NEWS

In Brief

FOREST FIRES

Cooperation, foot patrols basis for action in 2003 Decentralization, foot patrols and close cooperation between the fire brigade and other services has proven effective in tackling forest fires over the past few years and will be repeated this year, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said at a meeting at the Fire Service headquarters, yesterday. Chrysochoidis said 5,500 firefighters would be recruited for the season. PLEASURE BOATS Bill aims to streamline private vessel operations Pleasure boats will be included on a special register as part of the national shipping register and owners will be able to form private companies to operate them, according to draft legislation presented on Tuesday. The bill aims to increase competitiveness in sea tourism, reduce bureaucracy and cut taxes. BABY DEATH Infant dies in nursery An Athens coroner was yesterday seeking to determine the cause of death of a 6-month-old boy found dead in his cot in a nursery just before noon in Kalithea. An employee at the Caretta-Caretta nursery alerted her superiors after the child failed to respond when she picked him up. Massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation failed to revive the infant, which was declared dead upon arrival at the Aglaia Kyriakou Children’s Hospital. Pierros closes Pierros Bar, one of Myconos’s most popular hangouts, is to close following yesterday’s ruling by the Council of State which found the bar to be operating illegally, following the failure by local officials to enforce zoning laws. The court upheld a complaint against the operation of the bar in a residential area lodged by five residents of the Aegean island last year. Cyprus Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday that he would work toward solving the Cyprus issue on the basis of a new plan that would «be better» than UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s proposal. Cyprus, Greece, the UN, the United States and other organizations and countries want a solution within the UN framework. Denktash said it would «not be the end of the world» if no solution were found. N17 The trial of 19 suspected members of the November 17 terrorist organization continued with further testimony on the robbery of a post office branch in Aegaleo in 1991. Employee Vassiliki Kioroglou said she recognized defendant Christodoulos Xeros as one of the robbers from the appearance he had last summer. Prosecutor Christos Lambrou suggested that Xeros had intentionally lost 28 kilograms since his arrest, prompting the defendant to reply sarcastically that he had lost weight because of the good life in prison. Kidnapping trial The parents of a 7-year-old Thessaloniki girl who was kidnapped in April 2002 said yesterday, the first day of the trial of three men accused of the abduction, that their daughter was still suffering psychological trauma. Dimitris Kitsikidis, 26, Evangelos Saridis, 21, and Sergei Zohabyan, 23, had requested $3 million in ransom. Markella Hazaki was rescued by police last May. Tempe memorial Parliament yesterday approved a proposal to fund a modern public library in Makrohori, in Imathia, in memory of the 21 pupils from the village who lost their lives last month in a bus accident in the Vale of Tempe. Classmates and siblings of the 21 pupils will be admitted to any one of the country’s universities without having to sit exams. Detainee suicide Police in Thessaloniki are investigating the circumstances behind the apparent suicide of a 47-year-old detainee, found hanging by a bandage in the toilets of the city’s Toumba police station yesterday. The man, identified only as A.L., was being held in connection with a drug-related offense. Incentive Eurobank said yesterday it will award 1,000 euros to the top student in the final year of each of Greece’s 1,300 high schools, from this year onward.