|Friday, 20 October 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-02-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 1 February 2011 Issue No: 3709
 Greece to prepare for surge in migrants from north AfricaCitizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Monday announced that Greek authorities will step up police and coast guard patrols on land and at sea to stem a possible upsurge in the tide of illegal immigrants from the troubled north African countries of Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.
Papoutsis made the announcement after chairing a meeting with the leadership of the Greek Police (ELAS), the National Intelligence Service and the coast guard to discuss the situation in the region and strategies for coping with a possible surge of migrants from those areas. The meeting took place at the Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries ministry.
Papoutsis said that there did not appear to be any particular cause for concern at present but that Greece should be prepared and in a state of readiness.
Checking the identity of all ferry passengers on domestic routes would be a part of this effort for stricter monitoring, he added.
The minister also noted that if there was a rise in migrants from these areas to Greece, they would be afforded temporary protection internationally, as provided by the law.
Papoutsis emphasised that European Union authorities were starting to question Greece's ability to guarantee the protection of EU borders as required under the Schengen Treaty, in addition to the problems with migration pressure faced by the country.
He was critical of those mobilising legal and illegal migrants at a time when such actions were exceptionally risky and could well triggered uncontrollable situations.
"I appeal to all agencies and unions supporting migrants to discourage their members from actions that could act as sources of tension," Papoutsis underlined, urging those wishing to demonstrate their solidarity with migrants to do this in a way that did not place the Greek people and their entitlements at risk.
The minister announced that 17 committees for examining applications for political asylum would begin working at a secondary level on Monday. He stressed that the political will to assess the applications was there, even though there was a huge backlog of 46,000 applications now pending.
 EU foreign ministers council convenesBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)
Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Marilisa Xenoyiannakopoulou on Monday expressed her satisfaction over the results of an EU foreign ministers council regarding the situation in Egypt.
In statements after the meeting, the Greek minister said that the council's decisions were "positive and balanced decisions through which a clear message is sent, that the aim is a smooth and coordinated transition to a stable pluralistic and democratic Egypt. A process that will lead to free and fair elections."
Underlining that the Greek people is linked with the Egyptian people through a long friendship, the Greek minister said that the situation in the country remained "extremely fluid".
"We must follow closely the situation without dictating or indicating the final outcome," she said, adding that it is important that solutions should be the result of "internal processes in Egypt, from the people of Egypt.
The Greek minister also called on the European Union to elaborate concrete policies that could handle massive immigrants and refugees influx resulting from the crisis.
 Alexandria Greeks seeking to leave Egypt rise to 200ALEXANDRIA (ANA-MPA - N. Katsikas)
The list of Alexandria Greeks who wish to be evacuated from strife-torn Egypt and come to Greece has risen to 200, the head of Alexandria's Greek community Yiannis Tsokas told the ANA-MPA on Monday. He appealed to Greek authorities to respond immediately by sending planes to get people out.
Tsiokas said the Greek community in the city would undertake to get people to the airport in order to board the planes when these arrived.
In the meantime, reports said Cairo airport was bursting with thousands of foreign nationals trying to leave the country, including 10 Cypriot residents of Egypt that were waiting to board a private flight by a U.S. plane to Larnaca in Cyprus, following arrangements made by the Cyprus embassy in Cairo with U.S. diplomatic authorities.
Concern among ethnic Greeks in Cairo was less pronounced, according to the head of the Cairo Greek community Christos Kavalis. So far, only six teachers and 10 Greek residents of Cairo have officially requested to return to Greece.
The offices of the two Greek communities in Cairo and Alexandria will remain open during the hours when a curfew imposed by Egyptian authorities is not in force, ready to help with any problems that may arise for Greeks in the two cities.
In Athens, government spokesman George Petalotis noted that the government had a plan in place and was fully ready to evacuate ethnic Greeks from Egypt with complete safety. He also noted that no Greek was currently in danger.
