NEWS

In Brief

TRANSPORT STOPPAGE

Protest against job and wage cuts lined up for Wednesday There will be no public transport or intercity trains on Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. due to a work stoppage by employees, it was announced yesterday. Unions representing workers at the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) and on the public transportation system have united to protest against sackings and wage cuts in their sectors. A draft law overhauling operations at OSE is due to be presented to a parliamentary committee next week. Railway workers are planning a further stoppage on Thursday, September 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. LAKE KASTORIA Ministry to study bacteria Environment Minister Tina Birbili and the head of the regional authority of Western Macedonia agreed yesterday to commission a series of studies into the presence of a form of bacteria in Lake Kastoria, northern Greece, which could pose a risk to public health if it becomes more widespread. The decision was made following a meeting of ministry and regional officials chaired by parliamentary speaker Filippos Petsalnikos. The aim is to reduce the presence of the bacteria, which can form a harmful algal bloom on the water surface during warm weather, and to curb pollution caused by fertilizer runoff. The project will be financed using European Union subsidies. Siemens middleman The parliamentary committee investigating the Siemens bribery scandal is due to call Pantelis Karacostas, an engineer who this week admitted to receiving slush money from the company and then passing it on to someone else, for further questioning next week. Karacostas is due to appear before the panel on Tuesday, after authorities searched his home and office and found several pieces of evidence linking him to Siemens Hellas and OTE telecom. A council of appeals court judges is also due to decide over the next few days whether former Transport Minister Tasos Mantelis should be remanded in custody over charges that he received bribes from Siemens. Armed raids A lone armed robber made off with around 8,000 euros after holding up a branch of Piraeus Bank in the town of Sparta in the Peloponnese yesterday morning. Later in the day, unidentified burglars broke into a house in the small town of Eleousa in the northwestern prefecture of Ioannina and stole a safe believed to contain 20,000 euros in cash and 15,000 euros’ worth of jewelry. Doctors only Prison staff will no longer be permitted to subject female inmates to vaginal examinations in jail, according to a decision by Deputy Justice Minister Apostolos Katsifaras that was made public yesterday. From now on, an internal examination can only be conducted on a female inmate if there is a special judicial order and must be carried out by a doctor, not by prison staff. Katsifaras’s decision came after years of lobbying by female prisoners and by human rights organizations.