NEWS

In Brief

SOFIA VISIT

PM heads to Bulgaria to revive Burgas-Alexandroupoli scheme Prime Minister George Papandreou is due to visit Sofia today for talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov about the future of the stalled Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline project. Borisov indicated recently that Bulgaria is thinking of pulling out of the project to pump oil from the Black Sea to northeastern Greece, much to the anger of Russia, the scheme’s third member. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke with Borisov and Papandreou in separate telephone conversations last week in a bid to revive the project. FATAL BLAST One dead in Iraklio explosion A huge explosion in a car repair shop on the ground floor of an apartment block in the Cretan port of Iraklio yesterday killed the owner of the business, left an elderly woman in critical condition, two other block residents with serious burns and another eight with breathing problems. Local residents reported several loud bangs shortly before 5.30 a.m. yesterday. The fire caused by the explosion spread from the ground floor to the first floor, according to the local fire service, which dispatched nine fire engines to extinguish the blaze. The cause of the explosion remained unclear yesterday. Aegean tensions Greek defense officials were closely monitoring the movements of two Turkish vessels that Ankara claims are marine research ships, which have been in and out of Greece’s continental shelf area for several days. According to the officials, one of the ships, the Cesme, withdrew from the coast of Thrace on Sunday. The location of the other ship, the Piri Reis, which was spotted near Kastelorizo in the southern Aegean several times last week, remained unclear yesterday. Trigger-happy Police in the Cretan port of Iraklio yesterday were questioning a 40-year-old man alleged to have used his gun to shoot at a relative’s car several times following an argument. Police said the car was riddled with bullets but reported no injuries. Missing teenager Rescue workers yesterday continued their search for a 17-year-old migrant missing since Sunday after he went for a swim off the coast of Zacharo in the western Peloponnese. Coast guard vessels continued their search, which took a tragic turn when the youth’s father tried to join the search on Sunday and drowned. Armed raid Four armed men, one of whom was brandishing a hand grenade, raided the AHEPA hospital in Thessaloniki yesterday, according to police. The robbers threatened the hospital’s cashiers and ordered them to hand over any available cash. The four men made off with 9,000 euros. Kindergartens The City of Athens asked the government yesterday to speed up the appointment of 278 teachers and assistants for the municipality’s kindergartens, ahead of the new school year in September. Officials said that the kindergartens would have trouble operating without the new hirings. Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis said that City Hall plans to invest 40 million euros over the next five years in new bioclimatic kindergartens within Athens.