NEWS

In Brief

IRAN EARTHQUAKE

Greece offers Tehran rescue teams, financial aid and condolences Greek rescue teams were on standby awaiting a request from the Iranian government to help search for survivors of the earthquake that struck the city of Bam yesterday, killing more than 5,000 people. The Foreign Ministry said it is sending 250,000 euros in immediate aid to Tehran, while Prime Minister Costas Simitis and opposition leader Costas Karamanlis both sent telegrams of sympathy and support to Iranian President Mohammed Khatami. CYPRUS VOTE Denktash puts off decision on mandate, Ankara opposes new poll Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday postponed until Monday or later the granting of a mandate to party leaders in the wake of the inconclusive December 14 vote for a house of representatives in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus. On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul urged Denktash to aim for «a government with the broadest base» and avoid calling new polls. «Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and I very much want [the Turkish-Cypriots] not to think of another election,» he said. A new election could further delay efforts to restart peace talks ahead of Cyprus’s May 1 entry to the European Union. MOTHER STABS DAUGHTER Spata teenager in critical condition A 37-year-old woman was arrested for stabbing her 17-year-old daughter in their home in Spata, Attica in the early hours of Christmas Day after the girl arrived home late from a night out. After an argument, the mother allegedly went into the kitchen, took a knife and stabbed her daughter five times. As she did not have a phone, she went to a neighbor’s house for help and claimed her daughter had come home bleeding from a knife attack. She later confessed to police. The daughter was in critical condition in the hospital yesterday. Cyprus alert Cyprus’s main international airport at Larnaca was placed on heightened alert on Thursday following foreign intelligence tips of a possible terrorist attack on planes using the airport or flying through Cypriot air space, Interior Minister Andreas Christou said. Arson attack A gas-canister bomb exploded at a PASOK party branch in the Thessaloniki district of Harilaou at dawn yesterday. It was the ninth such attack in the city this month. Nobody was hurt and damage was minor. Jewelry robbery Three armed men robbed a jewelry store in central Athens yesterday, one of them striking the owner, Panayiotis Vorilas, 63, over the head with a pistol butt when he tried to resist. Two of the men who were standing outside the store threatened passers-by who responded to Vorilas’s call for help. The robbers escaped with four bags of jewels. Vorilas was recovering in the hospital yesterday. Airport arrests Three Turks were arrested at Paphos airport in Cyprus on Thursday, trying to board a British charter flight for Gatwick with forged passports. Police said the Turks had crossed over from the Turkish-occupied north of the island after arriving from Istanbul. Kosovo troops Deputy Defense Minister Theodoros Kotsonis visited Greece’s 635 men and women serving with the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo yesterday at their base in Urosevac. Breathalyzer tests Attica traffic police, who have stepped up Breathalyzer tests on motorists over the Christmas period, found 25 drivers between Friday, December 19 and Christmas Day with blood alcohol levels above the permitted limits. Offenders included an Athens blue bus driver. Rough Diamond Australia’s Olympic shooting dual gold medalist Michael Diamond, who is of Greek origin, looks likely to miss selection for the Athens Games after being charged with assaulting his girlfriend, according to an AFP report from Canberra on Wednesday. The case will be heard on January 20, meaning Diamond will miss selection trials on Jan. 9.