NEWS

In Brief

Farming shortfalls

EC seeks return of 132.3 mln euros in agricultural subsidies The European Commission has asked Greece to return 132.3 million euros in farming subsidies after detecting shortfalls in quality inspections and growth programs in the agriculture sector, it emerged yesterday. The decision, which comes at the worst possible time for the debt-ridden government, was issued after EC officials reported inadequate inspections on cotton farming and a lack of initiatives to spur growth in the broader sector. Taxi strike No cabs on streets tomorrow There will be no taxis serving the capital and other major Greek cities tomorrow as cabbies stage a 24-hour strike. Taxi drivers object to government plans to make them issue receipts, keep account books and pay tax according to their income. The cabbies are protesting despite the government’s decision to postpone the implementation of these measures, originally planned to take effect immediately, until 2011. Under the current system, drivers pay just over 1,200 euros in tax each year, regardless of what they earn. Cabbies staged two 24-hour strikes last month and have pledged to continue their action until the government satisfies their demands. Armed robbery Police in Corinth, western Greece, yesterday were seeking the armed robbers who held up workers on a construction site located at the 69th kilometer of the Athens-Corinth national highway earlier in the day, fleeing with an undetermined sum. The two men, both dressed in black with black motorcycle helmets and each wielding a gun, threatened three employees into emptying a cash register on the site. They fled on a stolen motorcycle which police later found abandoned a few kilometers away. Rescue effort Rescue workers in the northern prefecture of Komotini yesterday continued their search for a man who was swept out of his car when the Lissos River broke its banks on Monday. Local firefighters managed to rescue the man’s wife from the vehicle but there had been no sign of him by late last night. The river overflowed after several days of heavy rainfall and the melting of snow on mountain slopes in the region. Turkish violations Turkish authorities sent radar warnings to two aircraft in the eastern Aegean yesterday, Greek defense officials said. The first case involved a Greek Chinook helicopter which had been approaching the island of Farmakonisi. The Chinook pilot ignored 25 radar warnings from Turkey and landed on the islet as scheduled. The second aircraft was a Polish plane participating in a patrol of the eastern Aegean organized by Frontex, the European Union’s border monitoring agency. The Frontex pilot also ignored the Turkish radar signal. Blocks cleaned Athens municipal officials yesterday disinfected the premises of six apartment blocks in a run-down section of the city’s historic center following raids by police to evict undocumented migrants living there. «We cleaned the buildings which belong to unprincipled proprietors who take advantage of economic migrants,» said Deputy Mayor Andreas Papadakis.