GREEK-TURKISH HOT LINE
Ministers announce phone link aimed at boosting mutual trust Greece and Turkey’s Defense Ministers, who met in Istanbul yesterday, officially announced the imminent launch of a new telephone hot line linking them. Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said he believed the phone line «will help improve trust» but added that the need for such a measure had been provoked by «systematic violations of Greek national airspace over the last 18 months by the Turkish Air Force.» Turkish Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu said the line had been recommended by NATO officials. LOCAL GOVERNMENT Poll shows most Greeks dissatisfied while mayors congratulate themselves Most Greek citizens are dissatisfied with the efficiency of local government, while the country’s mayors feel they are doing a great job, according to an opinion poll conducted by Kappa Research for state television and made public yesterday. Some 62.3 percent of the 4,205 people polled said they were dissatisfied by the overall performance of local government, while the 805 mayors polled awarded themselves an average of 7.71 (with 10 indicating perfection) for the quality of local government services – with citizens rating the same services at an average of 5.7. BANK TUNNEL HEIST Robbers net 300,000 euros Unidentified robbers made off with nearly 300,000 euros in various currencies after breaking into a bank in Katerini, near Thessaloniki, through a wall of the neighboring building over the weekend, police said yesterday. The bank’s employees discovered two empty vaults, which had been opened with welding torches, when they arrived for work yesterday morning. The robbers reportedly left the bank when police responded to an alarm before returning later to finish the job. Disability damages A hospital in Halkidiki must pay 145,000 euros in compensation to a 30-year-old woman left permanently deformed after an anaesthetic was incorrectly administered to her before childbirth in May 1999, according to a Thessaloniki court ruling made public yesterday. The woman, who was not named, experienced sharp pains in her back and left leg directly after the injection at the Halkidiki General Prefectural Hospital, and continues to suffer pain in her left leg which is deformed. False alarm A loud crash heard just after 9 p.m. yesterday near the Hellas Flying Dolphins ferry ticket offices in Piraeus – where self-confessed November 17 terrorist Savvas Xeros was injured on June 29 by a bomb that went off in his hands – was not an explosion as originally suspected but the shattering of a bank’s glass door, police said. The door was probably broken by a bank customer who pushed it too hard while trying to access the indoor cash machines, police said. No Nemea Damage wreaked by the recent heavy rainstorms on vineyards in the area of Nemea, in the prefecture of Corinth, means that none of the eponymous red wine will be bottled this year, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. The grapes used to produce one of the country’s most popular red wines have been completely destroyed, according to local viniculturists who are seeking state compensation. No late trains Athens electric railway (ISAP) trains will not be running between Tavros and Piraeus from 10 p.m. tonight until services terminate for the day due to work on the tracks at Neo Faliron. Judged criticism Media criticism of an appeals council ruling, transforming the charges faced by six crew members of the sunken Express Samina from felonies to misdemeanors, is unjust and is based on insufficient knowledge of the case, the Union of Judges and Magistrates said yesterday. «Justice in Greece is enviably correct and independent,» the statement said. Eighty passengers died when the Express Samina sank off Paros in September 2000. Metro station The Athens Metro’s tunnel boring machine will today break through to a site near the National Mint where a new station named «Nomismatokopeio» is to be built, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday. The new station will be an extension of Line 3 which currently terminates at Ethniki Amyna.