NEWS

In Brief

DOCTORS STRIKE

Week of action against new policy to begin on Monday The union representing the country’s hospital doctors yesterday called on members to join a five-day strike starting on Monday, July 19, to protest government plans to overhaul the national health service with a slew of reforms, including the operation of daily afternoon surgeries at state hospitals. The Federation of Hospital Doctors’ Unions (OENGE) has complained that the proposed reforms cannot be implemented with current staffing levels and other shortfalls. Doctors also object to a new proposed system according to which patients will pay for medical services at hospitals and have expenses reimbursed by their insurance funds. «Hospital doctors will not tolerate… citizens being charged more to guarantee medical care they are entitled to,» a statement by OENGE said. BILLBOARD DRIVE More roadside ads removed Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and Deputy Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Nikos Sifounakis yesterday oversaw the launch of the fifth phase of a government cleanup of illegal roadside billboards, focusing on Marathonas Avenue. The removal of the signs is aimed at improving road safety, as the billboards are often blamed for distracting motorists and causing road accidents. The sweep is also aimed at revamping the highway ahead of a marathon being organized in October to mark 2,500 years since the Battle of Marathon and expected to attract thousands of runners from across the world. FYROM ties Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski referred yesterday to a recent improvement in ties between FYROM and Greece following a spate of high-level meetings between top government officials. Speaking during an official visit to Sarajevo, Gruevski referred to «intensive exchanges on the level of prime minister and foreign minister» as well as increased interest from United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz. «There has been an improvement in climate… but there has been no settlement» to the dispute regarding FYROM’s official name, Gruevski told reporters. Cyprus drowning Rescue workers on Cyprus yesterday recovered the body of 79-year-old Yiannakis Agapiou, a former MP and the head of the committee for complaints against the police, from off the coast of Limassol. The corpse was found by two women who had been swimming near the resort’s nautical club. A local coroner said Agapiou, who often went swimming in the area in the mornings, had probably drowned. A final verdict on his death was expected later yesterday. Archbishop visit Archbishop Ieronymos is to visit Brussels on Sunday to attend a Pan-European dialogue on fighting poverty and social exclusion in European countries struggling with deep-rooted financial problems. The meeting, organized by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, is to begin on Monday. Religious leaders from other European Union countries are to join the discussion.