NEWS

In Brief

RUSSIAN TIES

PM Karamanlis to arrive in Moscow; energy cooperation to top talk Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is due to arrive in Moscow today for a three-day visit during which he is to discuss bilateral cooperation with his counterpart Mikhail Fradkov, President Vladimir Putin and other top officials. The talks will focus on boosting cooperation in the energy sector, Karamanlis told the Itar-Tass news agency yesterday, adding that the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline would also be discussed. Prospects for cooperation in transport, agriculture and industry would also be debated, Karamanlis said. CHICKEN POX Vaccinating children not compulsory, EOF says after death of boy, aged 3 Vaccinating children for chicken pox is not compulsory, the National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) said yesterday following the death on Saturday of a 3-year-old Trikala boy who had been vaccinated on Thursday. Preliminary autopsy results suggest the boy’s death was probably due to septicemia, caused by meningitis, and not to the vaccination. The results of laboratory tests on the boy’s blood and tissue will be more conclusive. The chicken pox vaccination is not routine but when carried out should be done so according to product instructions, EOF said. CITY FUNDS Council OKs 611-mln-euro budget Athens’s municipal council yesterday approved City Hall’s 610.7-million-euro budget for 2005, 121 million euros of which has been earmarked for investment in works to upgrade the capital. Another large tranche of the budget is to be spent on reducing Athens’s chronic traffic problem. FYROM talks Greece’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Adamantios Vassilakis, yesterday met with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s ambassador to Washington, Nikola Dimitrov, and with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special representative, Matthew Nimitz, to discuss a commonly acceptable solution for FYROM’s official name. All sides agreed on the need to swiftly resolve the matter. The next meeting was scheduled for January 12, again in New York. Exams leak? Cambridge University is investigating claims that the questions for Sunday’s Proficiency examinations in Greece were leaked before the test, an Athens-based spokesman for the British university told Kathimerini yesterday. If it is found that the topics were leaked, the exams will be annulled, Antonis Voyiatzis said. But this is unlikely as a list of the topics was faxed to Antenna television channel at 9.14 a.m. yesterday and the candidates were given their papers at 9.15 a.m., he added. Robber thwarted A 40-year-old Greek who stole 900 euros from a bank in Thessaloniki’s Ambelokipi district yesterday afternoon after threatening the cashier of the branch at knifepoint, carried out another two bank raids in the past two weeks, netting over 15,000 euros, police said. The unnamed man was restrained by bank clerks as he tried to flee after yesterday’s raid. He told police that he robbed in order to fund his gambling habit. Rape charges A 21-year-old Algerian and a Moroccan, 20, yesterday faced an Athens prosecutor for the alleged rape of a 25-year-old woman, police said. They allegedly repeatedly raped the woman on an apartment block roof on Sophocleous St to which the woman had been brought by a third foreigner, according to police. Traffic disruptions Work that started yesterday at the Magoula junction on the Athens-Corinth national road are to disrupt Athens-bound traffic between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for the next 10 days. Patriarchate probe Athens’s chief prosecutor, Dimitris Papangelopoulos, yesterday ordered a preliminary investigation into press reports implicating a senior cleric at the Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem with the disappearance of $5 million from the Patriarchate’s coffers. Farmers’ protest Farmers from Serres yesterday blocked the Serres-Thessaloniki and Serres-Promachona national roads with their tractors, calling on the government to refinance their debts. They threatened to stage further road blockades over the Christmas period unless Agricultural Development Minister Evangelos Bassiakos agrees to meet with them.