NEWS

Democritus meeting weighs risks

Fears inspired by the recent attacks on the United States that terrorists may start using biological or chemical weapons have made an already scheduled meeting at Democritus National Center for Scientific Research even more timely. This Monday and Tuesday, representatives from NATO, of countries in the Joint Action for Peace coalition, chiefs of staff, ministries and scientific bodies are gathering at the Democritus Center near Parnitha on the outskirts of Athens to discuss ways of dealing with a nuclear, biological or chemical attack or industrial accident. At the same time, the political and military leadership of Greece is taking steps to encourage the creation and development of groups and organizations that would be able to make a vital contribution to tackling any such eventuality. Outside experts will be attending the meeting, which was organized by the Armed Forces Civil Defense Department in cooperation with NATO. They will analyze warning and protection methods in the case of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack, with a view to limiting the damage. The chiefs of staff note that the meeting was arranged a long time ago and that such meetings are held twice a year, either in NATO countries or in Joint Action for Peace member-states. The most recent conference was held in the Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Greek government and chiefs of staff are gradually activating the mechanisms that would have to deal with any terrorist attack involving biological or chemical weapons. Last Thursday the National Council for Prevention of Biological and Toxic Hazards held its first meeting. The council has the task of developing a health protection plan for Greece. The Army Chiefs of Staff has announced the formation of a special nuclear-biological-chemical defense unit, whose mission would be to provide support in the case of major environmental pollution. The unit (expected to be ready for duty shortly) will comprise five groups staffed by US-trained experts with state-of-the-art equipment. Teachers: Give us a raise or we strike