NEWS

In Brief

PM IN FRANCE

Karamanlis and Chirac agree to work on forging closer military ties Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis agreed with French President Jacques Chirac yesterday that the two countries should hold closer talks on defense issues and exchange views on strategic military issues every six months. Diplomatic sources said the talks bolstered arguments that Greece is sharing its diplomatic weight with its European peers and not focusing only on ties with the USA. In an interview published yesterday in French daily Le Figaro, Karamanlis also sent a message to Turkey saying that any obstacle the country creates in its recognition of Cyprus will be a problem for Turkey joining the EU. COUPLE ABDUCTED Robbers lock pair in car trunk before plundering their bank account Four armed assailants abducted a young couple from their car early on Thursday, robbed them of a bank card – whose PIN number they wheedled out of them – locked them in the boot and withdrew 600 euros from an ATM before fleeing, police in Athens said yesterday. The couple were freed from the trunk of their car, which the robbers abandoned near the ATM they had raided in Paeania, after passers-by heard their cries and alerted police. OA TICKETS Carrier’s fares to go up by 13 euros Tickets for each leg of long-haul international flights conducted by national carrier Olympic Airlines are to increase by 13 euros from Wednesday, OA said yesterday, citing recent hikes in oil prices. Flights to be affected include those to New York, Montreal, Toronto and Johannesburg. Shorter flights will increase by 4 euros/leg. Calatrava criticism The redevelopment of a 28-hectare expanse in central Thessaloniki should have been assigned on the basis of an international competition, the city’s Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos told the municipal council yesterday. The project was assigned to Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who designed the Athens Olympics complex. Calatrava’s proposal cannot materialize without the approval of the municipality, which owns 50 percent of the expanse, Papageorgopoulos said. Fine intact The Merchant Marine Ministry denied a local press report yesterday saying that it has only imposed a small portion of the 528,247-euro fine it had slapped upon ferry operators this summer for delays and their failure to inform passengers about timetable changes. The ministry said that the whole amount has been imposed via the correct legal channels but admitted that it is a time-consuming procedure. Electronic theft Three men were detained in Thesprotia, northwestern Greece, yesterday in connection with the theft of electronic data from foreign companies over the Internet, police said. The three men, aged 40, 42 and 45, are thought to have stolen customer data records from the firms and then erased the companies’ files, causing thousands of euros in damages. The case has been forwarded to a prosecutor. YMCA contribution Thessaloniki city council will give 30,000 euros to rebuilding the YMCA building that suffered fire damage on Wednesday. Investigation teams from early yesterday were looking into the causes of the blaze that severely damaged its roof and theater area. Traveling medics State hospital and military medics will today begin touring a group of small islands in the Dodecanese, offering free health tests to residents. The team will be ferried between Kastelorizo, Kasos, Halki, Leipsoi and Agathonisi aboard a navy gunboat until Oct. 4, offering free medical examinations including PAP tests, blood tests and teeth checks for children. Mayor attacked The mayor of Tylissos, near Iraklion in Crete, was in hospital yesterday after being set upon late Thursday by two assailants who beat him with an iron bar. Stavros Halkiadakis sustained injuries to his head and body but doctors said they were not life-threatening. The unidentified assailants, who had been wearing sunglasses and hats, eluded arrest. Kifissias works Traffic will be disrupted on Kifissias Avenue at Maroussi tomorrow from 7 a.m. till late evening due to roadworks.