NEWS

In Brief

FIRE RISK

Emergency services on the alert due to strong winds, high temperatures The fire service is in a high state of readiness today following yesterday’s warning by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection that strong winds and high temperatures will increase the risk of forest fires. Eastern Attica, Evia, Chios, Samos, the Cyclades and Crete are particularly at risk. Thirty firefighters, aided by two aircraft and three helicopters were fighting until late yesterday to extinguish a forest fire near Nea Makri which was being fanned by strong winds. CYPRUS TALKS New effort to start next month, US envoy says Efforts to revive negotiations for a Cyprus solution will resume from the beginning of next month, US special envoy for Cyprus Thomas Weston told the local Phileleftheros daily yesterday, stressing that the Annan plan is the only basis for a settlement. Exploratory talks will begin in Brussels and in Italy, which currently holds the European Union presidency, according to Weston, who said he planned to visit Athens, Ankara and Nicosia before meeting Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos in New York at the end of September. Meanwhile, Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday sent a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressing the readiness of Turkish-Cypriot military officials to meet UN representatives for talks on the demining of Nicosia and the buffer zone. ROADWORKS Iera Odos disruptions for a year The Aegaleo-bound section of Iera Odos, at Estavromenou Square, closes from today for about a year as works get under way to build a new metro station at Aegaleo. There will be diversions for Aegaleo-bound traffic. Athens-bound traffic from Aegaleo will run as normal. Also, from 8 p.m. today until early tomorrow morning, Attiki Odos will be blocked to traffic bound for the Athens-Lamia National Road between the exit at Geraka Steet, near Stavros, and the Pendelis Avenue access road. Drugs haul Coast guards confiscated 70 kilos of cannabis after stopping two Albanians on a speedboat off the coast of Corfu late on Sunday night, officials said yesterday. A patrol vessel spotted the speedboat heading for the Ionian island from neighboring Albania and signaled it to stop. However, the suspect boat turned round in the opposite direction and the two-man crew started throwing packages of the drug overboard, according to officials. The speedboat eventually capsized, after which the two Albanians were arrested. Flesh wound A 38-year-old man, arrested after being stopped early yesterday morning while driving two Russian prostitutes to prospective customers, was accidentally shot in the buttocks by a police officer in Pefki, a northern suburb of Athens, after he escaped from the local police station. Constantinos Sardellis was shot after the service revolver of a police officer, whom he had pushed to the ground, misfired, according to police. Sardellis, who has been charged for procurement in the past, was hospitalised under police guard. River Nestos Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys announced yesterday that 4.7 million euros in state funds would be channeled into carrying out a study for irrigation works from the River Nestos for the Xanthi and Komotini plains. Mega resignation Mega TV’s general news manager, Nikos Hadzinikolaou, resigned yesterday, sources said. His resignation comes in the midst of an apparent power struggle among Mega’s main shareholders, which include some of Greece’s top media barons and public works contractors. Nazi vandals Unidentified vandals have sprayed Nazi swastikas and Greek nationalistic slogans on the outer walls of a synagogue in the northwestern town of Ioannina, local officials said yesterday. Youth camps A total of 525 young ethnic Greeks aged 18 to 30 from across the world yesterday arrived at camps at Kamena Vourla, near Lamia, where they are to attend lessons in Greek and folk dances as part of a joint initiative by the World Youth Camp and the World Council for Hellenes Abroad that ends on August 17.