NEWS

In Brief

HEAT ALERT

Warning as temperatures set to hit 40C this weekend The Civil Defense Authority yesterday warned citizens to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves against the high temperatures over the weekend which are expected to reach 40C (104F) tomorrow (Sunday). High humidity levels and the absence of wind are expected to worsen conditions, the authority said. Exposure to the sun and heavy physical exercise should be avoided. TOXIC THREAT REMOVED Eighty tons of pesticides taken from Thessaloniki site for destruction Eighty tons of highly toxic pesticides were removed yesterday from a disused industrial site in western Thessaloniki, where they have sat exposed for the past 15 years, and loaded onto a cargo ship bound for Germany where they are to be destroyed. The total of 1,000 tons of pesticides, abandoned on the site following the closure of a factory, are to be removed in two phases, according to a joint plan by the ministries of Public Works, Agriculture, and Macedonia and Thrace. The project is expected to cost a total of 1.17 million euros. TRAVEL ADVISORY Australia plays down warnings Warnings issued by the Australian government for travelers to be wary of terrorism in Greece and Germany were not intended to scare off potential visitors, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday. The advice to Australians to avoid large public gatherings in Greece «is not an argument for not going to Greece,» Downer argued. Mine landslide A landslide of 1 million cubic meters of lignite at a mine in Ptolemaida, western Macedonia, yesterday afternoon did not result in any injuries despite the presence of workers at the site. The landslide at the mine, which supplies fuel for the power station at nearby Kozani, is a common occurrence, the mine’s director said yesterday, adding that production was not interrupted. Sea rescue Two men missing since Thursday evening when their yacht capsized off the coast of Zakynthos were found just before 1 a.m. yesterday following an extensive search operation by land, sea and air, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Antonios Vryonis and Andreas Tzavalas were both in good health. Samothrace trance More than 75 people have been arrested over the past few days for drug possession on their way to an annual trance music festival which started on Samothrace yesterday, according to police and coast guard officials, who have been conducting inspections on the island and at the neighboring port of Alexandroupolis. Russian lottery An Athens court yesterday postponed until November 4 the hearing of a case by Russia’s National Athletics Institute brought against a company named European Games Limited which is allegedly owned by Greek telecoms and software tycoon Socrates Kokkalis. The institute is seeking the freezing of Kokkalis’s assets and wants back 15 million dollars it says it paid the company to set up a lottery enterprise in Russia. But European Games allegedly did not honor the contract for the foundation of the enterprise. Test run A test event for the Olympic marathon will be staged over the traditional course on November 2, Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said yesterday. Bronze medal Periklis Iakovakis of Greece took the bronze medal in the men’s 400 meters hurdles at the World Athletics Championship in Paris yesterday. Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic was first in 47.25 seconds, ahead of Joey Woody of the United States with 48.18. Iakovakis clocked 48.24. School fees Increases in private school fees for obligatory course subjects and transport costs will not exceed 3.8 percent for the academic year beginning in September, under an agreement between the government and school representatives yesterday.