NEWS

In Brief

Transport halt

No metro or ISAP tomorrow as staff stage 24-hour walkout There will be no service on the Athens metro or the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) tomorrow as workers stage a 24-hour strike in an ongoing protest against government plans to streamline public transport companies. Bus services will be suspended between noon and 4 p.m. while other modes of transport will be running normally. Public transport workers are reportedly considering another all-day strike on Monday, January 10. In a related development, ISAP’s management said yesterday that its trains would not be running between the stations of Irini and Kifissia between Thursday, January 6, through Wednesday, January 19, due to renovation works. Suicides averted E-crimes squad saves 61 lives Officials from the Attica police’s electronic crimes unit this year managed to avert a total of 61 suicides by contacting individuals who had expressed their intention to take their own lives in Internet chat rooms, police said yesterday. In many cases, the police were tipped off by other Internet users who had seen the desperate messages. Of the 61 people who posted such messages, 59 are Greek and two are foreign nationals. Their ages range from 13 to 67. Patriarchate visit Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul yesterday as Ankara stepped up its campaign to address issues relating to the treatment of religious minorities. According to The Associated Press, Arinc was the highest-ranking member of the Turkish government to visit the Christian Orthodox Patriarchate in more than 50 years. «Today is a very happy day for us,» said Patriarch Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians. «It has strengthened our hopes.» Ankara has promised to consider reopening the Patriarchate’s Halki Seminary on the island of Heybeliada and recently returned control of the 19th-century orphanage on Buyukada, another island in the Sea of Marmara off Istanbul. «It is our duty to meet the just demands of our citizens who have lived in this country for centuries,» said Arinc. «We will try to meet them from a legal point of view.» Cretan discovery Archaeologists on Crete have discovered evidence of one of the world’s earliest sea voyages by humans, the Culture Ministry has said. According to a statement on the ministry’s website, archaeologists from Greece and the US have found chiseled stone tools thought to be between 130,000 and 700,000 years old following excavations on the island’s southern coast. The finds «constitute the most ancient sign of early navigation worldwide,» the ministry said adding that it was planning a more thorough excavation of the area. The previous earliest evidence of sea travel dates back 11,000 years in Greece and about 60,000 years worldwide. Court protest Employees of the Athens Court of First Instance, which was severely damaged by a bomb planted outside its entrance on December 30, have refused to return to work until the building has been repaired, the union representing them said yesterday. According to the union, it will take at least a month for the extensive damage to the building to be repaired.