NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPIC SECURITY

Military personnel to be trained in responding to WMD attack Two groups of military medical staff are to travel to the Czech town of Liberec on Monday and next Sunday for NATO training in countering attacks using weapons of mass destruction ahead of the August Olympics, a statement by the joint chiefs of staff said yesterday. The purpose of the mission, to involve 48 officers, «is to test the staff in a real nuclear, biological and chemical environment,» the statement said. During the Games, the units will be expected to «provide first-aid treatment to government units tackling the consequences of a possible incident involving toxic substances,» the statement added. BORDER TALKS Greece, Albania discuss joint action against smuggling, forest fires Defense officials and security service staff from Greece and Albania met in the northeastern town of Ioannina yesterday to discuss tightening inspections at their common border to crack down on smuggling ahead of the Olympics and to boost cooperation in other areas. Human smuggling, the trafficking of drugs and arms, and forest fires were among the matters discussed. TRIAL RUN Minister rides new train to airport A suburban railway train prepares to depart from the Larissis station for the new Athens airport yesterday, carrying Transport Minister Michalis Liapis, officials and journalists on a trial run. When operational, the trains will cover the distance from Athens’s main railway station to the international airport in about 30 minutes. Liapis promised the service will be up and running in mid-July ELA trial An Athens court trying five suspected members of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorist group yesterday examined prosecution witnesses on 18 bombings carried out by the group. None of the witnesses were able to identify any of the defendants as the perpetrators of any of the attacks. Paralympics Flame The Flame of the Athens Paralympics will be lit on September 9 under the Acropolis instead of the usual venue of Olympia, Athens 2004 organizers said yesterday. The ceremony is to take place at the ancient temple of Hephaestus, the lame-legged ancient Greek god of fire and metallurgy. A total of 680 torchbearers, including Olympic and Paralympic medalists, are to carry the torch in the 410-kilometer (254-mile) route across Attica. (Page 3) Marathon swim A swimming marathon from Marathon to Vouliagmenis Beach, begins at the ancient site at 8 a.m. today. The National Swimming Federation of the Czech Republic, which has organized the event to promote the Olympic ideal, has invited Greek long-distance swimmers to join the marathon swim. Salonica blast A homemade explosive device consisting of two gas canisters caused around 45,000 euros in damage to three parked cars when it detonated in front of an apartment block in Thessaloniki’s Kalamaria district early yesterday morning. A car belonging to a top official of the Black Sea Bank was completely destroyed, and the two other cars were seriously damaged.