NEWS

In Brief

SAFE LANDING

Two men hijack Turkish plane flying over Greece but surrender peacefully Two Turkish men who hijacked a Turkish Airlines flight in Greek air space yesterday afternoon forced the plane to land in Italy and then surrendered to police last night, asking for political asylum. The plane had been traveling from Tirana in Albania to Istanbul with 113 passengers and crew on board when it was hijacked over Greece. Four Greek F16s escorted the plane to the Albanian border, where two Italian fighter jets took over the task of shadowing the airliner. The two men forced the plane to land in Brindisi in an apparent protest over Pope Benedict XVI’s planned visit to Turkey next month. There were no reports of injuries late last night. WORK STOPPAGE Bank employees call for industrial action as pay dispute continues The Federation of Bank Employees’ Unions (OTOE) has called a three-hour work stoppage for tomorrow, between noon and 3 p.m., after talks with employers failed over 2006 pay hikes. OTOE also called on members to take part in a demonstration organized by teachers in central Athens tomorrow as part of their protest action. TOUGH COMPETITION Watchdog head confronts detractors The head of the Competition Commission Spyros Zissimopoulos said that there was an «organized effort» to undermine the watchdog after claims that the commission’s confidential papers had been found in a rubbish bin. Last week, Zissimopoulos revealed that hackers had removed data relating to a probe into dairy firms’ activities from the watchdog’s computer system. «The documents cannot disappear on their own, nor can the [computer] files,» said Zissimopoulos. «Everyone involved in this effort to demerit the Competition Commission will face the full consequences of the law.» A former director of the watchdog, Panayiotis Adamopoulos, is in custody after being accused of blackmailing the Mevgal dairy firm. US visa lottery The US Embassy in Athens yesterday advised Greeks to apply early for the Visa Lottery Program which begins on October 4 and ends on December 3. The names of applicants from up to 175 countries will be selected randomly and will be eligible to apply for one of the 50,000 permanent resident visas made available each to year to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the USA. The registration process is being conducted over the Internet at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Information is available in Greek at www.usembassy.gr/consular/immigrant-visas.htm. The embassy also issued a correction yesterday for the phone line for visa applications. The correct number is 90.11.230.730. Voter discounts Voters who need to travel to a different part of the country to cast their ballot in next month’s local elections will receive a discount of up to 30 percent on the cost of traveling by train, bus and ferry. The Interior Ministry said yesterday that voters using the train October 13-16 will be given a 30 percent discount, those using KTEL intercity buses will receive 25 percent off their fare between October 12 and 18, while Blue Star Ferries is offering voters a 20 percent discount. Father stabbed A 16-year-old boy attacked his father with a knife in Larissa, central Greece, yesterday while he was quarreling with the teenager’s mother. The father suffered serious wounds and was taken to the hospital where doctors needed to remove one of his kidneys. The teenager has also been hospitalized for mental tests, authorities added. Ship stranded A Turkish-flagged cargo vessel anchored 1 nautical mile off the Cycladic island of Myconos late on Monday after reporting engine problems, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The Serez, with an 18-member crew, will be towed to a Greek or Turkish shipyard after efforts to repair the problem failed. Emergency flight A 3-year-old girl suffering from a rare liver disease was flown to London from Thessaloniki yesterday for emergency treatment after Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos gave the go-ahead for the treatment. The unnamed girl was operated on last year but her condition has deteriorated. She was flown to the UK in a military cargo plane.