NEWS

In Brief

Cyprus – UN envoy starts tour of Nicosia, Ankara, Athens The UN secretary-general’s special envoy for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, will visit Cyprus today in an attempt to revive talks on the island’s reunification, a UN official said yesterday. He will then travel to Turkey on Monday and Athens on Tuesday. MISDIRECTED Lost Iraqi passenger given suspended sentence An Iraqi illegal immigrant arrested on Tuesday after arriving at Iraklion airport in Crete under the impression that he was on a flight to Munich received a five-month suspended sentence yesterday for attempting to exit Greece illegally. The Iraklion court initially ordered the immediate deportation of Quassem Zonait, 27, but after he pleaded for clemency, arguing that he would be executed in Iraq, he was put in temporary detention pending the hearing of his appeal for asylum. Axon airlines and Swissport ground-handling services provider were fined on Wednesday after Zonait passed successive security checks at Athens airport and boarded Axon’s Iraklion flight with an Olympic Airways ticket to Munich- which had been issued under a false name. MARBLES British MPs call for return Fourteen British MPs yesterday presented a motion in the House of Commons calling for the return of the British Museum’s Elgin Collection of sculptures from the Parthenon to Athens ahead of the 2004 Olympics. Labor MP Edward O’Hara said the government should start immediate negotiations with Athens on the matter. Pressure? Former Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos yesterday testified before a prosecutor investigating his recent claims – carried in the press – that he had been indirectly pressured by government colleagues to intervene in charges brought by prosecutors against politicians. Sources said Stathopoulos told prosecutor Ilias Kolioussis he had been misquoted by the media. Ipekci crash. A coach carrying Turkish officials and journalists to Athens for today’s presentation of the Ipekci awards for promoting Greek-Turkish friendship, collided with a car outside the town of Katerini in northern Greece yesterday. The car’s two occupants, Thomas Dimos, 31, and Olga Glazakova, 27, died instantly after their vehicle entered the opposite lane, crashed into the coach and burst into flames. The coach driver, Nihat Kesebir, was injured. Parliament’s smokers. Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis is making another attempt to ban smoking from all areas of Parliament, after an earlier ban four years ago that included a ban on the use of mobile phones was ignored. Kaklamanis has sent a letter to all deputies asking them if they agree with a general ban on smoking in the House and if so, whether they agree to having certain areas put aside for smokers, it was reported yesterday. Lyberis trial. Psychiatrist Petros Lyberis, arrested on Myconos last June after small quantities of drugs were found on board his yacht, will testify on Wednesday regarding the alleged prescription of illegal drugs to patients at his Castallia clinic which was found to be operating as a drug rehabilitation center without the necessary license. Lyberis is charged along with four other associates at the clinic. Crew saved. All 10 crew members of a Turkish cargo ship were safe yesterday after their craft, the Mehmet Haslaman, sank in Turkish waters north of the island of Lesvos early yesterday. The Greek Coast Guard, after communicating with their Turkish counterparts, went to rescue the crew a mile into Turkish territorial waters and took them to Lesvos. The vessel was on its way from Itea, in the Gulf of Corinth, to Turkey, with 1,402 tons of bauxite. Couple freed. A court in Iraklion, Crete, yesterday gave a Greek-German man and his German companion suspended sentences for procuring and prostitution, after they claimed they needed the money to buy food for their two-year-old child. Alexandros Koutsayias, 28, was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, suspended for three years. The court took into consideration his explanation that circumstances had forced him to commit the crime. Yvonne-Anastasia Nolte, 25, charged with prostitution without having first passed a medical test and declaring her occupation, was excused as she claimed ignorance of the law and because there was no authority in Iraklion to issue her with a permit.