NEWS

In Brief

WEATHER WOES

Floods, wind cause chaos; conditions set to deteriorate briefly A state of emergency was declared in the Peloponnesian prefecture of Achaia yesterday after streams and rivers broke their banks following recent heavy rain, and landslides caused problems on roads. Strong rains also caused problems in the neighboring prefecture of Ileia where floods damaged farmland. Meanwhile, floods in Fthiotida blocked the Athens-Lamia railway line between Lianokladi and Tithorea. Eight sailboats in Glyfada’s marina sank and 30 were seriously damaged yesterday after being buffeted by winds of up to 8 on the Beaufort scale. But the Rio-Antirio ferry crossing was yesterday operating normally. Snow and heavy rain in western Greece is due to spread across the country today before easing on Monday. DEATH AT SEA One sailor drowned, one missing after boat capsizes off Volos Volos coast guard officers were yesterday searching for a 46-year-old sailor, missing since the morning when his boat capsized near the central port amid strong winds, after saving a second sailor and retrieving the body of a third. Nicholas Voyiatzis, 45, Dimitris Arapantzis, 46, and Ioannis Bolas, 49, were returning to the tanker where they worked – which was anchored at the Asteria Agrias Bay – after a night out in Volos when their launch capsized. Voyiatzis drowned, Bolas was saved and was yesterday being treated for shock, and Arapantzis was still missing. ATHENS IN 2004 Mayor gives Venizelos her ideas Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday met at City Hall to discuss the preparation of the capital ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games. Bakoyianni said she had given Venizelos «a detailed outline of the needs of the Athens municipality.» Venizelos said City Hall would be given funds to undertake Olympic-related projects but declined to determine the exact sum, adding that he would be discussing the Olympics budget with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday. Both stressed the importance of cooperation between the government and municipal authorities. Protecting wetlands Greece should make it a priority to effectively maintain its wetlands and their valuable functions of absorbing floodwaters and boosting the country’s dwindling water resources, Environment and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday ahead of official World Wetland Day tomorrow. «The geographic, climatic, and geological conditions in our country demand more effective planning if our water reserves are to be protected to cover our future needs,» said Papandreou, who also stressed the potential of wetlands as beauty spots and as a boost to ecotourism. Smugglers arrested One Greek man and four foreign nationals have been arrested for smuggling 15 Iraqi immigrants into Greece in four cars, police said yesterday. Border guards gave chase after the cars failed to stop at the border control station on the Alexandroupolis-Komotini national road. One immigrant was slightly injured in the foot when a border guard fired at the first car before arresting its driver. The driver of the second car abandoned his car and fled. Police in Xanthi later caught the other four men in two other cars. Pawnshop killing Two men charged with the murder of the 26-year-old daughter of a pawnshop owner in Thessaloniki two years ago were yesterday remanded in custody after defending themselves before an investigating magistrate in the northern city. Alexandros Alexoudis, 41, and Argyris Skoutelis, 31 – both from the village of Aigeiro in the northeastern prefecture of Rhodope – admitted to the murder of Lefkothea Tsenekidou upon their arrest last Saturday. Officers tracked down the two, who allegedly fatally stabbed Tsenekidou before robbing her store, after fresh leads were made public on television. Bank robbery Two armed men yesterday made off with an unspecified sum of money after robbing a bank in the Athenian district of Vyronas. The duo fled on a motorcycle.