NEWS

In Brief

DOCTORS’ WALKOUT

State hospitals on skeleton staff due to weeklong protest State hospital doctors yesterday launched a five-day strike to protest the government’s plans to overhaul the national health service with a range reforms that foresee the operation of daily afternoon surgeries at state hospitals. The doctors also object to a proposed system according to which patients will pay for medical services at hospitals and have expenses reimbursed by their insurance funds. In a written statement, the Federation of Hospital Doctors’ Unions (OENGE) said the proposed reforms are impossible to implement at current staffing levels and due to other shortfalls and accused the Health Ministry of trying to privatize state healthcare via hospitals. VATOPEDI PROBE Prosecutor examines Marfin role Athens’s chief Court of First Instance prosecutor Eleni Raikou yesterday ordered a preliminary judicial inquiry into recent press reports about alleged exchanges between the Vatopedi Monastery and Marfin Egnatia Bank. Prosecutor Antonis Eleftherianos has been ordered to investigate whether Marfin issued a 156.9-million-euro loan that was used for the purchase of Marfin and OTE telecom stocks. In a related development, magistrate Eirini Kalou, who is probing a land swap between the state and the monastery, granted a few additional days of preparation to Yiannis Angelou, a former aide to former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who faces criminal charges of breach of faith. Emergency landing A military aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at the Hania airport on Crete on Sunday evening after experiencing mechanical failure. Airport authorities said the plane landed safely. Around the same time, a commercial flight that had been on its way to Hania from Athens was redirected to the airport in Iraklio. PNO break Passenger ferry routes connecting Piraeus to the islands of the Aegean are not expected to suffer any disruptions for the next month after the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) said yesterday that it would not be staging any strike action until after August 15. Over the past few weeks, members of PNO and the Communist Party-affiliated labor group PAME staged several blockades at the country’s main port of Piraeus, thwarting the travel plans of thousands of Greeks and tourists. Failed rescue The head of the Hellenic Rescue Team claimed yesterday that a check the organization received last year from the government proved to be a dud. The team’s president, Thanassis Sotirakis, said that a check for 20,000 euros was issued by the Citizens’ Protection Ministry last year to help the rescuers buy equipment. But Sotirakis told Skai Radio that the check bounced and that the Hellenic Rescue Team had to take out a loan to cover the expenses of purchasing the equipment. Samos woes Police officers on the eastern Aegean island of Samos yesterday issued a written appeal to the Citizens’ Protection Ministry, complaining that the local force was underequipped to handle a burgeoning population of illegal immigrants at the island’s temporary reception center. According to local sources, dozens of the migrants being held in the center have been refusing meals in a bid to gain release.