NEWS

In Brief

DIPLOMATS – International events, government intransigence force end to strike Greece’s diplomats decided at a meeting yesterday to suspend the strike they had begun last Monday in demand of higher wages after the government refused to consider their demands and because of the international climate following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Representatives voted by 47 to 39 to suspend the strike, seeing that otherwise the diplomats would have run into a dead end. Many diplomats were suffering a crisis of conscience because of the critical international developments, their president, Ambassador T. Paraskevopoulo, said. The higher wages would cost a total of 1.2 billion drachmas per year. OLYMPICS Lawsuit filed against Maroussi media village Sofia Sakorafa, a former world champion javelin thrower, and five councillors of Maroussi have filed a lawsuit with the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, to prevent the construction of a media village, The Associated Press reported yesterday. The six say that the municipality illegally signed an agreement to build one of five media villages because Maroussi had not yet finished expropriating the land. No court date was set and it was not clear if the suit would delay construction. Vardinoyiannis Tycoon has heart attack The Hygeia hospital yesterday confirmed rumors over the previous 48 hours that Vardis Vardinoyiannis, a tycoon involved in shipping, the Motor Oil refinery and a host of other businesses, had suffered a heart attack. A medical bulletin said that the 68-year-old Vardinoyiannis’s condition was stable and was no cause for concern. He is to stay in hospital for a few more days, however. Tourism down. Tourism from the USA to Europe has fallen 80 percent since the terrorist strikes on the USA last month, according to Spyros Ginis, president of the Panhellenic Union of Travel Agents. Ginis told Flash radio yesterday that the situation would further deteriorate if the USA carried out military action in Afghanistan. Between 25-30 percent of hotel reservations in Athens had been canceled, mostly of luxury class, according to Stratos Vassilikos, general secretary of the hoteliers’ association. Both said, however, that it was far too early to make predictions for next summer. Football suicide. A man who was fatally injured in a fall from the Athens Olympic Stadium grandstand during a football match last Wednesday has been identified as Panayiotis Kabourakis, 36, who was apparently emotionally disturbed, it was reported yesterday. An eye-witness said he saw Kabourakis leaping over seats on his way to the top of the grandstand and then jump over the edge. Prisoner hanged. A 42-year-old detainee apparently hanged himself in a cell at the police station in Aghia Varvara, western Athens yesterday. Police officers on duty and ambulance officers tried unsuccessfully to revive Giorgos Vartelatos, who was was detained on a temporary order pending his transfer to prison. He is said to have torn a strip off a blanket and tied it to the cell bars. Traffic jam. A British airliner was forced to make an emergency descent soon after taking off from the island of Kos on Thursday to avoid other aircraft in the area, The Associated Press reported yesterday. The Air 2000 flight to Manchester, carrying 220 passengers, was forced to drop 70 meters. The crew did not lose control of the plane and no one was hurt, AP reported. Police strikes. The national federation of police officers is embarking on a series of strikes and protest rallies to support claims that include a raise in the minimum wage to 200,000 drachmas per month, security for the families of officers killed or injured in the course of duty and an increase in compensation for night shifts. Protests begin in Athens Monday evening with a rally at the Panathinaikos Stadium and a march to the Public Order Ministry on Katehaki Street. Cart before horse. A team from the Public Works Ministry is to meet with Turkish counterparts in November to discuss the possibility of extending the Egnatia Highway, now under construction in northern Greece, all the way to Istanbul. However, less than half of the highway on Greek territory has been completed. By summer 2002, another 138 kilometers are expected to be ready, bringing the total completed to 300 kilometers out of the 680 kilometers proposed.