NEWS

In Brief

MUHAMMAD CARTOONS

Athens pleads for calm, wants to avoid a ‘clash of civilizations’ Greece yesterday joined the calls for calm around the world after violent demonstrations by Muslim protesters over the publication in Western newspapers of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. «Greece is in favor of and believes in dialogue between civilizations,» said Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos. «We are against the clash of civilizations. We hope that dialogue and reason will reign so that the violent protests of the last few days can stop.» WINTER STORM Heavy snow cuts off more than 300 villages around the country More than 300 villages around Greece were isolated due to heavy snowfall yesterday as the freezing conditions began to ease in many parts of the country. The worst problem was around the city of Trikala in central Greece, where more than 80 villages were cut off. There were some power outages on the islands of Samothrace and Lesvos due to the bad weather. A 73-year-old man had to be airlifted by helicopter from Samothrace after suffering a stroke. AGREEMENT Greece, Spain: Save EU Constitution Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and his Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos met in Athens yesterday and agreed that the process to ratify the European Constitution needed to be revived after last year’s «no» votes in France and Netherlands. «We have to prove to European citizens that the European Union is worth the effort,» said Moratinos. «We cannot remain in this intermediate situation for ever,» said Molyviatis. «We need to revive the discussion.» (Page 5) Slippery thieves Three armed men yesterday held up an olive oil factory in Hania, Crete, police said. The owner was forced to hand the men 150 euros in cash, his mobile phone and the keys to the factory. The robbers also stole a customer’s pickup truck, which had 15 sacks of olives in the back. The raid comes after unidentified robbers broke into more than 30 offices and stores in Hania late on Monday night. Alcohol ring A Thessaloniki court yesterday imposed a total of 4.5 million euros in fines and passed down jail sentences ranging from three to five years on 13 Cypriots found to have been members of a ring illegally trading in alcoholic drinks. The ring is believed to have evaded 4.4 million euros in customs tariffs. Bryza visit US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza said yesterday that Turkey’s proposals for reopening negotiations over Cyprus were a «new» and «positive» development. Bryza, who was in Brussels, said he plans to visit Athens, Nicosia and Ankara for talks over the next two weeks. Drugs murder A 25-year-old Greek woman was charged yesterday with the murder of a Pakistani man, Ulhaq Rizvan, in Athens last May, police said. The unnamed woman, who is a drug addict, allegedly stabbed Rizvan in the stomach several times at his apartment to rob him. The woman has denied the charges and said she stabbed Rizvan in self-defense when he tried to rape her. Bank blast The leftist group «Anti-State Justice» claimed responsibility yesterday for placing an explosive device outside a branch of the National Bank in Palaio Faliron, police said. The homemade device damaged the entrance to the bank but nobody was injured. Explosive mail An army conscript on Rhodes is being questioned by military police after he tried to mail to his father a parcel including bullets and a mobile phone, authorities said yesterday. Police at the airport on Rhodes, who detected the parcel, are investigating. Armed robbery Two armed men held up a branch of ATEBank located at the Mitera maternity clinic in northern Athens yesterday, police said. The thieves made off with an unknown sum.