NEWS

In Brief

POPULAR BONDS SNUBBED

Issue designed to boost savings income falls short of expectations The issue of the government’s tax-free one-year popular savings bonds has not been covered according to preliminary results made public yesterday, which showed that subscriptions had reached between 770 and 800 million euros rather than the anticipated 1 billion euros. Economy Ministry sources yesterday attributed the disappointing response to banks’ unwillingness to promote the bonds, which were intended to provide a more attractive alternative to dropping bank deposit rates. SOLDIER KILLED 25-year-old fatally injured after being crushed between 2 tanks A 25-year-old army sergeant died of stomach injuries in a Didymoteicho hospital yesterday morning after being crushed between two tanks at the military base near the Thracian border town. Nikolaos Nikolaou, a professional soldier on a five-year contract, had been trying to guide the driver of a tank to reverse out of a shelter when the tank moved forward instead, crushing him against another tank behind him. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas expressed the government’s condolences. US MILITARY FLIGHTS Cyprus protests at air space use Cyprus yesterday protested to the USA over unannounced military flights in Cypriot air space where American forces are gearing up for a war against Iraq. Cypriot authorities did not receive timely warnings of the maneuvers which violated the Nicosia Flights Information Region and obliged civilian aircraft to change their routes, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Casoulides said. Inauspicious The bishop of Thessaloniki’s sabotaging of a cross-religious summit due to take place in the northern city on May 29 was justified, as the date coincides with the 550th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, Thessaloniki church sources told Eleftheros Typos daily yesterday. May 29 should not be a day for cross-religious gatherings but for celebrating Hellenism, the same sources were quoted as saying. Bishop Panteleimon earlier this week said he was happy to have derailed the meeting of Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders, organized by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios but did not say why. Stray protection Managers of the National Gardens in Athens yesterday brought charges against the unidentified individuals responsible for poisoning dozens of stray cats and dogs in the gardens on New Year’s Day, and asked police officers and wardens to exercise stricter vigilance so that the likely offenders can be caught. National Gardens managers have asked visitors to the gardens to inform wardens if they see anything suspicious. Railway disruption Kifissia-bound trains on Athens’s urban electric railway (ISAP) will not be stopping at Maroussi station from Tuesday due to works on the station platform, ISAP said yesterday. Island aid A military transport helicopter yesterday carried 1,000 liters of petrol to the islet of Gavdos, south of Crete, to supply the local power station with fuel, according to an armed forces statement. Ships have been unable to bring supplies to the island over the past few days due to severe weather conditions. Teachers’ exhibition The latest developments in foreign language teaching are to be the focus of a two-day exhibition for English language teachers in Cyprus which starts today at the Nicosia Hilton Hotel. The fifth International Publishers’ Exhibition – which offers 25 seminars, workshops, and presentations by authors and teacher trainers – will be opened by Cypriot Inspector General of Secondary Education Costas Markou. Admission is free to foreign language teachers and college and university professors. Thessaloniki metro Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos yesterday warned of protests by city residents if the government does not offer a swift response regarding the starting date for works to create a metro network for the northern city. Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou had recently said works could begin this autumn if unforeseen obstacles do not arise.