River level dangerously high, payouts approved for flood victims Authorities in northern Greece last night remained on standby after the water level of the Evros River rose a meter above the emergency level to 6.70 meters. A dam in Orestiada burst in the morning, flooding about 3,000 hectares of land. Following talks between regional officials and Cabinet ministers, the government issued a decision enabling flood-stricken farmers and other citizens to receive immediate compensation for their losses. A total of 12,000 hectares of land in Evros have been submerged by floods, caused by recent heavy rainfall. Reforestation campaign Bid to regenerate Mount Pendeli and parts of Rafina begins tomorrow A large-scale campaign for the reforestation of Mount Pendeli and parts of Rafina, badly charred in recent fires, begins tomorrow morning. The initiative, which foresees the planting of thousands of trees in the burnt areas, has been organized by Attica’s regional authorities with the support of Greece’s Boy Scout Association. It is unclear whether Mount Parnitha, also badly burnt in recent forest fires, will be included in the campaign. Bodyguard crackdown VIPs may lose officer protection The government is looking at ways of changing the law so that the police are not required to provide bodyguards for businessmen, well-known journalists and other VIPs, Deputy Interior Minister Panayiotis Hinofotis told Parliament yesterday. Hinofotis was responding to a question from Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) MP Kyriakos Velopoulos, who asked why more than 2,800 policemen were assigned to bodyguard duties and why MPs had only one guard whereas some businessmen and journalists had two or more. Hinofotis said the conservatives are examining ways to get some of these police officers returned to normal duties. Police protest Members of the Union of Attica Police Officers yesterday staged a demonstration outside the main entrance of Athens International Airport to protest the death of a 43-year-old colleague who suffered a heart attack while on duty. Unionists charge that Constantinos Hontos, a father of three, had been particularly stressed as he had been guarding 130 detainees with just two other colleagues. Union representative Spilios Kriketos told Kathimerini that he had complained about the airport’s overcrowded detention center a month ago. Climate seminar A seminar assessing the impact of climate change on the economy – in Greece’s case on tourism and agriculture in particular – is being organized today by the British Embassy in association with Kathimerini and Skai. The seminar, which brings together experts from Greece, Britain and Spain, will be broadcast live on Skai’s website (www.skai.gr) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Light switch Energy-efficient light bulbs have been slow to catch on both in Greece and the rest of Europe but represent savings of about 70 percent on energy bills, as well as greatly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Representatives of leading manufacturers tell Kathimerini why we should consider switching our lights. (Page 3) Cop copped A former police officer from Thessaloniki was given a suspended jail sentence of two years and five months yesterday after being found guilty of accepting bribes from a man who owned an amusement arcade containing illegal slot machines so he could tip off the storeowner about upcoming police inspections. The retired 47-year-old officer, who was arrested in 2003 and then left the force, allegedly accepted 3,000 euros a month from the 53-year-old businessman, also a retired policeman. Pensioner killed An 80-year-old woman was found murdered in her apartment in Patissia, near central Athens, late on Wednesday, police said yesterday. The woman, who had lived alone since her husband died three years ago, was found bound and gagged. She had also been beaten, according to police. Officers said there were signs that the rest of the apartment had been searched, probably by a burglar.