NEWS

In Brief

OUTLAW REAPPEARS

One of Greece's most wanted criminals caught - on bank CCTV One of Greece's most wanted criminals, Nikos Palaiocostas, was responsible for a 23,700-euro armed bank robbery this week in the town of Tyrnavos, near Larissa, police said yesterday. The robber was captured on closed-circuit television during his 40-second bank raid, according to police who say they are virtually positive it was Palaiocostas. The robber managed to evade police blocks that were set up across Thessaly, and disappear. TOXIC PROTEST Finance Ministry staff on strike over high clophen levels in workplace Finance Ministry staff are staging a 24-hour strike today in protest at the high levels of the highly toxic chemical clophen in the ministry's building off central Syntagma Square where they are based. Last Thursday, a judicial probe was ordered into claims that the clophen leak was linked with ministry employees' cancer deaths. Ministry officials were aware seven years ago that an electricity sub-station in the ministry's central Athens headquarters was leaking carcinogenic chemicals, according to documents obtained by Kathimerini. NO EC ASPIRATIONS PM says not interested in Prodi's job Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday said that he would not be interested in inheriting the position of European Commission President - currently held by Romano Prodi - following a meeting in Luxembourg with the country's prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker. «Costas would make an exceptional EC president,» Juncker remarked, following Simitis's response to a journalist's question. Summer sales Summer sales start at stores on July 7 and will continue until August 30, the Development Ministry announced yesterday. Cyprus talks Foreign Minister George Papandreou and US special envoy for Cyprus Thomas Weston discussed ways of reviving the stalled Cyprus peace talks during a meeting in Athens yesterday. Papandreou said that Weston's visit to Cyprus shows that the Cyprus problem has not been abandoned. Thessaloniki blast Unidentified assailants caused extensive damage to a branch of a US bank in Thessaloniki early yesterday after dousing its ATM with petrol and detonating a homemade explosive device. The attack on the Citibank branch came ahead of the June 20-21 European Union summit at the Porto Carras resort in Halkidiki. 4.7 quake An undersea quake, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, occurred between the northern Aegean islands of Lemnos and Thasos just after 3 a.m. yesterday. No injuries or damage were reported. EKAB strike National First Aid Center (EKAB) workers are to hold two four-hour work stoppages from 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a 24-hour strike on Thursday, unionists said yesterday. Parliament security An opposition New Democracy deputy who yesterday submitted a question to the government, outlining how the Parliament building could be vulnerable to a terrorist attack, later withdrew the question. Petros Mandouvalos retracted his question - which apparently detailed security lapses in the building, including the alleged absence of systems to detect explosives and chemical or biological substances - after being asked to do so by the head of ND's parliamentary group Dimitris Sioufas who previously met with Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis. Truck ban Trucks weighing over 1.5 tons will be banned from circulating on key sections of the national road network over the long weekend to avoid bottlenecks as city-dwellers stream out and back into the capital, the Public Order Ministry announced yesterday. Cadet dead A cadet who disappeared from the Vari military academy in southern Attica on May 21 with his service rifle was found dead yesterday near Koropi outside Athens. Thomas Samoladas had been shot in the head.

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