Nicosia says it is focused on talks as Papadopoulos resigns from DIKO Nicosia insisted yesterday that it was seeking to improve relations with Turkish-Cypriot officials, following calls by the United Nations Security Council for politicians on both sides to live up to the deal that the UN brokered in July. Cypriot government spokesman Christodoulos Pasiardis insisted that Nicosia was «working to achieve progress so the preconditions for substantial negotiations on the Cyprus problem are met.» Meanwhile, President Tassos Papadopoulos, 72, yesterday stepped down from his leadership of the centrist DIKO party. No explanation was given for his decision, but it does not affect his tenure as president, which runs until 2008. CRETE ARCHBISHOP Hania-based Irenaios named as successor to Timotheos on island The Ecumenical Patriarchate yesterday named Bishop of Kydonia and Apokoronas Irenaios as the new archbishop of Crete. He takes over the post following the death of Archbishop Timotheos in July. Timotheos had served in the position for 28 years. The Hania-based Irenaios, 73, studied at the theological school in Halki, off Istanbul, and was a member of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Holy Synod. TEENAGE VOTERS Thousands to cast ballot for first time More than 230,000 teenagers over the age of 18 will be voting for the first time in their lives when they cast their ballots in the October local elections, the Interior Ministry revealed yesterday as it handed to local authorities the lists of all the people in Greece eligible to vote. In total, 9.8 million people are registered to vote, including 8,921 Europeans who live in Greece. Car restrictions The odd/even circulation system for cars in the center of Athens will come into effect again on Monday, officials said yesterday. Cars whose license plates end in an even number will not be able to enter the city center on Monday. The ring will operate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays. The restrictions will apply until July 20 next year, when they will again be suspended for the summer holiday period. Sea sick Six adults and eight children traveling aboard a Louis Cruise Lines cruise boat were taken to a hospital in Mytilene yesterday suffering from gastroenteritis. Officials said that 80 of the 668 people on board the vessel reported similar symptoms, however only 14 sought hospital treatment. The vessel was traveling from Cyprus’s Limassol to a number of Greek islands, including Santorini and Tinos. Officials were investigating the possible causes of the virus. Bus lanes The Athens Urban Transport Association (OASA) said yesterday that two new bus lanes will start operating in central Athens as of tomorrow. The bus lanes will be set up on Papadiamantopoulou and Eratosthenous streets for city-bound traffic. The move is part of a government plan to increase the number of people using public transport in Athens. Labor Day The US Embassy and consular section in Athens and the US Consulate General in Thessaloniki will be shut on Monday in observance of the Labor Day holiday. Police stations Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras is expected to open three new police stations in Thessaloniki tomorrow as part of a restructuring of police services. Authorities said that the new stations will help make policing the areas more efficient and will include organized crime and narcotics divisions. Migrants caught Coast guard officers arrested 12 Afghan migrants on the eastern Aegean island of Samos yesterday morning, authorities said. Two of the migrants had small quantities of drugs in their possession and were taken to a prosecutor, according to the officers. The remaining 10 immigrants were taken to the hospital for medical checks. Honda recall The Development Ministry announced yesterday the recall of 221 Honda Civic 5D 2006 vehicles due to possible problems with the fuel pump.