NEWS

In Brief

ASKITIS RESIGNS

PASOK MP chooses career as sexologist over Parliament seat PASOK MP and sexologist Thanos Askitis, who hosts a weekly program on sex on a private television channel, yesterday voluntarily resigned his seat in order to continue his medical career, on the grounds of a new law banning MPs from holding second jobs. Askitis, 50, represented the Greater Athens constituency and was first elected in 2000. His resignation follows a lawsuit brought against him under the new law. New Democracy MP Alexandros Lykourezos, a lawyer, faces a similar predicament. REPATRIATION DEAL Turkey agrees to take back 1,314 illegal immigrants, embassy says Turkey has agreed to take back 1,314 illegal immigrants of the 9,391 it was requested to by Greece, the Turkish Embassy in Athens said yesterday, apparently responding to a complaint made by Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis in Parliament on April 15 that Ankara has not been cooperating in taking back illegal immigrants who cross into Greece from Turkey. Chrysochoidis told Greece’s parliamentary equality and human rights committee that Turkey had accepted only 14 of 2,500 applications by the Greek government to repatriate migrants who entered Greece from Turkey. SARS Filipino seaman not infected A 36-year-old Filipino seaman, who died on a Greek freighter off Salamis on Monday after returning from Morocco, had not contracted severe acute respiratory disease (SARS) but had been suffering from common pneumonia, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. European Union health ministers agreed in Brussels yesterday that it should be at the discretion of each EU member to check the health of citizens returning from areas worst affected by SARS «without causing excessive concern,» Health Minister Costas Stefanis said. Cultural capital European Union culture ministers yesterday unanimously agreed that the northwestern Peloponnesian port of Patras will be Europe’s Cultural Capital in 2006, the Culture Ministry said. Athens and Thessaloniki were cultural capitals in 1985 and 1997 respectively. Girl drowns A 10-year-old girl drowned yesterday after falling into a water channel in a camp in the Athenian suburb of Menidi built for people who lost their homes in the 1999 Athens earthquake. Constantina Triandafylidi had climbed through a crude fence lining the channel while playing with friends before slipping and being dragged along 500 meters by the water current. She had been living in a converted ship’s container with her parents and four siblings. Many northwestern Athens quake victims have been living in ostensibly temporary accommodation for three and a half years. ELA suspects Suspected Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorists Angeletos Kanas and Irini Athanassaki yesterday denied supplementary charges regarding alleged participation in the left-wing group’s activities. Both have been detained pending trial since their arrest in February. Two more ELA suspects are being held. Heat wave Temperatures are expected to reach up to 35C (95F) over the weekend following a gradual rise from tomorrow, the National Meteorological Service said yesterday. Highs of 34C (93F) and 33C (91F) are forecast for Athens and Thessaloniki, respectively. Soccer final President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday sent a letter of refusal to the Hellenic Football Federation in response to its invitation to attend the national soccer cup final scheduled for May 17 in Thessaloniki. No reason was given. Olympic costs Opposition New Democracy MP responsible for the Olympic Games Fanny Palli-Petralia yesterday demanded a clarification of the cost of the new international broadcasting center inaugurated on Monday. «How much has the (center) cost up until today? 103 million euros after VAT, as the prime minister said, 113.27 million euros before taxes, as stated on the Culture Ministry’s website, or 123.81 million euros as noted in the progress report by Deputy Culture Minister Nassos Alevras?» Palli-Petralia said.