NEWS

In Brief

Hydrofoil blaze

Passengers unharmed after vessel en route to Aegina catches fire A hydrofoil full of passengers caught fire yesterday as it was shuttling between the islands of Aegina and Agistri in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, but no one was hurt authorities said. The vessel was carrying 79 passengers when one of its engines caught fire around noon. The seven-member crew managed to extinguish the fire and the vessel was towed into the port of Aegina by two fishing vessels where passengers were safely evacuated. TALKS SIDELINED Talat refuses to meet Papadopoulos due to row over soccer match A row over a friendly soccer match appears to have scuppered plans for Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to meet for reunification talks. Talat had responded positively to Papadopoulos’s invitation to talks earlier this week but backtracked yesterday. Cyprus’s objections to a Turkish-Cypriot team, Cetinkaya, playing a friendly match against English third-division side Luton Town in the occupied part of Nicosia was at the center of Talat’s change of heart. The Cyprus Football Association lodged a complaint with their English counterparts over plans to hold the game, which was eventually canceled. Cypriot burials Thirteen Turkish ‘missing’ laid to rest Turkish Cypriots yesterday buried the remains of 13 men listed as missing since Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus. The dead, whose remains were found in a grave in Alaminos, some 40 kilometers south of Nicosia, were buried in a cemetery in the Turkish-occupied north of Nicosia in ceremony conducted with full military honors. The remains of 15 Greek Cypriots, identified under a United Nations-backed program, are to be reburied in similar funerals this week. Rescue operation Fifteen people were safely rescued early yesterday when the sailing boat they were traveling on ran aground off the island of Aegean island of Patmos, authorities said. A helicopter and coast guard vessels took part in the rescue operation that was held in gale-force winds after the Turkish-flagged boat, named Diana for Ever, ran aground 3 nautical miles east of the island. The 12 French passengers and three crew members were sailing from Turkey’s Bodrum to Patmos. Artifacts sought Bulgarian authorities have asked Greece to return nine medieval silver plates believed to have been smuggled out of the Balkan country in the 1990s and which now allegedly grace Greek museums. «We have categorical proof that the plates are in three Greek museums – two in Thessaloniki and one in Athens,» prosecutor Kamen Mihov said. Mihov said he expected Greek authorities to «show understanding» and return the gold-trimmed plates, which date to the 13th and 14th centuries. Policeman better Doctors yesterday reported a «significant improvement» in the health of a 24-year-old police officer who was attacked last Friday by a group of 30 youths outside a rock concert at Hellenikon, southern Athens. The unnamed policeman was hospitalized with serious head injuries after being attacked by the youths who beat him with sticks and iron bars for no apparent reason. A large operation has been launched to identify the 24-year-old’s assailants but police have yet to charge anyone in connection with the assault. Pensioner murder A 24-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of taking part in the fatal robbery of a pensioner in Neo Iraklion, northern Athens, last month, police said yesterday. The woman allegedly entered the 84-year-old man’s home with a male accomplice, aged 19,who strangled the victim. The suspects made off with their victim’s mobile phone and a small amount of cash. Police said the woman confessed that the pair had also robbed another two pensioners. Officers said that are looking for the 19-year-old. Teen surfers One in 10 Greek teenagers spends more than 20 hours a week on the Internet, according to a study conducted by experts at the Aglaia Kyriakou Children’s Hospital in Athens. The figures were released yesterday ahead of the 25th International Pediatric Conference, which is being held in Greece at the end of August.