NEWS

In Brief

FYROM mediation

Serb president offers to step in on Greece’s name dispute Serbian President Boris Tadic on Tuesday offered to mediate in a longstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter’s official name. «We are ready to take on the role of mediator in the dispute – we want to be part of the solution,» Tadic was quoted as saying on the sidelines of a meeting of ambassadors to Serbia that was also attended by Prime Minister George Papandreou. Papandreou did not comment publicly on the proposal, though he did stress that he and Tadic had seen eye-to-eye on most issues they discussed. FYROM Premier Nikola Gruevski described the offer as «well mentioned» but noted that Tadic was «neither the first or last politician who wants to help» in the spat. Drowned migrants Number of dead rises to 12 The death toll from a suspected boat accident off the northeastern port of Alexandroupoli over the weekend rose to 12 yesterday after coast guard officers recovered the bodies of another three suspected migrants from the nearby coast. The victims were all adults from Asian and African countries, according to local police, who said no identification documents were found in the clothes of the dead migrants. The drownings came just a few weeks after 10 Afghan migrants drowned off the coast of Lesvos, in the eastern Aegean, when their dinghy foundered on a rocky outcrop. Synagogue fire A fire set by unidentified arsonists at the main synagogue in Crete’s old town of Hania early yesterday was extinguished by the local fire service before it could cause serious damage to the premises. Firefighters said they arrived at the scene about half an hour after the blaze broke out and brought it quickly under control. No injuries were reported as there had been no one at the synagogue at the time. Store break-in Police in Athens yesterday were questioning a 29-year-old Roma man in connection with a raid on a supermarket in the western district of Ilion early yesterday in which perpetrators drove a truck through the store’s glass window and loaded a bank ATM onto the back of another truck before fleeing. The other three suspects, also believed to be members of the Roma community, eluded arrest. Contraband smokes Coast guard officials on Evia yesterday seized some 4 million packets of contraband cigarettes from a Togo-flagged cargo ship spotted off the island’s coast, close to Skiathos. The 11-strong Russian crew of the Mitridad faced a prosecutor in Halkida on smuggling charges yesterday. The raid was carried out after several days of observation by drug squad officers who had been tipped off about the illicit consignment. According to initial estimates, the smuggled cigarettes, concealed in eight containers aboard the vessel, would have represented a loss in state revenues of some 3 million euros.