturday rejected Thursday’s United Nations Security Council resolution that extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force on Cyprus. The resolution recognizes Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides’s administration as the only legitimate government of Cyprus. A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement argued that «it is not possible for Turkey to accept the resolution, which does not take into account the political equality and equal status of the two sides on the island.» Illegal immigrants Coastguards in southern Attica yesterday detained 43 would-be migrants of unspecified nationalities, along with two Greeks suspected of trying to smuggle them into the country on a yacht. The first 23 migrants were stopped in the vicinity of Cape Sounion, while the other 20 were rounded up in a search of the yacht Clymene, which was riding at anchor 100 meters off shore. Meanwhile, police in northeastern Greece on Saturday night rescued 30 Iraqi immigrants from a tiny islet on the Evros River, near the village of Pythio, where they claimed to have been abandoned by a Turkish smuggler. The marooned migrants – mostly women and children – were ferried ashore after police were alerted by 20 others who had reached dry land on homemade rafts. Procurer caught An Iraqi Kurd thought to be the head of a sex exploitation gang dissolved last month was arrested on Saturday by a police foot patrol that caught him harassing a 15-year-old Albanian girl in Karaiskaki Square, central Athens. The girl claimed that the man had locked her in a room where he and another three Iraqis had repeatedly raped her and had forced her into prostitution, police said. Car mugging A man was beaten and robbed at knifepoint of 400 euros early yesterday by three foreign men who burst into his car that was stopped at a traffic light on Spyrou Patsi St in the Athens district of Votanikos. – Air traffic controllers in Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland are threatening to hold a 24-hour strike in protest at EU plans for integrated air traffic management.