NEWS

In Brief

HOLOCAUST DAY

Parliamentary committee backs remembering Greek Jews on Jan. 27 Parliament’s public administration committee yesterday unanimously approved a government proposal for the establishment of January 27 as an official day of remembrance for the tens of thousands of Greek Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The date commemorates the day in 1945 when the Red Army reached the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. BAM EARTHQUAKE Greece thanked for donations, asked to give more for homeless Iran’s ambassador in Athens, Mehdi Mohtashami, yesterday conveyed to Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos the gratitude of Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Ahani for the aid the Greek government sent to the earthquake-stricken town of Bam. About 90 percent of the historic city’s surviving residents are homeless, Mohtashami told Loverdos, before appealing for further assistance such as the provision of prefabricated houses. Greece has so far sent 250,000 euros in economic aid, as well as a team of rescuers to help locate survivors. CYPRUS Top-level meeting in Ankara Senior Turkish officials are due to meet in Ankara today to discuss developments on Cyprus, under international pressure for the revival of peace talks ahead of the island’s EU entry on May 1. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and General Hilmi Ozkok, chief of the country’s armed forces, will participate. In Nicosia, Foreign Minister Giorgos Iacovou said reunification could be possible before May 1, if intensive negotiations are held in February and March. Cold spell Yesterday was the coldest day of the winter so far, with the temperature hitting -14 Celsius (6.8 Fahrenheit) in Kato Nevrokopi, Drama. Florina came a close second at -13C (8.6F), followed by -10C (14F) in Kozani and -8C (17.6F) in Kastoria. Snow fell in the hills around Athens and in the northern suburbs. In the northern prefectures of Kavala and Xanthi, over 1,000 hectares of crops remained flooded under up to half a metre of water following heavy rains earlier this week. Bank robberies Two unidentified robbers yesterday afternoon broke into a bank in the northern Athens suburb of Neo Iraklion by smashing the glass door with a sledgehammer. The two, whom police believe to be behind recent raids carried out using a sledgehammer, made their getaway on a motorcycle. Earlier yesterday, a lone assailant made off with 10,000 euros after holding up a bank in the northern suburb of Vrilissia. Injured seamen A coast guard patrol boat yesterday transported two crew members of the Russian-flagged Medon freighter, en route to Albania from Russia, to a health centre on the island of Ithaca to be treated for apparent stab wounds before being transferred to hospital on neighboring Cephalonia, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The ministry did not clarify the nature of the two men’s injuries, nor how they received them. Cypriot Church A Nicosia court yesterday brought charges against two men implicated in alleged gross mismanagement of Church of Cyprus assets. Cypriot Archbishop Chrysostomos’s nephew and driver Iosif Aristodimos, 60, and the archbishop’s chief accountant and relative, Chrysostomos Philippos, 43, face 14 charges, including forgery of checks, distribution of forged documents, theft and extortion. A third suspect, accounting clerk Ilias Dimitriou, 54, committed suicide a few days before Christmas. Olympic strike Striking Olympic Airlines flight attendants are due to decide tonight, when the last of a series of 48-hour strikes that started 40 days ago expires, whether to continue their action. Flights have not been affected, as OA hired temporary staff to replace the strikers, who have been threatened with dismissal. Heart transplant This year’s first heart transplant in Greece was successfully conducted on a 23-year-old man from Volos yesterday at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens. The donor was a car crash victim, also 23.