NEWS

In Brief

TOLLGATE CHAOS

Driver hospitalized, protester knifed as market vendors’ demo frays nerves An Italian truckdriver was hospitalized yesterday after being badly beaten by protesting street market fruit and vegetable vendors who had set up a road block at the highway tollgates to prevent fresh produce from entering Athens. A demonstrator was slightly injured after being slashed by a knife-wielding driver who refused to let protesters check his truck. Police did not stop the protest, but government spokesman Christos Protopappas threatened state intervention if the vendors – who launched an indefinite strike on Monday – did not desist. Vendors object to legislation demanding the use of cash registers, but Protopappas said yesterday only vendors of manufactured goods are obliged to record sales. QUAKE TRIAL Prosecutor seeks criminal charges over 1999 Athens building collapse A Supreme Court prosecutor yesterday pressed for an architect, civil engineer and building contractor to be tried on criminal rather than misdemeanor charges for the collapse of a building which caused the deaths of seven people in the Athens district of Nea Philadelphia during the 1999 earthquake. An earlier appeals court decision – that ruled the three men should be tried for manslaughter – should be reversed, as all evidence indicates they were aware of the implications of their actions, prosecutor Evangelos Kroustallakis charged. FUEL PRICES Cheapest gas stations now online Drivers can now discover which of the 1,200 gas stations in Athens and Piraeus sell the cheapest fuel by visiting www.ypan.gr, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said yesterday. A list of prices at gas stations in every municipality will be available on the Development Ministry site – updated twice a week – with the cheapest three retailers at the top, the minister said, adding that there would be regular assessment of petrol quality. The initiative will include all the country’s gas stations by the beginning of next year. EU ombudsman? Greece’s first Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamantouros, is favored to become the next European ombudsman, according to a comment in yesterday’s Financial Times. The European Parliament decides in December whether Diamantouros, 60, will replace Jacob Soederman of Finland in protecting EU citizens against maladministration, the FT said. Defendory Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, launching an international exhibition of weapons in Piraeus yesterday, stressed the need for a single European strategy in arms manufacturing to compete with US armaments manufacturers. A total of 500 weapons manufacturers are participating in the 12th International Defendory Exhibition, which ends on Saturday. Car stickers Drivers will soon be obliged to slap a third sticker onto their windscreens – in addition to those showing road tax and insurance status – indicating that their vehicle is roadworthy and when its next inspection is due, according to a recent Transport Ministry decision reported in yesterday’s Ta Nea daily. Drivers without a third sticker will face a 148-euro fine and confiscation of their license, the paper said. Robbing ‘doctors.’ Two armed robbers in masks and doctors’ uniforms made off with 140,000 euros yesterday after threatening two security workers about to deposit the cash into a bank ATM at Athens’s Sotiria Hospital. Cyprus antenna Cypriot police officers guarding the British airforce base at Akrotiri yesterday complained of headaches and sore eyes one day after British soldiers erected a giant radio antenna outside the base in the island’s south, the Athens News Agency reported. The antenna, intended to serve as a strategic regional listening post, was transmitting with greater intensity than originally stated, the ANA quoted Cypriot MP Marios Matsakis as saying. Pipe death Police in Thessaloniki are investigating the death of a 43-year-old man found in a water pipe in the city’s industrial district of Sindos yesterday morning. It is unclear whether Andreas Atmadzides drowned.