NEWS

In Brief

CYPRUS MISSING

Press barred from Clerides-Denktash talks Reporters have been barred from attending this Friday’s meeting between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on the issue of people missing since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Both men felt that an absence of press coverage was «appropriate for now,» Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday. Denktash said yesterday that he will be making no new demands when he meets Clerides, while the latter is expected to insist on creation of a DNA bank before exhumations begin so that identities can be reliably determined. MIDDLE EAST Palestinians deny report of envoy’s role in arms shipment The Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic representation in Athens yesterday issued a statement refuting a report by the German news agency DPA that Abdullah Abdullah, the Palestinian’s ambassador in Athens, was involved in arranging a shipment of arms that Israeli forces intercepted last week. News reports from Israel said that the captain of the ship had named another PA official, Adel Awadala. The statement said that the Palestinian Authority had asked for an investigative committee into the arms shipment, under US and EU supervision. «We are accustomed to the Israeli security services creating conspiracies that quickly collapse,» it said. Kranidiotis death Falcon trial postponed till May An Athens court yesterday postponed until May the trial of 10 Olympic Airways employees allegedly responsible for causing the death of seven people aboard the government Falcon jet, including Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis, in September 1999. Kranidiotis, his son and five journalists and diplomats died after the aircraft went into a series of sudden dives and climbs. An expert report has attributed the accident to pilot error and poor aircraft maintenance. Walkway works Work due to start yesterday on Apostolou Pavlou Street, under the Acropolis, has been put off until tomorrow, the Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens (EAXA) said late yesterday. EAXA, the public company managing the 4.7-billion-drachma transformation of the Acropolis walkway, is due to complete its works, already behind schedule, by the end of 2003. Traffic is banned from the area as of tomorrow. Scully murder An appeals court in Komotini, Thrace yesterday postponed until October 2 the trial of 27-year-old Giorgos Skiadopoulos, currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his fiancee, Julie Marie Scully, in January 1999. Skiadopoulos’s lawyer and crucial prosecution witnesses were unable to travel to Komotini in northeastern Greece due to bad weather. Man burned A court in Alexandropoulis, northern Greece, yesterday imprisoned a Greek immigrant from the former USSR and four Indian nationals for dousing an Indian farmworker with petrol and setting him alight. Stamislav Nepianidi got a five-year sentence while Jit Haram, Paul Jojinger, Lal Hamres and Kulvinder Singh got three years each. The four men were reportedly under the influence of alcohol when they attacked Kumar Rakes, who is now in hospital in stable condition. Romanian visas Some 100 Romanians have been refused entry to Greece already in 2002 in a visa dispute, officials said yesterday. Authorities stopped Romanians at the Promachonas crossing on the Bulgarian border and demanded proof of residence despite a new law that permits Romanians to travel without visas in most of Europe. Greek lessons A budget of 1 billion drachmas is to be set aside for the teaching of Greek to immigrants, Minister for Macedonia and Thrace Giorgos Paschalides said yesterday after his visit to the Greek Language Center. Exorcism An Athens prosecutor yesterday charged three Nigerian nationals with causing the death of a Nigerian woman, the Athens News Agency said. The priest of the Pentecost church at Amerikis Square, his wife and a relative of the victim allegedly kidnapped the 40-year-old woman and kept her in chains for 24 hours while they conducted an exorcism ceremony. The three have until tomorrow to prepare their defense.