NEWS

In Brief

ADEDY STRIKE

Walkout to disrupt air traffic, close public offices, schools A 24-hour strike today by civil servants is to disrupt flights and paralyze state services, shutting down schools, ministries and local authority offices and leaving hospitals to run on emergency staff. A four-hour work stoppage by air-traffic controllers joining the action will ground flights between 3 and 7 p.m. Passengers are advised to call ahead, as several cancellations and delays have been announced by Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air while other airlines are also expected to be affected. The public sector union ADEDY, which is calling for the revocation of cuts to civil servants’ incomes, is organizing a protest march from central Klafthmonos Square to Parliament. The Communist Party-backed labor union PAME is organizing another rally at 11 a.m. in central Omonia Square. Bootleg warehouse Huge Athens operation found A team of police officers and municipal officials confiscated thousands of counterfeit goods following a raid on a huge illegal warehouse in central Athens. According to City Hall, the venue on Kolonou Street was one of the biggest black-market warehouses ever discovered in the capital. Municipal officials said the operation «was very well organized, with closed-circuit television cameras set up inside and outside the building, special installations and hidden passages that led to enormous underground storage areas.» The officials said it would take at least three days to document the items, chiefly watches, sunglasses, bags, wallets and clothing. «We are talking about millions of euros in tax evasion,» Deputy Mayor Andreas Papadakis said. Officer remanded A police officer believed to be a member of a major cigarette-smuggling ring broken up in Halkidiki, northern Greece, last week was remanded in custody after testifying before a local prosecutor. The head of a private security firm, believed to be the mastermind behind the racket, and another two people thought to be key members of the ring were also remanded. The other 16 suspected ring members arrested last week – including another three police officers – have been granted conditional release pending trial. Billboard drive A government drive to clear roadsides of illegal promotional billboards, often blamed for distracting motorists and causing accidents, has been extended to include billboards that have been set up on private property. Deputy Environment Minister Nikos Sifounakis yesterday oversaw the removal of billboards from private plots of land and rooftops on Marathonas Avenue. Hundreds of billboards have been removed from major roads in Athens and other cities over the past few months. Homicide probe A 78-year-old man found dead in his home in the village of Vassiliada, in Messinia in the Peloponnese, is believed to have been killed by burglars. The man was found tied up and gagged with a wound to the head.