UN mediator plays down claims of secret US-FYROM name talks The mediator in the Macedonia name dispute, Matthew Nimetz, rebuffed reports in the Greek press suggesting that his proposal for the resolution of the spat had been preceded by «secret talks» between Skopje and Washington. «I have followed the same protocol since 1999,» Nimetz said late on Wednesday. Nimetz said he had spoken «with a number of governments about the status of negotiations» but stressed that the aim had always been informative and noting, «I have never been influenced by any government.» ANCIENT FARM Rare find in northern Greece A prehistoric farmhouse that provides significant information about Neolithic architecture and household life has been unearthed in northern Greece, it was revealed yesterday. «This is a very rare case where the remains have been undisturbed by farming or any other outside intervention for some 6,000 years,» the Culture Ministry said of the discovery, which included crockery and wood-fired ovens, in the village of Sosandra, near Aridaia. «The household goods are in excellent condition,» the ministry said. Central issue PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday called for the government to set up an interministerial committee with control over European Union funding to ensue that «we do not continue to see the development of a ghetto right in the center in one of the world’s most ancient cities.» She said that certain districts such as Kypseli and Aghios Panteleimonas, were becoming «beyond the law.» Driver murder A court has rejected the argument of diminished responsibility from a 33-year-old drug addict who in May last year shot dead a bus driver with a revolver he stole from a police officer who had earlier arrested him. As a result of yesterday’s ruling, the 33-year-old from Thessaloniki will stand trial on 11 charges, including murder. The unnamed suspect had been arrested for stealing a wallet and his escape from a police patrol car led to a lengthy chase during which he shot the 59-year-old bus driver. Alex trial The secretary of a cramming school in Veria, northern Greece, yesterday told a court that four of the five children charged in connection with the disappearance of 11-year-old Alex Meshivili had been at the school at the time of the boy’s disappearance. Meshivili went missing in February 2006. Dead seal A dead seal that washed up on the island of Milos last week had been shot, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (MOm) said yesterday. Port Authority officials informed MOm of the discovery last Friday. An examination of the seal, a member of the dwindling Monachus monachus species, revealed a gunshot wound in its chest. MOm asked port authority officials to intensify inspections on vessels carrying firearms. Moderate quake A moderate undersea quake, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, occured off the coastal town of Xylokastro, near Corinth, shortly after 5 a.m. yesterday but no injuries or damage were reported.