NEWS

In Brief

INJURED ALBANIANS

Five being treated in Thessaloniki are all in a stable condition Five Albanians, hospitalized in Thessaloniki after sustaining injuries in a series of explosions at an army depot near Tirana on Saturday, have all stabilized, doctors said yesterday. A 6-year-old girl who sustained the worst injuries of the five was in a serious but stable condition yesterday. The other four – a 3-year-old girl and three men – were recuperating, some after surgery. Meanwhile, Greece sent another military aircraft, with medical staff and supplies, to Tirana. NIKOLOUTSOPOULOS Key witness in Zachopoulos case is to face magistrate on March 26 Lawyer Christos Nikoloutsopoulos, a key witness in the alleged blackmail of former Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos, has been given until March 26 to prepare his deposition after appearing before a magistrate yesterday. Nikoloutsopoulos faces blackmail charges after accompanying Zachopoulos’s assistant, Evi Tsekou, to meetings with journalists during which her affair with the public official was discussed. WILDFIRE COMPENSATION Ileia claims it is still waiting Ileia, one of the areas worst affected by wildfires last summer, has only received a small percentage of the aid it was promised, the area’s prefect Haralambos Kafyras said yesterday. Kafyras said that his prefecture, in the Peloponnese, had been promised some 300 million euros to help restore homes and businesses and provide income support to locals who lost their livelihood in the fires. The prefect claims that less than 4 million euros have been paid so far. Farmers in the area also say they have not received compensation for the crops and livestock they lost. PASOK departure Ex-unionist Christos Polyzogopoulos resigned yesterday from his role in PASOK to become of head of the Economic and Social Council (OKE). Polyzogopoulos, previously the president of the GSEE union, resigned amid claims that PASOK leader George Papandreou was unhappy with the way he had organized last week’s party conference as too many delegates who were not fully behind the Socialist chief were elected to the party’s 150-member national council. Cyprus caution Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou yesterday played down the likely outcome of a scheduled meeting on Friday between Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. «Yes, there is a window of opportunity but we should not be over-optimistic,» he said. Kyprianou expressed reservations about the intentions of the Turkish side given their «negative» public statements but said Nicosia was «cautiously optimistic.» He said Christofias is «more willing than ever but is not ready to accept any solution that will endanger stability on the island.» Piraeus museum The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus has reopened to the public following extensive refurbishment work and installation of an air-conditioning system, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The museum is open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except Monday. Tax office robbery Two armed men made away with 35,000 euros in cash yesterday after holding up an armed vehicle outside of a tax office in Nea Philadelphia, northern Athens. The armed men held up two security guards as they were leaving the tax office with the cash, authorities added. Pension fraud Checks by Finance Ministry officials have uncovered 220 cases of relatives collection pension checks on behalf of dead relatives, authorities said yesterday. Some 1.5 million euros has been returned to the ministry’s General Accounting Office with another 1 million euros expected to returned soon. It was not immediately clear whether any penalties will be imposed on the relatives. Unhappy doctors Doctors at the Thriaseio Hospital, west of Athens, threatened yesterday to go on strike because they claim not to have been paid overtime for the last four months. The doctors alleged that that they have not been paid for any on-duty hours, overtime or holidays that they worked since last November. They said that they will go on strike unless they are paid by Friday.