NEWS

In Brief

SMUGGLERS AMBUSHED

Two Greeks arrested, two at large as border guards foil ‘scout’ ploy Border guards in Thrace yesterday arrested two men from the northern town of Kavala for attempting to escort 25 Pakistani and Afghan illegal immigrants into Greece over the Evros River. Officers, who had been tipped off that local smuggling rings were using the so-called «scout» technique to throw border guards off their scent, ambushed the two men as their truck approached a blockade at the border town of Nea Karvali. The two men managed to alert the drivers of two vans behind them carrying the migrants. Police were yesterday searching for the van drivers. The immigrants were all arrested. IKA DOCTORS Clinics to return to limited staff after unionists call 5-day strike Social Security Foundation (IKA) clinics will be forced to operate on skeleton staff from September 16 to 20 due to a five-day strike by IKA doctors announced yesterday. Protesters have been demanding pay rises and permanent employment status since June 2001 for more than 5,000 IKA contract workers. REPATRIATING MIGRANTS Greece, Turkey launch cooperation A Greek-Turkish protocol aimed at facilitating attempts to repatriate illegal immigrants trying to enter Greece from Turkey has been finalized and is in the process of being implemented by both countries, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Port authorities will be issued with new orders so that they can fulfill the provisions of the protocol alongside their ongoing efforts to curb illegal immigration, the ministry said. Greek coast guard vessels have sent 31 Greece-bound smuggling ships back to Turkey over the last 10 months. Farmers’ rally Hundreds of farmers from across northern Greece plan to disrupt the Thessaloniki International Fair today with a rally in the city center at 6 p.m. Farmers want higher EU cotton subsidies and state compensation for crop damage suffered during this year’s freak weather spells. Workers and anti-globalization activists are expected to join today’s rally ahead of a protest demonstration of their own tomorrow afternoon. Antique jewelry Police yesterday arrested three jewelers in the modern village of Delphi, near the ancient site, from whom they seized more than 170 unregistered antiquities. Athanassios Hadzinikolaos, Eleftherios Vafeiadis and Loukas Kotopoulis are charged with illegally trading in antiquities after police confiscated two Hellenistic amphorae, 12 Byzantine icons and 161 bronze and silver coins dating to Classical and Roman times. One of the coins seized from Kotopoulis had been set in a piece of jewelry. Police last month arrested three jewelers in Plaka, central Athens, for selling jewelry incorporating small ancient coins. Optimistic Ten of the top basketball division’s 14 clubs yesterday rejected Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos’s offer of 5 million euros in state aid as inadequate. Aircraft struck A German aircraft carrying 123 passengers from Nuremberg to Cyprus was forced to land at Thessaloniki airport yesterday morning after being struck by a bolt of lightning. There were no injuries and the aircraft resumed its course to Cyprus. 2004 guides Voluntary support for the Olympic Games received a boost yesterday with the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee and the Greek Girl Guides Association (SEO). Body identified Forensic police officers yesterday identified as 25-year-old Albanian national Andrea Eilir, a man whose body was discovered on Wednesday in bushes near the Kaisariani monastery on Mount Hymettus, east of Athens. Eilir had died of severely inflicted head injuries, a coroner found. September 11 An exhibition of photographs immortalizing the rescue efforts and widespread destruction which followed last September’s terrorist attack in New York was opened at Syntagma Metro station yesterday by US Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller. The exhibition of 27 photographs, taken by US photographer Joel Meyerowitz, runs until Friday, September 13.