NEWS

In Brief

BORDERLINE

Foreign Ministry denies report of Aegean islet’s sovereignty change The Foreign Ministry yesterday denied a newspaper report that a Greek islet in the eastern Aegean had «slipped» into Turkish sovereignty because of alleged official indifference. Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said that the island identified by Ethnos on Sunday as Tsouka was actually called Atsaki and was Turkish in accordance with a 1932 treaty between Turkey and Italy, which then held the Dodecannese islands and which are now Greek. A nearby reef named Tsouka was also Turkish, Beglitis said. ROBBER Kavala suspect found in Turkey, gang may be behind Thassos murders A Kavala businessman, suspected of having organized a double bank heist in the northern town last week, has been spotted after crossing into Turkey with a false passport, police said yesterday. The 45-year-old unnamed suspect had first stopped in Drama for medical attention to a gunshot wound he suffered during the simultaneous raid on two banks last Thursday, according to police. Officers believe the businessman and four Albanians arrested for the heist may have been involved in the murders of two government workers and a businessman on Thassos in summer 2001. Greece is expected to ask for his extradition. CREMATION MPs present two bills Nine parliamentary deputies yesterday tabled two separate bills for reform which would allow families to cremate their dead in Greece. Seven MPs from PASOK, New Democracy and Left Coalition Synaspismos – including Theodoros Pangalos, Miltiades Evert and Dora Bakoyianni – restricted their appeal to securing cremation rights for agnostics – referring to «those whose religious beliefs in life would allow their cremation.» Meanwhile, Communist Party deputies Antonis Skyllakos and Angelos Tzekis called for cremation of the dead irrespective of religious belief. Flood alert Rescue services will be on standby along the banks of the flood-prone Kifissos River today – and until the weekend – following a forecast of heavy rainfall by the National Meteorological Service. Chrysochoidis Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis is to arrive in Moscow today to discuss matters of mutual concern to both Russia and the European Union with Russian government officials. Topics on the agenda include the drafting of a cooperation pact between Russia and Europol, and cracking down on the trafficking and sexual abuse of children, organized crime, and illegal immigration. Chrysochoidis will then visit Tehran for security talks with his Iranian counterpart tomorrow. Smokers’ rights Two smoking journalists have appealed to the Council of State that a new law banning smoking in public places be declared illegal and unconstitutional, court sources said yesterday. The protesters – identified as I. Kalamitsis and K. Yiannopoulos – claim the new law is a violation of their personal freedom. Border talks Greek and Albanian customs officials are to meet on Corfu tomorrow to discuss ways of improving cooperation at border crossings to crack down on human smuggling and drugs trafficking, and to ease congestion when large numbers of migrant workers travel back to Greece. Officials will also debate ways of simplifying customs procedures to facilitate cross-border trade and review the progress of works on a third border crossing at Treis Gefyres scheduled for completion by Christmas. Hospital doctors Hospital doctors stage a four-hour work stoppage from 11 a.m. today demanding higher pay, more state funds for the health sector and more staff. Power plant Residents of Ilioupolis and Argyroupolis protested yesterday over the ongoing construction of a high-voltage electricity station on the border of the two municipalities, southeast of Athens. The Ilioupolis Municipal Council is demanding that work stop on the site and that it be developed into parkland. Activists’ forum More than 1,000 Greek activists are expected to arrive in Florence tomorrow for a five-day forum held by the anti-globalization movement. Up to 200,000 Europeans are expected to attend the European Social Forum’s inaugural event.