Torrential rain floods Athens
Torrential rainfall in the capital on Friday crippled traffic, inundated basements and streets, and was blamed for the death of woman whose car was trapped in floodwater, authorities said. The overnight storm swept across greater Athens, flooding hundreds of homes, causing blackouts in parts of the city and forcing authorities to close major roads and a central subway station. “We have many, many problems — it’s hard to know where to begin describing it,” Deputy Fire Chief Vassilis Papageorgiou said. “We have more than 60 crews working to get people out of stranded vehicles.” The fire department said it received about 1,500 calls to pump out water in greater Athens. During five hours of heavy rainfall, more than 100mm fell in some parts of the city — more than the monthly average of 50mm. In parliament, a worker clearing water from the roof of the main assembly hall during a session tripped and went through a glass skylight, but was pulled to safety by a policeman. The accident occurred as Cabinet members were preparing to answer questions. “The worker could have landed on our heads,” Sports Minister Yiannis Ioannidis said.
Mammoth skeleton found
The rare remains of a prehistoric species of southern mammoth, whose giant tusks stretched more than 1m long, have been uncovered in the south of the country, news agency Itar-Tass reported. It is the eighth known find of a full skeleton of the gargantuan mammal — which stood at an estimated height of 4m. The mammoth was discovered when a cliff collapsed in the mountainous province of Kabardino-Balkaria in the North Caucasus. Paleontologists said the remote area is so full of the bones of prehistoric beasts that local highlanders have been collecting them for years. “It is very likely that we are not only talking about a single skeleton, but a whole graveyard of prehistoric animals. Locals use some of the backbones as stools,” Viktor Kotlyarov told Tass this week. One of the largest beasts to roam Earth, the southern mammoth is thought to more closely resemble today’s elephants than its furry northern cousin, the woolly mammoth.
Priests should marry: cleric
Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric says priests should be allowed to marry and have children. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, says the requirement for priestly celibacy is “not of divine origin” and could be reconsidered. He told BBC Scotland that “the celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry — Jesus didn’t say that.” He said on Friday that he would be “very happy” if priests were able to consider getting married. O’Brien will form part of the conclave of cardinals that chooses the next pontiff, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
Avalanche kills skier
Police say an avalanche that swept down the backside of the Revelstoke Mountain Resort in southeastern British Columbia caught three skiers, killing one of them. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Dan Moskaluk said the group was skiing in an out-of-bounds area when the avalanche happened on Friday. Resort general manager Rob Elliot says the three were part of a group of five or six men. Moskaluk says other members of the group were able to rescue two of the three people involved, but the third person was found dead. The skiers were not immediately identified.