Stores open tomorrow as market checks grow ahead of Christmas Shops will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m tomorrow as store owners gear up for an increase in Christmas shoppers. Meanwhile, the Development Ministry pledged to step up inspections on open-air markets and street traders yesterday. Since November 15, 3,632 checks have been conducted, resulting in fines totaling 58,100 euros, the ministry said. EARTHQUAKE TRIAL Eight in the dock for collapse of Nea Philadelphia building The trial of eight people accused of being responsible for the collapse of an apartment block in the Nea Philadelphia suburb of Athens during the major earthquake on September 7, 1999 began yesterday. Seven residents died and one was seriously injured when part of the building fell during the quake. Those on trial include the owner of the basement, representatives of a chain of supermarkets and civil engineers. They are accused of modifying the block so the ground floor and basement could be used as a supermarket, which resulted in weakening the building’s structure. PUBLIC TRANSPORT More frequent services There will be more buses, trolleys, trams, and metro and overground trains laid on this weekend in order to accommodate Christmas shoppers, transport authorities said yesterday. Trains between Piraeus and Eirini stations will run every three and a half minutes and every five and a half between Eirini and Kifissia. The metro will run every five minutes between 9 a.m and noon and every four minutes between noon and 7 p.m. Buses and trolleys will also run more frequently. The tram will run every 15 minutes. Weather warning There will be heavy rain and storms around the country this weekend, the General Secretariat for Civil Defense warned yesterday. Strong southerly winds, reaching 9 on the Beaufort scale, are also expected today in most parts of the country, including Attica. Winds may reach 10 Beaufort in the eastern Aegean. By tomorrow, the bad weather will mostly be concentrated in eastern Greece before easing by evening. Emergency services have been placed on standby. McDonald’s robbery Two hooded, armed men held up a McDonald’s restaurant in Kolonos, western central Athens, early yesterday morning and made off with 1,500 euros from the tills. The robbers locked the store’s female manager and two employees in the accounting office before fleeing. Stabbing A 45-year-old unemployed drug addict was found stabbed to death yesterday in his apartment in Aghios Dimitrios, southeastern Athens, and his partner was rushed to hospital in critical condition, police said. Constantinos Nigdelidis was stabbed at least 15 times, while his partner, Olga, had been stabbed several times in the stomach. Turkish violations Four formations of Turkish fighter jets flew over the Aegean yesterday without submitting flight plans and in three cases breached Greek national air space, Defense Ministry sources said. In all cases, the Turkish jets were chased off by Greek fighters. All eight of the Turkish planes were armed. Plane decompression A Boeing 737, belonging to Helios Airways and flying from Warsaw to Larnaca, suffered cabin decompression late Thursday, prompting the Cypriot Transport Ministry to launch an investigation. Some 35 passengers on board experienced headaches, slurred speech and disorientation due to the lack of oxygen in the cabin. They were given first aid on arrival and three passengers were taken to the hospital for further treatment. The airline said the safety of the passengers and six crew had never been at risk. Zouzou Nikoloudi Choreographer Zouzou Nikoloudi has died at the age of 87, the Culture Ministry announced yesterday. Nikoloudi was well-known for her work with the Horika troupe, which she set up in 1966. Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis called her a «pioneer of modern Greek dance.» Her funeral will take place on Monday.