NEWS

In Brief

ERDOGAN VISIT

Papandreou and Turkish PM prepare for next month’s trip Prime Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have asked top government officials in Turkey and Greece to prepare the ground for the latter’s visit to Athens next month. Sources said that the two leaders spoke on the telephone on Saturday and agreed that top officials should take part in meetings of a special coordination council to discuss the issues that will arise during Erdogan’s visit, the precise date of which has yet to be announced. BURGAS-ALEXANDROUPOLI Evros objects to pipeline bill Local officials in Evros, northeastern Greece, have voted against the government’s plans to speed up the legislative procedure that paves the way for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline. The 279-kilometer pipeline, which will pump 700,000 barrels per day, or 35 million tons, of Russian crude from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to the port of Alexandroupoli in northeastern Greece, has been in the planning stage for several years and was initially due to be ready last year. But the Evros Prefecture council voted unanimously on Saturday against speeding up the draft law, as it feels its views are not being taken into account. Car bomb Police believe that an explosion in Metaxourgeio, central Athens, early on Saturday was an attempt to settle scores. The bomb exploded as a sports utility vehicle drove through the neighborhood. The man and woman in the car, both Albanians, were not injured. The man indicated that the explosion occurred as he drove over a plastic bag but police found that the device had actually been attached to the car. The windows of a cafe and a veterinarian’s office shattered during the blast but there were no injuries. Gold diggers Four people were arrested in a farming area of Kozani, northern Greece, on Saturday on suspicion of hunting for buried treasure. Officers said that the four men, all Greeks aged between 35 and 73, were caught in the early hours of Saturday using a mechanical digger in a field. The suspects also had flashlights and metal detectors in their possession. Cassandra road Access to Cassandra, the first prong of the Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece, was fully restored yesterday when local authorities opened a temporary road between the villages of Nea Fokaia and Athytos as the main route had been closed for the last few weeks due to rockfall. Efforts to clear the road and make the necessary repairs are being carried out. The closure had been affecting businesses in Cassandra but authorities hope that the temporary road through the Vothonas area will make access easier. Cretan gang Police on Crete revealed that they have caught a six-member gang that had carried out a string of robberies on the island. Officers said the six suspects, four Greek men and one woman and an Albanian man, had allegedly shot and injured a betting shop owner during a robbery, conducted raids on several supermarkets and snatched handbags.