NEWS

In Brief

Transport woes

Strike to halt metro today; general disruption tomorrow There will be no Athens metro service today as employees stage a 24-hour strike to express solidarity with 285 temporary workers who have had their contracts terminated. Public Administration General Inspector Leandros Rakintzis had called for the sackings, noting that the employees had been hired illegally prior to general elections last October. A five-hour work stoppage by employees on all forms of public transport tomorrow, starting at 11 a.m., will cause more disruption. The employees are protesting impending pension reforms and cuts to salaries and benefits. OKANA relocation Two rehab units to leave center Two branches of the Organization Against Drugs (OKANA), which provide support and rehabilitation programs for citizens addicted to narcotics, are to be relocated from the capital’s historic center to the premises of state hospitals, it emerged yesterday. The decision to move the OKANA units away from the historic center was made by Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis and OKANA president Meni Malliori. The presence of the OKANA units in the city center is believed to have led to an increase in the trade of methadone, a heroin substitute. Illegal antenna State crews yesterday took down a television antenna near Mount Hymettus, east of Athens, believed to have been illegally erected by the SBC channel, which broadcasts financial news and developments on the Athens stock exchange. SBC is believed to have been tapping into a frequency reserved for Parliament’s TV channel. UN-Cyprus The United Nations Security Council yesterday pressed Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders to accelerate peace talks and renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force on the island for another six months. Of the council’s 15 members, 14 backed a resolution urging the two sides to capitalize on recent progress «by intensifying the momentum of negotiations, preserving the current atmosphere of trust and good will and engaging in the process in a constructive and open manner.» The single «no» vote came from Turkey, whose representative complained that some of the language in the text suggested that there was «only one side in the dispute.» Energy talks Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili yesterday received Turkey’s Ambassador to Greece Hasan Gogus in her Athens office for talks that focused on a bilateral agreement to boost cooperation in the energy sector. Birbili and Gogus discussed the steps that must be taken for the realization of plans to construct a natural gas pipeline between Greece and Turkey. Fraudsters traced Police in Thessaloniki said yesterday that they had traced four suspected members of a fraud ring believed to have used forged documents to secure some 70,000 euros in bank loans for unemployed local residents in exchange for a fee. The four suspects included a 41-year-old bank clerk, who is alleged to have approved the granting of the loans. Two of the suspects, including the bank clerk, were arrested while the other two remained at large late yesterday.