NEWS

In Brief

Macedonia issue – Government ready to compromise on name for northern neighbor Government spokesman Christos Protopappas confirmed yesterday that Greece was prepared to end a decade-long dispute with its northern neighbor by agreeing on a compromise name which would include the term Macedonia. We believe it is time to tie up the last loose end in our bilateral relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, by accepting a composite name that will satisfy both sides, he said. It is clear that whatever name is agreed on in the negotiations, if one is agreed upon (because right now we don’t know), it will also satisfy our side. Dora Bakoyianni, the opposition New Democracy party’s shadow foreign minister, called on the government to brief the political parties and hold a meeting of political party leaders chaired by President Costis Stephanopoulos. Human traffickers Seven crewmen get 10-year term each The seven Turkish crew members of a ship that earlier this week brought 714 illegal immigrants into Greek waters on Thursday night each received the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Ahmet Kurtyilman, the captain, Ali Sinaci, Mehmet Savcili, Al Naci Ausar, Erol Abirbas, Kava Muharren and Ibrasim Tuanba were also fined 718 million drachmas each. A final count of the immigrants, who were taken ashore on the island of Zakynthos, found that of the 496 men, 93 women and 125 children, most (482) are Turkish nationals, 108 are from Iraq, 36 from Afghanistan, 12 from Iran, 7 from Ethiopia, 13 from India, 28 are Palestinians, one is Pakistani, eight are from Sri Lanka and 19 are from Eritrea. The Merchant Marine Ministry said 296 are staying in hotels on the island and the remainder in a sports hall. UK contraband Cyprus-flagged ship involved A Cyprus-registered cargo ship has been impounded by customs officials in Northern Ireland yesterday after being found to contain an estimated 40 million contraband cigarettes – representing the largest-ever haul of its kind in the United Kingdom. The Sylvia was seized after docking at the harbor of Warrenport in County Down on Thursday, but the seizure was announced yesterday. Security sources said the consignment might be linked with funding for the Real IRA terrorists. Doctors protest. The newly formed Union of Self-Employed Doctors of Attica (EELIA) yesterday said the Health Ministry’s plan to introduce private afternoon consultations at public hospitals would do away with the public nature of the National Health System and enlarge the black economy. EELIA president Giorgos Patoulis told a press conference that the move would transfer the cost of public health from the state to the people and create a two-tier system of doctors and patients. He also drew attention to the lack of sufficient organizational structures, nursing staff and equipment. Self-employed doctors are also concerned that hospital doctors seeing patients on a private basis in the afternoons will eat into private doctors’ incomes. Olympic ship. The Athens 2004 organizing committee said yesterday that it had chartered the first cruise ship to house members of the Olympic family, including members of the International Olympic Committee, during the 2004 Games. The Norwegian-flagged Splendor of the Seas has 897 luxury cabins. The organizers need a total of 23,000 rooms, with 19,000 of them in the top three hotel categories. Athens has a total of 28,907 rooms. Archbishop’s visit. Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania concluded a week-long visit to Greece yesterday with a series of meetings with Greek political party leaders including honorary New Democracy party leader Constantine Mitsotakis, ND leader Costas Karamanlis, Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga and Left Coalition leader Nikos Constantopoulos. Before his departure at noon, Anastasios thanked the Greek people not only for their welcome, but for showing understanding… for all those who have come to Greece; the immigrants from Albania, our children who are working here. Overexposed. Police briefly detained 15 British tourists yesterday, releasing them after confiscating film with photographs they had allegedly taken of Kalamata military airport, in the Peloponnese, The Associated Press reported. The tourists, who were not identified, were allegedly intoxicated when they took photographs after a Greek air force celebration at the airport.