NEWS

In Brief

GRUEVSKI LETTERS

UN chief urges FYROM PM to focus on solving name dispute The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has replied to a letter from the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, urging him to focus on the UN-mediated discussions with Greece aimed at solving the name dispute. In his letter, Gruevski had raised several issues, including that of a so-called Macedonian minority in Greece. Ban said that he was «aware of the existence of other issues» but suggested that these could be discussed with Greece once the name issue was settled. The name dispute was also discussed briefly between Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the sidelines of a NATO council in Brussels yesterday. CHILD BONUS Cash boost for parents of three Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday that families with three children would soon receive monthly allowances of up to 250 euros, which the government had promised to introduce before the general elections last year. Just over 140,000 families stand to get a cash boost when the measure is implemented. Avramopoulos said that the government was also studying the idea of introducing a limit on the cost of medical tests and medicines. He said announcements are due to be made in October. Conscript deaths Two conscripts were found dead on Monday night at their barracks in Kilkis and Kozani, northern Greece. The youngest, aged 21, is believed to have died of a drug overdose as a syringe and sedative pills were found next to his body in the kitchen of his barracks in Kilkis. The second soldier, aged 25, was found dead in the showers of his Kozani barracks. The cause of death was unclear. Meanwhile, in Cyprus a 19-year-old soldier from Thessaloniki who had been serving on the island was found dead yesterday just before a training session. An autopsy is due today. Thessaloniki trash Toxic waste from hospitals is ending up at Thessaloniki’s new landfill in the district of Mavrorachi, according to an investigation by Skai Radio and Television. Syringes, serums and used gauze have been found on the dump, municipal authorities from nearby Assyros told Skai. According to these authorities, hospital and household waste are being separated manually within the confines of the landfill. The union representing the city’s street cleaners insist that «all safety standards are being observed to the letter.» ‘Crop’ failure Two masked assailants used a tractor to try and remove an ATM machine from the premises of a supermarket in the Cretan prefecture of Iraklion but fled after the store’s alarm went off, police said. The pair smashed the store’s glass facade, strapped the machine to the tractor and started dragging it away but abandoned their efforts when the alarm was activated. Drug haul A 25-year-old man faced a Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday after police discovered 8.5 kilos of cannabis in his car and at his home in the district of Neapolis. The drugs had been divided into packages. Officers also seized two sets of scales from the suspect’s apartment.