In Brief


PASOK president looking for solid win in this Sunday’s ballot PASOK leader George Papandreous enjoys a solid lead over main rival Evangelos Venizelos, according to the latest opinion polls, with less than a week to go before the socialist party votes to elect its next leader. Sources said Papandreou is seeking to win Sunday’s ballot by gaining more than 60 percent of votes in order to avoid further leadership challenges. BUS FIRE Passengers evacuated as smoke starts pouring out of bus Passengers evacuated an Athens public bus company (ETHEL) vehicle in Skaramanga, west of Athens, yesterday when smoke started to come out of the back of the bus. No one was hurt in the incident, police said. It is the 11th ETHEL vehicle to have caught fire out of a batch of 206 buses delivered in 2000. Authorities have ordered inspections of the remaining buses to determine the risk of danger. COOLER METRO Air-conditioning deal signed More metro trains will be equipped with air-conditioning units by the start of 2009, authorities said yesterday. Attiki Metro said yesterday it had signed a 5.5-million-euro deal to supply its second-generation trains with air conditioning in a procedure that is expected to start next summer and last for six months. Currently seven of the metro’s 21 second-generation trains have been fitted with air-conditioning units. Banks attacked A group of youths attacked two banks in central Athens yesterday, damaging the front windows and ATM machines, police said. The youths attacked branches of Eurobank and National Bank in Exarchia before dispersing into surrounding streets. There were no reports of injuries. Bad food Prefectural officials in Piraeus seized 194 tons of rotten food last month following an intensive sweep of checks on local stores and warehouses. The confiscated food, which was deemed unfit for human consumption, included 49 tons of moldy sesame seeds, 40 tons of insect-ridden almonds, 24 tons of rotting oranges and 22 tons of coffee, also insect-ridden. A total of eight businessmen were indicted to trial on charges of violating health and safety regulations. Illegal antiquities Police in Serres, northern Greece, arrested a 50-year-old man yesterday after seizing from his home in Amfipoli several antiquities believed to have been excavated illegally. The haul included six bronze coins dating to the Classical and Hellenistic eras, six bronze coins from the Roman era, and other coins as well as an amulet dating to Ottoman times. ‘Greeklish’ software A Greek institute has devised software to turn the «Greeklish» Latin text transliterations commonly used by Greek Internet users – to the despair of purists – back into the native alphabet. «This software is particularly useful for members of the Greek diaspora living abroad,» a representative of the Institute for Language and Speech Processing (ILSP) told AFP. «There were negative reactions from people who say our software promotes the use of Greeklish, but we’ve received many emails of praise,» she said. (AFP) Heavy rainfall Heavy rainfall in the area of Argolida, eastern Peloponnese, yesterday flooded houses in the villages of Panaritis and Argoliko. Firefighters and municipal work crews helped pump out water from flooded homes. No further details were given. Guard mugged Three unidentified assailants attacked a security firm guard outside a branch of Carrefour in Argyroupolis early yesterday morning, robbing him of an unspecified sum he had been delivering to the supermarket. The robbers fled by motorcycle. There were no reports of any injuries.