NEWS

In Brief

EU SUMMIT

Foreign ministers to debate Iraq, Middle East on Rhodes European Union foreign ministers started gathering on Rhodes yesterday for a two-day summit starting today which will focus on Iraq and the Middle East. Foreign Minister George Papandreou – the summit’s chairman – on Wednesday presented Israeli Ambassador to Greece Ravi Aviram and Palestinian envoy Abdullan Abdullah with a new Middle East «road map.» «We will do everything we can as the (EU) presidency to support (the peace process),» Papandreou said. The plan, drawn up by the EU, Russia, the USA and the UN, is «a vital element of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks,» he added. LAND MINES Turkey and Greece both ready to ratify anti-personnel mine treaty The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday hailed Turkey’s ratification of the Ottawa Treaty to abolish the use, storage production and distribution of anti-personnel land mines. Greece ratified the treaty in March 2002, but took no further action awaiting a reciprocal move from Ankara. Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said the next step is for the two countries – which maintain extensive minefields on their border in Thrace – to jointly submit the relevant ratification documents to the United Nations General Secretariat in New York. PUBLIC SERVICES UN awards Greek phone line The Telephone Center for Citizens’ Information – a service run by the Interior Ministry and accessible by dialing 1502 – has received a United Nations international award for the best service last year in the category of «improvement and effectiveness of public services,» the ministry said yesterday. The prize was awarded following a competition conducted by the UN among various services from different countries. The 1502 service allows citizens to apply for the issuance of any one of 59 certificates and attestations incorporated into the system. Hot weather The recent good weather is forecast to continue over the next few days with temperatures expected to reach 32C (90F) today and tomorrow. Such unseasonably high temperatures in Athens were last recorded at the beginning of May in 1996 and 1999 when temperatures reached 33.8C (93F) – a 50-year record. Athens railway As of Monday, Piraeus-bound trains on the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) will not be stopping at the Ano Patissia station as works to rebuild the platform get under way. Rio crossing The Rio-Antirio ferry crossing on Wednesday stopped operating between 5.50 a.m. and noon due to thick fog. Tractor deaths A 43-year-old border guard and a 13-year-old schoolboy were both fatally injured in two separate tractor accidents this week, reports said yesterday. Border guard Costas Zafeirios was crushed on his father’s farm in the village of Kato Nevrokopi, near the northern city of Drama, after his tractor’s mechanical digger collapsed while he was inspecting it from underneath. Schoolboy Yiannis Karapangos was crushed while trying to halt his father’s tractor which was in operation in the yard of his home in the village of Ardanio, near Ferres in the northern prefecture of Evros. Sea landing Two people in a small private aircraft escaped virtually unscathed yesterday after an emergency landing in the sea off Mesohoria Bay in eastern Evia. Pilot Christos Katsaounis landed the Piper 32 aircraft, which had been en route to Santorini from Tanagra, after it experienced engine problems and managed to swim ashore together with his passenger, Anita Yiambili. Cypriot attorney general Solon Nikitas officially assumed his duties on Wednesday as Cyprus’s new attorney general. Robber thwarted Twenty-seven-year-old Panayiotis Christopoulos was arrested while trying to rob a bank in Kato Patissia with a fake gun after the security guard at the branch threatened him with a real firearm. Flower show The 49th annual Flower Show in Kifissia Park opened Wednesday and will run until May 18 asdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdf.