A wildfire fanned by strong winds forced the evacuation of a boarding school and six residential areas southeast of Athens on Wednesday, Greece’s fire brigade said.
The settlement of Feriza and five more areas about 45 kilometres (28 miles) from Athens have been evacuated, a fire brigade official said.
Earlier, about 30 children were transferred from the boarding school to a nearby hotel.
There were unconfirmed reports of damaged homes in the area, a local mayor told state TV.
At least 114 firefighters supported by 35 fire engines, five aircraft and eight helicopters battled the blaze, which broke out around midday.
“We were burning, trying to put out the flames with buckets of water, we couldn’t breathe,’’ one local resident told state TV ERT, adding that police had evacuated them.
Thick, dark smoke blanketed the area and state TV showed residents prior to their evacuation, using garden hoses to water the ground to help protect their properties.
Greece often experiences wildfires during its dry summer months.
Temperatures have remained high for the season and authorities warned this week of a high risk of blazes.
A forest fire was also burning on Wednesday near the seaside town of Nea Makri, northeast of Athens, the fire brigade said.
Separately, fires broke out early on Wednesday in a migrant camp on the island of Lesbos, destroying tents and containers and leaving thousands of people without shelter.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
BBNaija enthusiast predicts Laycon as winner of Sunday’s grand finale
Mr Desmond Urama, a Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) Lockdown 2020 enthusiast, says Laycon, one ofthe housemates, will emerge overall best in the Sunday grand finale of the live TV show.
Urama who operates a TV viewing centre for European League Football on Ogururu Road, Nsukka, made the prediction in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Nsukka on Tuesday.
He said that Laycon had been an interesting and intelligent team player among the BBNaija housemates.
“Laycon, since the commencement of the contest has been a good team player who relates to every member of the house freely as well as contributes meaningfully to every discussion and activity.
“If you check viewers’ voting, Laycon has been receiving the highest votes since the TV show started.
“I have no doubt that Laycon will win that N85 million total package price of BBNaija TV show on Sunday’s grand finale,” he said.
According to Urama, the only person that will pose a little challenge to Laycon is Dorothy who will come second during the grand finale.
“The only person I see that will pose a little challenge to Laycon is Dorothy because many people also like her performance and how she relates with other housemates,”he said.
The enthusiast noted that the eviction of Ozo would affect the morale and performance of Nengi who derived much strength, love and courage from him.
“If Ozo is among the finalists, he will have posed a serious challenge to Laycon because, psychologically, Laycon respects Ozo and sees him as a big guy and public figure,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta
Oil steady as United States storm eases but demand recovery fears persist
Oil futures were little changed on Tuesday after sharp overnight losses, as the latest tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico lost strength.
But worries about fuel demand persisted with flare-ups around the globe in coronavirus cases.
Brent crude futures edged three cents 0.1 per cent, lower to $41.41 a barrel at 0637 GMT thus, reversing earlier small gains.
United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for October, due to expire on Tuesday, slipped four cents or 0.1 per cent to $39.27 a barrel.
The more active November contract shed three cents or 0.1 per cent to $39.51.
Crude prices, which fell about four per cent on Monday, won some respite as Texas refineries stayed after a tropical storm was expected to keep losing strength, allaying worries about United States refinery demand for feedstock.
However, concerns about global demand held sway.
“The recovery in sentiment after the rout in risk assets seen a fortnight ago was clearly fragile,’’ said Vandana Hari, an energy analyst at Singapore-based Vanda Insights.
“This week, the market is recalibrating to a likely stalling of the economic recovery in Europe as several countries in the region impose fresh restrictions to contain a surge in the coronavirus.’’
Monday’s price slump was spurred by concerns that an increase in coronavirus cases in major markets could lead to fresh lockdowns and hurt demand.
That raised the possibility that a return of Libyan oil could come when it isn’t needed, as the country looks to ramp up exports.
“We had a pretty punchy risk-off session (overnight) … on fears around the risk that a COVID-19 resurgence starts to have negative impacts on demand again,’’ said Lachlan Shaw, National Australia Bank’s head of commodity research.
Markets are nervous about demand in places like the United Kingdom, where fresh restrictions are being imposed.
United States health officials are also warning of a new wave in the coming winter.
“When the virus resurges, governments lockdown, impose restrictions and individuals and businesses start to retreat.
It’s all bad for demand,’’ Shaw said.
Traders will be watching out for the American Petroleum Institute’s data on United States oil inventories due later on Tuesday.
United States crude oil and gasoline stockpiles likely fell last week, while inventories of distillates, including diesel, were seen climbing, a preliminary Reuters poll showed.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
East Mediterranean states formally establish Egypt-based gas forum
Six states signed a charter on Tuesday for an Egypt-based forum to promote natural gas exports from the eastern Mediterranean.
Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan signed the statute in a virtual ceremony to establish the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) as an intergovernmental organisation.
According to a joint declaration, the forum “will contribute to advancing regional stability and prosperity’’ through cooperation in the energy field.
It said the forum would be open to any East Mediterranean country applying to join.
Members of the forum have already held several meetings in Cairo since early last year.
Other states or organisations could join as observers.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Ogun community lauds Airtel for restoring electricity 15 years after disconnection
The residents of Isokan in Ogun on Monday commended Airtel Nigeria for assisting in restoring electricity, 15 years after the community was thrown into darkness.
Airtel said in a statement that Isokan community had been disconnected from public power grid since 2005 due to equipment failure.
The telco said the situation of the Isokan community was brought to its attention via Airtel Touching Lives initiative which prompted the company to intervene.
“The story was featured in an episode of the television programme, ‘Airtel Touching Lives’, which aired earlier in the year on national TV.
‘It showed community members narrating how livelihoods had been adversely impacted over the years, throwing homes, families and businesses in distress,” it said.
According to the statement, during the moving episode, Airtel pledged to support the community with the sum of N7 million to bankroll the electrification project which had been abandoned due to lack of funds.
It said the telco had since delivered on its promise, restoring power to the community following the erection of 29 utility poles and connection of the high tension and low tension cables to the main power grid transformer.
The people of Isokan community commended Airtel for restoring their long lost hope and giving hundreds of families a chance at a better life as businesses could now thrive with the prospect of stable electricity, it said.
Commenting, Secretary, Electrification of Isokan Community, Mr Bamidele Moses, said the intervention was life-changing.
He lauded Airtel for truly touching the lives of those in dire need without fanfare.
“Airtel Touching Lives has really touched our lives beyond our imagination. It still feels unreal because we have been in this situation for so long and nobody came to our rescue.
“I just want to thank Airtel for such generosity. This means so much to the people of Isokan. May God bless Airtel always,” Moses said.
Director of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, Airtel Nigeria, Emeka Oparah, said: “Airtel is committed to creating opportunities for Nigerians and providing platforms that will make lives better.
“The Airtel Touching Lives initiative has a singular vision of providing relief for communities and individuals who require them.
“We are excited that life has returned to the Isokan Community and we will not relent in our efforts of reaching out to underprivileged persons and communities across the country,” he said.
Airtel Touching Lives is an inspiring CSR initiative that seeks to offer relief, succor, hope, opportunities and credible platforms to liberate and empower the underprivileged.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi