Eintime Conversion for education and research 10-20-2007 @ 07:24:18
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Europe heat wave leaves dozens dead

ATHENS (AP) — Power blackouts hit more than a dozen parts of Athens on Wednesday and 95 fires were reported around Greece as a deadly heat wave plaguing southeast Europe simmered on.

Temperatures of up to 115°F have killed at least 42 people in Italy and Balkan countries in the last week, including 23 deaths in Romania. Two deaths were reported, in Bulgaria and Cyprus, on Wednesday.

Temperatures reached 111.2°F in parts of the Greek capital and the southern city of Argos, but cooler weather reached other parts of the Balkans.

Greece's state-run Public Power Corporation said there were outages in 13 parts of Athens — one as long as 20 hours — because of system failures. Authorities said the national grid had withstood heavy power demand for air conditioning use.

The number of heat-related deaths in Greece rose to seven, the Health Ministry said Wednesday, and the cause of five other deaths was being investigated.

Firefighters, aided by 13 air tankers and helicopters, battled a blaze in southern Greece near the coastal town of Diakofto. Ten other large fires were reported, while dozens of smaller blazes were contained or put out.

Dozens of homes were evacuated due to a fire on the Greek island of Poros, while a blaze near Athens was headed toward a populated area, the Fire Service said.

Greece's National Weather Service said temperatures would dip below 104°F in most of the country on Thursday.

Conditions in Romania were cooled by storms early Wednesday, but authorities remained on alert to deal with the affects of the heat wave. The government ordered local authorities to provide bread and water to elderly people, allowing them to remain indoors.

Turkey and Albania also saw cooler weather. Civil servants in Istanbul with chronic illnesses or other health problems were given the day off. Picnic areas in the Mediterranean town of Antalya were placed off limits through July 2, for fear of forest fires.

On the island of Cyprus, workers at the state-run electricity company staged a three-hour strike, forcing some power cuts amid temperatures reaching 107.6°F. Firefighters there were also battling a large fire in the south of the island.

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10-20-2007 @ 07:24:18