In Brief

Greek-Turkish ties

FMs Bakoyannis and Babacan discuss Aegean and Cyprus, after violations Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan yesterday discussed bilateral issues and the Cyprus problem on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Strasbourg. Bakoyannis called for an easing of tensions in the Aegean after Turkish fighter jets violated Greek air space yesterday morning. Meanwhile in Washington, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Antonio Milososki last night signed an agreement according to which the USA will guarantee the Balkan state’s protection. Bus shooting Suspect remanded after apologizing to family of man he killed The 33-year-old drug addict who shot dead a bus driver in Thessaloniki when he tried to escape from police on Saturday was remanded in custody yesterday after appearing before a magistrate in the northern city. The suspect, who has not been named, asked the family of the driver to forgive him. He said that he did not intend to kill the 59-year-old but that the gun he had stolen from a police officer went off when the driver tried to disarm him. The two officers charged with allowing the 33-year-old to escape through negligence are due to go on trial today. Maternity leave Provision for extra time off approved An amendment which will allow many women who have just given birth to claim an extra six months off work was given its final approval yesterday by Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia. The legislation was included in the pension reforms bill passed through Parliament earlier this year. Currently, pregnant woman can claim two months off work before they give birth and another two months and two weeks after having their baby. The amendment allows women who are insured with the Social Security Foundation (IKA) to take an extra six months off. However, during this time they will not receive a wage from their employer but will be paid a basic salary by the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED). This measure applies retrospectively to any women who gave birth after April 3 this year. Flight disruptions Ongoing go-slow protest action by Olympic Airlines pilots is expected to lead to the cancellation of some domestic flights today. Passengers planning to travel with OA are advised to contact the airline on telephone 210.966.6666. The pilots’ action yesterday resulted in the cancellation or delay of several flights. Mokbel extradition Greece’s justice minister has approved the extradition of Australian drug fugitive Tony Mokbel. Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis has ratified a Supreme Court decision saying Mokbel should be sent to Australia to face trial. The approval is the last formal step following a judicial process that has taken months. Mokbel was arrested in Athens last year on an Interpol warrant after skipping bail in 2006 while on trial in Australia for cocaine smuggling. At the time, Australian media had described him as that country’s most wanted fugitive. (AP) Fugitive caught Police in Austria said yesterday that they have arrested a 38-year-old Romanian fugitive believed to have been an accomplice of Costas Passaris, one of Greece’s most wanted criminals. Mario Raducan, who was arrested by traffic police, is wanted by Greek police as his fingerprints were found in a safe house in Athens where Passaris had stored weapons. Raducan, who operated under several aliases, is also wanted in Romania and Spain. Passaris is serving a life sentence in a Romanian jail. ELA trial The appeal trial of four convicted members of the far-left terror group Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) started yesterday but was immediately postponed until May 21 as one of the defendants’ lawyers is seriously ill. The four activists, aged 54 to 67, are appealing 25-year jail sentences handed down in 2004 after they were found guilty of complicity in several bombings. All four have been granted bail pending their appeals.