NEWS

In Brief

Cyprus talks

Community leaders to meet today as Nicosia worries about Ankara stance As Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat prepare to meet today to discuss the prospects for a new peace drive, officials in Nicosia expressed concern that Ankara opposes the island’s reunification. A recent statement by Turkey’s National Security Council indicates that Ankara wants two separate states on Cyprus, according to Cyprus government spokesman Stephanos Stephanou. China earthquake PM visits Chinese Embassy to express condolences for thousands of dead Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday signed the book of condolences at the Chinese Embassy in Athens for the victims of the recent earthquake in the Sichuan region. Karamanlis wrote that Greece feels the pain of the Chinese people and its thoughts are with all those who have suffered. More than 51,000 people have died since the May 12 disaster and some 30,000 more are missing. Workplace accident PPC employee dies of electrocution A Public Power Corporation (PPC) employee was electrocuted late on Wednesday while doing repair work on overhead power lines in central Greece’s Trikala. PPC has launched an investigation into the death of the 56-year-old man. In a separate incident on the island of Samos, a 57-year-old driver was killed after being struck by part of a cement mixer that fell off his truck as he was loading the vehicle. Man overboard A rescue effort was under way yesterday to find a man believed to have jumped off a passenger ship bound for Italy from Patras while the vessel was passing the island of Lefkada. It is unclear why the man, aged 30, jumped off the ship. Zachopoulos probe A lawyer who is a key witness in the alleged blackmail of former Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos must remain in custody, a misdemeanors council ruled yesterday, rebuffing the lawyer’s appeal for release. Christos Nikoloutsopoulos, who has been in custody since March, faces blackmail charges after accompanying Zachopoulos’s assistant to meetings with journalists during which her affair with the ministry official was discussed. According to the council, Christopoulos acted with intent and could commit new offenses if released. Killer remanded A 30-year-old man from the Cretan region of Mylopotamos was remanded in custody yesterday for the murder of a 21-year-old student last week. The 30-year-old, who served time in jail for manslaughter committed during an armed robbery 12 years ago, allegedly stabbed the student last Thursday night during a brawl outside a restaurant in Rethymnon. Suspect mix-up A Syrian national who had been released by authorities by mistake on Wednesday was detained again yesterday after police realized they had confused him with other detainees. On Wednesday, the Syrian was remanded in custody at a police station in Kypseli, central Athens, after trying to change his address at the tax office with forged documents. Later in the day, the on-duty police officer allowed him to leave, confusing him with a group of other suspects who had been remanded for a few hours. Careless colleague A policewoman was slightly injured at Megara police station, west of Athens, when a fellow officer’s service revolver accidentally discharged as he attempted to holster the weapon. The bullet lodged in the floor but the officer was injured by flying debris. Family feud A 53-year-old man was being treated in hospital in Hania, Crete, yesterday after allegedly being shot by his 29-year-old nephew. Police said that the older man was shot five times with a hunting rifle from a distance of some 35 meters as he tended to his sheep. The victim was injured in the chest and arms. Police suspect that the man’s nephew was behind the shooting as the pair had differences over land and livestock. US Consulate The consular section of the US Embassy in Athens will be closed on Wednesday for internal administrative reasons.