NEWS

In Brief

NAME BREAK

Visit by UN mediator Nimetz that was planned for this week is postponed The United Nations special mediator in the Macedonia name dispute Matthew Nimetz will not visit Athens and Skopje later this week as originally planned, it was reported yesterday, as it appears that the chances for progress in negotiations ahead of scheduled elections in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on June 1 are very slim. Nimetz «will continue with his diplomatic efforts,» a UN spokesman said. Meanwhile, the European Commission criticized a Greek decision to stop a Macedonian Air Transport (MAT) flight to Egypt from crossing Greek air space. TAX STATEMENTS Deadlines for submitting completed forms have begun this week Hundreds of thousands of working and retired people have started preparing their income tax forms as the first week of deadlines for submitting completed papers begins. The deadline for submission of the forms depends on an individual’s tax registration number (AFM). The first deadline – for those with an AFM ending in 1 – was yesterday and the final deadline – for those with AFMs ending in 60, 70, 80, 90 and 00 – is June 2. Forms can be presented at the local tax office, mailed by registered delivery or submitted online (www.taxisnet.gr). DOPING SCANDAL Ex-weightlifting coach denies any part The former coach of the Greek weightlifting team, Christos Iakovou, and his assistant Valerios Leonidis yesterday submitted written statements to prosecutor Andreas Karaflos claiming they did not knowingly give banned substances to 11 athletes. The pair asked the prosecutor to investigate a claim by a Chinese company, which supplied food supplements to the team, that it mistakenly tainted the substance with steroids. Siemens probe Sources close to the prosecutor investigating claims that electronics and engineering giant Siemens paid millions of euros to Greek politicians to secure lucrative state contracts told Kathimerini yesterday that the probe is focusing on two people who were close to the former managing director of Siemens Hellas, Michalis Christoforakos, and an ex-employee of the company. The latter also served in a public company when PASOK was in power, sources said. Flight disruption Delays and cancellations on domestic Olympic Airlines (OA) flights continued yesterday as pilots of propeller planes continued their go-slow protest. Flights to Naxos and Paros were among those that did not take place yesterday. The pilots of the smaller planes reportedly disagree with the stance of another union – representing pilots of modern jet aircraft – in talks for a collective work contract. Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis said that he had spoken to OA employees but insisted that the government would not «give in to blackmail.» Evia migrants The coast guard has detained three people on board a US-flagged yacht off the coast of Evia, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The trio did not have any travel documents and officers said there was a bad smell on the vessel, where they found rotting food, bottles of water and clothing. Meanwhile, police found another 28 illegal immigrants in the Pagoda area of Evia. Authorities said that the migrants revealed they had sailed to Greece from Turkey on the yacht. Cafe shooting An Albanian national was shot in the leg on Sunday night during a brawl in a cafe in the Athens district of Petralona. Police said the attack had been carried out by a fellow Albanian and had been a settling of accounts. Bank raids More than 28,000 euros in cash was stolen from two banks in Thessaloniki yesterday. Two armed men took 22,900 euros from an Alpha Bank branch in Panorama, while another two thieves stole 5,775 euros during a holdup of a branch of National Bank in Sykies. Nobody was injured. Passengers rescued Rescue workers yesterday evacuated 651 passengers and 330 crew, including the Greek captain, from a German cruise ship which hit a sandbank in the Baltic Sea, a Latvian coast guard official said.