NEWS

In Brief

Visa waiver program

US ambassador sees ‘smooth transition’ on visit to airport US Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard said yesterday that the first three days of the country’s accession to the US Visa Waiver Program had gone well. Speaking during a visit to Athens International Airport, Speckhard remarked that «the transition to visa waiver has gone very smoothly.» «One young woman said it took only a few minutes for her travel authorization,» the envoy said after talking to passengers, airport officials and airline staff. Minister recovering Loverdos working from hospital Labor and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos, hospitalized on Sunday with a stomach inflammation, is «steadily recovering,» according to doctors at Athens’s NIMITS hospital who said the minister had been working from his hospital room. «The minister has been receiving aides in his room for the past 24 hours,» doctors said. ADEDY strike The ADEDY civil servants’ union said yesterday that its members would hold a 24-hour strike between April 20 and 30 in protest at the government’s austerity measures, in what will be the fourth such protest by public sector workers. ADEDY said that the private sector workers’ union GSEE would also take part in the action. Municipal services All City of Athens services will be suspended today due to a protest by workers against the government’s decisions to cut some state subsidies for the wages of local government employees. Only the sanitation service will be operating today as a result of the protest by municipal workers, who are due to gather in Klafthmonos Square at 11.45 a.m. Mayor hits back Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos denied during a press conference yesterday that Thessaloniki City Hall is under investigation from the financial crimes squad in connection with the purchase of accounting software. A local newspaper had alleged that the Special Investigations Service (YPEE) was looking into whether fake invoices had been issued. However, Papageorgopoulos presented a letter from the YPEE which stated that no such investigation was taking place. Lawyers’ action Lawyers will go on strike next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in protest at the tax reforms planned by the government. The country’s bar associations issued a statement accusing the government of continuing a practice that treats justice as «a poor relative» and of trying to force lawyers out of business. Fishermen rescued Two mussel farmers were rescued from their capsized boat in the Thermaic Gulf off Thessaloniki early yesterday a few hours after going missing. The two fishermen, aged 36 and 29, were found clinging to their vessel during a sea rescue operation. Dead bear A 220-kilo bear that was found dead in the Neapoli area of Kozani in northern Greece did not die of natural causes, the Arcturos bear sanctuary said yesterday. The animal died on Good Friday but experts have not yet been able to determine its exact cause of death.