De Soto, in Ankara for talks, Turks deny Denktash to blame UN envoy to Cyprus Alvaro de Soto yesterday discussed possible solutions to the island’s 28-year division during talks with Turkish diplomats in Ankara. De Soto was in Athens earlier this week for similar talks. A Turkish official rejected suggestions that Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was to blame for the lack of progress in negotiations, calling a settlement proposal put forward by Denktash «a big step and a real window of opportunity.» Denktash and Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides on Thursday had their last encounter before a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on October 3-4. (AFP) VASE RECLAIMED Parliament buys ancient piece from Australian businessman Parliament has bought a 2,500-year-old Greek vase from an Australian businessman at auction in Melbourne for 3,135 euros, a Parliamentary statement said yesterday. The Attic black-figure vase will go on display for a month at the La Trobe University in Melbourne before coming back to Greece. SWIMMERS DISGRACED Fina hands 4-year bans to Greek duo Greek swimmers Vassilios Demetis (200m medley) and Katerina Bliamou (100m and 200m backstroke) have been served with four-year bans after testing positive for nandrolone, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) said yesterday. The pair returned positive tests on September 5 and 6 last year at the Mediterranean Games in Tunis. [The Greek Swimming Federation has already banned Demetis from competitive activity for life and passed a four-year ban on Bliamou.] (AFP) Right-wing discord? Nationalist candidate for the Athens-Piraeus super-prefecture Giorgos Karadzaferis yesterday denied that Constantine Mitsotakis is opposed to his candidature after a visit to the offices of the New Democracy’s honorary chairman. Right-wing LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) party leader Karadzaferis told reporters he was confident of securing enough votes to enter the second round. However, reliable sources said Mitsotakis expressed his reservations to Karadzaferis over the latter’s candidature. TVX trial A Thessaloniki appeals court yesterday upheld suspended jail sentences ranging from five to 30 months for 15 people, including the former mayor of the northern village of Olympiada, Nikos Mitsios, who six years ago held violent protests against plans by TVX Hellas to establish and run a gold mine under the village of Stratoniki, in Halkidiki. Protesting residents had blocked roads leading to the excavation site during the 1996 protests, which turned violent. They claim the mine is a health risk. Wine relief Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys yesterday visited Corinth to be briefed on the extent of the damage wreaked on vineyards across the prefecture by this month’s heavy rainstorms. Local viticulturists are seeking state compensation for lost harvests following the widespread destruction of grapes such as those in the region of Nemea, used to produce one of the country’s most popular red wines, which will not be bottled this year. Chrysostomos Cypriot President Clerides was among several officials who visited Archbishop Chrysostomos in Nicosia yesterday following the latter’s return from an Athens hospital where he had been since he fractured his skull and vertebrae after a fall in May. A medical council is due to assess whether and when Chrysostomos, 76 yesterday, will be able to resume his duties. Station closed Kifissia-bound Athens electric railway (ISAP) trains will not be stopping at Pefkakia station from Monday due to works on the station platform. Passengers coming from Piraeus should get off at Neo Ionia and then get a train back to Pefkakia. Passengers at Pefkakia wanting to travel toward Kifissia must first get a Piraeus-bound train to Perissos before boarding a Kifissia-bound train. Vartholomaios visit Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios arrives in Athens tomorrow for a four-day visit that will include meetings with politicians, religious groups and other organizations.