NEWS

In Brief

CYPRUS DRIVE

NATO chief urges Ankara and Nicosia to work together for a settlement NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer yesterday suggested that Turkey and Cyprus should forge closer cooperation to reunify the divided island. «There are some hurdles in the NATO-EU relationship… The solution is not only to be found in Ankara, but in Nicosia and… in Brussels,» the NATO chief told reporters in Ankara following talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. «It takes two to tango,» he added. TRIAL-FIXING CLAIMS Deputy interior minister sues daily for alleging he was linked to ring Deputy Interior Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos yesterday brought charges against Proto Thema daily after an article published in the newspaper alleged he was linked to a trial-fixing ring currently under investigation. Andreoulakos, who is a lawyer by profession, was allegedly mentioned during a deposition by another lawyer, Nikos Emmanouilidis, who has been implicated in the ring’s activities. Andreoulakos accused the newspaper of «purposely withholding or distorting facts to annihilate (him) morally and politically.» COSTLY FESTIVITIES Consumer group slams price hikes The Greek Consumer Center (ELKEKA) said yesterday that Christmas dinner this year will set back consumers 15 percent more than it did last year. According to the consumer group, the seasonal feast will cost from 48.10 to 70.75 euros, up from between 41.70 and 59.90 euros last year. Christmas trees are also 17.4 percent more expensive, while the cost of traveling from Thessaloniki to Athens and back by car will take 103.27 euros out of motorists pockets, some 17 percent more than last year. Sunny Christmas Christmas this year will be sunny but cold according to meteorologists who said yesterday that temperatures will drop across the country without much rainfall. In the days leading up to Christmas, coastal areas may see some rain, while snowfall is expected in other parts, particularly in the north. Central and western Macedonia have been seeing some snow in the last few days, forcing drivers to use snow chains to get around yesterday. Circulating ideas Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said yesterday that by September he intends to find an alternative system for regulating the number of cars entering the center of Athens on weekdays. Drivers currently have to abide by the odd and even number plate system but Liapis said he will start talking to transport experts and local authorities about other ways of controlling traffic. Taxi tips Commuters traveling by taxi yesterday began paying a one-euro Christmas surcharge. The extra cost will be charged until January 8. Smashing entrance A 45-year-old man was arrested yesterday after he smashed windows at the entrance to the Supreme Court in Athens yesterday, authorities said. The man allegedly suffers from mental problems. He smashed the windows in the early hours of the morning using an iron bar, according to police. Skeptical Greeks Two thirds of Greeks believe that immigration is bad for the country, according to an international survey made public yesterday. According to the poll, conducted by TNS Icap and Gallup International in 69 countries, 47 percent of people around the world feel immigration has a negative impact on their countries. Arta quake An earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale shook the city of Arta, western Greece, at 7.44 p.m. yesterday. The earthquake, which had an epicenter 15 kilometers southwest of Arta, was followed by two aftershocks within a space of a few minutes. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages. Murder suspect Police said yesterday that a 22-year-old Albanian national, known to police for drug and theft offenses, is thought to have murdered a priest who was found dead in his apartment in September. Police said they found the man’s fingerprint at the Piraeus home of the priest, aged 69, and suspect that theft was his motive.