NEWS

In Brief

PETSALNIKOS ELECTED

Ex-justice minister voted in as new parliament speaker The PASOK deputy for Kastoria, in northern Greece, former Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, was yesterday elected as the new parliamentary speaker. Petsalnikos received 168 votes in favor, which is eight more than the number of PASOK MPs in the House. There were 130 blank ballots and one spoiled paper. Petsalnikos, who has been in politics for a quarter of a century, said it was «the highest honor» and said that he recognized people’s disappointment with Parliament, so he pledged to try and make the House a place of constructive debate. H1N1 SHOTS Some 125,000 flu jabs ready Greece has received 125,000 H1N1 flu vaccines and health experts have been asked to work out who should be inoculated as a matter of priority. Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou met yesterday for the first time since being appointed with the members of the National Flu Pandemic Council to discuss plans to vaccinate the country’s entire population. It was also decided during the meeting that for a schoolchild to be suspected of having the virus and thus taken out of school, he or she would have to have a temperature of 38 Celsius and to be coughing. So far, more than 2,300 people have contracted the virus in Greece. Toll resistance Residents of Afidnes and Malakasa, north of Athens, are due to stage fresh protests on Sunday to protest the recent imposition of new tolls for the use of the Athens-Lamia national road. The locals want the tolls to be withdrawn or at least reduced and for the highway’s side roads to be improved. «We will not back down,» said Malakasa community leader Costas Litsas. «We believe that justice is on our side.» Tabloid attacked A group of around 15 suspected anarchist youths attacked the offices of the celebrity gossip tabloid newspaper Espresso in the Athens district of Nea Ionia early yesterday afternoon, causing serious damage to equipment in the lobby and to cars parked nearby but causing no injuries. The vandals, who used sticks and stones in their attack, also sprayed graffiti on the facade of the building. After the attack, which occurred before 1 p.m., the vandals fled, eluding arrest. Truck raid Police yesterday were seeking two men who, masquerading as police officers, stopped a truck towing a refrigerated compartment full of supplies due to be delivered to supermarkets, forced the driver out and made off with the truck. Police said they later found the truck abandoned in a remote area near Mandra, west of Athens. The assailants were reportedly dressed in blue uniforms resembling those worn by police and driving a Citroen Xsara, the standard car issued to officers. Border haul Police in Thesprotia, northern Greece, yesterday detained three Albanians after seizing more than 300 kilos of cannabis following inspections on two vehicles that had crossed into Greece. The two drivers of the trucks, and a third suspect, believed to have been the middleman, were detained. The haul came just a week after police in the same prefecture seized 234 kilos of cannabis and detained another three Albanians.