NEWS

In Brief

Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou is to travel to Cyprus on October 1 to attend the commemoration of the anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of Cyprus and to meet his Cypriot counterpart Koulis Mavronikolas, it was announced yesterday. Meanwhile, Mavronikolas said Cyprus’s annual Nikiforos military exercises, which it conducts jointly with Greece in the autumn, may yet be postponed depending on developments on the Cyprus issue. If the situation remains unchanged the exercises will go ahead, he added. In New York, Cyprus’s permanent representative at the United Nations, Andreas Mavroyiannis, yesterday wrote to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to complain about a spate of infringements of Cypriot airspace by Turkish military aircraft over the past two months. TOURISM Greece is first-choice destination for Italians and Germans, GNTO says Greece is a first-choice destination for Italians and Germans and ranks in the top three holiday options for Britons and the French, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) said yesterday, citing data from foreign press and institutes. Italians are the most keen on Greece, it being their first choice in August and second in July, according to the GNTO, which also cited a study showing Germans favoring Greece and Italy from a total of 60 destinations. Britons opt for Greece second after Spain, while the French favor it after Spain and Italy. NEW OLYMPIC Amendment due today An amendment for the creation of a new, streamlined version of struggling state carrier Olympic Airways is expected to be tabled in Parliament today. The new company – whose creation, sources said, has been approved by the European Commission – will no longer undertake cargo and baggage handling, focusing on passenger flights alone. Excess prescription Around 100 Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors across the country have been found to have overprescribed medicines in the period from January to March this year, thus considerably burdening the foundation’s budget IKA, said yesterday. IKA said it proposed to take disciplinary action against offenders. Ex-king’s charity Former king Constantine yesterday announced the establishment of his charity, the Anna-Maria Foundation, to be funded with the 12 million euros in compensation for his confiscated Greek property he received from Greece following a European Court ruling this year. The foundation, which will start operating next year in Liechtenstein, will provide economic support for victims of natural disasters and the unemployed, Constantine said. Veteran actress Irene Papas, who is to sit on the board of the foundation – along with Prince Hassan of Jordan, former South African president F.W. de Klerk and former Irish president Mary Robinson – said she would relinquish her seat if her presence on the board «bothers my country.» Bank blasts Two gas canister bombs damaged the ATMs of banks in two suburbs of Athens early yesterday morning. The first detonated outside a bank in Halandri at 3.35 a.m., while the second exploded 15 minutes later outside a bank in the northern suburb of Nea Ionia. No injuries were reported. 4.1 quake An undersea quake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale occurred off the western coast of Preveza in northwestern Greece at 4 a.m. yesterday. No injuries or damage were reported. Drugs Another 24 people have been arrested for drug possession on their way to a trance music festival that begins on Samothrace today, police said yesterday. Heatwave Temperatures are forecast to reach 37C (99F) today and 39C (102.2F) tomorrow, rising further to 40C (104F) on Sunday. Fuel traders Gas station owners across the country yesterday threatened to resume strike action in protest at a government decision obliging them to use cash registers.