HEAT WAVE BEGINS
Temperature to hit 39C today and rise 1C every day until Wednesday The temperature in Athens is expected to reach 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) today and then rise by 1C every day until Wednesday, when the temperature is due to hit 43C (109F), the National Meteorological Service (EMY) said yesterday. Forecasters expect the heat to ease gradually from Thursday onward but have warned that there will be a smaller drop than usual in temperatures during the evenings from today. This will be the first heat wave to hit the city since the fire on Mount Parnitha last month. Environmentalists believe that the forest on Parnitha was responsible for cooling the air in Athens by several degrees. TRAIN CRASH OSE finds that station masters and Proastiakos driver ’caused’ accident Human error was to blame for a Proastiakos suburban railway train colliding head-on with a freight train in Sepolia, western Athens, and injuring 53 people nine days ago, according to the results of an investigation by the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE). Mistakes by two station masters and the driver of the Proastiakos train caused the accident, OSE said. Investigators checked the records of conversations between the drivers and the station masters as part of the probe but did not give details about what mistakes they are alleged to have made. OA DELAYS Airline and pilots in disagreement Fifty Olympic Airlines passengers were forced to spend Thursday night in Lemnos airport after two OA pilots refused to fly the plane because the cabin crew did not have up-to-date first-aid, security and firefighting certificates. The passengers returned to Athens yesterday afternoon. An OA flight to New York was delayed by nine hours yesterday while a flight to Paris was canceled, leaving some 300 passengers stranded. The airline blamed the delays on the pilots, saying that their union, EHPA, was making unreasonable demands about job security. EHPA issued a statement saying that OA had gone against the union’s advice and borrowed airplanes and crews from charter airlines in Lebanon, Turkey and Serbia to cover routes. Four killed Four youths were killed in a car accident close to Xanthi, northern Greece, yesterday when the vehicle in which they were traveling spun out of control and slammed into a light pole before catching fire. The reason why the 20-year-old male driver lost control of the vehicle was not immediately known. Three young women traveling in the same car – two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old – also died. Holiday season More than 35,000 people are estimated to set sail for one of the islands in the Aegean from the port of Piraeus this weekend as the summer holiday season draws near. Officials said tickets on high-speed ferries had all sold out and that seats were only available on the slower regular ferries. Brokers sentenced An Athens misdemeanors court yesterday handed three stockbrokers two-year jail sentences each, suspended for three years, for stock manipulation in August and September 1999. Ioannis Moustos, Panayiotis Contalexis and Dimitris Ranios had been previously cleared of the offenses on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Businessman Ilias Bogdanos was cleared of all charges yesterday. Tinos wetland The Ombudsman recommended yesterday that authorities stop issuing construction licenses on the Cycladic island of Tinos to prevent the destruction of the wetland at Aghios Ioannis Porto. After studying the matter, the watchdog recommended that nobody be allowed to build in that area of the island until a presidential decree is passed to protect the wetland. The Town Planning Department said it will comply with the request but the Ombudsman has not received a reply from the Environmental Planning Department of the Public Works Ministry. Upset farmers Farmers are expected to block parts of the national highway near Larissa, central Greece, with tractors today in protest at a government decision not to award them compensation for crop damage suffered due to water shortages in the area.