King of Jordan approves ousting; Christodoulos gets Synod’s go-ahead King Abdallah of Jordan yesterday issued a decree approving a decision to depose Jerusalem Patriarch Irenaios, made earlier this month by the Patriarchate’s ruling body. Also yesterday, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece gave Archbishop Christodoulos carte blanche in handling the case of the beleaguered Irenaios at a rare meeting of the Orthodox Church’s heads at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul on Monday. Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios has told close aides that he wants Irenaios to resign over charges he handed over Church land in Jerusalem’s Arab sector to Jewish investors. GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS Presidents stress need for better ties President Karolos Papoulias and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday agreed on the need to improve bilateral ties, even as 44 Turkish military jets violated Greek air space in the Aegean. Sezer invited Papoulias to visit Turkey following talks on the sidelines of a summit on cultural heritage in the Bulgarian port of Varna. Papoulias stressed Greece’s continued support for Turkey’s European Union bid. Turkish jets violated Greek air space 18 times, according to military sources, who said there had been no transgressions on Thursday, a national holiday in Turkey. Cyprus talks United Nations Undersecretary for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast is due to visit Cyprus from May 30 to June 2 for talks with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, according to a UN statement released yesterday. Prendergast yesterday concluded a week of closed talks in New York with Tassos Tzionis, head of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos’s diplomatic office. Following his visit to Cyprus, Prendergast is to visit Athens and Ankara for further talks before his scheduled return to New York on June 7, the statement said. Theodorakis award The International Music Council, a UNESCO body, yesterday bestowed its annual international music award upon Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. An award ceremony is scheduled to be held in the German town of Aachen in the fall. Solidarity The Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) yesterday expressed solidarity with a Lesvos-based reporter who faces trial next month for an April fool’s joke he pulled four years ago. Nikos Manavis faces charges of spreading false information after writing an article in a Lesvos newspaper stating that part of a newly built local bridge had collapsed. The trial is scheduled for June 23. NATO exercise Eight NATO frigates, a submarine and several F-16 fighter jets took part in a one-day military exercise off western Crete attended by the alliance’s Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The exercise was part of NATO’s campaign to promote cooperation between naval forces from member countries. Group baptism A group of 12 adults of various nationalities were baptized yesterday in the village of Lydia, near Kavala. Yesterday was the feast day of Saint Lydia. Hail damage A hailstorm yesterday caused serious damage to farmland in the prefecture of Trikala, with melon and watermelon fields particularly hard hit. The hailstones were the size of walnuts, locals said.