NEWS

In Brief

TATOULIS OUTBURST

Government declines to comment on attack by former culture minister The government remained tight-lipped yesterday regarding an outburst by former Culture Minister and serving conservative MP Petros Tatoulis. Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros declined to comment when questioned about Tatoulis’s criticism of New Democracy and its alleged favorable treatment of some personalities. MP Miltiades Varvitsiotis, however, called for Tatoulis’s resignation, but this would mean ND would lose its one-seat majority in Parliament, where it currently has 151 seats, although it also counts on the support of independent deputy Costas Koukodimos. BOMBER BOMBED Kos man loses hand as homemade device goes off unexpectedly A 27-year-old man lost one of his hands in an explosion on the island of Kos yesterday after trying to detonate a homemade bomb. The unnamed man also suffered wounds to other parts of his body. Police did not clarify where he had placed the device. Officers searched his house afterward and found another 26 homemade bombs. CYPRUS CHANCE British diplomat sees hope on island Cyprus now has its «best chance» for reunification following the recent rapprochement of Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders, Britain’s envoy to the island Joan Ryan said in Athens yesterday following talks with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. «This is the best chance that Cyprus has for reunification on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation,» Ryan said. «We are all committed as guarantor powers to doing all that we can to support and encourage the progress of this process,» she said. Zachopoulos The former general secretary of the Culture Ministry Christos Zachopoulos, who tried to commit suicide last December, yesterday finished testifying before a magistrate in connection with his alleged blackmail by a former assistant. Saudi targeted A car belonging to a diplomat from Saudi Arabia was destroyed in an arson attack early yesterday in a northern Athens suburb, police said. The attack, which was carried out using gas canisters, was claimed later yesterday by a group calling itself «Subversive Cell.» The spokesperson for the hitherto unknown group reportedly said that the blast was a response to the arrest of a suspected criminal involved in a bank robbery last year who is to go on trial this week. The Saudi connection was unclear. Souflias unimpressed Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday that he would be happy to answer questions in Parliament about his summer house after claims resurfaced that it has been built illegally. «Some gross inaccuracies have been written and implied,» he said. The minister said that he is simply building a 110-square-meter house in Anavyssos, southeast of Athens, though his original permit provides for the construction of two houses each measuring 65 square meters. Schoolchildren stuck More than 5,000 schoolchildren in and around Thessaloniki will have to find another way to get to school for the time being as coach drivers began an open-ended strike yesterday to demand what they claim are 18 months of outstanding wages. The drivers said they are owed a grand total of some 9 million euros. They said they would continue their strike until they are paid. Smugglers detained Police in Thessaloniki yesterday were questioning three Iraqi nationals and one Syrian believed to have been involved in a gang smuggling would-be migrants through Greece. One of the Iraqis attempted to elude arrest, resulting in a car chase with police, but he was eventually cornered and surrendered when officers fired a warning shot in the air. Fan violence Three soccer fans were yesterday given until Wednesday to prepare their defenses after being arrested outside PAOK’s Toumba Stadium on Sunday night when dozens of the club’s supporters clashed with riot police in the wake of their team’s 4-0 defeat to AEK. The three fans, one of whom is a teenager, are accused of throwing rocks at the officers and damaging a cultural center and parked cars.