Strong winds uproot trees in Attica, buffet boats and ferries in the Aegean Strong winds late on Wednesday night, which reached 9 Beaufort in the Aegean, caused widespread damage across Attica, uprooting trees and causing damage to boats and ferries. Ferry departures from Piraeus and Rafina were canceled yesterday after five cargo ships ran aground, fishing boats foundered, and moored vessels were buffeted against each other on Wednesday night. Rescue services extricated a four-member family from their car which had been trapped on a road near the village of Alepohori near Megara following a landslide caused by massive waves. Fallen trees caused problems on Vouliagmenis Avenue and the Athens-Corinth national road. DAMANAKI Former Synaspismos leader resigns seat, leaves party Synaspismos Left Coalition MP Maria Damanaki yesterday announced that she was leaving the party that she led in the early 1990s and resigning her seat in Parliament, one day after stating that she would not be running for election with Synaspismos or any other party in the forthcoming polls. Damanaki said her move had been precipitated by media speculation that Synaspismos was to expel her. «I feel I can have nothing to do with a party that does not respect different views,» she said. «I am not giving up politics.» BOMBER CRASH Two A7 pilots safely ejected The two pilots of an A7 Corsair fighter bomber aircraft, which crashed just east of a military airport in Araxos near Patras shortly after noon yesterday while on a training flight, managed to safely abandon the aircraft using its emergency ejection system, the air force said. Nikolaos Stamatelatos and Pantelis Vathakos jumped out of the aircraft at an altitude of 2,000 feet following what appears to have been an engine problem, the statement said. SARS alert A 38-year-old Chinese meteorologist, who was taken to Athens’s General Air Force Hospital with a temperature of 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) on Wednesday night, is unlikely to be suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), doctors said yesterday after the patient’s temperature dropped. The unnamed man arrived in Athens on Monday morning as part of a Chinese delegation visiting for talks on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The results of tests carried out on the 38-year-old are due today and will determine absolutely whether he is suffering from SARS or not. Olympic protest Work at the Olympic Village in the suburb of Menidi, north of Athens, stopped yesterday as hundreds of laborers staged a 24-hour strike to protest safety conditions following Wednesday’s fatal accident on the site. Alexi Batsi, 32, who died after being run over by a cement mixer truck, is the fifth worker to die on the site. Vandalism A monument to Jewish holocaust victims in Ioannina has been desecrated by anti-Semites a week before a gathering of the northwestern town’s Jewish descendants had been due to take place there, Agence France-Presse yesterday quoted Jewish community officials as saying. Teacher sentenced A Drama court has given an eight-month suspended sentence to a local secondary school mathematics teacher for giving private lessons to his weaker pupils at his home, court sources said yesterday. Serious Crime Squad officers caught up with Grigoris Fotiadis in April last year. Free orthodentistry The Social Security Foundation (IKA) said yesterday that it would be able to provide free orthodentistry to 12,000 children with IKA insurance every year. The cost of such treatment in the private sector would exceed 36 million euros, IKA said. Academias buses A new bus route connecting central Athens with the coastal suburbs is to start operating today. The E22 express route, originally connecting Academias with Varkiza, has been extended and will stop at Aghia Marina Koropiou, Lagonissi and Saronida. The E22’s terminal stops are on Panepistimiou Street and Lefkados Street.