NEWS

In Brief

EVIA QUAKE

Psachna hit for second time in six days, Athens shaken An earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale occurred near the village of Psachna on the island of Evia just before 8.30 a.m. yesterday, causing extensive damage to houses in the area but no injuries. The quake was felt in Athens. Engineers found a dozen houses would need repairs, and are to continue inspections today. A 4.6-magnitude tremor struck the same area, some 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Halkida, last Friday, causing damage to some houses. CLOPHEN CLEANUP Toxic transformers to be removed from ministry premises this weekend Transformers in the basement of the Finance Ministry’s building off central Syntagma Square, proven to have leaked quantities of the highly toxic chemical clophen, are to be removed in an operation to be conducted by a team of German experts this weekend, the ministry said yesterday. The entire basement area will be cleaned and new transformers will be operating in the basement from Monday, the ministry added. Ministry staff yesterday gave blood for tests which will determine whether their health has been adversely affected by their exposure to the chemical. ATHENS POWER CUT Tram works damaged cable Many parts of central and southwestern Athens as well as Piraeus lost their electricity supply and the service on the Kifissia-to-Piraeus electric railway was disrupted yesterday after tram works destroyed an underground high-voltage cable linking Nea Smyrni with Piraeus. The situation was exacerbated by problems at a central Athens power distribution centre. Nea Smyrni, Piraeus, Kallithea, Kerameikos and Salamina were all hit but recovered their electricity within half an hour after the damage was repaired. Parts of Piraeus, however, were still without power late last night. The damaged cable also caused a malfunction at the sub-station in Keratsini, near Piraeus, which led to problems in other districts. Taxi strike There will be no taxis on the streets of Attica next week from 5 a.m. on Tuesday until 5 a.m. on Thursday as taxi drivers participate in a 48-hour strike, unionists said yesterday. Drivers are protesting against new measures proposed by the Economy Ministry which impose the placing of cash registers in the vehicles, the issuing of receipts to customers and the keeping of accounts books by drivers. Health problems Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors are today due to stage the third and final in a series of 24-hour strikes. The doctors, who want higher pay and permanency for colleagues on contracts, are also due to join other health sector workers on a civil servants’ strike scheduled for tomorrow. National First Aid Center (EKAB) workers, who also embarked on protest action yesterday, are also due to stage two 24-hour strikes today and tomorrow. They want more pay and better working conditions. N17 trial A deputy judge at the trial of 19 November 17 terrorism suspects suspects at Korydallos Jail, Haralambos Papailiou, is stepping down due to health reasons and will not be replaced, presiding judge Michalis Margaritis said yesterday. Meanwhile, World War II resistance hero Manolis Glezos testified as a defence witness yesterday for N17 suspect Yiannis Serifis, a veteran trade unionist. «His (Serifis’s) ideology is far removed with that of N17,» Glezos said. Delphi Museum The Archaeological Museum of Delphi, which closed at the end of January for refurbishment, is to open for next year’s Olympic Games, the Culture Ministry decided yesterday. It will close again immediately after the Games. Fuel protest Gas station owners yesterday said they would take strike action unless the Economy Ministry postpones the introduction of cash tills on fuel pumps. Car stunt A Kavala man will attempt to earn a place in the Guiness Book of Records on Sunday by balancing on his thumbs on a moving car, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. Costas Nikopoulos will try to hold his «thumbstand» on the roof of a car traveling at 20 kilometers per hour over 50 meters, the ANA said.