NEWS

In Brief

EMERGENCY LANDING

OA flight forced to return to Athens after problem with landing gear An Olympic Airlines Boeing 737-300 carrying 131 passengers and crew to Brussels had to make an emergency landing at Athens International Airport yesterday after its landing gear jammed, authorities said. The plane took off at 4.20 p.m. but had to return to land at 5.53 p.m. due to the problem. Firetrucks and ambulances were on alert but were not needed. The plane landed safely and passengers continued their journey with another aircraft. GOING UNDERGROUND New parking lot at Fix metro station An underground parking lot adjacent to Fix metro station, which cost 13.5 million euros to build, will open for business within the next few weeks, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday. There will be space for 642 cars in the six-level lot, taking the number of parking spots at all metro stations in Athens to 2,100. Souflias said by 2007, the target is to increase that to 5,000 spaces at nine stations. Four similar lots will be built at Nomismatokopeio, Elaionas, Anthoupolis and Halandri metro stations, he said. Gasoline tracking The Finance Ministry is assessing the obligatory implementation of a software system by petrol distributors and resellers that is able to track the transportation of fuel as part of the government’s bid to stamp out illegal trade in energy, sources said. The software system will be able to monitor the gasoline as it moves from the refinery to filling stations. Illegal petrol trade is estimated to cost the state billions of euros every year in lost tax revenues. Police Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met yesterday with Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and agreed on a restructuring plan for the police force in the broader region of Thessaloniki, sources said. The scheme foresees the decentralization of services, a reduction in police stations and stepped-up pedestrian patrols in city centers. Some 450 more police in the country’s north will be hired, bringing the total number of law enforcers in the area to 4,000. Mild quake A moderate earthquake shook the islands of Lemnos and Lesvos early yesterday, authorities said, but no injuries or damages were reported. According to the University of Thessaloniki, the 4.6-Richter tremor struck an undersea area between the two islands at 6.06 a.m. Armed robbery Two armed men held up a branch of Alpha Bank in Peristeri, western Athens, yesterday and made off with an unknown amount, police said. The men, who were wearing motorbike helmets, also took the service revolver from the bank’s security guard. Police immediately launched an extensive manhunt to find the robbers but failed to locate them. Security sale Greece’s Security Research Center (KEMEA) is scheduled to sign a deal today with the Organizing Committee of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games concerning the sale of know-how on security issues, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis told Parliament yesterday. It is the first deal by KEMEA concerning the export of security know-how after Greece forked out more than a billion euros in order to host safe Olympic Games. Athens map Tourists in Athens will soon be able to pick up a free map of the city’s transport network and key archaeological sites in the center of the capital, the Organization for the Development of Athens Tourism and Economy said yesterday. The maps will be handed out by volunteers at the yellow information kiosks set up at various points in the city center by the City of Athens. The map will also include timetables for public transport as well as ticket prices.