NEWS

In Brief

TIGHT SECURITY

Police out in force for 2010 Thessaloniki International Fair Over 3,500 police officers have been assigned to the security detail for the Thessaloniki International Fair, where Prime Minister George Papandreou will be giving a keynote economic speech on Saturday. Foot and car patrols began yesterday in the center of the northern port city and are expected to become more vigorous over the course of the week as the police anticipate protest action. Parking has been prohibited around Aristotle University, while access to traffic will be blocked completely on Saturday around the Thessaloniki Exhibition Center. PREFECT CHARGED Psomiadis accused over buses A Thessaloniki prosecutor filed charges against Panayiotis Psomiadis yesterday, accusing the city’s prefect of breaching regulations when he awarded contracts to private companies for the transportation of schoolchildren. According to a 1998 decision, public sector transport should be used to ferry children to and from school within the city limits. In his defense, Psomiadis said that the public buses could not meet the demand and, as a result, 12,000 pupils are without a means of getting to and from school. Transport disruption There will be no service on intercity trains, the Proastiakos suburban railway, city buses and trolley buses between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. today due to a work stoppage by protesting employees. Services will also be suspended between noon and 4 p.m. on the metro, the tram and the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP). Workers are protesting sackings and salary cuts. Railway workers are planning a further stoppage tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They object to a major restructuring of the debt-ridden Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) which will involve job losses and forced retirement for many workers. West Nile Health authorities said yesterday that the number of people diagnosed with the West Nile virus, carried by mosquitoes, has reached 183. Nine of these patients are currently being treated in hospital intensive-care units. A total of 18 people have died in Greece after contracting the virus. Cyprus visit Dimitris Droutsas, who was upgraded from alternate minister to foreign minister in Monday night’s Cabinet reshuffle, will be inaugurating his new post with a two-day visit to Cyprus, scheduled to begin today, his office said yesterday. Droutsas is expected to meet with Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and with Archbishop Chrysostomos. Antiquities thieves Police in Athens yesterday arrested three people – aged 21, 42 and 53 – on antiquity trafficking charges. The men were found to be in possession of two marble objects dating to the 4th century BC. Shutdown The Ministry of Education announced yesterday that it will be closing down five private higher education institutes within the next few days, though it did not release the names of the businesses. According to the ministry’s announcement, the institutions in question either do not have the proper permits or have been running misleading advertising campaigns.