|Monday, 18 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-08-23
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Foreign national charged with trying to burn wife; causes fireA 41-year-old Albanian national was arrested on Sunday evening on attempted homicide charges and of causing roadside fire after he allegedly doused his 27-year-old wife with a flammable fluid and set her on fire.
The incident took place in the Ano Liosia district, northwest greater Athens area, adding a particularly macabre note to an already bleak weekend due to raging wildfires north of Athens.
The woman, screaming and in flames, reportedly ran into nearby brush, resulting in a fire breaking out. The ensuing fire destroyed a small expanse of grassland before being fully extinguished.
The victim, also an Albanian national, was taken to a local hospital with extensive burns, while the alleged perpetrator was arrested in his vehicle on the old Athens-Corinth highway.
 Major wildfire rages NE of AthensA multi-front wildfire raged northeast of the greater Athens area on Sunday fuelled by gusty winds, as smoke filled the air over the Greek capital, while flames neared residential areas in Athens' leafier northern suburbs. While dozens of residences, mostly country homes, were burned, no casualties were reported.
On Saturday, with winds gusting up to 7 on the Beaufort scale the Greek fire brigade announced an unprecedented 83 small to large wildfires around the country, including an initially menacing blaze east of Karystos on southern-most Evia island, three separate wildfires on the Ionian island of Zakynthos, two wildfires on the island of Skyros, in central Viotia prefecture and a fire in the Dymis municipality outside the western port city of Patras. Ń string of fires on Zakynthos, meanwhile, reportedly reignited, as another wildfire erupted next to the island's landfill. Some 1,000 hectares of forestland were turned into ashes on the island. Moreover, a new press release on Sunday morning reported 65 forest fires of various sizes and intensity around the country since 6:30 a.m. (04:30 GMT).
Amid the declaration of a state of emergency in northern Attica prefecture, north of greater Athens, and a full mobilisation of Greece's hefty fire-fighting apparatus, the government requested aid from its European allies, with the first fire-fighting aircraft from abroad patrolling by Sunday afternoon.
The multi-front blaze was active in a triangle bounded by the community of Pikermi in the south, Grammitiko and Varnavas in the northeast and Aghios Stefanos in the northwest, a large swath of territory that includes pine forests, large expanses of pastureland, residential communities, crops and olive groves as well as hillier and mountain peaks. Particular emphasis was being placed on preventing wildfires from bypassing the Dionysos mountain slopes, areas ravaged by wildfires in the previous two decades, although in the early afternoon (12.30GMT) television footage showed flames licking houses on the slopes of nearby Mount Penteli, and specifically in the Ano Vrilissia district.
Later in the afternoon fronts were reported near the Pallini township in eastern Attica prefecture and further south near the town of Markopoulo and the Kalyvia site, as newly erupted wildfires were being added to the ongoing blazes. The recent spate of wildfires began on Thursday, with a wildfire erupting in the Magoula district of industrial western Attica prefecture.
The worst wildfire fronts by the early evening were in the Kalentzi district just east of Lake Marathon, Varnavas and Pallini, east of Athens proper. The firestorm that rushed through the Aghios Stefanos municipality, north of Athens and Mount Dionysos, was to be ebbing towards nightfall. Conflicting reports had earlier referred to an evacuation of Aghios Stefanos, a residential and commercial centre some 35 kilometres north of downtown Athens.
In the late afternoon on Sunday, Greek Police's (EL.AS) headquarters urged returning holiday-makers to avoid using the northern highways leading into Athens unless absolutely necessary, in order to facilitate fire brigade operations in regions north of the city.
According to reports on Sunday, a total of 130 fire engines, 26 military vehicles, some 500 fire-fighters aided by 340 troops, 20 aircraft, along with 30 water tankers and more than 500 vehicles from adjoining municipalities are involved in efforts to battle the fires.
The European Commission also announced the activation of the Union's civil defence mechanism on Saturday evening, with two Italian fire-fighting aircraft already patrolling over southern Greece, while another two French planes were reportedly en route to Greece as well. Cyprus also announced its willingness to dispatch 70 fire-fighters and four aircraft.
In a later report from Vienna, Austria's defence ministry announced that it will send six firefighting aircraft and helicopters to Greece. Additionally, 30 military officers and a Hercules C-130 transport aircraft will escort the firefighting aircraft.
Problems were expected reported in power lines in affected regions, although the state energy company PPC said its high-voltage lines are unaffected and no problems are foreseen for the greater Athens area. Four medium-voltage lines were down, PPC stated, with 200 repairmen and linesmen sent to affected areas.
On the government side, an emergency meeting was held at the Maximos Mansion government house, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, with all relevant ministers, civil defence and armed forces personnel to consider all additional measure to combat the wildfires, especially the one in northeast Attica prefecture.
aramanlis later flew over the fire-stricken region in a helicopter, while on Saturday he met with the fire brigade's leadership at the service's command centre in Athens. Additionally, it was announced that President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was returning from his holidays in northwest Greece.
Finally, in what's expected to be a groundswell of financial support for the fire-stricken areas, the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE) will provide 500,000 euros from its reserves for restoration projects for municipalities and communities in northeastern Attica affected by the latest disastrous wildfires.
 Super League football resultsThe 2009-2010 Super League football championship kicked off over the weekend, although the matches between AEK Athens-Olympiakos Piraeus and Panionios Athens-PAOK Thessaloniki were postponed due to the state of emergency declared in Attica prefecture as a result of raging wildfires north of the Greek capital. In the most important match played, Panathinaikos Athens beat Ergotelis Crete 3-0 away on Saturday.
In other action:
Aris Thessaloniki-Atromitos Athens 1-0
Xanthi-PAS Yiannina 1-1
Asteras Tripolis-Larissa 0-0
Levadiakos Livadia-Kavala 0-1
Panthrakikos Komotini-Iraklis Thessaloniki 1-2
Standings after one week of play:
1. Panathinaikos 3 points
2. Aris 3
3. Kavala 3
4. Iraklis 3
5. Asteras 1
6. Larissa 1
7. Xanthi 1
8. PAS Yiannina 1
9. AEK 0
10. Olympiakos 0
11. Panionios 0
12. PAOK 0
13. Atromitos 0
14. Levadiakos 0
15. Panthrakikos 0
16. Ergotelis 0
Note: AEK, Olympiakos, Panionios and PAOK have not yet played a game.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesAthens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
Only a handful of papers managed to include the raging wildfires in Attica prefecture in their Sunday editions, the others mainly focused on the usual domestic political reports and speculation, along with the state of the economy.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "New pension rates with successive social insurance".
APOGEVMATINI: "Entry scores for 300 universities, college departments".
AVGHI: "Scandals, economy in freezer due to election speculation".
AVRIANI: "Massive operation by intelligence service to catch arsonists".
CHORA (weekly): "Elections due to economic impasse".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Shhhh, Costas (Karamanlis) is thinking. Hour of decisions by prime minister".
ETHNOS: "The government knew about Turkish provocations on Rho islet".
KATHIMERINI: "Fiery nightmare returns".
LOGOS: "Karamanlis' small basket of promises at upcoming Thessaloniki fair".
NIKI: "Escape via an early ballot".
PARON (weekly): "Who is pressuring and why for early elections".
REALNEWS (weekly): "The state burned us! Residents and local officials claim slow response by authorities."
RIZOSPASTIS: "Decisive answer to anti-communist (initiative)", a reference to an event on Sunday that was ultimately cancelled due to the wildfires.
VIMA: "Black September with political uncertainty, economic chaos".
VRADYNI: "Bigger pensions in record time."
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