NEWS

In Brief

HAGUE TALKS

ND says it has no official record of 2003 bid to head to ICJ with Ankara Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday that the ruling conservatives had no official indication suggesting that Greece and Turkey had been close to agreeing in 2003 to take their disputes to the International Court of Justice after secret diplomatic negotiations. Sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini that diplomats had almost struck a deal to go to The Hague when PASOK was in power three years ago, before Ankara increased its demands. PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said there were no secret negotiations that deviated from the line of the Socialist government at the time. FOREIGN POLICY PM to meet Papandreou tomorrow Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is due to meet with PASOK leader George Papandreou at the Maximos Mansion at 10.30 a.m. tomorrow to discuss Greece’s foreign policy. Papandreou requested the meeting in the wake of rising tension in Greece’s relations with Turkey. Papandreou has also invited other party leaders to discuss the issue. He is due to hold talks with Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga on Friday. Strike threat The Federation of Civil Aviation Authority Unions (OSYPA) threatened yesterday to shut down the country’s airports as of July 1 with 24- and 48-hour rolling strikes in protest at the planned privatizations of the Thessaloniki, Corfu, Rhodes, Iraklion and Kos airports. OSYPA President Vassilis Alevizopoulos also opposed government plans to take air navigation activities away from airports. Salvaging job A firm will soon begin salvaging the remains of a cargo ship that foundered off the northern Aegean island of Thassos more than six months ago, port authorities in nearby Kavala said yesterday. Local authorities, concerned that the shipwreck discouraged potential tourists to the island, had been pushing for government intervention since November. The remains of the ship, which have been littering one of the island’s most popular beaches, are due to have been cleared by the beginning of July. Firefighters take off The firefighting season began officially yesterday as a number of water-dropping planes flew from Elefsina, west of Athens, to islands and various other parts of Greece where they will be used to combat forest fires. The planes conducted 2,387 sorties during the firefighting season last year, racking up a total of 5,012 hours in the air. Street sellers Migrant street-traders protested in Syntagma Square yesterday, asking for the right to obtain professional licenses so they can sell their wares at open-air fruit and vegetable markets in Athens. Pacifier recall The Consumer General Secretariat said yesterday that parents who have bought pacifiers which were sold under the Cheer Clipping Chain brand should immediately return them because tests have revealed they could cause children to choke. The distributor of the product in Greece, Children’s Accessories Imports Alexandros Karasoulas, has already recalled 110 pacifiers from store shelves. Earthquake aid Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday that residents on the island of Zakynthos whose homes were damaged by recent earthquakes will be able to apply for interest-free government loans. A series of tremors reaching up to 5.9 on the Richter scale shook the Ionian island in the last few months. About 108 homes are considered seriously damaged, while another 548 need repair work.