NEWS

In Brief

VATOPEDI PROBE

State gave monks prime spot in Thessaloniki, PASOK says The government transfered a prime plot of land in the Thessaloniki suburb of Kalamaria to the Vatopedi Monastery, already being probed in connection with real estate deals, an opposition PASOK deputy has alleged. According to PASOK deputy Chryssa Arapoglou, the 1.5-hectare plot was transfered to the monastery by the Agricultural Development Ministry in March. CYPRUS ‘PROGRESS’ UN envoy sees talks moving Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat «made progress» in face-to-face talks on governance, United Nations mediator Alexander Downer said yesterday. The two leaders have agreed to continue their talks on a weekly basis, Downer added. Dodgy taxmen Three officials of an Athens tax office are being charged in connection with an alleged attempt to coerce a businessman into paying 100,000 euros in order for a 2.5-million-euro fine to be reduced. The three suspects were caught after the businessman sought police intervention. One of the three was arrested at his office after receiving 100,000 euros in pre-marked bills. The other two officials were implicated in the course of questioning and subsequently arrested. Transport disruptions Bus, trolley bus and tram services in central Athens will be disrupted between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sunday due to a bicycle rally. A key trolley bus service connecting central Athens to the western suburbs has been extended on Friday and Saturday nights. From now on, line 12 linking Zappeion Hall and Peristeri will run until 1.50 a.m. on Fridays and 2.20 a.m. on Saturdays. Register rush An additional 20 land registry offices are to extend their opening hours – operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays – to help property owners register their homes before the October 31 deadline. In Attica, the offices extending their hours include those in Egaleo, Haidari, Pallini and Kifissia. Deadly spade The owner of a printing house in Thessaloniki, alleged to have fatally injured a 62-year-old female customer after striking her on the head with a spade, turned himself in to police yesterday. The man is alleged to have attacked the woman following an argument over an outstanding payment. Stolen fuel A Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday filed four criminal charges and two misdemeanors against «persons unknown» in connection with the theft of some 8 million liters of heating fuel from tanks belonging to the city’s Aristotle University. An internal investigation has revealed that between 1999 and 2004 up to 16 people, seven of whom were employed at the institution, conspired to steal the fuel.