NEWS

In Brief

THESSALONIKI WALL

Probe into planned construction on site concealing ancient remains Thessaloniki prosecutor Vassilis Floridis yesterday ordered an investigation into the decision to allow construction to take place on a plot of land in the city center that also contains remains of an ancient wall. The plot had remained empty for decades but a Culture Ministry decision in 1998 allowed construction to go ahead provided the ruins were preserved in their original state. The ruling was recently rubber-stamped by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS). The probe was launched after residents lodged complaints with authorities. US EMBASSY HOAX Police seal off main avenue after phone call warns of bomb Police closed off the area around the US Embassy in central Athens yesterday after receiving a phone call at around 3.45 p.m. claiming that a bomb had been placed in the building. Busy Vassilissis Sofias Avenue was blocked off for 15 minutes as police searched the embassy and the surrounding area before deciding the bomb threat was a prank. TURKEY VISIT FM: Aim is to ‘discuss problems’ A planned visit to Turkey by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis later this month will go ahead despite a fishing dispute in the Aegean which has threatened to heighten bilateral tensions, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said yesterday. The aim of the premier’s visit is «to discuss existing problems and try to solve them,» Bakoyannis said. Reacting to recent Turkish press claims that Greek fishermen are violating territorial waters near the Aegean islets of Imia, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said, «Creating false impressions will not change our country’s inalienable sovereign rights.» Cold snap The cold snap in northern Greece continued yesterday as the temperature in Florina reached a record low of -8 Celsius (17 Fahrenheit). The temperature in Kozani and Kastoria also fell well below zero, while in Thessaloniki the lowest reading of the day was -2C (28F). Drivers across northern Greece were advised to use snow chains when traveling in their cars as there is snow and ice on many roads in that part of the country. Robber tackled Bank employees in Patras helped police detain an armed robber minutes after he had held up their branch and threatened a member of staff with a knife. The robber made off with some 20,000 euros in cash after the raid at about 2 p.m. But several employees chased after him, having first notified the police. They tracked down the suspect and with the help of police officers on motorcycles were able to stop the robber, who was taken into custody. Vehicles burned Eight parked cars and two motorcycles were destroyed in three seperate arson attacks in eastern Athens early yesterday but there were no reports of injuries, according to police. The attacks took place shortly after 4.30 a.m. in the areas of Vyronas and Pangrati. Rethymnon cache A search of the home of a 48-year-old resident of Rethymnon unearthed guns and drugs, police said yesterday as a warrant was issued for the man’s arrest. The raid uncovered a revolver, dozens of rounds of ammunition and small quantities of cannabis and other drugs. It was unclear whether the suspect is linked to criminal rings operating in and around Zoniana.