NEWS

In Brief

VATOPEDI PROBE

Minister revokes decisions on Lake Vistonida land Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said yesterday that all decisions by state councils regarding the ownership of land around Lake Vistonida in northern Greece had been revoked to allow a probe into the exchange of land between a monastery on Mount Athos and the state to get under way. The decision to revoke all state decisions came from the office of Prime Minister Costas Karamalis, Alogoskoufis said. Dozens of residents from around Lake Vistonida have asked to act as witnesses in the probe. CYPRUS ‘FATIGUE’ UN mediator downbeat on talks The United Nations envoy appointed to mediate in fresh talks between leaders on Cyprus aimed at reunifying the island has referred to a «fatigue» just a few weeks after negotiations were launched. According to sources, Alexander Downer, a former Australian foreign minister, has seen no shift in the stance of either side. Migrants detained Port authority officials yesterday detained dozens of illegal immigrants in different parts of the country. Authorities on Corfu intercepted 14 illegal immigrants who had tried to board a hydroplane. In the Aegean, authorities on Farmakonisi detained 35 would-be migrants, while the islet of Agathonisi received some 26 migrants. Agathonisi has been flooded with migrants after authorities on nearby Patmos blocked their ports to illegal visitors. Street blast Six cars parked on central Syngrou Avenue were destroyed and another five severely damaged in a large fire yesterday. Police were investigating the possibility of arson but said the blast may have been provoked by a fuel leak from a passing truck. No one was injured. Couple asphyxiated A 32-year-old man and a woman aged 28 were found dead in their home in Loutra on the island of Samothrace on Thursday. A friend found the couple in the house, which was filled with smoke. It is believed they had left a pot burning on the stove which had burned dry, producing fumes that asphyxiated them. Tragic haul The crew of a fishing boat off the northern Greek town of Alexandroupolis found the body of a young man in their nets on Thursday. According to the documents found on the body, it appears the man, aged about 25, was an immigrant. Island dispute Owners of a plot of land in a protected area on the island of Elafonisos, off the southern Peloponnese, have allegedly used the same land grant four times, according to the head of the Molai forestry service, Dimos Dimopoulos, who is calling for the immediate cancellation of the sale contracts. According to the Prefecture of Laconia, the island has not been included in any development or zoning plan that clearly stipulates the way the protected area should be managed. Bank heists Two banks were robbed within the space of a few minutes in Thessaloniki yesterday. The banks, both branches of the National Bank, were robbed at gunpoint by two men wearing masks who escaped on a motorcycle.