NEWS

In Brief

FYROM PROPOSAL?

USA expected to suggest use of dual name; Athens unlikely to agree The US State Department has come up with a proposal to solve the «Macedonia» name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), a source has told Kathimerini. The proposal – a composite name for the Balkan country – is to be revealed to Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis by her US counterpart Condoleezza Rice during a scheduled meeting in Washington next Thursday. According to the US proposal, FYROM could use this name in its dealings with Athens and presence in international organizations while using its «constitutional name» of Republic of Macedonia in its bilateral relations with other countries. Such a proposal is likely to be rejected, as Athens has already called for just one name. Twin quakes Two tremors, 5.4 and 5.5 Richter, hit Patras, causing fear but no damage Two moderately strong earthquakes, measuring 5.4 and 5.5 on the Richter scale, struck the area south of Patras late on Monday night within less than two hours of each other. There were no injuries or damage reported. The first of tremor occurred at 10.25 p.m. and the second at 12.15 a.m. Seismologists who described the tremors as «twin quakes» due to their proximity to each other and similarity in magnitude, said it would take 48 hours before they could rule out the possibility of another stronger quake. The quakes were felt across the region and even in Athens. No taxis 24-hour stoppage in the capital today There will be no taxis serving Athens today, as taxi drivers stage a 24-hour strike, starting at 5 a.m. Cabbies are demanding the right to raise their fares, citing rising petrol prices. They also want to have predetermined rates for set journeys – for example, 25 euros for a trip from the airport to Syntagma Square and 35 euros from Piraeus to the airport. US visas A delegation from the US departments of State and Homeland Security completed a second visit to Athens yesterday for further discussions about Greece’s candidacy for the US visa waiver program (VWP), the American Embassy said yesterday. The US officials met with representatives of Greece’s Foreign, Interior and Justice ministries. «If our bilateral contacts continue to go well, I hope we can implement the VWP in Greece sometime in 2008,» said Department of Homeland Security official Richard C. Barth. Greece is the only country to have received formal nomination to the current visa waiver program since a change in US law last August. Bank strike The Federation of Bank Employees’ Unions (OTOE) said it will take part in a February 13 general strike planned by the country’s largest union group GSEE over disputes to pension reform plans. Bank employees also said they are striking to push demands over pay hikes. Additionally, the Athens Bar Association said it will strike today and on February 13 over the government’s pension reforms. Hit and run Police have launched a manhunt for a driver that ran over and killed a male pedestrian on Athinon Avenue early yesterday. Police said the pedestrian, a foreign national, was injured after being initially struck by a car whose driver stopped to help the man. However, the man was fatally injured by a second oncoming vehicle before managing to safely reach the side of the road, according to authorities. The driver of the second car failed to stop after the accident, according to witnesses. Gun find Police arrested a 44-year-old man in Thessaloniki yesterday after finding in his metal workshop 10 firearms, including a submachine gun. Police found the weapons after inspecting the suspect’s home looking for drugs. The suspect, who was arrested along with two other men, told police the guns had been given to him by customers who wanted maintenance work done on the weapons. Police are conducting laboratory tests to determine whether the firearms have been used in any criminal activity. Navy man Rear Admiral Giorgos Karamalikis was named the new head of the navy yesterday. Karamalikis had previously been in charge of naval training. He replaces Vice Admiral Dimitris Gousis.