NEWS

In Brief

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Prosecutor rejects file on Alex death, family provides more clues A prosecutor in Veria, Stefanos Zarkatzias, yesterday returned to police the legal brief they had prepared on the alleged murder of 11-year-old Alex Meshivili, saying that there was not enough evidence to press charges against any of the five schoolboys or adults allegedly involved in the case. Meanwhile, the lawyer representing Alex’s mother, Natela, said that he had provided police with more information about the boy’s disappearance in February. Sources told Kathimerini that the information supplied by Pythagoras Ieropoulos points to the possible involvement of two adults. UNITED FRONT Athens and Nicosia were in ‘constant contact’ regarding EU talks on Turkey The Greek and Cypriot governments yesterday refuted speculation that Athens had not been fully briefed about Nicosia’s intention to threaten the use of its veto to block the completion of discussions paving the way for the first of 35 rounds of talks between Ankara and the EU. «We were aware of Cyprus’s positions,» government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said while Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis referred to «full communication and coordination.» Meanwhile, outgoing Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou said there had been constant contact between the Greek and Cypriot sides. «There were no surprises of the type described in the media,» he said. GIVING BLOOD Ministry appeals for more donors The Health Ministry yesterday asked citizens to become regular blood donors and give Greek blood banks a much-needed boost ahead of World Blood Donor Day today. Greece needs about 650,000 units of blood per year (a unit of blood is roughly half a liter) but contributions by regular blood donors cover only half of this. But the problem is one of quality as well as quantity. According to a study conducted by doctors at the Asclepieio hospital in Voula, an increase in the number of regular blood donors would decrease the rate of patients contracting diseases such as AIDS and Hepatitis C. Business hours The Inner Cabinet meeting yesterday approved the public sector’s new working hours, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., scheduled to begin September 1. The operating hours will be the same in the summer and winter periods. Some public services, including tax offices, will close their doors to the public earlier, at 2 p.m. Busy Greeks Greeks spent more hours at work in 2005 than residents of other OECD countries, according to an OECD report released yesterday. The report said the average Greek was at work for 2,053 hours in 2005. Czechs came in second in the survey, at work for an average of 2,002 hours. The Norwegians and the Dutch spent the least amount of time at work, 1,360 hours and 1,367 hours respectively. Fatal dive A 45-year-old man was found dead near the village of Aliarto in Viotia, central Greece, yesterday morning after he drove his car into a 5-meter-deep irrigation channel, firefighters said. Divers located the car at the bottom of the channel after about three hours. The driver was not named by authorities, who said he was a foreign national. Bank bombs A bomb went off in front of a branch of Eurobank in Galatsi, northern Athens, late on Monday, damaging the bank’s front entrance, police said yesterday. In a separate incident, a homemade explosive device detonated at a branch of National Bank in nearby Patissia. No one was hurt in either incident. Dead soldier A soldier serving on the island of Icaria was killed on Monday after falling down a cliff, the Defense Ministry said yesterday. The 27-year-old conscript, who was not identified, suffered a fatal head wound and died from the fall, officials added. Show banned The National Council for Radio and Television (ESR) yesterday ordered Alpha television channel to stop broadcasting the «Apo Kardias» afternoon chat show hosted by well-known presenter Andreas Mikroutsikos. ESR said it had reached the decision after repeatedly fining the show and asking for it to be moved to an evening slot.