NEWS

In Brief

FYROM FORCE

NATO extends mandate until December, minister says NATO defense ministers meeting in Warsaw yesterday decided to extend the mandate of a NATO force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia until December, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said. NATO’s mandate was to end on October 26 but recently it became clear that the EU’s nascent rapid reaction force would not be ready in time to replace it, because of a dispute between Ankara and Athens. TERRORISTS STICK TOGETHER Petrol bomb attack on PASOK office in solidarity with November 17 An unknown group calling itself Revolutionary Brigade claimed responsibility yesterday for a Molotov cocktail attack on a PASOK office just after 2 a.m. in the Athenian district of Neos Cosmos. A caller to Eleftherotypia newspaper said it was in solidarity with terrorist group November 17. The offices were damaged. DRIVERS STRIKE Deliveries face disruption Deliveries to airports, ports and stations face disruption this weekend as thousands of truckdrivers are to begin an indefinite strike on Sunday, unionists said yesterday. This will involve more than 52,000 vehicles used in national and international transport. Drivers want higher fees and tax relief. IKA action A 24-hour strike by Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors, due to take place today, was yesterday ruled illegal by an Athens court. Doctors, who want permanency for 5,500 colleagues on short-term contracts, had also scheduled a strike for this Friday. Museum visits Entry to all museums and archaeological sites will be free of charge from September 27 to 29 in observance of European Cultural Heritage Days, it was announced yesterday. Child porn A 29-year-old non-commissioned army officer who allegedly set up an Internet site promoting child pornography is to face a military court in Xanthi following his arrest on Monday, police said yesterday. Giorgos Petris was arrested in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, following an investigation that began in Crete. An Internet site promoting incestuous sex with children, allegedly set up by Petris, received 170,000 hits in two months, police said. Aviation safety US Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller yesterday told Transport Minister Christos Verelis that a US team would be dispatched as soon as possible to inspect the safety of Greek civil aviation and determine whether it deserves an upgrade. Verelis had asked Miller to send an official team from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to determine whether Greece has made enough progress to move from the FAA’s second rank to its top grade. Market strike Street-market producers and traders from across the country are to stage a protest rally at the Elefsina and Boyiati national road toll gates on the outskirts of Athens at 5 p.m. next Monday ahead of strike action the following day. Protesters are complaining over legislation obliging them to use cash registers at their market stalls and pressure to reduce their production costs. Public vs private Education Minister Petros Efthymiou yesterday refuted claims made by private school owners on Monday that their teachers were being poached by the state sector. «The government has nothing against private education… but is not going to stop recruiting teachers to the state sector to benefit private business,» Efthymiou said shortly after opening a new school building on Samos. «The private sector cannot complain because state education is improving,» he added. Goodbye summer The first snowfalls since last winter are expected this weekend in northern and possibly central Greece, following an anticipated drop in temperatures and the return of heavy rain across the country over the next few days, the National Meteorological Service (EMY) said yesterday. Greek-Turkish talks A sixth round of exploratory talks on Greek-Turkish issues is to begin today between the Foreign Ministry’s Political Director Anastasios Skopelitis and the latter’s Turkish counterpart.