NEWS

In Brief

Name dispute

Diplomats downbeat ahead of scheduled visit by Nimetz Foreign Ministry sources yesterday said they had little hope of a breakthrough during a scheduled visit to Athens early next month by the United Nations mediator in the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz. The diplomats said there had been no progress during Monday’s talks in Geneva between envoys from Athens and Skopje. Nimetz remarked that neither diplomat had shifted from their respective stance. Meanwhile Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country takes over the European Union’s presidency next month, said he had been in contact with Nimetz and stressed that no solution should be imposed on either side. Farmers released Two free after migrant assault Two farmers from the Peloponnesian town of Nea Manolada, alleged to have tied two Bangladeshi immigrants to a motorcycle last Thursday and to have dragged them through a central square, were yesterday released on bail of 3,000 euros each. The two suspects, who are alleged to have assaulted the migrants in order to punish them for a suspected theft, were released after testifying before an investigating magistrate, on the condition that they report to local police twice a month. The migrants were also released and barred from leaving the country. Forest fires A large team of firefighters was battling a blaze in the Sithonia region of Halkidiki, northern Greece, yesterday afternoon. Strong winds fanned the flames of the fire that was caused by a bolt of lightning, according to locals. The blaze had not threatened residential areas by late yesterday. Another fire that broke out in a ravine near a forest in Evros had been brought under partial control by the early evening. Anarchist remanded A 32-year-old self-styled anarchist who is reported to have claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting of a special guard outside the British attache’s residence in the northern suburb of Kifissia on New Year’s Eve in 2004 was remanded in custody yesterday after testifying before an investigating magistrate. The suspect faces murder charges. Flight disruptions Two four-hour work stoppages by air-traffic controllers at Athens International Airport tomorrow and this Saturday will lead to the disruption of all scheduled incoming and outgoing flights between 8 a.m. and noon. Workers are reportedly protesting the failure of the Transport and Communications Ministry to comply with European Union legislation on a series of technical issues. Swine flu Another seven people have been diagnosed with swine flu in Greece, bringing the number of those afflicted with the virus to 58, health authorities said yesterday. Again, almost all the cases diagnosed were people who had returned from the USA, chiefly Greek citizens. Of the 58 people diagnosed with the H1N1 virus in Greece, 23 have been treated and discharged from hospital, according to authorities.