NEWS

From the statue of King Philip...

From the statue of King Philip, father of Alexander of Macedon, Thessaloniki's trademark White Tower is barely discernible through a bank of fog which covered large areas of the northern port city yesterday morning. The mist, which hampered traffic in the city, only lifted about 11.30 a.m. By then, it had brought disruption to the city's Macedonia airport, about 10 kilometers out of town. Twelve domestic and international flights were canceled or postponed while hundreds of passengers were obliged to make a prolonged stopover in the airport lounge. Although airport officials have bought electronic equipment allowing pilots to bring in their planes in close to zero visibility, this is not yet fully operational. On average, the airport - which is much more susceptible to mist than the city itself - closes down or experiences serious problems due to mist up to 20 days every year. Meanwhile, temperatures remained high in Athens yesterday, with many residents taking advantage of the halcyon sunshine to go for a swim in the sea. At the beginning of January, Athens experienced its worst blizzards for over a decade which covered the entire capital in snow. During the last week, in Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Papandreou repeated his commitment that the start of a dialogue will depend on Ankara's acceptance that the talks will be held on the basis of principles of international law, international agreements and the EU's acquis communautaire. Papandreou expressed reservations as to whether Cem would commit himself to this.

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