NEWS

In Brief

COLUMBIA DISASTER

President, FM send condolences President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday sent a telegram to his US counterpart George W. Bush expressing his condolences following the disintegration of the space shuttle Columbia in mid-air on Saturday and the subsequent death of its seven crew. Late on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement on behalf of the EU presidency to «extend its warmest and deepest condolences to the government of the United States and the families of the victims for the terrible tragedy.» Opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis also sent Bush his condolences yesterday. Zakynthos quake An undersea quake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale occurred near the Ionian island of Zakynthos on Saturday but there were no reports of any injuries or major damage. Scientists say the quake, which struck just after 1 p.m. between Zakynthos and the western coast of the Peloponnese, was an aftershock from a 5.8-magnitude quake which struck the same area on December 2 but caused no injuries. The region is one of the most quake-prone in Greece. Conscript support A free 24-hour telephone service providing armed forces conscripts with counseling and moral support goes into operation today. The telephone numbers are: 800.11.45551 (for army conscripts), 800.11.45552 (for air force conscripts), and 800.11.45553 (for navy conscripts). The service will be run by seven professional psychotherapists and specially trained members of the armed forces, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday. Railway operating The Hellenic Railway Organization (OSE) on Saturday reopened the section of railway between Lianokladi and Tithorea on the Athens-Lamia route. OSE had suspended service along the section on Friday after heavy rain flooded the lines. Cyprus rally More than 200 protesters yesterday marched to the US and Israeli embassies in Nicosia to protest against an imminent war in Iraq and condemned US, British and Israeli leaders as «the axis of evil.» Police erected barbed wire fences in front of both embassies to keep the protesters, who included Iraqi and Palestinian students, from getting close to the buildings. Pirate CDs A 28-year-old Nigerian man faced a prosecutor on Saturday after police caught him in the act of producing pirate CDs the day before. Officers arrested Chiyoke Animoueze and confiscated 1,221 pirate CDs after storming a warehouse in central Athens on Friday.