NEWS

In Brief

PATRIARCH PRAYS

Vartholomaios conducts service in Istanbul church for tsunami victims Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios yesterday conducted a special service at the Saint George Church in Istanbul for the victims of the south Asia tsunami disaster. Vartholomaios said he would not forget the dead and appealed for «God’s protection from earthquakes,» according to a statement issued by the Istanbul-based Patriarchate. The body of the first Turk confirmed killed following the quake was brought to Istanbul on Saturday. Ezgi Gumusoglu, an employee at the US Consulate in Istanbul, had been on his honeymoon in Thailand. PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Call for resolution of Aegean dispute President Costis Stephanopoulos, attending an armed forces function in his honor, yesterday called for Greece’s dispute with Turkey over territorial waters in the Aegean to be resolved by the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Stephanopoulos, who ends his term as president in March, also stressed the importance of resolving the continental shelf dispute and said he hoped Turkey would make the necessary changes to join the European Union. The function was attended by Archbishop Christodoulos and Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, among others. Immigrants A boat carrying Somali and Iranian illegal immigrants trying to reach the Aegean island of Lesvos capsized yesterday, killing the captain and one migrant, the Anatolia news agency reported. The Turkish coast guard rescued another 12 migrants from the sea off the port of Ayvalik and one migrant was missing, it said. On Saturday, coast guard officers on Lesvos detained five illegal immigrants who had reached the island by inflatable rowboat from Turkey. Relief fraudsters Suspected fraudsters have been trying to swindle tsunami-relief donations by sending out fake fund-raising e-mails containing details of a Cyprus bank account, The Associated Press cited Oxfam’s Hong Kong branch as saying yesterday. The aid group informed local police of the e-mails, which allegedly call upon recipients to deposit donations into an account in Cyprus and fax deposit receipts to an office in Spain, AP said. The unauthorized e-mails contained excerpts from the aid group’s press releases describing its relief efforts, an Oxfam spokesman was quoted as saying. State lottery The winning number in this year’s New Year state lottery, netting the 5-million-euro jackpot, is 80596 from the 60th series. Tickets with the same number in other series win 20,000 euros each. Kavala murder Police were yesterday questioning a 32-year-old man in connection with the murder of an 84-year-old resident of the old quarter of Panaghia in Kavala, northern Greece, on New Year’s Eve. Diamantis Pagidas was shot in the head at his home by a would-be robber who fled empty-handed, according to police. It was unclear how the assailant entered Pagidas’s home. The victim was shot in front of his wife and granddaughter, police said. Gastroenteritis Hundreds of people from across the Nestos region in northern Greece have been struck by a mild case of gastroenteritis over the past few days, local officials said yesterday. Most cases were recorded in the municipality of Chrysoupolis, they said. The local water network was chlorinated after inspections revealed that the problem was probably provoked by a high concentration of bacteria at its source, probably caused by recent landslides. Church blast A homemade explosive device placed outside a church in Kavala by unidentified assailants in the early hours of yesterday did not detonate, police said. The device comprised a plastic container filled with an unidentified flammable substance, three gas canisters and a lit candle. There have been similar attacks on churches and on government vehicles in Kavala over the past few months. Fatal blaze Firefighters in Thessaloniki early yesterday morning recovered the corpse of a 45-year-old man who burned to death overnight in his first-floor apartment in the city’s Kalamaria district. The man was identified only as A.A. It was unclear what had provoked the blaze which caused minor damage to the flat but did not spread to other apartments. Fraudster thwarted A 63-year-old Cypriot, who allegedly posed as a member of a Cypriot trade union to ask members of Greek trade unions for cash – ostensibly for the ailing children of his colleagues – has been arrested, police said yesterday. The man, who was not named, allegedly claimed to need the money to treat children whom he described as either seriously ill or the victims of car accidents. Detainees sought Police in Cyprus had yesterday failed to locate a group of 12 foreigners who escaped from a detention center in Larnaca last Friday, despite an air-and-sea search. They believe that the foreigners may have fled into the island’s Turkish-held north before crossing into southern Cyprus. It was unclear what charges the 12 had faced. Officers on duty at the Larnaca detention center may face disciplinary action for failing to stop the escape, police said.