NEWS

In Brief

MOSCOW BOMB

Simitis, Karamanlis send Putin condolences after terrorist attack Prime Minister Costas Simitis sent a telegram to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing his condolences for yesterday’s metro bomb attack that killed at least 39 people in Moscow’s morning rush hour. «We condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest fashion,» a Foreign Ministry statement said. Opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis also sent his condolences. ILLEGAL RACING Police fight hundreds watching southern Athens contest, no arrests Riot police clashed with hundreds of youths at the junction of Vouliagmenis and Alimou Avenues shortly after 1 a.m. yesterday as they tried to break up an illegal motorcycle race the youngsters had gathered to watch. The crowd threw sticks and stones at the police, who took in 36 people for questioning but released them without charges. One officer was slightly injured on the chin by a thrown stone. BLUE ODYSSEY Olympic security exercise starts More than 1,000 police, coast guard and fire brigade officers yesterday participated in the first day of a three-day pre-Olympics security exercise at the port of Piraeus and along the coastal area of Palaia Fokaia. The drill, code-named «Blue Odyssey,» is based on a theoretical terrorist attack involving a hostage crisis at sea and the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but authorities have kept the exact scenario secret and have ordered the media to stay away. Unholy alliance A ring of burglars stole money and valuables from at least 12 churches in the northern suburbs of Attica over the last year, police said yesterday after arresting two suspects. Officers detained Giorgos Vonianos, 30, and Giorgos Dimitrakopoulos, 28, and were seeking two suspected accomplices. Roadworks There will be traffic disruptions on central Tritis Septemvriou Street until the end of March due to roadworks. Roadworks will also cause problems on Kifissou Avenue around the Petrou Ralli junction from tomorrow until the end of May. Conscript death A 21-year-old conscript, serving on the island of Symi near Rhodes, died just before midnight on Thursday after having been diagnosed with lumbago (lower back pain) earlier that day, according to an army statement yesterday. Athenian Dionysios Koutsoyiannopoulos fell into a coma on the boat returning to Symi from Rhodes, where he had been sent for medical tests, the statement said. An autopsy has been ordered. Pedestrian rights The problems faced by pedestrians in Athens are to be discussed at noon on Monday at the offices of the Technical Chamber of Greece by a group called the Citizens’ Initiative for Pedestrians’ Rights. The tendency of motorists to park on sidewalks and the general lack of access to many pedestrianized areas will be top of the agenda. Salonica protest Residents of four Thessaloniki municipalities are today to begin an indefinite blockade of the Hortiatis TV and radio transmission installations, demanding the removal of dozens of antennae which they say pose a constant health threat. Meanwhile, police said they had confiscated broadcasting equipment that four television stations had been operating in the area without a license. Worker dies A Pakistani worker was fatally injured yesterday after falling from the attic of the detergents warehouse in the Athenian district of Tavros where he was employed. The exact cause of death of the man, whose name and age were not made public, was unclear. Road pileup Two fuel-laden tanker trucks and a lorry were yesterday involved in a pileup on the Thessaloniki-Veria national road, which resulted in the driver of one of the tankers sustaining minor injuries. Police said the accident occurred when the lorry slowed down to turn off the highway into a factory entrance but was not seen by the second of the following tankers, which smashed into the other truck that in turn hit the lorry. Firemen had to cut the one fuel truck driver free.