NEWS

In Brief

Lightning raids

Robbers hold up two banks in Vari in just over a minute Two banks in the coastal suburb of Vari, eastern Attica, were robbed within minutes yesterday, probably by the same two men, according to Attica police. The two armed and masked men entered a branch of ATEbank on Varis Avenue and made off with an undisclosed amount of money. Just over a minute later, an Alpha Bank branch just a short distance from the first bank was also robbed by two men fitting the same description. Officers had yet to trace the suspects by late yesterday. Cyprus talks Second phase to start today Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are to start a second phase of peace talks today after a dispute over an annual pilgrimage by Cypriots to the island’s Turkish-occupied north led to the postponement of scheduled negotiations last week. Christofias and Talat started peace talks just over a year ago. Back in Athens, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met members of the so-called «Elders Initiative» – the brainchild of former South African President Nelson Mandela – to brief them on the progress of Cyprus talks. Veteran United Nations adviser Lakhdar Brahimi and former Norwegian Premier Gro Harlem Brundtland are today due in Nicosia for talks with representatives of both communities. Colombian ‘madam.’ Five people have been arrested in Xylokastro, near Corinth, as suspected members of a sex ring. According to police, an undercover police officer approached a Colombian woman alleged to have arranged a meeting for him with a young Greek woman. Both the women were arrested in a Xylokastro hotel room after the Colombian allegedly received payment in marked bills. Another three individuals were arrested after two men, a Greek and a Romanian, allegedly brought a Romanian prostitute to a hotel room for an appointment with another undercover police officer. Child porn arrest A 47-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography. About 200 incriminating photographs of a particularly brutal nature were found on the man’s computer, according to police who also turned up CDs and DVDs containing similar images. Driver killed An inter-city bus driver in Kozani, northern Greece, was killed yesterday when the bus he had been driving collided with a parked car at a street junction. The driver is believed to have subsequently lost control of the vehicle before crashing into a barrier. The authorities are investigating whether the man died of natural causes while he was at the wheel or whether he was killed in the collision itself. B’ball triumph A relaxed Greece thrashed hapless Israel 106-80 yesterday to maintain its perfect record in the European Basketball Championship in Poland. Having topped its group, Greece enters the second stage tomorrow on top of the table.