NEWS

In Briefs

TUGBOAT SINKS

Sailor dies, three injured in Salonica harbor accident A sailor died and three others were injured yesterday when a tugboat suddenly sank about 400 meters from Thessaloniki’s pier while towing a Cambodian-flagged cargo ship into the port. Ioannis Markoulis, 36, the second engineer of the Greek-flagged tugboat Alexandros, was in the engine room when the vessel sank for reasons that were unclear yesterday. The three other crew members managed to jump and swim to safety. They were hospitalized with minor injuries. Witnesses said the vessel sank in a few minutes following a sudden dip. FERRY SAFETY New EC standards to ensure no more Samina tragedies, commissioner says Shipowners have until 2015 to implement new safety standards for passenger ferries, following yesterday’s endorsement by the European Parliament of an EC proposal for stricter standards. These were prompted by the Express Samina shipwreck of September 2000 in Greece in which 80 people died. «Our proposals aim at preventing horrific accidents such as the Express Samina’s,» the EC commissioner responsible for transport, Loyola De Palacio, said yesterday. Under the new regulations «our citizens will benefit from the same high safety levels everywhere in the European Union,» she said. BUS LANES Dangerous barriers to go Hard rubber bus lane barriers of varying heights – that were set up along sections of Kifissias, Vassilisis Sofias and Mesogeion avenues early this summer – have proved to be too dangerous as a way of stopping motorists usurping lanes reserved for public transport, the president of the Athens Urban Transport Association (OASA) was quoted as saying yesterday. Further tests using barriers of different materials and more obvious markings on the bus lanes themselves will be implemented until a safe alternative is found, Giorgos Papavassileiou said, Ta Nea reported. The barriers are a mortal hazard to motorcyclists. Cars for MPs Parliament is to lease cars so as to provide its deputies with vehicles for the duration of their terms of service, Parliamentary Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis revealed yesterday. The fleet of cars will be renewed every three or four years, Kaklamanis said. The cars’ engine capacity will be up to two liters. Child cholesterol One in four Greek children aged between 2 and 15 has excessive cholesterol levels in their blood, the president of the Hellenic Pediatrics Association said yesterday, ahead of a two-day pediatric seminar starting in Athens today. Most susceptible are youngsters who are excessively overweight and those whose fathers suffered a heart attack between the ages of 40 and 45, Andreas Constantopoulos said. Pro-Serifis rally Around 100 Thessaloniki anarchists staged a solidarity rally through the city center yesterday evening in support of prominent trade unionist and detained November 17 suspect Yiannis Serifis. Aircraft purchase Greece will be the first NATO member state to invest in L-159-type light combat aircraft from the Czech Republic if negotiations between the Defense Ministry and Czech firm Aero Vodochody reach fruition, the Athens News Agency said yesterday. The development of Greek-Czech ties was addressed in discussions at a recent NATO summit in Prague attended by Deputy Defense Minister Lazaros Lotidis, the ANA said. Church donation Outgoing Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday presented Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, with a check for $375,000 to help toward the restoration of the Aghios Nikolaos church which was crushed by the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, according to reports yesterday from New York. Escape A 27-year-old Albanian, being taken to a prosecutor from the police station in the Piraeus district of Keratsini yesterday afternoon, managed to escape from the back of a police car after undoing his handcuffs, police admitted. Niko Izeiri, who had been arrested for alleged robberies and illegal entry into Greece, jumped out of the police service vehicle as it slowed down at a road junction and then disappeared, officers said.