NEWS

In Brief

DIPLOMACY – Greek, Turkish foreign ministry officials meet in Athens for Foreign Ministry political director Anastasios Skopelitis and Turkish Foreign Affairs Deputy Undersecretary Yigit Alpogan began a series of meetings in Athens yesterday as part of the effort by their two countries to improve relations. The subject of the talks is to evaluate bilateral relations and to discuss confidence-building measures. I would like to say that this is a discussion that is developing well, with mutual will to reach specific results, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said. POOL DEATH Club Med officials appeal again for investigating judge’s exemption A judicial investigation into a fatal accident at a Club Med village resort in Marathon, Attica, last month has run into further complications, after Olivier Bergeret, the club’s director in Greece and Silvain Barberet Girardan, the resort manager, submitted a second motion yesterday for investigating magistrate Andreas Kranis to be exempted. The two, along with three Greek employees, were charged with manslaughter with intent and possible malice after seven-year-old Axel Blin of France died of injuries sustained when he was sucked into the water intake pipe in the resort’s swimming pool. A similar request made on August 30, claiming Kranis was biased, had been rejected. Yiannis Dimarelis, responsible for pool maintenance, and two Greek technicians at the resort have all testified and have been freed on bail pending trial. ARCHBISHOP Yugoslav medal for Christodoulos Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica yesterday decorated Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece in recognition of the aid sent by the Greek people and the Church of Greece to the Serbian people during the past decade. Christodoulos is on an official visit of peace to Yugoslavia, where he met with Patriarch Pavle. The archbishop had vociferously criticized NATO’s 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. Garbage dump death. The Thessaloniki Anti-Racist Initiative has called for an immediate resumption of the search for the body of Alexander Tzemolari, a 27-year-old Albanian, who was buried under tons of rubbish in the Tagarada garbage dump on August 30 while looking for objects to sell. Members of the group said that on September 6 the public prosecutor had ordered a search for the body, after an appeal by the victim’s brother. The group alleges that the search ended after one day following a verbal request from a Thessaloniki local government official to the prosecutor’s office, saying the search was fruitless. Brutal beating. Six Albanians allegedly beat to death a compatriot in near Damasio, Larissa, in central Greece, on Sunday night. The body of Toumba Skitzim was found early yesterday morning near the village’s football field. He had been stabbed and clubbed. Police are seeking the six assailants, identified by several personal items Skitzim had torn from them during the attack. According to reports, the victim operated a protection racket, arranging work for the other Albanians for a percentage of their earnings. Drug arrest. Rhodes Casino’s former manager Dan Ratzkovsky, 44, appeared in court yesterday on drug charges. The Israeli national claimed the 36 grams of marijuana and other drugs found in his possession on his return to Rhodes airport on Sunday, and another small amount found later in his room, had been for his own use. He said also that he had been set up. Ratzkovsky was dismissed from his position after his arrest. The Rhodes Casino is operated by the Israeli company, Rushido. Sunken plane. Divers participating in an underwater fishing contest on Sunday found the wreck of a single-engine light aircraft in 30 meters of water on the north end of the island of Makronisos, just off the coast of Attica. One of the aircraft’s wings had broken off. The Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday that the plane, a Piper, had been on the sea bed for 13 years after crashing in a storm. The pilot and passenger had survived. Against flyovers. The green belt municipalities of Filothei, Psychico, Neo Psychico and Halandri, and representatives of the Athens-Piraeus prefecture, have appealed to the Council of State to halt plans for three flyovers on Kifissias Avenue. They say the flyovers, part of a planned Olympic Games ring road from Syngrou Avenue to Sidera, Halandri, will have adverse effects on the local environment and commercial activity along that stretch of Kifissias Avenue.