NEWS

In Brief

GREEK-TURK TIES

Athens satisfied with Babacan’s visit despite ‘Turkish minority’ comments Foreign Ministry sources said yesterday that Athens is pleased with the outcome of the visit of Ali Babacan despite the Turkish foreign minister’s references to a «Turkish minority» when visiting Muslims in Thrace, northeastern Greece, on Wednesday. Athens was unhappy with the comments but said it would not use it as a reason to heighten tension between the countries following the agreement on the implementation of a series of confidence-building measures. The government said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is still planning to visit Ankara next year. (Editorial, Page 2) BALI CONFERENCE Four ministry officials to attend international talks about environment The Environment and Public Works Ministry said yesterday that it would be sending four officials to the international climate change conference in Bali. The announcement came just days after the environmental organization WWF Hellas had criticized the government for sending only one delegate, which was a substantially lower number than the vast majority of some 180 countries that are attending the United Nations-led conference, which runs until December 14. Deputy Environment Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis will be leading the Greek delegation. New Democracy MP Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who heads Parliament’s environmental committee, will also take part. SCHOOL SHOTS Soldier caught after firing at building A soldier who fired a shotgun at a school building in Kilkis, smashing a first-floor window without causing any injuries, has been arrested, police said. The unnamed soldier fired his gun from his home which is opposite a school, officers said. The suspect said he had been shooting at a fox to protect his chickens. Judge cull The Justice Ministry is planning to fire around 100 judges, according to a bill tabled in Parliament yesterday. The ministry is aiming to remove judges who are not able to carry out their duties, mainly because of health reasons, or justices who are deemed to be inadequate. In the case of the former, the judges will be offered voluntary redundancy. Istanbul attack Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios and government officials in Greece and Turkey yesterday condemned Wednesday’s attack by unidentified assailants on a Greek journalist based in Istanbul. «It was an unprovoked, unjustifiable attack,» the Istanbul-based patriarch said of the hit on Andreas Robopoulos, editor of the Greek-language daily Iho and Mega channel’s representative in Turkey. Robopoulos, who suffered head injuries and had fingers broken by the baton-wielding assailants, was released from hospital yesterday. In Athens, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said he hoped Turkish authorities would find the attackers. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said an investigation was already under way. Eco-bloggers Concern about the absence of greenery has prompted some Athenians to take matters into their own hands. Stefanos Kofopoulos is one of those concerned residents and he has set up a blog to encourage people to buy more plants. (Page 3) University police The Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis said yesterday that there are no plans to introduce police measures at schools and universities following recent unrest at institutions in Athens. Stylianidis said that the law passed recently by the government has given tertiary education institutions greater autonomy and made them responsible for what happens in their grounds. Spuds in disguise Authorities are investigating suspicions that a group of farmers and wholesalers have been importing potatoes from France and then selling them here as Greek produce at three times the price. Development Ministry sources said that hundreds of tons of potatoes are thought to have been illegally sold as Greek produce by the suspects. TEI strike Technical colleges (TEIs) will be closed on Wednesday as lecturers have decided to take part in the 24-hour general strike. School teachers and university staff have already said that they are going to take part in the December 12 protest against pension reform.