NEWS

In Brief

NICOSIA LOSS

Cypriot education minister dies at 72 following a heart attack Cypriot Education Minister Pefkios Georgiadis died yesterday at the age of 72 after suffering a heart attack, ministry officials said. Georgiadis had been preparing to speak at a seminar on Internet schooling at a Nicosia hotel when he started to feel unwell and was taken to the hospital, officials said. He suffered a heart attack on the way, they said. A widely respected architect, Georgiadis had been minister since 2003. His death leaves «an irreplaceable void,» Cypriot Health Minister Haris Haralambous said. XEROS OUTBURST Convicted N17 member refuses to recognize court’s authority in trial Christodoulos Xeros, a key member of the November 17 terrorist organization, yesterday accused the court hearing the group’s appeal of being less legitimate than a military tribunal during the junta as he sat on the courtroom floor and refused to take part in proceedings. Xeros had been brought into the specially constructed court in Korydallos Prison by force after refusing to attend Tuesday’s session. Judges adjourned the session for almost half an hour yesterday after Xeros again refused to answer their questions. «I will not testify. I deny everything. I will not take part in this parody,» he said. DRAFT PROBE Suspect colonel released on bail An army lieutenant colonel accused of stealing exemption certificates from a draft office was released on bail by a military court yesterday. The unnamed lieutenant colonel was filmed by hidden cameras during a sting to catch draft dodgers. He has been banned from leaving the country and ordered to post 5,000 euros bail. He has also been suspended for 12 months, pending the outcome of an investigation. Baghdatis out Cypriot tennis player Marcos Baghdatis crashed out of the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday after losing 3-1 sets to Gael Monfils of France. The Cypriot said he did not feel himself and lamented having too many relatives and friends with him. Baghdatis had reached the final last year after beating three top-10 players. Emergency landing An Olympic Airlines flight traveling from Tirana to Athens made an emergency landing in Ioannina, northern Greece, yesterday after a patient being transferred on the airplane required urgent medical attention. The worsening condition of the 26-year-old woman, being transported to an Athens hospital, required the pilot to land in Ioannina where an ambulance took her to a local hospital. Deadly fire A 46-year-old woman died yesterday when her apartment in Thessaloniki caught on fire, firefighters said. The paraplegic woman was found dead in her apartment where she lived alone after probably suffering from smoke inhalation. Two fire trucks and seven firefighters were involved in the operation to extinguish the blaze, according to authorities. Official attacked The head of the town-planning department in the northern town of Xanthi was briefly hospitalized yesterday after being attacked by two unknown assailants outside the entrance to his apartment block late on Tuesday night. However, Dimitris Tsiftelidis was not seriously injured, doctors said. Local police, who described the attack as «cowardly,» said the perpetrators had probably been seeking vengeance for a decision made by Tsiftelidis’s office. Mitsotakis recovers Former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis was discharged from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens yesterday after undergoing a double bypass operation last Tuesday. Doctors said that Mitsotakis, 88, was in «excellent» condition. Train route The traveling time on a train route connecting Kozani and Thessaloniki, northern Greece, has been cut by almost a third to two hours and 40 minutes after improvements were completed to the railway network, authorities said yesterday. The train route will start operating as of tomorrow with more frequent trips and improved carriages, authorities added.