NEWS

In Brief

CYPRUS

Turkey denies boosting occupation force on war-divided island Turkey yesterday said it had not increased its military presence on Cyprus, contradicting claims by Cypriot Defense Minister Socrates Hasikos earlier this week that 5,500 extra troops had been sent to the island’s occupied north. Meanwhile, the Turkish-Cypriot leadership rejected the UN Security Council’s decision to renew the mandate of its peacekeeping force on Cyprus, saying it «disregards the…separate sovereignties of the two sides.» Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday continued their face-to-face talks, discussing security issues. FERRIES Shipping routes disrupted from Tuesday as sailors begin rolling 48-hour strikes Passengers planning to travel by ferry from next week face disruptions following yesterday’s decision by the sailors’ union to launch a series of rolling 48-hour strikes on Tuesday. Unionists are disappointed by the failure of the Economy Ministry to approve promises, made by Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis last week, to raise supplementary pensions and double retirement lump sums. (Page 5) FLAGGING DISCIPLINE Upside-down flag on Lycabettus The undulation of an upside-down Greek flag at the top of Lycabettus Hill for several hours yesterday morning was later described as «an unfortunate incident» by the army which said it would severely punish the two conscripts responsible for the blunder. The flag was correctly repositioned at noon, the army said. Names A police decision to stop releasing the names of detained criminal suspects «violates the principles of free information and hinders the role of the journalist, which is to provide an accurate and complete report to citizens,» the board of the Athens Journalists’ Union complained yesterday in an official objection issued more than two weeks after the decision was made public. Firebombs Homemade bombs in Athens damaged three government vehicles and a bank branch in two separate attacks yesterday morning which caused no injuries. The first blast occurred at 4 a.m. in Kallithea, when three gas-canister bombs exploded under cars parked outside the Public Works Ministry. Shortly afterward, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a bank branch in Kaisariani. TV democracy The Democratic and Social Movement party (DIKKI) yesterday filed an injunction against ERT, Mega, Antenna, Star and Alter television channels for allegedly omitting reports on the party’s activities in their news bulletins and programs. DIKKI wants a fine of 1 million euros per alleged violation. Drugs A Kosovo Albanian faces a Ioannina prosecutor today after customs officials at the northern border crossing of Kakavia confiscated 24 kilos of heroin yesterday from his truck in which he was en route to the German city of Mainz. Selim Seta, 60, who was traveling on a KFOR passport, had passed through Kakavia four times before, police said. Also yesterday, Thessaloniki drug officers seized 30 kilos of marijuana from three Albanians – one 13 years old – whom they stopped in Mesopotamia, Kastoria. Pireos Avenue Maintenance works on the Athens-bound section of Pireos Avenue between Petrou Ralli and Iera Odos start on Monday and will continue for 10 days between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., traffic police said yesterday. Omonia station Passengers traveling from Kifissia toward Piraeus on the urban electric railway will only be able to disembark at the central platform at Omonia Station from next Tuesday until July 31 due to works to upgrade the station. Godfather A court in Rome yesterday gave a six-year jail sentence to an Italian mafia don, detained in a Thessaloniki jail for three months after his arrest in the northern city’s center in December 2000. Francesco Prudentino, 53, received his first conviction for his alleged leadership of the Sacra Corona Unita mafia group which specializes in cigarette-smuggling rackets.