NEWS

In Brief

PRESIDENT

Stephanopoulos accuses EU,USA of not standing by Greece President Costis Stephanopoulos, speaking at a dinner in his honor held by the General Staff on Monday, accused the European Union of not expressing solidarity with Greece in its disputes with Turkey. He also said that, in his personal opinion, the fact that the USA did not depict maritime borders between Greece and Turkey on its latest digital maps «is not a friendly act» and was a concession to a demand from Turkey. «In this way, do they stay out of disputes between the two or do they take part in disputes against Greece?» Stephanopoulos asked. GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS Papantoniou anticipates ‘a new period of tension’ Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, in comments on New Year’s Eve, expressed his concern at the onset of «a new period of tension» in Greek-Turkish relations following a recent increase in violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean by Turkish fighter planes. Papantoniou, visiting the «border areas» of Fournoi and Agathonisi, small islands in the eastern Aegean, said Greece was open to proposals for improving the current climate but stressed the armed forces were fully prepared to defend national interests. The minister added that Greece still supported its neighbor’s accession to the EU but said the onus was on Turkey to lay the groundwork for joining the EU. FYROM appeal PM wants economic agreement The prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Ljubco Georgievski has stressed in an interview his country’s need for an «economic and customs agreement» with Greece, saying his country could face bankruptcy if last year’s Greek investments in FYROM are not «absorbed.» Georgievski, speaking to Skopje’s independent Dnevnik newspaper, said although FYROM «had to a certain extent lost its sovereignty as a result of Greek investment, Greek investments also depended on Macedonian sovereignty.» On the issue of his country’s name, Georgievski said he was satisfied by the proposal from the independent «International Crisis Group» – of «Republika Makedonija» for the international community and «Upper Macedonia» for Greece. FYROM’s foreign minister, Slobodan Casule, is to visit Athens tomorrow. Boy attacked. A nine-year-old orphan has been hospitalized after being attacked by 14 dogs while singing carols outside the house of a veterinarian on New Year’s Eve. Panayiotis Topalides, a resident of the SOS Children’s Home at Filyros in Thessaloniki, had visited the house of veterinarian Ioannis Psomas along with 10 other children from the orphanage to sing carols when Psomas’s 14 dogs attacked Topalides, biting him on the head, hands and feet after the boy fell in an attempt to run away. Psomas’s wife reportedly restrained the dogs as soon as she realized what had happened and arranged for Topalides to be sent to the hospital where he is presently in a stable condition. No other children were injured. Road fatalities. Police recorded no fatalities on the roads this New Year’s Eve in Greece but two people died in road accidents just a few hours into 2002. Euro lottery. The New Year State Lottery yesterday announced the winners of its 35th draw who will receive their cash prizes in euros. The holder of the «golden» number in Greece’s first euro lottery – 44288 in the 29th series – wins 3 million euros (just over 1 billion drachmas). Players who chose the same number in other series win 10,000 euros (3.4 million drachmas) each. Afternoon hospitals. State-run hospitals today begin offering private afternoon appointments for patients but many doctors continue to oppose the scheme which, they say, is constrained by a lack of funds and sufficient space at Athens hospitals. The government has said the new system should end months-long waiting lists while allowing doctors to legally boost their salaries. But many state doctors have protested that the system would do away with the public nature of the national health system and boost the black economy. So far, just three hospitals are running an afternoon surgery – Athens’s Ippocrateio, Patissia Hospital and Lamia General Hospital. Patients face charges of between 8,500 drachmas and 30,600 drachmas for an afternoon examination. Burglars stopped. Police yesterday arrested two Albanian nationals they believe are part of a gang of burglars which allegedly amassed 70-million-drachmas-worth of goods in over 40 robberies conducted in Attica. Alekos Bisani, 23 – who told police his name was Selim Rihani before fingerprinting established his true identity – and Sokol Moukodemi, 25, were found by police in the Spata warehouse of a farmer whom they were allegedly holding hostage. Bisani and Moukodemi allegedly collaborated with fellow Albanians, Costas Tsatsos and Epison Boliou, in 40 robberies of houses in the Attic municipalities of Marathon, Spata and Pallini between 1996 and 1999. Fire death. An elderly woman died and her daughter was seriously burned after a fire ravaged their home in Metamorphosis, Attica, yesterday afternoon. Fire fighters could not confirm the cause of the blaze which resulted in the death of 85-year-old Penelope Makrinou. Makrinou’s daughter, 54-year-old Eleni Kypraiou is being treated in the hospital for serious burns.