NEWS

In Brief

FYROM RAP

EC report calls for better relations with Greece A European Commission report released yesterday stressed that maintaining good-neighborly relations with Greece was of «fundamental significance» for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which is seeking to join the 27-nation bloc. «Maintaining good-neighborly relations, and finding a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, are of fundamental significance,» the report said. The report also noted that the name dispute had provoked rifts on FYROM’s domestic political front. On Tuesday FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski said he was withdrawing Nikola Dimitrov as negotiator in UN-mediated talks on the name dispute. It was still unclear why yesterday. STRIKE OFF Doctors snap up new offer Doctors indicated yesterday that they would accept a new offer of a collective labor agreement, which would shelve any plans that they had to strike. Doctors, whose representatives met with Health Ministry officials on Monday, had threatened to stage a mass walkout unless authorities approve a collective labor agreement providing for more benefits and additional hiring. The ministry’s offer provides for salary increases ranging from 210 euros to 420 euros, more frequent days off for doctors working duty shifts and the recruitment of 2,000 additional staff within the next year. Student assault A Cypriot student recounted in court yesterday how he was beaten by up to seven policemen in Thessaloniki two years ago. Avgoustinos Dimitriou spent several weeks in hospital following the incident, after which police claimed the 26-year-old had injured himself after tripping and falling on a flower box. Dimitriou, who was visiting a friend studying in the northern city at the time, said the assault on him was unprovoked and that he had not been involved in any attacks on police after the November 17 student protest march. Migrant detentions Coast guard officers have detained more than 12,800 people traveling without documents since the beginning of the year, according to statistics made public yesterday. Officers also arrested 201 suspected traffickers, mostly Turkish nationals. Bad trip A 41-year-old Halkida man who had traveled to Karditsa to attend the funeral of his friend’s father was found dead in a chair outside a cafe in the central town, police said yesterday. The man and his 44-year-old friend reportedly had both taken drugs during their journey to Karditsa. The 44-year-old was arrested. It was not clear if either of the men had managed to make it to the funeral. School’s out Unidentified arsonists placed an improvised explosive device outside a school in Larissa, central Greece, which caused widespread damage after detonating early on Wednesday but caused no injuries. It is believed that the perpetrators had meant to disrupt a teachers’ rally that had been planned for later that day. It was unclear if anyone had been in the building at the time of the blast.