NEWS

In Brief

IRENAIOS

Ministry deprives Jerusalem patriarch of title in passport The Foreign Ministry has stripped Jerusalem Patriarch Irenaios of his diplomatic passport and issued him a six-month passport that refers to him as the former patriarch of Jerusalem, ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday. Earlier yesterday, Irenaios insisted that he would not resign, despite a decision by the world’s Orthodox Church leaders upholding the patriarch’s deposition by his own bishops. FERRY TICKET PRICES Lowest fares to go up by 6.8 percent Fares for all the cheaper seats on passenger ferries are to increase by 6.8 percent, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The increase is conditional on shipping firms serving remote destinations and ensuring the presence of a doctor on board every vessel, the ministry said. Meanwhile, fares on all categories of fares on ferries leaving Lavrio, Kimi, Rafina and Elefsina are to be deregulated, the ministry added. French vote France’s referendum on the European Constitution tomorrow is a critical matter and concerns us all, President Karolos Papoulias told European journalists visiting the Presidential Palace yesterday. A «no» vote by the French would put the future of Europe into question, he said. Patmos suicide A 28-year-old Sri Lankan man, whose drowned corpse was discovered off Patmos with a stone tied around the neck, apparently took his own life in despair at losing his parents in last December’s tsunami, police said. In what appeared to be a suicide note, the unidentified man said he wanted to be reunited with his parents. The man had been working on the island for the past few months, according to police. A coroner was due to confirm the cause of death. Military terms The duration of compulsory military service for Greek men – currently 12 months for army conscripts, 14 months for those in the air force and 15 months for the navy – is to be further reduced, Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said yesterday during a visit to military barracks on Chios. In January 2004, 18-month terms were reduced to the aforementioned durations. Spiliotopoulos did not give any details of the future cuts. Statue return An important sixth-century BC statuette, stolen during World War II from a museum on Samos, is to be returned to Greece after being identified in Britain, the Greek Embassy in London said yesterday. Valued at 30,000 pounds sterling (43,500 euros), the 11.4-centimeter-high bronze miniature kouros – a nude statue of a young man – was yesterday given to embassy officials in London by its last owner, antiquities dealer James Ede. Migrants detained Lesvos Port Authority officials yesterday detained 21 illegal immigrants who claimed to have reached the island from neighboring Turkey in a plastic rowboat. Special Olympics Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia is due in Ioannina today to attend Greece’s Special Olympics, which began yesterday with the participation of 450 athletes with intellectual disabilities and around 300 volunteers. President Karolos Papoulias is due to visit the northwestern city – his hometown – tomorrow to conduct an awards ceremony. Cyprus-Gambia ties Gambia yesterday stressed that there was no question of it recognizing the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus, Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said. Gambia offered the reassurances following Turkish press reports claiming that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh had been prepared to develop «diplomatic ties» with Turkish-Cypriot leaders.