NEWS

In Brief

ALBANIA BLASTS

Five injured taken to Thessaloniki for treatment as Greece provides help Five people from Albania were hospitalized in Thessaloniki yesterday following a series of explosions at an army depot that killed at least nine people in the village of Gerdec, near Tirana, on Saturday. The lives of the five Albanians, including a six-year-old girl who lost one of her hands in the blasts, are not in any danger, doctors at Thessaloniki’s Ippocrateion Hospital said. Greece sent medical personnel and supplies, including blood, to Albania on Saturday and Sunday. (Page 2) MACEDONIA TALKS Diplomats to meet as Skopje government buys time at home Diplomats from Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) are due to meet in Vienna today as United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz hosts another round of talks aimed at resolving the name dispute between the two countries. Speaking over the weekend, FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski questioned the efficacy of the negotiations as there is no common ground between Athens and Skopje on the issue. Gruevski’s government reached a deal with opposition parties late on Friday to allow it to remain in power until the NATO summit on April 2-4, when FYROM hopes to be invited to join the alliance. Gruevski’s coalition holds a minority of parliamentary seats after the ethnic Albanian DPA withdrew. (Page 3) Forest blaze A fire on Saturday destroyed several hectares of forest land near Gytheion in the Peloponnese, authorities said yesterday. Eight firetrucks and two water-dropping airplanes were involved in the operation to put out the blaze near the village of Petrina. Firefighters have launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze. Police brutality? The new chief of the Greek Police ordered an investigation this weekend into claims by a man who had been taken in for questioning by officers from Thessaloniki that the policemen had beaten him. The Albanian national, who was not named, filed an official complaint after being questioned at Larissa police station. It is not known what he was detained for. Man overboard A search for a man believed to have fallen overboard from a ferry traveling between Iraklion and Piraeus failed to yield any results on Saturday. The 33-year-old Polish man is believed to have fallen into the sea on Friday night but his traveling companion, also from Poland, did not inform the crew until Saturday morning, shortly before the Kriti 1 ferry arrived at Piraeus. The second Polish man is believed to have been drunk when he informed the crew about his friend’s disappearance. Authorities believe the two men may have been drinking heavily at the time of the accident.