NEWS

In Brief

BOMB SCARE

Turkish plane forced to land in Thessaloniki following hoax call A passenger plane traveling from Germany to Turkey made a safe emergency landing in Thessaloniki yesterday after the pilot apparently received a bomb threat on his mobile phone. The plane, a Turkish SunExpress aircraft with 69 passengers on board, landed just before 6 p.m. «Someone called the pilot on his mobile phone and threatened him,» Greek air-traffic controller Panagiotis Hatzakis told Reuters. There were also reports that the words «will die today» were found daubed on the wall of one of the airplane’s bathrooms. No explosive device was found on the aircraft. BLAST CLAIMED New group behind recent attack A previously unknown group calling itself Revolutionary Organization December 6, an apparent reference to the date of the police killing of a teenager in 2008, has claimed responsibility for last Friday’s bloodless bomb blast outside the government’s press and media office in the Athens district of Kallithea. In a proclamation published on the Internet yesterday, the group said it had planted the time bomb outside the offices of the General Secretariat of Communication and Information last Friday. Foreign policy The European Union is likely to put great pressure on Greece to settle its name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by engaging in bilateral talks but Athens will not give in to such pressure, Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas told Parliament’s foreign affairs committee yesterday. Droutsas also said that the government will soon respond to a letter sent by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou in which he set out some proposals for forging better cooperation between the Turkey and Greece. Finally, Droutsas said that Athens has no intention of recognizing Kosovo as an independent state. Nafpaktos quake A strong earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale struck near the town of Nafpaktos, northeast of Patra, at 3 a.m. yesterday morning. There were no reports of any injuries or damage but the quake shocked residents, many of whom rushed out into the streets. Schools in Nafpaktos were closed for the day to allow for structural inspections to be carried out on buildings. Drug recalled The weight-loss drug Sibutramine, which is sold under the name Reductil in Greece, is being withdrawn by the European Medicines Agency which has deemed that it poses more risks than benefits. There are reports that the use of the drug increases patient’s chances of suffering a heart attack or a stroke. Anti-racism rally An anti-racist, anti-fascist rally is due to be held at noon today at the Panormou metro station in the central Athens neighborhood of Ambelokipi. The protest is being organized by a group called «Movement to Deport Racism» in response to 30 masked men forcing their way into a social club in Ano Ambelokipi last Sunday and spray-painting racist slogans on the wall and making threats against the people that were there.