NEWS

In Briefs

CYPRUS

Clerides returns home, Simitis to brief opposition Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides met with Greek opposition leaders in Athens yesterday at the end of a one-day visit. Back in Nicosia, he expressed satisfaction with Greek support for the island’s European Union accession, and confirmed that his talks with Greek PM Costas Simitis on Wednesday had covered the possibility of Turkish military aggression in the buildup to the island’s joining the EU. Today Simitis, who during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting accused Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of intransigence, is to brief opposition leaders on foreign policy developments regarding Cyprus and Turkey’s role in the fledgling Euroforce. MORE HEROIN 14 kilos found at border in biggest haul this year Police and customs officials yesterday confiscated more than 14 kilos of heroin from the car of an Albanian man at the Kakavia border crossing – less than 24 hours since Wednesday’s 12-kilo seizure from the car of two Albanians at the same crossing. Jonalin Pistia, 27, had allegedly concealed the narcotic in 27 packages in the gas tank of his car and had been heading for Athens. He faces a Ioannina prosecutor. These were the two biggest heroin hauls intercepted this year. EARTHQUAKE 4.7 tremor shakes Chios An undersea quake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale occurred off the coast of Chios near Turkey’s western city of Izmir just before 8 a.m. yesterday but there were no injuries or damage reported. A powerful 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the island of Crete on Tuesday causing minor damage and no injuries. Museum strike off Museums and archaeological sites will remain open this weekend as museum guards canceled a scheduled 48-hour strike after reaching a compromise over pay with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday. Venizelos – who took legal action against the guard’s union on Tuesday before his ministry’s umbrella union backed the strike – yesterday said guards would be paid for extended night hours. Falcon lawyer The defense lawyer for Olympic Airways (10 of whose employees are on trial over a freak accident that killed seven people on the government’s Falcon jet in 1999), resigned yesterday after an Athens court denied his requests to invalidate reports on the tragedy and to call expert witnesses to back his suggestion that electronic sabotage caused the plane to crash. Ioannis Stamoulis had suggested the court investigate «a series of inexplicable coincidences» for signs that external agents had caused the accident. He claimed his statements had been willfully distorted. Alexandros Lykourezos, a lawyer for the families of victims, said of his colleague: «It appears he fell victim to the atmospheric phenomena he referred to.» Mitsotakis Honorary New Democracy Chairman Constantinos Mitsotakis, 84, is to fly to Phoenix, Arizona, tomorrow for special medical tests to decide whether he needs surgery to strengthen the walls of a weak major artery, his office said yesterday. If an operation is necessary, it will not require open surgery, Mitsotakis’s doctor said. Mitsotakis, who was told he needed tests after a routine check-up, is due back in Athens on June 4. Playing with fire A man who walked on burning coals as part of a ceremony reviving ancient pagan rituals was in a hospital outside Thessaloniki on Wednesday night after seriously burning his feet. Constantinos Karanos, 50, had joined a group of fire-walkers from Lagada, near Thessaloniki, in carrying icons over hot rocks in a Wednesday evening ceremony. Candidate A former socialist Deputy Defense Minister, Manolis Benteniotis, said yesterday that he would run for mayor of Piraeus on the PASOK ticket during October’s elections. Cyprus Airlines Cyprus Airlines will be exclusively staffed by Cypriots as of November, the firm’s President Haris Loizides said yesterday. Three foreign pilots are currently working out six-month contracts for the airline. Nicosia’s Labor Committee said it would examine the provisions of the legislation governing the foreign pilots’ employment.