NEWS

In Brief

The head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Christodoulos, yesterday called on the Orthodox faithful to rally around the Church and not despair after President Costis Stephanopoulos rejected a Church petition for a referendum on whether religious belief should be recorded on state identity cards. Nothing happens in this life that God does not allow, Christodoulos told a congregation in the church of Aghia Zoni, Kypseli. On Tuesday, senior Church officials will visit Education and Religious Affairs Minister Petros Efthymiou to brief him on the results of the petition, which Christodoulos says over 3 million people have signed. SOCCER Top league changes name back to First National Division The Association of Professional Football Clubs (EPAE) yesterday changed its mind after one year, once again renaming the professional divisions of the Greek League. Thus the top National Division assumes its previous name of First National Division. The First Division becomes the Second, and the Second becomes Third. This goes hand-in-hand with the reversal of the decision to lower the number of clubs playing in the top division to 14. From the 2002-2003 season, the top division will, once again, include 16 clubs. EPAE had initially wanted to change this rule before last season’s relegation playoffs, but it was decided that the move could be legally challenged. EUROBASKET Last-minute victory over Italy A last-second three-pointer by forward Frangiskos Alvertis led Greece to an 83-82 victory over reigning champions Italy on the opening day of the European Basketball Championships in Antalya, Turkey, yesterday. In the other Group D match, Russia defeated Bosnia 83-63. Papandreou and Nano. Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday met the leader of Albania’s ruling Socialist Party, Fatos Nano, who is on a private visit to Athens. They discussed the situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Murder confession. A 32-year-old, reportedly mentally disturbed man has confessed to the rape and murder of a 74-year-old shepherdess in a village near Ioannina, northwestern Greece, last week, police said yesterday. Constantinos Tanos said he had attacked Maria Hasta while she was minding her flock outside the village of Anatoli because of previous disagreements with the victim, whom he had allegedly assaulted in the past. Fratricide. An ethnic Greek immigrant from Russia was arrested yesterday for killing his brother around midnight on Thursday, following an argument over the ownership of their family home in Komotini. Police said Nikolaos Iosifidis, 37, confessed to stabbing to death his brother Constantinos, 42. Tennis loss. Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou lost in the third round of the US Open tennis tournament yesterday in Flushing Meadows, New York. The 19-year-old qualifier fell to seventh seed Monica Seles in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, in 57 minutes. But in winning her first two matches, Daniilidou advanced further than any Greek tennis player in a Grand Slam event. Daniilidou will likely be listed among the top 100 women in the post-tournament rankings. Coffee shop crash. An illegal immigrant from Afghanistan and a Greek coffee shop patron were being treated yesterday in a hospital in Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece, after suffering light injuries on Thursday when a stolen car drove into a Soufli coffee shop. David Jafferi, 30, who had just stolen the car from outside the Thracian village, crashed into the coffee shop in order to avoid a head-on collision with another car after driving through a red light. Police said he lacked a driving license and had been trying to make his way to Athens.