NEWS

In Brief

KOMANO STAYS PUT

Council of State rejects PPC plan to relocate village for lignite mining Plans by the Public Power Corporation (PPC) to physically move a village near Ptolemaida in western Macedonia to allow for the exploitation of underground reserves of lignite – used to power electricity plants – have been rejected by the Council of State in a decision made public yesterday. The court ruled that, according to the Constitution, the removal of the village of Komano, in the prefecture of Kozani, could only be approved if PPC’s project was crucial for the national economy or state interests. State-controlled PPC last December refuted press reports that it had insufficient lignite to power its plants in northern Greece. CYPRUS TALKS Clerides and Denktash meet, Greek FM sees island’s chief EU negotiator Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday pressed on with the fourth round of face-to-face negotiations aimed at unifying their divided island, discussing security issues in the presence of UN special envoy to Cyprus Alvaro de Soto. De Soto is due in New York today to brief UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the failure of the two leaders to reach a compromise during their talks which are due to culminate next Friday. Meanwhile in Athens, Foreign Minister George Papandreou met the chief negotiator for the island’s EU accession Giorgos Vassiliou, a former president of Cyprus. Vassiliou was briefed by Papandreou on the outcome of talks at Monday’s summit of EU foreign ministers. WEEKEND EXODUS Hot weather for Pentecost A major exodus from the capital is expected this weekend as Athenians take advantage of the Pentecost holiday on Monday to enjoy the arrival of summer away from the capital. Temperatures are expected to reach 35 degrees Celsius (95 Farenheit) in most parts of the mainland and 31 (88F) on the islands. Balkan defense Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and his Yugoslav counterpart, Velimir Radojevic, met in Belgrade yesterday and agreed to oppose any changes of borders in the Balkans and work together to preserve peace and stability in the region. Papantoniou said Greece supported efforts by Yugoslavia’s new democratic leadership to bring the country back into the European mainstream and would also back its eventual bid to join NATO. Internet protest Thessaloniki Internet cafe-owners lugged hundreds of computers into the city center yesterday in protest at a bill, tabled in Parliament earlier this month, which will prevent them from offering their clients online computer games under a general crackdown on illegal gambling. Protesters claim their livelihoods are at risk and demand that their sector be exempted from the remit of legislation which deems electronic games in public places illegal and imposes fines of up to 75,000 euros and jail terms of up to 12 months on offenders. Water shortage Some parts of eastern Attica will have to endure low water pressure or, in some cases, complete lack of water from 11 p.m. today until 9 a.m. tomorrow while a damaged water pipe which normally feeds the central network is repaired. The districts of Gerakas, Anthousa, Pallini and Pikermi will be affected. Strong stuff The stability of a bridge at Varibombi, a few kilometers north of Athens over the national road to Lamia, has been compromised after a truck carrying sewage collided into one of its support columns at 9.30 a.m. yesterday, road maintenance authorities said. Traffic will run as normal under the bridge while experts assess whether the column needs any reinforcement work, the same sources said. Property probe Cypriot Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou on Monday ordered a land registry probe into allegations that Cyprus church property was cheaply sold off to lay associates of the ailing Archbishop Chrysostomos. Panayiotou requested documents linked to the transfer of church property deeds and the subdivision of plots from the Cyprus land registry and town planning departments. (AFP)