NEWS

In Brief

GREEK-ALBANIAN TIES

Violent incidents will not influence bilateral relations, FM says Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and his Albanian counterpart, Kastriot Islami, yesterday discussed bilateral relations, the Greek minority in Albania and Albanian immigrants in Greece. «We will not allow isolated displays of extremism, in Albania and in Greece, to influence the positive development… of our cooperation,» Molyviatis said, implicitly referring to clashes after the Albanian soccer team’s victory over Greece earlier this month. Greek European Parliament members Yiannis Varvitsiotis and Costas Hadjidakis yesterday complained to the European Commission after Albanian authorities blew up a cross on a church in Tzara, near the town of Sarande. SMUGGLING ‘FLEET’ Greek shipowner allegedly arranged transfer of 10,000 migrants to Italy A Genoa prosecutor has issued warrants for the arrest of an unnamed shipowner, his son and legal adviser for allegedly using a fleet of nine merchant vessels to smuggle more than 10,000 illegal immigrants – mostly Pakistanis – from Turkey to Italy over the past four years, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday from Rome. IOANNINA QUAKE No injuries or damage after 4.7 tremor An earthquake, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, occurred near the Greek-Albanian border just before 4.30 a.m. yesterday but no injuries or damage were reported. The quake had its epicenter around 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Ioannina and was strongly felt in the northwestern town. Falcon compensation The families of three victims of a fatal accident involving the prime-ministerial Falcon jet in September 1999 yesterday appealed for a total of 80 million euros in compensation from the aircraft’s French manufacturer, Dassault. The families of journalists Dimitris Pantazopoulos and Nina Asimakopoulou and police officer Nikos Asimakopoulos say Dassault was to blame for functional problems which caused the jet to dive suddenly. Seven people, including Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis and his son, were killed. ‘Teenage killer’ A 16-year-old youth was yesterday arrested for the rape and murder of a 75-year-old woman after DNA and fingerprint evidence from the corpse were found to match his. The unnamed youth allegedly raped and fatally strangled Elisavet Tzortzaki on August 30 at her home in the village of Gergeri, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of Iraklion on Crete. The teenager claims he had been disoriented after smoking a cigarette containing drugs. The youth will be examined by a psychologist, police said. National Gardens The Athens Municipality is to be granted the use of the National Gardens in the center of the capital, according to a draft bill tabled in Parliament yesterday which proposes reforms to the operation of local government organizations. Meddling minister Cyprus’s Health Minister Dina Akkelidou faced a criminal investigation yesterday after sending a letter to a judge trying an alleged drug dealer urging leniency for the defendant who was ostensibly undergoing rehabilitation. Cypriot Attorney-General Solon Nikitas said yesterday that he had asked police to carry out a criminal inquiry to establish if an offense had been committed. Psomiadis charged An Athens prosecutor yesterday charged the former chairman of AEK soccer club Makis Psomiadis with money laundering and embezzlement of 8 million euros of the club’s cash. Two of Psomiadis’s cousins who used to sit on AEK’s board of directors – both named Harilaos Psomiadis – have also been charged with embezzlement. The charges were lodged following an investigation by Financial Crime Squad officers into AEK’s finances while Psomiadis was the club’s president. Base closes US Ambassador Thomas Miller yesterday attended a ceremony marking the official closure of the NATO regional command center in Tyrnavos. Joint Chiefs of Staff Commander Giorgos Antonakopoulos and the head of NATO’s Naples-based Joint Forces Command, Gregory Johnson, also attended.