NEWS

In Brief

Air violations

More tension in Aegean as new Turkish FM assumes role Four Turkish fighter jets flew over the small Aegean island of Farmakonisi at an altitude of just 300 meters yesterday, the Defense Ministry said. It was the latest in a spike of violations of Greek air space by Turkish jets in recent weeks which prompted Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to complain to Ankara last Friday. Bakoyannis’s complaint was lodged just one day before her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan was replaced by Ahmet Davutoglu, a respected but controversial diplomat. Corporate robberies Three hurt in company raid Three employees of the EKO petroleum products company were in hospital yesterday after an armed raid on the firm’s offices at Haidari in western Athens. Police said that three armed men wearing ski masks entered the premises and found the accounts office, where they each hit an employee with the butt of their handguns. The robbers then grabbed cash off the desks and fled. Meanwhile, it was revealed that thieves broke into a pharmaceutical company in Peristeri, western Athens, over the weekend and emptied an ATM there. They entered the building by digging a hole in one of the walls before using a blowtorch to open the cash machine and remove an unspecified sum. Vatopedi reprieve An appeals court yesterday postponed until May 15 the trial of suspects linked to the Vatopedi Monastery land swap after none of the three defendants appeared in court. The court had summoned the monastery’s chief monk Ephraim, the key figure in the scandal, Vatopedi’s financial manager Arsenios and former judge Maria Psalti. The court had granted Ephraim and Arsenios an extension to their trial date one month ago. Both monks deny any wrongdoing in the land swap affair believed to have cost taxpayers some 100 million euros. Eyes on the road Anyone due to take a driving test over the next few days could encounter problems, as the doctors that carry out eye tests on learner drivers have decided to stop the examinations in protest at not being paid since last October. All prospective drivers pay 20 euros for this test. Meanwhile, as of yesterday, thousands of civil servants are being told to pay for a range of medical tests and procedures that had previously been covered by their health insurance fund (OPAD). The change was brought about by a decision from the General State Accounting Office, which placed restrictions on what can be claimed by those insured with OPAD. Sunken dignity A vessel that had attempted to transport humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip last December but had been prevented by Israeli forces sank in the Cypriot port of Larnaca yesterday during efforts to tow it away. The SS Dignity, which had sustained damage after being rammed by an Israeli vessel during its December mission, had been anchored at the port for the past five months. The vessel sank yesterday after capsizing in winds that reached 7 on the Beaufort scale.