NEWS

In Brief

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

Papantoniou discusses joint EU-US cooperation with Bolton Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday discussed US and EU cooperation over a crackdown on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with US Undersecretary of State John Bolton in Athens, ahead of an EU-US summit due to take place in Washington on June 25. Papantoniou said the two men had discussed «ways… of coordinating approaches to ensure that the initiative would take place within the framework of international law.» Bolton asked Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos, whom he also met in Athens, to raise the subject at the Thessaloniki EU summit in June, the Foreign Ministry said. SECOND SUIT Minister takes action over claims his home was built illegally Press Minister Christos Protopappas yesterday lodged a second suit against Avriani publisher Giorgos Kouris and editor-in-chief Giorgos Tsiroyiannis after the daily claimed the minister’s house in the northern Athens suburb of Vrilissia is worth 2.93 million euros and violated town-planning rules. Last Thursday, Protopappas sued the daily for 1.5 million euros after it reported businessman Athanassios Athanassoulis had funded the minister’s 1996 election campaign. DOCTORS’ STRIKE Hospitals on reduced staff again State hospitals are to operate on emergency staff tomorrow as doctors stage their second 24-hour strike in a week following yesterday’s action in pursuit of higher salaries and more staff hirings. Yesterday, doctors said tomorrow’s strike would be in protest against what they called hospitals’ poor state of preparedness to address possible outbreaks of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Air space violations Fifteen formations of Turkish fighter jets yesterday violated the Athens Flight Information Region 15 times and Greek national air space 75 times, military officials said. In all cases, the 35 Turkish jets were chased off by as many Greek aircraft, resulting in simulated dogfights nine times, the officials said. Smuggling arrest Lesvos Port Authority officials late on Sunday arrested a Turkish national they believe was captaining the Turkish-flagged Deniz, stopped off the island’s coast on Sunday morning with 42 illegal immigrants on it, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Cengiz Canyildiz, 30, was caught after allegedly stealing a boat from the island’s Aghios Stefanos port with the aim of fleeing back to Turkey, the ministry said. Contraband cigarettes Coast guard officers off the island of Cephalonia late on Sunday arrested six Russian seamen aboard the Valkyrien freighter that was found to be carrying 1,100,000 packs of contraband cigarettes, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Bus crash An intercity coach driver was hospitalized and 11 of his passengers slightly injured after the coach, bound for Corfu from Thessaloniki, crashed into the back of a truck on the Ioannina-Igoumenitsa national road. Coach driver Vassileios Myrillas, 41, hit the vehicle yesterday while overtaking another lorry, traffic police said. Kerameikos shut The Culture Ministry yesterday confirmed that the site of the ancient Kerameikos cemetery in central Athens will be shut until the end of 2003, pending works to extend and prettify the area ahead of the 2004 Olympics. The Kerameikos museum closed in December, and is due to reopen next spring. University strike University professors are to stage a 48-hour countrywide strike at the beginning of June, unionists decided over the weekend, without determining the exact dates of the action. Professors, who staged similar action last year, want higher salaries and bonuses from next year. Climber dead Rescuers on Zakynthos on Saturday recovered the body of a 26-year-old German climber – missing since April 29 – from a ravine near Keri in the southwest of the island, Eleftherotypia daily reported yesterday. The woman had apparently got her leg caught in a rock cranny after slipping off a narrow path.