NEWS

In Brief

ACROPOLIS MUSEUM

Court suspends ruling on appeal, asks for details of risk to antiquities The Council of State yesterday suspended for six days its ruling on an appeal for a halt to the construction of the new Acropolis Museum, to give the Culture Ministry time to provide documents clarifying the risk to nearby antiquities. The court wants to know if a construction permit has been issued, if a contractor has been appointed and when works are due to begin in the part of the plot where antiquities have been found. The appeal has been lodged by the Greek branch of the International Council on Monuments and Sites and by residents of Makriyianni. CYPRUS MEDIA Police reverse decision to stop press briefings as ‘sign of good will’ Cyprus Police Chief Tassos Panayiotou yesterday reversed a decision to stop phone, fax or e-mail briefings to journalists – obliging them to present themselves to police headquarters in person to get information – «as a sign of good will for continued cooperation with the media,» Panayiotou’s deputy, Sotiris Charalambous, said yesterday. «We sent our message. Our aim was for media organizations to understand that they must respect us.» The row followed press criticism of the way police handled a terrorist scare last weekend. WINTER SALES Running from Jan. 15 until Feb. 28 Store sales are to begin on January 15 and continue until the end of February, the Development Ministry said yesterday. Price tags must display both the original price and the sale price, or stores must display signs clearly showing the percentage discount for categories of products, the ministry said, stressing that there would be no extension of the sales period beyond February 28. Borrowing The Finance Ministry will auction, on Wednesday, 3-, 6- and 12-month Treasury bills worth a total of 500 million euros to cover budget expenses. The government plans to borrow about 30 billion euros this year. Last year, borrowing exceeded 32 billion euros, up from a planned 27 billion. No pardons Cypriot Attorney-General Solon Nikitas yesterday refused to endorse the customary pardons of 102 Cypriot and foreign inmates of Nicosia’s central jail after studying the inmates’ files which had been submitted to him by Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou. Extending the deadline for granting such pardons, traditionally given at Christmas, would set a precedent for granting mass pardons on national holidays, Nikitas argued. He also complained that the list of inmates included the names of 48 people he had already refused. Papariga in Cyprus Greek Communist Party (KKE) President Aleka Papariga yesterday met Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos in Nicosia for an update on the situation in Cyprus. Papariga also met Cypriot Communist Party (AKEL) chief Dimitris Christofias, on whose invitation she was visiting Cyprus. Following her meeting with Christofias, Papariga stressed that, despite pre-election preparations currently under way in Greece, it was the responsibility of all political parties to continue offering their support for a solution to the Cyprus problem. Freighter collision The seven Greek crew members of a freighter which bumped into the pier of Halkida harbor on Thursday night were unharmed following the incident, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The Ikaros was anchored for repairs, the ministry said, adding that there had been no damage to the pier. Hospital fire A fire which broke out on New Year’s Day in an annex of the general hospital of Katerini, in northern Greece, was triggered by a malfunction in the central boiler, hospital managers said yesterday. Firemen extinguished the blaze before it could cause any injuries to patients or staff. Weather damage Heavy rainstorms over the last few days have caused widespread damage to farmland and communities across the northern prefecture of Xanthi. Earth-moving machines were used in areas such as Kentiti, where flooding was worst. Hundreds of hectares of grain plantations in the municipalities of Vistonida and Abdera are waterlogged, while the worst-affected communities were Koutso, Sidini and Seleros.