In Brief

FYROM warning

Greece, unflinching on name issue, hints economic aid will be curbed Greece will not agree to NATO or European Union accession for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) unless a resolution to its name dispute with the neighboring country has been found, Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis said yesterday. «There is no way that Greece will accept FYROM’s accession to either NATO or the EU if a mutually acceptable name has not been found,» Kassimis said. Also, while Greece will not freeze economic aid to FYROM, it will curb it substantially. «Greece does not want to economically strangle (FYROM)… but we are following this policy so they realize that the restoration of smooth ties will be significant for their growth,» Kassimis added. Criminal record Fugitive caught in Athens was in serial bank raid gang, police say Fugitive Michalis Makriyiannis, who was caught in Athens on Wednesday with two alleged accomplices, had been part of a gang that carried out seven bank robberies as well as a raid on a post office and supermarket that netted some 350,000 euros. They also stole eight cars, police said yesterday. Michalis Makriyiannis had been on the run since August 2006 after escaping from Crete’s Alicarnassos Prison where he had been serving three life sentences for five murders and three attempted murders. The three suspects are alleged to have been part of a nine-member gang. Five of its members are still at large. Flood risk Piraeus ‘lacks funds for cleanup’ Piraeus Prefect Yiannis Michas yesterday accused regional authorities of passing on to them the responsibility of cleaning storm drains of rubbish without offering the budget to match. Piraeus Prefecture officials estimate that a sudden downpour would create serious flood problems in about 12 different areas belonging to Piraeus, including Neo Faliron and Rendi. Search continues Rescuers continued to search yesterday for a 50-year-old Cypriot captain who was feared drowned on Wednesday after his boat sunk close to the port of Thessaloniki. The Greek-flagged Diamond 1 vessel, transporting coal, sank when it collided with the Panamanian-flagged Dubai Guardian while attempting to make a sharp turn. The other seven crew members were rescued. Coast guard divers searched the sunken vessel, the captain’s cabin and control room where the missing man was last seen. Loaded matchboxes A 23-year-old man was arrested in Athens yesterday for attempting to sell cannabis hidden in matchboxes. The unnamed suspect was caught with 3 kilos of the drug, which he had divided and placed into 648 matchboxes. The police received a tip-off about the 23-year-old selling the matchboxes to customers in Athens. Insulin withdrawal Diabetes sufferers using the breathable insulin product Exubera are being advised to contact their doctors for new prescriptions after the product’s manufacturer withdrew it from distribution yesterday due to poor sales. «Patients who had been taking Exubera should ask their doctors to return them to their previous treatment,» said Constantinos Lourantos of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Technology. Less than 150 people are registered as taking Exubera in Greece, Lourantos said. Holdups Two men used handguns and a hand grenade to threaten staff at a branch of Alpha Bank in Veria, northern Greece, yesterday before making off with 28,055 euros in cash on a motorcycle. No description of the suspects was given. Meanwhile, in a separate incident, two men also held up a branch of ATEbank in Thessaloniki and stole 7,785 euros. The two suspects sped off on a motorcycle. Nobody was injured in the two incidents. Police did not give further details. Illegal immigrants Authorities arrested 51 illegal immigrants on the eastern Aegean island of Samos yesterday. Forty-four of the immigrants were detained in the island’s port area after crossing over from Turkey. They told authorities they reached Greece on two inflatable dinghies which they later destroyed. Another seven immigrants, including three children, were found on the island.