NEWS

In Brief

ANTI-FLOOD ACTION

Local authorities urged to review measures ahead of Olympics The General Secretariat for Civil Defense yesterday sent an urgent circular to all local and regional authorities, urging them to review existing anti-flood measures and to take extra steps where necessary. The secretariat warned that floods could occur during the Olympic Games as heavy downpours are habitual at this time of year. It urged districts which have suffered floods in the past to take immediate action to ensure they are prepared. Street-cleaning crews must clear garbage and other possible obstacles from roads, it added. PUBLIC TRANSPORT Ministry agrees to pay staff ‘fairly’ for working during the Games All forms of public transport serving Attica should operate according to schedule during the Olympics after workers reached an agreement with the Transport Ministry regarding their remuneration for working in August, Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said yesterday. The workers will be rewarded for their efforts «in a fair and reciprocal way,» a ministry statement said. EKAB STRIKE Ambulance workers continue action The National First Aid Center (EKAB) will continue operating on skeleton staff unless employees’ demands for overdue overtime payment are met, unionists said yesterday after staging a four-hour work stoppage. The workers, who include ambulance workers and paramedics, warned that they might continue strike action during the Olympics if they are not paid for three months of overtime work. Tanker tips The Kozani-Ioannina National Road was closed off for 15 hours yesterday after a truck carrying sulfuric acid overturned near the village of Pentalofos, spilling some of the extremely toxic chemical onto the road surface. No injuries were reported. The acid was transfused from the original truck, which bore Albanian registration plates, to another vehicle. Meanwhile, residents of Pentalofos and Eptahorio were warned not to drink tap water in case the water table had been contaminated. Fabulist Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday that a Belgian television news report alleging that Islamic terrorists had arrived in Brussels from Greece with the aim of sabotaging NATO headquarters was based on «a groundless rumor… propagated by an unreliable source.» Public Order Ministry officials said that a man purporting to be a Greek national had visited police, purporting to provide information, but he had been deemed unreliable. Illegal immigrants A group of 16 illegal immigrants were detained on Chios yesterday, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. Meanwhile, four coast guard patrol vessels were monitoring a suspected smuggling ship off the northeastern coast of Evia. It was believed to be carrying around 60 would-be migrants, the ministry said. Marine affairs Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis yesterday met the Spanish and Turkish ambassadors, Juan Ramon Martinez Salazar and Yigit Alpogan. Kefaloyiannis reiterated to Salazar Greece’s request for the release of the Greek captain of the Prestige tanker, which sank off Spain in 2002. Apostolos Mangouras has been banned from leaving Spain pending trial. With his Turkish counterpart, Kefaloyiannis discussed sea routes and fighting illegal immigration. Island rescue A couple from Athens, who had been missing on Samothrace since Saturday night, were found yesterday by rescue workers. Suzanna Demiri, 29, and Ioannis Haritos, 38, had been unable to cross the island’s Fonias River gorge, according to rescuers, who said that that the couple were exhausted but unharmed. Astir probe Parliament yesterday received a file with the results of a prosecutor’s investigation into whether any ministers from the previous government should be blamed in connection with the sale of land to the Astir Palace Hotel in Vouliagmenis. The probe followed allegations that the 16-hectare expanse had been sold by Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA) for too little. The hotel’s major shareholder is the National Bank of Greece.