NEWS

In Brief

Transnational gang

Police, border guards among 20 suspects arrested in sweep Police said yesterday that they had arrested 20 members of a suspected cross-border migrant smuggling gang, including police officers, border guards and former members of the state intelligence service. The suspects, Greeks and Albanians, are charged with using stolen cars to smuggle countless immigrants into the country over the past decade for a fee of 1,000-2,000 euros each. Name games Skopje wants referendum if ‘favorable solution’ found Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Nikola Gruevski has said that any «favorable solution» to the Macedonia name dispute should be put to a referendum in his country, it transpired yesterday. Gruevski spoke following a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Brussels on Wednesday. Solana said he preferred not to comment on the issue but that he «sincerely hopes the (name) problem will be resolved.» Zachopoulos out Former official leaves hospital Former Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos was discharged from hospital yesterday almost six months after his attempted suicide. Zachopoulos suffered serious injuries last December when he jumped from the balcony of his fourth-floor apartment. He has now been transferred to a private rehabilitation center in Thessaloniki where he will continue his recuperation. The former public official has recently been able to walk with the help of a frame. Zachopoulos claims that he jumped after being blackmailed by his assistant Evi Tsekou over the affair they had. False start Sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, who were forced to miss the 2004 Athens Olympics in disgrace, yesterday had their court case adjourned until February next year. Kenteris, a 200-meter gold medalist at the Sydney Olympics, and Thanou, who won the silver in the 100 meters eight years ago, failed to appear in court yesterday for «personal reasons.» Yesterday was not the first time their trial had been postponed. They are facing charges over an alleged motorcycle accident on the eve of the Athens Olympics. If found guilty of making false statements, the two sprinters face possible jail sentences. KEP help It was announced yesterday that Citizen Service Centers (KEP) will from next week be able to provide the forms that must be completed by people wishing to have their property recorded in the land registry. In a bid to alleviate the pressure on the offices that have been created for this purpose, the documents will also be made available at municipalities. More than 11,500 applications were submitted at land registry offices in the first two days they were open this week. Samaria death A 62-year-old British man collapsed and died while walking through the Samaria gorge on Crete with a group of 50 other holidaymakers Wednesday. The group had set out from the town of Rethymnon early in the morning. During the afternoon the man, whose name was not given, was taken ill and lost consciousness. Two doctors called to the scene from the nearest village of Aghia Roumeli were unable to resuscitate him. Branching out? The owner of a street kiosk near Panormou metro station, near central Athens, was reported to police by residents after allegedly cutting down trees in the square in which his kiosk is located in order to expand his business premises. It is illegal to cut down trees without permission. Refugee appeal President Karolos Papoulias yesterday called on citizens and politicians in Greece and other European countries to «live up to their duties and obligations» toward millions of immigrants ahead of World Refugee Day today. «Refugees do not only exist on our television screens….and in newspaper columns,» Papoulias said. Alco-mouse A Thessaloniki court yesterday handed down a 10-month prison sentence to a manager at the city’s main branch of German-owned discount supermarket chain Lidl after a customer found a mouse in a beer bottle, according to Agence France-Presse, citing judicial officials. Purchasing manager Art Werner has reportedly appealed the sentence, which he can pay off at five euros a day. The case went to trial after a customer said he fell ill after drinking from a bottle containing a 5-inch mouse, AFP said. The store allegedly blamed a bottling procedure error. Scholarships Skai Television and the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS Athens) have announced scholarships for the 2008-2009 academic year for first-year senior high students at Greek schools. Candidates should apply by June 17. Information is available online at www.acs.gr or by calling 210.639.3200.