NEWS

In Brief

Immigrants – Athens will not let migrant ship into Greek waters Greece will not allow a Turkish-flagged vessel carrying an estimated 450 illegal immigrants enter its territorial waters, the government said yesterday. Spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the Rafet Captan, which has been under navy surveillance since appearing in international waters off the Dodecanese on Wednesday, was sailing southeast of Crete. We will not allow it to enter Greek waters, he said. Hundreds of illegal Asian immigrants have been arrested in Greece over the past few days. Asked to comment on the fact that thousands of illegal immigrants depart from the Turkish shores every year for Greece, Reppas said Athens feels this is more a matter of Turkish inability to stop the migrants rather than a deliberate policy aimed against Greece. Diplomats’ strike Government says it will not meet demand for pay rise Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis yesterday told representatives of Greece’s striking diplomatic corps that the government had no intention of acceding to their demand for salary increases this year. He called on strikers, who launched their action last Monday, to desist in the light of current international developments. Omonia Traffic changes A sweeping series of traffic restrictions and changes in the Omonia area come into effect at midnight today, to allow works to turn the Omonia roundabout into a square, only two sides of which will be open to traffic. As of Saturday, Piraeus and Aghiou Constantinou streets will become one-way streets, while a section of Athinas Street will be closed off, as well as parts of the roundabout. Academic equality. Athens must recognize as equal to their Greek equivalents degrees issued by European universities’ departments in Greece, EU internal markets commissioner Frits Bolkenstein insisted yesterday, in a letter to the Ministry of Education. But the ministry responded that this would contravene Greece’s constitution. The EU is expected to take Greece to court over the matter, which arose from an EU directive signed by Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou (then deputy trade minister) during the Greek presidency in 1988. Athens argues that such degrees are often issued by institutions of questionable academic standing. Antiquities. Two colossal marble statues dating to Roman times have been unearthed during excavations on the site of the ancient Peloponnesian town of Messene this summer, excavator Petros Themelis was quoted as telling a local TV station yesterday. The statues, representing an emperor and a man in priest’s robes, were located in the theater area, which is believed to contain other similar finds. The heads and legs are missing. The finds have been taken to the museum at the nearby village of Mavromati. Scratch. A public prosecutor yesterday demanded an enquiry into the distribution of winnings from the Scratch instant lottery, alleging lack of transparency and possible breaches of the contract’s terms on the part of the consortium managing the lottery. The consortium, headed by Intralot and parent company Intracom, has refused to provide the electronic earnings verification system stipulated in the contract, making it impossible to know whether payments were actually made. Bus stop crash. Three women waiting for a bus in Nea Makri were injured yesterday when a car went out of control and crashed into them. The Albanian driver, Spyros Tsakos, 45, was arrested. None of the three women was seriously injured. Man drowns. The body of a 45-year-old man was found yesterday in a car that had gone off the edge of the pier in the port of Piraeus. No one reported seeing the car, a blue Hyundai, go off the pier. There was no other passenger in the car. Radioactive scrap. Thessaly’s steelworkers’ union yesterday alleged that cargoes of radioactive scrap metal had been detected in the port of Volos. Union president Aris Koukouvinos told Kathimerini that on three occasions last year, scanning equipment installed by Halyvourgiki Steelworks registered the existence of radioactivity in scrap metal used as raw material.