NEWS

In Brief

CYPRUS TALKS

Papadopoulos proposes meeting with Talat over reunification Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has proposed a meeting with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to kick-start talks on reunifying the island, Cypriot government spokesman Vassilis Palmas said yesterday. Palmas said Papadopoulos requested the meeting in a letter to Talat a year after the UN-brokered agreement to begin twin-track talks between the two sides. Meanwhile, the tripartite government coalition in Cyprus is due to be dissolved today after the island’s Communist party, AKEL, said it would not support Papadopoulos for the presidency next year. The move is expected to lead to a cabinet reshuffle with four ministers being replaced. DIPLOMAT GROUNDED Greek ambassador in FYROM will not be sent back to Skopje Greece’s ambassador to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Dora Grosomanidou, summoned to Athens last week to explain her suggestion that Greece abandon a 15-year dispute with FYROM over its official name, will not be returning to Skopje, the Greek Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Grosomanidou, whose term had been due to end in four months, expressed opinions in a Financial Times interview which diverged from Greece’s official policy line, the ministry said. Grosomanidou is expected to be replaced by Alexandras Papadopoulou, alternative permanent representative to the United Nations, by mid-August. BANK HEIST Robbers make off with 152,000 euros Two armed men held up a branch of National Bank in Thessaloniki yesterday and made away with 152,000 euros in cash. Separately, two armed men, one of them carrying a machine gun, held up a branch of Eurobank in Nafplion, in the Peloponnese, on Friday and made off with 65,000 euros in cash, police said yesterday. The suspects are believed to have escaped from the bank on a stolen motorcycle which they then abandoned outside Nafplion and continued their escape by car. Archbishop recovering Archbishop Christodoulos is in a stable condition despite running a temperature on Sunday, doctors at the Aretaio Hospital in Athens said yesterday. The doctors said the head of the Church of Greece is continuing to meet with his aides and is in a good mood. The honorary president of New Democracy, Constantine Mitsotakis, visited the archbishop yesterday and said that Christodoulos was in «high spirits» and «getting better.» Villagers protest Residents of two villages in the northern prefecture of Kozani, who have been blocking conveyor belts supplying a nearby power station with coal in protest at the lack of locals employed at the plant, met last night to decide future action. The Public Power Corporation (PPC) said it would grant to locals all vacancies that are not filled through public competition. Residents said PPC has failed to make good on alleged promises to employ 600 jobless locals, employing only 20. PPC officials said that the blockage of conveyor belts by residents would provoke blackouts if it continues. Blair letter Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has signed a letter along with nine other EU foreign ministers asking Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair to consider the idea of using an international force to patrol the Palestinian territories. The letter was published yesterday in France’s Le Monde newspaper after an initiative by the country’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. The 10 ministers said that a «robust international force» is «viable and reliable.» The letter also urged Blair not to provoke Hamas and to bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Cannabis plants A 72-year-old man was arrested in Messini, southern Peloponnese, yesterday for allegedly growing 54 cannabis trees on his farm. A search of the suspect’s home by police also uncovered small quantities of cannabis. The man was expected to face charges yesterday afternoon. Pickle recall The Prefecture of Athens announced yesterday the recall of pickles sold under the brand Solomos from supermarket shelves. Tests showed the pickles were unfit for human consumption, containing high levels of sulfuric acid.