NEWS

In Brief

OSSETIA CRISIS

Greece to send Russian to town where her daughter, 11, is a hostage The government is arranging to send a Russian woman living in Greece to the town of Beslan in North Ossetia where her 11-year-old daughter is among hundreds being held hostage by suspected Chechen rebels, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said yesterday. The Interior and Foreign ministries are working together to ensure that Anna Tontrova will be able to travel to Beslan – where her daughter Marina is a hostage in a school near Chechnya – and return to Greece without any problems, Pavlopoulos said. Tontrova does not have the necessary documents nor the money to travel to Russia independently. OLYMPIC SURFERS athens2004.com website was visited by 75 million people over August Seventy-five million people visited the athens2004.com official website during the month of August, service provider OTEnet said yesterday. The site, which offered information about the Olympic Games, event results and background about the athletes in Greek, English and French, received the most visits from Americans, followed by Australians, Canadians, French, British and Greeks. The highest number of visits to the site in one day was 5.2 million. The site will offer a similar service over the course of this month’s Paralympics. GAMES VOLUNTEERS Concert to honor their contribution All Olympic volunteers are tonight invited to a ceremony and concert at the Hellenikon Olympic complex in recognition of their contribution to the organization of the Games, Athens 2004 officials said yesterday. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a concert featuring pop singers Sakis Rouvas and Elli Kokkinou, officials said. The volunteers should arrive between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. bearing proof of their accreditation, officials said, adding that paid Athens 2004 staff were also welcome to attend. Bear rescued Firemen and rescue workers took more than five hours to pull a bear out of a rainwater reservoir in northern Greece where it had been trapped for several days, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. The 200-kilogram bear, which had apparently fallen into the virtually empty reservoir in its quest for water, was spotted by residents of the nearby village of Perivlepto, some 15 kilometers from Ioannina in Epiros. Kastoria floods Kastoria’s fire service and municipal rescue workers were yesterday attempting to repair the damage caused by Wednesday night’s heavy rainfall which flooded roads and basements across the northern town. There were also frequent power cuts following the flooding of an electricity substation. Benefit deposits As of this month, Greek residents who receive federal benefits from the United States will have the option of having those benefits deposited directly into a US dollar account, the US Embassy said yesterday. Benefits from the Social Security Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Veterans’ Administration, and the Railroad Board now qualify for this program, the embassy said. Interested individuals should visit one of the banks offering US dollar direct deposits, such as the Bank of Piraeus, Alpha Bank and the National Bank of Greece.