NEWS

In Brief

FIRE RISK

Emergency services brace for 3rd day of strong winds and high temperatures The country’s fire service is on a high state of readiness for the third day running today after the General Secretariat for Civil Protection warned that strong winds and high temperatures would increase the risk of fires. Attica, Evia, Viotia, Corinth, the Argolid, the Cyclades, Icaria and Samos are particularly at risk. On the island of Salamina, 11 fire engines and four firefighting aircraft yesterday fought to extinguish a blaze which broke out at 2.30 p.m. in the area of Vassilika, where there are dozens of summer villas. The extent of damage caused by the blaze was unclear yesterday. ATHENS ROAD CHECKS Most drivers not drunk but speeding; taxi drivers worst offenders, police say Traffic police checks on drivers in central Athens show that most do not drink excessively but they do exceed the legal speed limits, police said yesterday. Most offenders so far have been taxi drivers who claim to have been going fast because their clients were in a hurry, according to police, who said they stopped 19 drivers for speeding on central Alexandras Avenue on Tuesday. Checks are to continue in central Athens and along coast roads, police said. SPEEDBOAT DEATH Czech man gets three years in jail A Kavala court yesterday sentenced to three years in jail a Czech tourist charged with the manslaughter of a diver whom he hit with his speedboat off Thasos at the end of last month. None of the witnesses who testified at the trial of Ivan Erat – who included the wife of the 47-year-old victim Stavros Sioutis, local fishermen who retrieved the diver’s body and the coast guard official who conducted the investigation into the incident – could say with certainty that they saw Erat’s boat striking Sioutis. Erat was released following his appeal. Bear killed A bear found dead near the border post of Krystallopigi near Florina yesterday morning had been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, an animal welfare group said yesterday. The animal, found on the road from Florina to Krystallopigi, had been hit by a large car or truck, a representative of the Arcturos group said yesterday. Street robbery Two unidentified robbers in a car drove off with 12,500 euros yesterday morning after threatening a motorcycle-borne postman at gunpoint in the middle of the road in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens. Andronikos Tzitzilonis, 47, was forced to stop when the car bumped into him. The robbers then threatened Tzitzilonis into handing over his bag of money, which had been destined for pension payments. Triathlon trial Traffic around the Athens Equestrian Center at Markopoulo, in eastern Attica, is to be disrupted from tomorrow until August 18 due to a triathlon event – one of the test events for the Olympic Games – which will be taking place there. Acropolis Museum The Greek department of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) yesterday appealed for an immediate stop to the «illegal» construction of the new Acropolis Museum at a press conference yesterday, saying the works were causing the loss of important ancient monuments. The Council of State last week rejected an appeal by ICOMOS for works to be suspended. Halkidiki drowning A 37-year-old man drowned off the coast of Trypiti in Halkidiki early yesterday morning after a plastic fishing boat, which he was in with two other people, capsized when its propellor became entangled in fishing nets. Georgios Gourlomatis drowned after getting trapped in the nets, while coast guards managed to rescue his brother Yiannis Gourlomatis, 34, and Apostolos Serbezis, 38. No transit The suspension of two programs allowing travelers to pass through American airports without a visa means passengers planning to stop at an airport in the USA en route to another country will need a transit visa, the US Embassy in Athens said yesterday. US authorities have temporarily halted the programs «in response to recent specific intelligence that terrorist groups have been planning to exploit the programs to gain access to the USA or US air space,» the embassy said.