NEWS

In Brief

US TALKS

Bakoyannis and Rice to meet in Washington on February 14 Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington on February 14, the Greek Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The aim of the talks was not revealed but it is thought that Bakoyannis will seek to press her counterpart regarding the US position on the Macedonia name issue ahead of talks between NATO and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in April. Talks between Greece and FYROM on the name issue have resumed but the Foreign Ministry said yesterday that a date for the next round of discussions has not been set. BANK TARGETED Central Athens branch attacked by some 30 assailants; no arrests A group of some 30 hooded assailants attacked a branch of National Bank in Gyzi, central Athens, yesterday. They smashed windows, damaged ATMs and threw paint inside the bank. Nobody was injured during the incident, which took place at about 12.30 p.m. Police took 14 people in for questioning but they were all released without charge. The same branch had previously been targeted by the so-called «Robbers in Black.» The son of a leftist politician had also been arrested after carrying out an armed robbery at the branch. WASTE RAP Greece sent to European Court The European Commission yesterday ordered Greece to appear before the European Court of Justice for failing to adequately manage hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic waste every year. Meanwhile, the Environment and Public Works Ministry issued a statement condemning the press for reporting on EC decisions before they are officially announced. The ministry said it had not been notified about the impending decision but stressed that its planning to handle toxic waste was on track. The EC countered that Greece «tolerates the unchecked dumping (of waste),» thus violating European legislation. Conscript death A 23-year-old army conscript was found dead in the early hours yesterday after he apparently shot himself with his service rifle, armed forces officials said. The officials said that the cause of the young man’s death was being investigated. Similar deaths in the past have been attributed to suicide. Lignite power Environmental group WWF Hellas has teamed up with seven municipalities to combat the possible creation of lignite-fired power stations around the country. WWF says that there are plans to build these facilities in a number of places including Evia and Viotia, north of Athens. Heists Three banks were held up in different parts of the country yesterday, with a total of some 70,000 euros in cash being taken, police said. There were no reports of injuries in any of the incidents. The largest amount was taken from Alpha Bank in Thessaloniki in an incident involving three armed men. The second robbery was at a branch of Emporiki Bank on the island of Rhodes. The third bank robbery took place at a branch of Panellinia Bank in Arta, western Greece. Food seized Thessaloniki prefecture officials seized 250 kilos of food in December that was considered to be unfit for consumption. A number of inspections were carried out at stores in the greater area of Thessaloniki. Additionally, some 260 liters of alcoholic drinks and orange juice were also removed from business premises during the checks.. US Embassy The US Embassy in Athens and US Consulate General in Thessaloniki will be closing at 1 p.m. today as a sign of respect for the death of Archbishop Christodoulos, whose funeral is being held today at Athens’ First Cemetery. Because of public demand, the US Embassy’s consular section will be open for visa and passport services during its regular hours. Border chase Police in Ioannina, northeastern Greece, said yesterday that they have arrested an illegal migrant who was part of a group of five Albanians transported into Greece in a stolen van. Officers chased the vehicle but the driver and four migrants escaped. An Albanian man driving a car in front of the van was also arrested on suspicion of acting as a lookout.