NEWS

In Brief

Cyprus oil – Turkey threatens to react if Nicosia proceeds with seabed exploration Ankara has warned that it will take measures to protect its interests regarding the oil deposits that have been located in the seabed south of Cyprus. The Athens News Agency yesterday quoted a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying Turkey is monitoring Nicosia’s exploration projects. Cyprus is in close negotiations with Egypt and Syria on exploiting the deposits. According to the Turkish Cumhurriyet daily, Ankara proposes sending oceanographic ships to the area. Stephanopoulos President attacks ‘foolish, wretched’ anthrax hoaxers President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday lambasted foolish, disgraceful and wretched people who carry out anthrax hoaxes. I must stress that we, in Greece, are safe from any threat (of germ warfare attacks) and must not succumb to fear, he said. Stephanopoulos is in Thessaloniki to attend today’s celebrations for the feast day of St Demetrios, the city’s patron saint. He will also attend Sunday’s Ochi Day parade. Road tax Payment deadlines announced Vehicle owners will be given between November 1 and December 14 to pay their road tax for 2002, according to a Finance Ministry directive made public yesterday. The special stickers can be bought at branches of Agricultural, National and Alpha Bank, and must be displayed as of January 1. Airport dues. Aircraft landing and parking charges at the new Spata airport will be reduced between 5-60 percent as of November 1, the airport management said yesterday. Olympic link? An Egyptian man held in Italy on suspicion of terrorist links has claimed to have worked for Greece’s Olympic Airways state carrier between 1992-95, Agence France Presse reported from Rome yesterday. The agency said Olympic has denied the claim by Rizk Amid Farid, 43. Illegal immigrants. One of three occupants of a toy dinghy drowned yesterday in high seas off the Dodecanese island of Kos when the vessel capsized as it was bringing the occupants, all Afghan illegal immigrants, from the Turkish coast. The other two were rescued by the coast guard who were alerted by five Afghans in another boat. In the same area, the coast guard found a small fishing boat bearing 12 Afghans who had boarded it in Turkey. Diana paper mill. A Xanthi court yesterday acquitted eight owners and executives of the Diana paper mill in nearby Diomedeia of responsibility for the deaths of two men and the injury of four others in an explosion in January 1998. Child’s death. An 11-year-old girl died of heart failure during a gymnastics class at her primary school in Drama, northern Greece yesterday. The child, identified as Harikleia F., lost consciousness and died before reaching the hospital. According to the local coroner, she had a heart condition that her parents were unaware of, as she had never previously had any health problems. Crete blacks out. Power supplies were cut over the entire island of Crete for up to four hours yesterday morning, due to what the Public Power Corporation (PPC) called an extremely rare succession of events. The fire brigade received dozens of calls to free people trapped in elevators. Hospitals were using generators. Stormy weather. A ban on all passenger shipping was issued at 4.30 p.m. yesterday by the Piraeus and Rafina port authorities, due to high winds in the Aegean. The ban applies to all passenger ferry services to the Aegean islands, Crete and the Dodecanese. Illegal strike. An Athens court yesterday ruled that the 24-hour strike held yesterday by metro workers was illegal. The court only partially accepted the suit by the metro administration in that it did not rule that the strike was an abuse of the union’s rights. Drunk driving. Dimitris Rizos, publisher of one of the two rival Adesmeftos Typos newspapers currently in circulation, was charged yesterday with driving under the influence of alcohol after he crashed into three parked cars in Capodistriou Street, central Athens.