NEWS

In Brief

Nicosia dinner – In first Green Line crossing,Clerides dines with Denkta President Glafcos Clerides crossed over to northern Cyprus yesterday, for the first visit by a Cypriot president since the Turkish invasion of 1974, to dine with Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. Hailed by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was visiting Turkey, hailed the rapprochement but stressed that a full settlement was still a long way off. Clerides crossed the Green Line in a limousine stripped of the flags and emblems of statehood. He drew up to smiles and handshakes outside Denktash’s residence in Nicosia- a mere five kilometers from his own home on the other side of the divided city. On Tuesday the two agreed to start a new series of talks to resolve the division of the island. (Reuters) Putin visit Athens drivers face massive traffic jams Large tracts of central Athens will be sealed off to traffic from today until Saturday morning for the duration of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Athens. Putin is to arrive at Athens airport at 12.45 p.m. today, but his route to the presidential palace on Herodou Attikou Street in the center of town (mainly along Mesogeion and Vasilissis Sophias avenues) will be banned to all traffic – including public transport – from 12.15. Similar action will be taken whenever Putin’s route takes him through town. Three thousand policemen will be on duty during his visit. The Russian president, who will be staying at the Intercontinental Hotel, will leave the presidential palace for the airport at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday. Athens Buses Strike called off Athens blue bus drivers yesterday decided to call off work stoppages scheduled for yesterday, today and tomorrow after reaching an agreement with bus company management. Their demands concerned bus routes and hygiene facilities for staff at bus terminuses. Boyfriend cleared. An Athens appeals court yesterday found Yiannis Thomatos, 27, innocent of the charge of murdering his girlfriend Maria-Electra Zoglopitou, 29, in her home in Thiseion, central Athens in July 1997. Thomatos had initially been found guilty and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. Zoglopitou’s parents supported Thomatos’s claim that he was innocent and that the girl had died of pathological causes. Zoglopitou reportedly suffered from epilepsy. Jet impounded. A passenger jet belonging to Greece’s private Axon airlines – which on Friday announced it was suspending its operations due to lack of cash – was impounded yesterday following an action by state-owned Olympic Airways which claims the company owes it 200 million drachmas for ground services rendered. Axon was one of the two bidders in the government’s latest attempt to sell Olympic. Ships’ doctors. The government is considering extending the year of obligatory service medical graduates undergo in the provinces to include service on ferries, Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis said yesterday. Tall tale? The Athens Journalists’ Association (ESIEA) yesterday accused the Chora daily of fabricating a story it ran on November 29 claiming that arrested criminal Costas Passaris was acquainted with a November 17 terrorist organization killer. ESIEA said Chora, and its sister publication Traffic which ran a similar story, published, under the name of its Bucharest correspondent, an article concocted in Athens. Chora said ESIEA was mistaken. Farmers’ protests. Farmers’ unions in the northern prefecture of Macedonia decided yesterday to hold three days of demonstrations from December 10-12 against low cotton prices, by moving tractors onto highways at major intersections. All clear. All passenger ferry itineraries from Piraeus and Rafina to the islands of the Aegean, Crete and Dodecanese returned to normal as of noon yesterday, when a ban on coastal shipping was lifted after an improvement in the weather. Child rape. Police are searching for a man who allegedly raped a nine-year-old girl after pretending to be a policeman and offering to take her to her home in Kolonos, central Athens on Monday.