NEWS

In Brief

HELPING ROMANIA

Greece will help speed up EU-bound progress, Simitis says Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday told his Romanian counterpart Adrian Nastase (l) that Greece would put its full support behind Romania’s bid to join the EU. «We must create the necessary circumstances for negotiations to be concluded as quickly as possible,» the PM said after talks with Nastase, who today concludes a two-day working trip to Athens. Simitis also said OTE telecom’s $243-million deal for a majority stake in Romtelecom would be finalized soon, noting that Greek annual investments in Romania reach about $2 billion. Nastase, who signed the Olympic Truce declaration, said Romania was depending on Greece’s continued help. HOTEL KILLING Police seek mystery man in strangling of Russian woman Police were yesterday seeking a man of around 40 believed to have murdered a 43-year-old Russian woman whose body was discovered in an Omonia hotel room the pair had checked into the night before. Staff of the central Helicon Hotel found Frozina Drisitz dead in her room yesterday morning. A coroner said she had been strangled. The man, who had not signed the guest book, was aggressive with hotel staff upon leaving the hotel yesterday morning, prompting the suspicions of employees who chased after him into the street but eventually lost the suspect in the crowds of pedestrians. SMUGGLER CONVICTED Turkish national gets ten years A Samos court yesterday sentenced a Turkish national to 10 years in jail for smuggling 12 illegal immigrants into Greece. Metin Yalvac was also fined 15,000 euros. Yalvac was caught on Sunday trying to flee from the Kasonisi area of Samos, where he had abandoned the migrants he had brought from Turkey on a fishing boat. Also yesterday, Port Authority officials on Leros detained a total of 28 illegal immigrants who had been brought to the nearby islet of Farmakonissi from Turkey. The migrants were mostly from Sudan. Sailor found Coastguards yesterday found a Russian sailor, who had been missing off the coast of Neapolis since Sunday evening, in the area of Neratzionas, near Neapolis in the southeastern Peloponnese, but the search for a Romanian sailor missing off the island of Kea continued. Russian boatswain Grigoriy Golovets, 39, had disappeared from the Russian-flagged Sormovskiy 123 on Sunday evening. There was no sign yesterday of Romanian Ergen Besir, 28, who was reported missing from the Malta-flagged cargo ship Karim on Monday morning. Tax statements Taxpayers can submit their income tax declarations at the state Citizen Information Bureaus (KEP) from this year, Deputy Economy Minister Apostolis Fotiadis said yesterday. Declarations can also be submitted at tax offices, post offices and online using the Taxisnet system. Street markets The country’s street markets will be closed today as market vendors and producers stage a protest strike against the government’s insistence that they install cash registers on their stalls and other scheduled reforms. Protesters, who are to block off the entrance to the Economy Ministry this morning, maintain that changes the government is planning for their sector would legitimize some 20,000 illegally operating street market traders, rather than minimizing them as intended. Railway suspensions Three railway station masters have been suspended for delaying trains on Intercity routes earlier this month by twice giving priority to local trains and once for the assembling of a commercial train, Hellenic Railways (OSE) said yesterday. Armed robbery A solitary armed robber made off with 44,000 euros yesterday after robbing a bank in the Stavroupolis district of Thessaloniki.