NEWS

In Brief

THESSALONIKI AIRPORT

New aircraft guidance system will mean fewer fog cancellations A sophisticated instrument landing system (ILS2), designed to guide pilots landing aircraft at fog-prone Thessaloniki in bad weather, will reduce flights canceled due to fog by up to 85 percent, Transport Minister Christos Verelis said yesterday on the first day of the system’s operation. Meanwhile, works to upgrade Greece’s second largest airport are under way, with 101.68 million euros of a 680-million-euro budget invested in projects, including the construction of a new runway, Verelis added. WWII REPARATIONS Greece expects a gesture of good will, Kaklamanis tells German ambassador Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday told the new German Ambassador in Athens, Albert Spiegel, that Greece «is anticipating gestures of good will… with a moral and political message» regarding the matter of German compensation to Greek victims of Nazi war crimes. «The matter of reparations is outstanding and must be resolved,» Kaklamanis told Spiegel during a visit by the latter to his offices. SMOKING BAN Law comes into effect today A ban on smoking in public places, including hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, schools and civil service buildings, comes into force today. Violations of the law, drafted in May by the Health Ministry, will carry fines of up to 90 euros. The ban also applies to all means of public transport, including taxis. (Editorial Page 2) Kastoria airport Transport Minister Christos Verelis yesterday inaugurated the airport in Kastoria which is now capable of accommodating large aircraft and handling international flights, following the completion of works to extend its runways. The northern city’s airport, which previously handled only domestic flights, now has a 2,700-meter runway able to support large passenger planes such as the Boeing 737-400 and the Airbus 320. Russian hovercraft The Defense Ministry yesterday signed a contract with Russian firm Rosoboronexport for the purchase of a third Zubr-class hovercraft for $63.9 million which is to join the navy’s fleet, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. The vessel will be built in St Petersburg and delivered to Greece in 2004, the ANA said. Mitsotakis Former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, the honorary chairman of opposition New Democracy, was yesterday given a blood transfusion to boost his red blood cell count following a check-up at an Athens hospital. The fall in Mitsotakis’s red cell count was due to blood loss during an operation on an artery he underwent in May, doctors said, stressing that the former PM was in good health. Vartholomaios Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios yesterday met President Costis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis and other senior politicians on the second day of the prelate’s three-day visit to Athens. Psomiadis Former publisher – and current AEK Athens soccer club strongman – Makis Psomiadis could face a 20-year jail sentence if an appeals court finds him guilty today of publishing a forged bank document in February 1996 with the aim of sabotaging the construction of the airport in Spata in favor of companies that had already been excluded from bidding and to discredit then Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, the Athens News Agency said yesterday. Psomiadis, former publisher of the now defunct To Onoma, faces between 10 and 20 years in jail even if he is granted leniency on the grounds of «honest remorse,» the ANA said. Police bugging? The new Cypriot Justice Minister, Alecos Shambos, yesterday ordered an investigation in response to press allegations that the island’s former chief of police, Andreas Angelides, who resigned amid a widening customs fraud scandal last week, had installed a call-bugging device in his office. Former Justice Minister Nikos Koshis, who also resigned last week, had been unaware of the installation of the device which had also recorded his phone conversations, a report in Politis newspaper alleged.