NEWS

In Brief

DANGEROUS FOOD

Sandwiches, souvlakia carry high bacteria levels, state inspectors reveal Sandwiches (especially with cold meats, cheese or salad), souvlakia and snacks, such as pizzas and cheese pies from fast-food outlets, carry significantly more bacteria than other foods, according to tests carried out by the National Food Inspectorate (EFET) in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Crete. The tests were conducted on 605 food samples from various outlets. Tests on fish dishes, mixed salads and pasta revealed nearly half as many microbes, with cooked vegetable dishes and ice cream the safest options. The stores whose products showed the highest germ content would be inspected again later this year, EFET said. FYROM FALLOUT Washington accepts ‘Macedonia’ in deal with Skopje The United States has accepted «Macedonia» as the official name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in a pact with Skopje that exempts Americans from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The deal, signed by FYROM’s Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva and US Ambassador to Skopje Laurence Battler, «does not constitute recognition and will not count in UN-backed negotiations for a settlement which have been accepted by Skopje and Athens,» Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said, adding that Minister George Papandreou had written to US Secretary of State Colin Powell to reiterate Greece’s position. TEMPE CRASH Truck owners released The owners of a truck that caused the death of 21 schoolchildren when its loosened load of wood panels sliced into a bus in the Vale of Tempe on April 13 were yesterday released from custody following a joint decision by a Larissa magistrate and prosecutor. Fotis Kavelidis and Anastassios Kameas had been in detention since April pending trial for the «murder with possible malice aforethought» of the 21 pupils. The truck’s driver Dimitris Dolas, who has accepted responsibility for the accident, is still in Ioannina prison. Arms in Cyprus Washington has reiterated demands that Greece withdraw from Cyprus US-made arms it has stationed on the island, officials in Nicosia said yesterday, confirming a report in the Greek daily Ta Nea. Cypriot Foreign Minister Giorgos Iakovou said the US ambassador raised the matter with him, adding that it was being discussed by the government in Nicosia. Bus routes Two new bus routes connecting the Athenian suburbs with the capital’s international airport started operating yesterday. The E92 runs from Platanou Square in Kifissia, in the north, and the E97 from the metro station at Dafni, in the southeast. The E2 Academias-Voula bus yesterday extended its route to Varkiza for the summer. Border guards The Public Order Ministry yesterday tabled legislation in Parliament that would grant border guards permanent employment on completion of a five-year «preparatory period.» Under current legislation, the guards are unable to renew their contracts after five years of service. Olympic volunteers Internationally renowned heart surgeon Magdi Jacoub has applied to contribute to the Olympic Games as a volunteer, Athens 2004 Organizing Committee officials said yesterday. The number of would-be volunteers who have submitted applications passed the 90,000 mark on Friday, ATHOC said. Embassy closed The US Embassy in Athens, including its consular section, the US Consulate General in Thessaloniki, and all other US government offices in Greece will be closed on Friday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day, a US national holiday. Car inspections Transport Minister Christos Verelis yesterday sent an Athens prosecutor the results of checks by state inspectors on the Vehicle Inspection Centers (KTEO) in Holargos and Hellenikon which indicate widespread foul play. Inspectors noted several cases of incorrect entries and significant omissions in the reports prepared by staff. There were cases of staff filing reports for dozens of cars – far above the maximum daily rate.