NEWS

In Brief

FYROM VISITS

Greeks now free to enter neighboring country with just their ID card Greek citizens were able to travel to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with just a national identity card as of yesterday. The measure, which does not require Greek visitors to possess a passport, was introduced after pressure from FYROM’s tourism industry, which had seen a drop of some 40 percent in the number of visitors to the country from Greece since the start of the year. This was largely attributed to the fact that Greeks were able to travel to Bulgaria with just an ID card since January 1 when that country joined the European Union. BURGLARS TRAPPED Police catch serial break-in gang red-handed at jewelry store Three men suspected of breaking into 30 lawyers’ offices and 15 jewelry stores in Athens have been arrested, police said yesterday. The trio of Romanians was caught while trying to break into a jewelry store in Peristeri, western Athens. The gang had the alleged trademark of forcing their way into the office or shop next to the one they wanted to rob and then finding a way to get to their target. Officers said they suspect the three men are the same as those who broke into former Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s office in June before forcing their way into the lawyer’s office next door. EMERGENCY LANDING OA flight suffers engine problems An Olympic Airlines flight from Athens to Bucharest with 38 passengers aboard, all Romanian nationals, made an emergency landing in Thessaloniki yesterday due to suspected engine problems, the company said. The flight left the Athens International Airport at 7.40 a.m. and the pilot decided to land the plane as a precaution after noticing the problem while flying over the northern Greek city. The passengers were taken to a nearby hotel and were expected to board another flight for Bucharest later in the day. Rhodes fraudsters Police on Rhodes have arrested a 22-year-old Romanian man and are looking for three of his countrymen who are suspected of using scanning devices so they could duplicate bank customers’ credit cards and withdraw money. According to police, the Romanians would pretend to be Interpol and would ask to check tourists’ identification documents. The alleged fraudster would then use a scanning device to copy their victims’ credit cards when they were handed over as proof of identity. Critical rangers Park rangers accused the government yesterday of adopting outdated tactics in its decision to set up a new Rural Police force. The Panhellenic Federation of Park Rangers was responding to news that the government will set up a 1,000-member rural police force, which will expand to 2,700 members at a later date, to protect Greece’s forests as of August 16. «It is inconceivable that park rangers should be understaffed by 2,000 people and at the same time they are setting up a new force at a much larger cost,» said the federation in a statement. Armed robbery Two armed men held up a branch of EFG Eurobank in Thessaloniki yesterday and made away with 3,015 euros, police said. The holdup took place at 10.25 a.m. and the assailants escaped the scene on a high-powered motorcycle, police added. Food seized Health and hygiene inspectors from the Piraeus Prefecture have seized almost 3 tons of meat and fish and sent 22 cases to the prosecutor in the past week, according to a statement released yesterday. The biggest seizure came on Monday when officials checked a store in the Rendi meat market and withdrew 1.5 tons of frozen pork because it had not been labeled properly. Suspected traffickers Three Greeks were arrested near Kastoria in northern Greece because they were caught transporting four illegal immigrants into the country, police said yesterday. The unnamed men were caught by border police while transporting the migrants in two cars on a country road. Vehicle recall The Development Ministry said yesterday that 154 Wrangler Jeeps and Dodge Nitro vehicles are being recalled on the Greek market due to possible engine problems.