NEWS

In Brief

WEATHER WARNING

Authorities on alert for heavy storms around the country There will be heavy rain and thunderstorms around the country today, the General Secretariat for Civil Defense warned yesterday. Weather conditions are expected to be worse in the Peloponnese, on mainland Greece, including Attica, the northern and eastern Aegean islands and eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Emergency services have been placed on standby and authorities warned people to be vigilant. The bad weather is expected to continue over New Year’s Eve with temperatures dropping, particularly in central and northern parts of Greece. More rains and storms are expected on New Year’s Day, with a chance of snowfall in mountainous regions but the weather is expected to improve from the afternoon onward. ANARCHIST ALERT Police fear more attacks Attica police yesterday decided to step up patrols in central Athens and take extra measures to avoid a repeat of scenes on Christmas Eve when some 50 suspected anarchists tried to burst into the Aghios Pandeleimonas precinct, forcing officers to fire warning shots in the air before riot squads dispersed the youths. A 29-year-old man was arrested after the incident and officers, who suspect that he is a key figure on the anarchist scene, fear there may be a backlash against the police. Some 30 youths forced their way into the offices of the Macedonian Press Agency in Thessaloniki yesterday, taking over the premises for half an hour and leaving leaflets demanding that the 29-year-old not face magistrates. Bus changes Diversions to several bus routes are in effect from today until noon on Sunday, January 2 due to road closures for New Year celebrations in Kotzia Square, central Athens. Athinas Street between Lykourgou and Sophocleous streets will be closed to all traffic. The changes affect the 031 bus from Ano Petralona to Omonia, the 731 from Ano Petralona to Anthoupolis, the 049 from Piraeus to Omonia, the 838 from Omonia to Palia Kokkinia, the 200 from the Museum to Kolonaki and the 035 from Ano Kypseli to Tavros. More details of the diversions can be obtained by dialing 185. Academy awards The Athens Academy handed out its annual awards for outstanding achievement yesterday. Among the recipients were Nikolaos Kaltsas, the director of the National Archeological Museum, painter Sotiris Sorogas, writer Dimitris Nollas and poet Nanos Valaoritis (photo, left). An honorary, posthumous award was given to 74-year-old ethnic Greek teacher Yiannis Kanidis, who was among some 350 people killed in a terrorist attack on a school in Beslan, Russia, in September. Prison death A 40-year-old female inmate at Korydallos Prison in Athens was found dead in her cell yesterday, authorities said. Katerina Baila had been in jail since July 2003 awaiting trial on charges of buying, possessing and selling drugs. Initial reports suggest a natural death but a coroner will examine the body today. Missing person Emergency services said yesterday they had not been able to find a 58-year-old Athenian pensioner missing since Christmas Day, when he went mountaineering near the town of Trikala in central Greece. Christos Pantazis had been staying in a hotel in Elati for the Christmas holidays and his wife raised the alarm when he failed to return from his outing. Market checks Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou signed a decision yesterday which requires the bodies responsible for checking prices of services, medicines, industrial products and food and drink to work 24-hours a day and on weekends until December 31, 2005.