NEWS

In Brief

FUEL BENEFIT

Government says it will not help pensioners with winter heating costs Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas yesterday denied that the government was considering introducing a heating-fuel benefit for low-income earners and pensioners. There has been speculation that the ruling conservatives would help these groups with their fuel bills this winter due to rising oil prices on global markets. However, sources told Kathimerini that the government does not want to deviate from its economic policy and build expectations ahead of the prime minister’s address at the Thessaloniki International Fair next month. SOCCER RECORD Salpiggidis signs with Panathinaikos for 1.8 mln euros and three players Dimitris Salpiggidis became Greece’s most expensive soccer player last night after transferring from PAOK to Panathinaikos. The Athens club paid 1.8 million euros to their Thessaloniki rivals and will also give PAOK three players – Costas Haralambidis, Sandor Torghelle and Thanassis Tsigas. Salpiggidis, 25, signed a four-year contract with Panathinaikos. The Greece international will reportedly earn 800,000 euros per year. HELD CAPTIVE Three arrested for detaining man Three men were arrested yesterday for allegedly holding captive a 38-year-old man. The victim was detained by a nightclub owner and his two employees late on Wednesday after he went to collect money owed to him, police said yesterday. The victim told police that he had gone to the nightspot in Peristeri, western Athens, to collect money for the supply of light and sound equipment. The owner and two employees then allegedly threatened the man with a gun and held him captive for a few hours before freeing him unharmed. Cyprus plan Nicosia said yesterday that it may consider a plan for the United Nations to take control of ports and airports in the occupied part of Cyprus if the area of Ammochostos is returned to its original residents. Foreign Minister Giorgos Lillikas said that Nicosia is willing to discuss details of the plan that the European Union appears to be trying to put together. But he added that Nicosia would only consider the plan if the area around the port town, which has been closed off since the Turkish invasion in 1974, is opened. Pot plants Two men were arrested on the island of Rhodes after police found 10 cannabis plants growing in their back garden, authorities said yesterday. A 34-year-old man, a Luxembourg national, and a local resident, aged 34, have been taken to the prosecutor, police added. Thessaloniki shaken An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale shook Thessaloniki yesterday but there were no reports of injuries or damage. The tremor struck at 7.27 a.m. and its epicenter was located 20 kilometers southeast of the city. Shortly before 10 p.m. on Wednesday evening a 4.6 Richter earthquake hit Halkida, on the island of Evia, in a tremor that was also felt in Athens. Missing vacationers Coast guard patrol boats and a helicopter were yesterday searching the sea around the eastern Aegean island of Chios for two holidaymakers who had gone missing after renting canoes, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The search was launched late on Wednesday after the man who rented the 25-year-old man and 30-year-old woman the canoes earlier in the day informed the coast guard that they had not returned. The names of the missing vacationers were not released but the ministry said they are both Greek. Pilots’ strike? The government of Cyprus yesterday urged pilots at state-carrier Cyprus Airways to call off a two-day strike planned for next week, at the height of the Mediterranean island’s tourist season. The strike, due to start August 25, will affect 80 Cyprus Airways (CY) flights and 12,000 passengers, government spokesman Christodoulos Pasiardis said. He called on the pilots’ union to «comprehend the dramatic repercussions of their planned strike and enter into negotiations» with CY management. CY pilots want new collective labor contracts in view of a restructuring plan that will eliminate around 20 percent of the company’s total 1,800 employees. (AP)