NEWS

In Brief

CHURCH LAND

Archbishop and minister to meet for negotiations Government plans to turn ecclesiastical property in the southern Athenian suburbs of Vari, Vouliagmeni and Kavouri into public parks for the Athens 2004 Olympics – strongly opposed by the Church – will be the subject of impending negotiations between Archbishop Christodoulos and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou. The Holy Synod has been incensed by the proposed changes – contained in a draft presidential decree currently being drawn up by the ministry – which it described on Wednesday as an attempt to «pillage church property» originally earmarked for the construction of schools, hospitals and orphanages and on which the Church wants to build hotels. CYPRUS TALKS Clerides, Denktash meet for 7th time in two weeks Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday exchanged views on security issues in their seventh meeting in two weeks, marking an acceleration in face-to-face talks aimed at ending their island’s division. The outcome of the two-hour discussion was not made public, as the two leaders had agreed to embark on the series of thrice-weekly meetings under a strict news blackout. The two men meet again – at the disused Nicosia airport terminal which is serving as the talks’ venue – on Monday. Club Med Group invests 88 mln euros Club Mediterranee, the Paris-based chain of holiday resorts with retreats around the world, plans to invest 88 million euros in Greece, with half of the funds earmarked for construction of a hotel on the Ionian island of Zakynthos. Olympic works Council of State rapporteurs yesterday proposed the rejection of appeals lodged against two planned Olympic projects, court sources said. The objections concerned the construction of a weightlifting stadium – with a projected audience capacity of 5,000 – in the Nikaia district of Piraeus, and roadworks along the Alimos southern coastline. In the latter case, Alimos municipal officials and representatives of local groups were told that their appeal was groundless. Meat tests A Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday asked food monitoring officials for central Macedonia to conduct a preliminary investigation into the possible circulation of contaminated poultry in the region’s meat markets. Evangelos Zacharis said any infected meat should be confiscated and responsible traders prosecuted. The Food Monitoring Unit on Wednesday seized five tons of suspect poultry from Athens meat traders the day before Belgian authorities stated that no poultry from suspect Belgian farms had been exported to Greece. Child porn A man arrested for allegedly possessing pornographic photographs of children claimed to be a frustrated artist who had decided to pursue a career in photography, police said yesterday. Antonis Stefanakos, 52, was arrested on Thursday after police confiscated thousands of photographs of minors in indecent poses and 175 pornographic videos from his home in Aghios Dimitrios, Attica. Stefanakos, who said he had permission from the childrens’ parents to take the photographs, is suspected of storing the pornographic material with the intention of selling it both face-to-face and over the Internet. Police protest Around 50 police officers protested yesterday outside Korydallos Prison, which they say should be guarded by penitentiary guards rather than themselves. Police want a new law to free them from guarding the country’s prisons and transferring convicts – jobs which should be undertaken by officially appointed prison officials, said the president of the National Police Employees’ Union, Dimitris Kyriazidis. He was joined at the protest by the president of the National Federation of Prison Officials, Antonis Aravantinos, who wants autonomy for penitentiary workers. Contraband Patras port authorities confiscated 23,230 packets of contraband cigarettes – concealed in 40 boxes alongside trunks packed with computer desks – from a truck aboard a moored ferry on Thursday, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The truck belonged to the London-based firm Velos Group Plc, and was bound for UK-based Office World, the ministry said without indicating the city destination. Truck driver Marios Betsos, 36, and loader, Spiridon Grispos, 33, face a Patras prosecutor.