NEWS

In Brief

Diplomacy – Papandreou in Iran next month Foreign Minister George Papandreou will visit Iran on November 2-3, ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday. Papandreou visited Syria earlier this month, in an effort to drum up support for the US-led bombing of Afghanistan. This is expected to form the focus of his meetings with Iranian officials. The purpose of the visit is to exchange views on the latest developments following the terrorist attack on the United States, as well as bilateral cooperation on confronting terrorism, Beglitis said. Metro Construction work affects traffic on Mesogeion Avenue Some lanes of central Mesogeion Avenue were closed off to traffic from yesterday morning as work began on the extension of the Athens Metro to the north. The works affect the section between Tzavella and Righa Ferraiou streets. The underground railway’s Line 3 is being extended from Ethniki Amyna to Aghia Paraskevi, where a suburban railway connection will link it with the Spata airport. The project is scheduled for completion in 2004. Paralympics Date set for 2004 The 2004 Paralympics, held for handicapped athletes in Athens after the Summer Games, will be take place from September 17 to 28, the Athens 2004 organizing committee said yesterday. Some 4,000 athletes from 125 countries are scheduled to take part, while 3,000 journalists are expected to attend. The first Paralympics were held in Rome in 1960. Bomb hoax. A hoax bomb call stopped Athens electric railway trains for an hour yesterday afternoon. A search of the Omonia station failed to reveal any explosives, and train services resumed around 4 p.m. Cyprus talks. US State Department coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston will arrive in Athens tomorrow to discuss the possibility of a new round of talks on re-uniting Cyprus. He was to meet Turkish officials in Ankara yesterday, while after Athens he will travel to Cyprus for meetings with the Cypriot government and Turkish-Cypriot leaders. Anthrax hoaxers. Two youths from the village of Vathytopos, near Drama in northern Greece, were handed suspended 20-day prison terms yesterday for dropping an envelope inscribed with a pro-Taleban message, and containing flour, in the courtyard of their fellow-villager Savvas Horozidis, 62. A Drama court cleared another two schoolboys originally arrested for complicity. Horozidis had asked the police not to prosecute. Avramopoulos. Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who formed a small, vaguely right-wing party in early March, said yesterday that his Movement of Free Citizens (KEP) would keep on as an independent entity. Despite his previous pledges to the contrary, the former diplomat – once seen as a major future hope for conservative New Democracy – said he might seek a third term as mayor if Athens is declared a metropolitan municipality. Illegal immigrants. A coast guard patrol arrested 31 Afghan illegal immigrants in the area of Karfa on Chios early yesterday. They had paddled over from Turkey in six toy dinghies, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. Another 33 Afghans were arrested in the same area over the weekend. Over 4,700 illegal immigrants have been caught by the coast guard this year. Sentence cut. An Athens appeals court yesterday reduced the life sentence of a man convicted of murdering his girlfriend when he discovered she was working as a prostitute. Andreas Kondogeorgakopoulos, 30, was sentenced to 12 years, after the court decided that the 1996 murder of Sharaf Shahar, 19, in Koropi, east of Athens, had been a crime of passion. Bombings condoned. Referring to the ongoing US military campaign in Afghanistan, the leader of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos, said yesterday that his Church does not deplore what America did. Fatal fall. Pensioner Ioannis Kavalaris, 68, died yesterday when he fell into a wellshaft behind the Halkoutsi football ground in northern Attica.