NEWS

In Brief

US VISAS

Applications will not be accepted from August 7 to 31, Embassy says Applications for US tourist and working visas will not be accepted from August 7 to 31 when the US Embassy will be busy providing assistance to the large number of Americans expected to visit for the Olympics, the embassy said yesterday. Greeks planning to travel to the USA in the late summer or early fall should therefore make their interview appointments as early as possible, the embassy said. Efforts will be made to process applications for student visas where possible, it added. CORRUPTION Deputy minister claims top aide sought bribe from businessman Deputy Tourism Minister Anastasios Liaskos told a news conference yesterday that he had fired the director of his political office, Ioannis Keramidas, after an unnamed businessman claimed Keramidas sought payment to promote the businessman’s interests. Liaskos asked chief Athens prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos to investigate the charge. BORDER SAFETY FYROM taking Olympic measures The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is implementing measures to complement Greece’s security planning for the Olympic Games, FYROM’s Deputy Interior Minister Hazbi Lika assured the general secretary of Greece’s Public Order Ministry, Leonidas Evangelidis, during a meeting in Thessaloniki over the weekend. The two men discussed closer cooperation in border inspections and the exchange of information. Doctors strike Doctors at hospitals in Athens and Piraeus are to stage a work stoppage from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Wednesday to press their demands for more pay to cover the extra hours they expect to work over the Olympics. Unionists say the planned operation of first-aid units within state hospitals, from the end of July until the middle of October, is illegal. Palestinian children A group of 114 Palestinian children, who are to spend a few days in special accommodation in Konitsa as part of an initiative by the Central Union of Municipalities and Village Councils (KEDKE), have been received in the northern city after flying into Thessaloniki on Sunday. The children, 70 from the Gaza Strip and 44 from the West Bank, are to stay in Konitsa until July 30. Djindjic suspect Dejan Milenkovic, a top suspect in the murder of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic who was arrested in Thessaloniki last Friday, faced a prosecutor yesterday. The prosecutor was to cross-check personal details ahead of Milenkovic’s anticipated extradition to Serbia over the next few days. Milenkovic, 34, is one of 13 people being tried for the March 2003 murder of Djindjic. He had been at large for 15 months before his arrest. Workers’ strike Contract workers in the public sector are to join a 24-hour strike on Thursday called yesterday by the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE). Protesters are due to demonstrate in Klafthmonos Square, central Athens, at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Murder ruling A Thessaloniki court has cleared the man charged with the 1998 murder of the city’s former police chief and sentenced the defendant’s alleged accomplice to life in jail, court sources said yesterday. Giorgos Hadzopoulos had told police from the beginning that his alleged accomplice Giorgos Paraskevas had been responsible for the murder. Dimitris Karagounis, 58, who ran a security company after retiring, was killed outside his home in Kalamaria while trying to prevent the robbing of an employee of his firm who was carrying some 12,000 euros. ELA trial Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) suspect Angeletos Kanas yesterday once again denied any involvement in the terror group’s activities which he implicitly condemned. «When a struggle produces victims, it ceases to be a struggle,» he told the court. He also criticized his former wife Sophia Kyriakidou – the trial’s chief prosecution witness – as «money-grubbing.»