British FM may come to Athens soon, government spokesman says British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw may visit Athens soon, Government Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said yesterday. Antonaros said Athens and London were discussing the possibility of a visit. He also said that Athens hopes Straw will use his visit to Cyprus to improve relations with Nicosia. Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has refused to meet Straw because the latter has arranged to meet Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Turkish-occupied Cyprus. CLEAN WATER EYDAP denies reports that it used an inferior chemical in treatment The Athens Water Company (EYDAP) said yesterday that its drinking water was safe after reports that an inferior chemical was being used to clean it. EYDAP denied claims it had used a substandard batch of aluminum sulfate to treat water and said it always conducted checks to ensure the quality of the chemicals it used. YIOSSAKIS APPEAL Ex-cleric asks to get out of custody Former priest Iakovos Yiossakis and monk Kyrillos Stavropoulos appeared before a council of appeals court judges in Athens yesterday to ask to be released from custody. The two are being held in connection with the alleged theft of antiquities from a monastery in Kythera. They claim they are being held illegally since the alleged crime has been deemed a misdemeanor. The appeals court said it would rule on the matter in the next few days. Store closed Piraeus prefectural authorities yesterday ordered the temporary closing of a branch of the Carrefour-Marinopoulos supermarket chain in Salamina for health and safety violations and other transgressions. Authorities had issued a warning to the branch’s management last November after inspectors discovered products that had passed their expiry date on the store’s shelves and found a bakery operating on the premises without a license. But when they returned this week, no changes had been made and further violations were reported. N17 appeal resumes The appeal of convicted members of the November 17 terrorist group resumed yesterday at a special court in Korydallos Prison. The presiding judge refused an appeal by Savvas Xeros, whose capture in 2002 led to the group’s unraveling, to have his sentence suspended on health grounds. US Embassy Starting January 30, the US Embassy in Athens will be closed to the public on the last Monday of every month. In emergency situations, the embassy can be reached by telephone at 210.720.2490/2491 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Cigarettes found Authorities arrested a 50-year-old truckdriver yesterday at the port of Igoumenitsa, western Greece, for trying to smuggle 176,000 packets of cigarettes to Italy. The driver had hidden the cigarettes in his truck, on which he was also transporting oranges, in a bid to save 437,366 euros in taxes, according to official estimates. Immigrants detained Police detained 19 illegal immigrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan on the Turkish border yesterday after the migrants entered Greece by crossing the Evros River at Lavara. A border patrol also arrested three men, Greek nationals, who were about to transport the Asian migrants into Greece. Food fines The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) fined 10 food companies a total of 70,000 euros yesterday for violating health standards. The fines were imposed for businesses that operated without the necessary permits, ignored previous warnings and failed to maintain the proper paperwork. Cannabis chase Port authorities said yesterday they arrested a 52-year-old man in Piraeus on Wednesday after they found in his possession 1.6 kilograms of cannabis. The man told authorities he had collected the drug in Thessaloniki. Police later found 2.7 kilos of cannabis at the Salonica address. Officers are seeking a man who had been living at that address.