NEWS

In Brief

TRANSPORT DISRUPTION

Stoppage on trolley buses and buses but ISAP section opens There will be no buses or trolley buses operating today between 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. as transport workers objecting to the government’s plans to streamline their services continue their protest action. The national railway network will not operate at all as train drivers continue a 48-hour strike launched on Wednesday. Services on the section of the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) between Irini and Kifissia stations will be open to the public again today after weeks of renovation works. VATOPEDI PROBE Ex-minister charges dropped Supreme Court judges decided yesterday to drop any charges of wrongdoing against three former New Democracy ministers in connection to the Vatopedi Monastery land exchange. As reported last week, the court prosecutor recommended that former Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Petros Doukas, former Agriculture Minister Evangelos Basiakos and his deputy Alexandros Kontos should not be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations that applies to any offenses they may have committed. The Supreme Court said that it would continue to investigate the role of civil servants involved in the allegedly corrupt deal. Pharmacies shut Pharmacies across Greece will be closed again today and tomorrow as pharmacists continue to protest government plans to liberalize their sector. A handful of pharmacies will be open for emergencies. Details are available on the helpline 14944. Lawyers will also be on strike until the end of the week to protest measures aimed at opening up their profession to competition. Asylum service The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Greece said yesterday that it welcomed the passing of a law last week that paves the way for the creation of a new asylum service. The independent body will take over from the police the process of assessing asylum applications and screening asylum seekers so that minors or those with health problems are identified. «UNHCR trusts that these envisaged changes will address the current unacceptable conditions in which persons detected after irregular entry into Greece are kept,» the UN agency said. Gyzi shooting An Albanian national was being treated in hospital yesterday after being shot while sitting outside a cafe in the district of Gyzi, near central Athens, shortly before noon. The owner of the cafe, who is also Albanian, told police that he saw two men approach the cafe and shoot the patron before fleeing. The motive of the attack was unclear. Military cleanup Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris yesterday requested the help of the armed forces to clean up thousands of tons of trash that have accumulated on the streets of the city as dozens of malfunctioning municipal trash collection vehicles are still awaiting repair. Armed raids Three Albanian nationals, aged 22, 27 and 30, faced a Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday on charges of carrying out at least four armed raids on gas stations in the broader area. Two of the suspects were arrested on Tuesday following a robbery on a gas station on the Thessaloniki-Edessa national road and the third was subsequently traced.