NEWS

In Brief

AIRBASE SABOTAGE?

Investigation after metal objects found in bomber jet engines The air force yesterday ordered an internal investigation into the alleged presence of metal items such as large bolts and tools in the jet engines of A-7 Corsair bomber aircraft at a base in western Greece, following a question posed in Parliament by New Democracy MP Spilios Spiliotopoulos. An air force prosecutor yesterday arrived at the Araxos air force base, near Patras, to interview staff. REFUGEES PERSIST Hundreds of Kosovo Gypsies linger at border, seeking refuge Around 700 Kosovo Gypsy refugees yesterday remained at the Medzitlija border crossing between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for a second day despite a refusal by police to allow them into Greece where they hoped to be granted political asylum. Some 1,200 refugees arrived at the border town on Monday after being evicted from their encampment in the Suta Orizari neighborhood on the outskirts of Skopje – and being ordered back to Kosovo – a few days earlier. The refugees claim to be in danger from Albanian nationalists in Kosovo. NO CREDIT Pharmacists tell State to pay debts Attica pharmacists yesterday threatened to stop providing medical prescriptions on credit to state-insured patients because the organization responsible for healthcare for the country’s civil servants (OPAD) has yet to pay outstanding state debts to pharmacists for the year 2002. OPAD managers promised to repay the debts by June 15. Deaf-mute tragedy A 44-year-old man shot dead his ex-wife’s lover early yesterday morning outside the victim’s home in the Athenian district of Aegaleo, the woman told police. Savvas Gerontidis was found in the home of his ex-wife four hours after he allegedly shot her lover, 50-year-old Dimitris Moustouklis, four times at close range as the couple were returning from a night out. Gerontidis, who was last night in stable condition in the hospital, apparently tried to overdose afterward on sleeping pills. All three protagonists were deaf- mutes. Abduction trial The trial of five people charged in connection with the abduction of 34-year-old businessman Yiannis Zonas in October 2001 yesterday opened at an Athens court with testimony from prosecution witnesses. Zonas was released two months after his abduction when his father paid a ransom of $1 million (1.32 million euros). The businessman’s family denied claims by defendants Christoforos and Petros Lasithiotakis, Albert Norusnian, Eleni Marouli and Argyris Argyropoulos that Zonas had set up the kidnapping in order to cash in his insurance policy. Contraband cigarettes An Albanian national who tried to sneak 13,500 packets of contraband cigarettes into Greece – on the back of three mules – faces smuggling charges following his arrest, police in the northern town of Kastoria said yesterday. Hymettus fire A total of 40 firefighters, operating 15 fire engines, managed to extinguish a forest fire on the foothills of Mt. Hymettus in the Athens district of Vyronas yesterday afternoon before it could spread to forestland in the neighboring district of Kaisariani. The blaze, whose cause has yet to be determined, started at 5.30 p.m. behind the Athinaikos soccer stadium and was extinguished in an hour. Perama protest Residents of Perama are to block off Dimocratias Avenue – the only road which leads to the town from Piraeus – at the junction with Tripoleos Street at 8.30 a.m. today in protest against what they perceive as government indifference to problems in their town. Railway works Passengers who usually travel between ancient OIympia and Pirgos by train will be served by buses over the next three months as works get under way to construct a railway bridge at the junction of the Vytina-Olympia national road and the Pirgos-Olympia railway route, the Hellenic Railway Organization said yesterday. Albanian archbishop Orthodox Archbishop of Albania Anastassios was on Sunday awarded Poland’s Ecce Homo humanitarian award at the end of the Orthodox Choral Festival in the Polish town of Hainovka.