NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPIC SECURITY

Washington expresses faith in Greece organizing safe Games US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher yesterday expressed the department’s faith in Greece organizing a safe Olympiad next year, in response to a report published in a Greek daily on Tuesday. The article said US experts had found Greece was not prepared for a possible attack using weapons of mass destruction. «We have every faith that Greeks have the will and the ability to organize a safe Olympics,» Boucher said, adding that such reports are published in newspapers almost daily. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas said Boucher’s comments «expressed a belief in security at the Games.» ENVIRONMENT Greece faces EU inspectors over 21 cases of alleged violations Environment and Public Works Ministry officials are today due to face a delegation of visiting inspectors from the European Union’s environment directorate general seeking explanations for 21 alleged violations of EU legislation on environmental protection. These include the operation of the Athens landfill at Ano Liosia and of the biological waste treatment plant on the islet of Psyttaleia, the construction of an Athens tramline and protection of the Caretta caretta sea turtle. «Most of the cases have limited significance and are technical in character,» ministry officials said. PRESTIGE Spain upholds massive bail Spain’s Constitutional Court yesterday upheld the 3 million euros in bail imposed on the Greek captain of the oil tanker Prestige that caused an environmental disaster when it sank off Spain last November, Agence France-Presse reported. The court ruled that the bail amount – a Spanish record – was justified because of the risk that Apostolos Mangouras could abscond. Mangouras, 68, was freed in February after the money was paid but he is still not allowed to leave Spain. Hospital strike State hospitals across the country will only be handling emergency cases today and tomorrow as doctors launch a 48-hour strike over pay. Cypriot ‘provocation’ Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides yesterday criticized as a «provocation» the illumination of a Turkish-Cypriot nationalist symbol on the Nicosia skyline. A giant version of the Turkish Cypriots’ white-and-red flag, erected on the hillside above the occupied section of Nicosia, was lit up for the first time on Monday. «It is the most callous and insulting provocation of recent times (and) does not create a climate of cooperation,» Chrysostomides said. Civil aviation Officials from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are currently in Athens for talks about flight routes and security with members of Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority, sources said yesterday. Dog killer A former security guard at the Athens Georgios Yennimatas Hospital, Ioannis Manousos, was given a three-month suspended jail sentence yesterday for killing a stray dog two years ago by throwing it out of a fourth-floor window, the Associated Press reported. The dog had entered the hospital in search of food. Plaka murder The 52-year-old companion of a 50-year-old businesswoman found dead in her Plaka apartment on Wednesday morning yesterday confessed to having killed her, police said. Eduardos-Antonios Avedisian said that he had been drinking with Harikleia Siopi in her apartment when they started arguing, that he had struck her and then suffocated her by covering her mouth and nose. Excess passengers The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) yesterday apologized to people traveling on an Athens-Thessaloniki morning train for taking on too many passengers. The train stopped at Lianokladi, near Lamia, where 51 travelers were obliged to board buses to Larissa. OSE appealed to commuters not to board trains if they had not bought a ticket first. Greek-Turkish talks Senior Greek and Turkish diplomats are to meet in Ankara today for a 17th round of exploratory talks on bilateral issues, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday.