NEWS

In Brief

CYPRUS TALKS

Christofias and Talat admit not enough progress has been made Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday issued a joint statement conceding that they had failed to make adequate progress in peace talks launched in September. «Although some progress has been made, it has been insufficient,» said the statement, read out by United Nations envoy Alexander Downer. The envoy said he believed there was momentum to talks and that 2009 would be «productive.» BOMB HOAX Aeroflot plane returns to Athens An Aeroflot flight carrying 55 passengers from Athens to Moscow was forced to return to Athens International Airport after an anonymous called claimed there was a bomb on board. Police searched the aircraft but did not find any explosive devices. Suspicious package Experts were yesterday inspecting a suspect package that was sent to the US Embassy on Cyprus. Embassy staff called in the fire brigade to remove the package, which had arrived in the mail. Tests were being carried out last night to determine whether it contained any dangerous substances. Cash’n’carry Three armed men held up a Lidl supermarket in Rethymnon, Crete, yesterday morning and made off with almost 50,000 euros, police said. The suspects, all wearing hoods, entered the store at about 6 a.m. and threatened the manager and an employee with handguns. They stole 47,500 euros from the safe and another 1,500 euros from the cash tills before driving off. Murder suspects Police in Halkidiki, northern Greece, yesterday detained two Albanians believed to have raped and killed a 47-year-old woman last month after following her home from a local bar. According to police, the two men, aged 30 and 35, followed the woman to her home from the bar and ambushed her. Police found the woman’s body outside her home last week. Hit-and-scam Police said yesterday that they have arrested four men in connection to an alleged scam to rob drivers in Athens. The four suspects, two Afghans, an Iraqi and a Lebanese man, took it in turns to pretend that they had been struck by a vehicle while the others robbed the driver when he got out to see what had happened. Officers said that six people had been targeted in this manner. Trafficking cabbie A court on Samos yesterday imposed a suspended one-year-and-nine-month jail sentence on a 35-year-old taxi driver believed to have been using his cab to transfer migrants from the island’s main town to the port. The man was caught in the act by Port Authority officials trying to avert would-be migrants from boarding ferries to mainland Greece. The cabbie was to be released on payment of an 8,000-euro fine. Salonica gridlock The Association of Pedestrian Rights in Thessaloniki yesterday called for a total ban on vehicles in the northern city’s busy center, proposing instead that motorists be obliged to park their cars in the suburbs and access the center by bus. Association members called for a shuttle-bus service to be set up by local authorities.