In Brief


Sweltering heat prompts record use of electricity in Greece The demand for electricity on the national power grid reached an all-time high yesterday as people turned on fans and air conditioners for relief from the heat, but there was no danger of the system collapsing. The strain on the network peaked at 1.10 p.m. at 9,316 megawatts – just higher than last July when the system overloaded and most of southern Greece was left without electricity for several hours. Authorities are downplaying blackout fears today, as the temperature is set to rise to 40 Celsius (104F). CHILL OUT City of Athens offers relief from hot weather in 25 different spots The City of Athens reminded people yesterday that it has set aside 25 indoor air-conditioned areas in social clubs and medical clinics where Athenians can cool off. From 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., Athenians can seek refuge from the heat, which is expected to reach as high as 40 Celsius (104F) today. For details see Authorities advised those sensitive to the heat or who have respiratory problems to stay out of the sun. TENDER LAW EU poised to send warning letter The European Commission is due today to send Greece a warning letter concerning its controversial law on public tenders that bars certain parties from bidding on them, sources told Kathimerini. Brussels is expected to object not just to the law, passed by the current government in January, but also to legislation from 1988 and 1995. The EC says the demand for media companies to name every one of their shareholders if they are bidding for state contracts is incompatible with EU legislation. Xeros stroke? The lawyer of convicted November 17 terrorist Savvas Xeros yesterday asked authorities to transfer his client from the maximum security Korydallos prison to a hospital after he suffered partial paralysis, possibly brought on by a stroke. Xeros is serving six life terms but submitted an appeal against his sentence last month citing serious problems with his eyesight and heart. Losing pace Doctors are to begin checking the pacemakers used by their patients, authorities said yesterday, after it emerged that the nine models manufactured by US company Guidant and sold between November 1997 and October 2000 were defective. The company said that a component used to seal the pacemakers could degrade, allowing moisture to build up and causing the devices to fail. Officials jailed A Thessaloniki court yesterday sentenced two members of the financial crimes squad, SDOE, to 40 and 30 months in jail respectively after finding them guilty of blackmailing a businessman to the tune of 30,000 euros. They had asked the entrepreneur, who was facing trial for tax violations, for money in return for changing the testimony they were planning to give in court. The two men were released pending an appeal. Road deaths A 50-year-old man was hit and killed early yesterday morning as he was walking along a country road near Nea Moudania in Halkidiki. The driver, who was not identified, was arrested. Meanwhile, a 78-year-old was killed when his tractor collided with a car. The unnamed 22-year-old car driver was arrested, police said. Short stop A man was arrested yesterday after he robbed a bank in Halandri, northeastern Athens, and then slammed his getaway vehicle into a police car, officers said. The suspect held up a branch of the National Bank of Greece before trying to abscond with an unknown amount of money. The man was later identified by police as Theodoros Vassilakakis, 56, part of a duo that conducted 15 armed robberies in Athens between 1993 and 1995, nicknamed «the tall guy and the short guy.» Vassilakakis, the shorter of the two, was released from prison last year after serving nine years of a 23-year term. Drug overdose Two local men, aged 35 and 37, were found dead in a car early yesterday morning near Iraklion, Crete, police said. The two men are thought to have died from a drug overdose. A number of new and used syringes were found in the car, officers said. Six people have died from overdoses in Iraklion this year.

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