The spokesman said that the Greek embassy and consular authorities in Egypt were constantly in contact with the sizeable Greek community in Egypt and that the operation to evacuate would take place "if all there are all the conditions for safety so that none of the lives of the Greeks that are there are placed at risk".
Earlier on Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister for overseas Greeks Dimitris Dollis announced that two C-130 military aircraft were ready and on stand-by for orders to take off from Elefsis military airbase for Alexandria. At the time he said that approximately 100 Greeks in Alexandria have asked to be evacuated from Egypt, while another 17 people were waiting at Cairo airport.
 FM spokesman comments on issue of ethnic Greeks in EgyptA Greek foreign ministry spokesman on Monday said Athens is in constant contact with the country's embassy and consulates in Egypt, adding that only some members of the ethnic Greek community in Alexandria have expressed an interest to be evacuated from the Middle East country. No such request has been made from members of the community in Cairo.
Speaking to an Athens radio station, spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras reiterated that communication with Egyptian authorities is mandatory in order to initiate any such airlift, while a secure sitution, both on the roads and airports, is also necessary in order to carry out such a mission.
Delavekouras said roughly 100 people have asked to be flown out from Alexandria.
Moreover, the Greek spokesman said he was briefed that the situation was calmer the previous evening on the streets of major Egyptian cities.
 Military transport planes to depart for Alexandria on Tuesday morningThree C-130 military transport planes are scheduled to depart from Greece for the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Tuesday morning in order to evacuate Greeks that are now in the country, the government announced on Monday evening.
The operation to repatriate members of Alexandria's sizeable Greek community is being coordinated by Deputy Foreign Minister for overseas Greeks Dimitris Dollis, who will be aboard the first plane that takes off.
The three planes are due to take off from the military air base at Elefsina at 9:00 a.m.
So far, some 200 Alexandria Greeks have officially requested to be evacuated from strife-torn Egypt.
 Papariga says Egypt uprising 'lacks leader for the people'Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga commented on the protests in Egypt while speaking to the state television channel NET on Monday, noting that it was a social uprising that lacked a "leading political force expressing the interests of the people".
"An uprising, in order to have a positive political outlet, first wants to have the people in the street but definitely in order for an outlet to come there have to be political forces, a political force such that they have a real alternative solution. Now the alternative solution being prepared is a sucession formation that will not change politics fundamentally," she said.
According to Papariga, if Mohammed El Baradei did succeed current Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, any changes that arose as a result would be mainly "superficial".
 PM presides over meeting over implementation of e-prescription systemPrime Minister George Papandreou was chairing an inter-ministerial meeting at noon on Monday convened to examine the issue of a nationwide electronic prescription system for the country's state-run health and pension funds, a more-or-less pressing matter due increasing costs and the suspected practice over-subscribing of drugs.
The system would also include public hospitals and other health providers.
The labour & social insurances ministry has been the first to initiate the system, with all of the funds promising to join by May, with hospitals' participation now the question mark due to deficient operational and technical support in such facilities. The prospect of an international tender for IT support and programmes has also been broached. (ANA-MPA)
According to relevant ministers, impressive cost-cutting results have already been recorded in only the pilot phase of the new e-prescription system, with only a partial implementation resulting in saving of 850 million euros for 2010, whereas the target for 2012 is no less than 3.6 billion euros -- 1.4 billion for 2011.
 Pharmacists to continue strikesPharmacists on Monday announced that they will continue nationwide strike action on Friday, Feb. 4 and on Monday, Feb. 7, while on Wednesday, Feb. 9 the general assembly of the Panhellenic Pharmacists Association will meet to decide on the future of their mobilizations in support of their demands for changes to the government's bill for liberalising their profession.
The Attica Pharmacists Association will decide later on Monday on the course of the mobilizations. As of Tuesday, pharmacies in Attica will stop filling out prescriptions on credit to those insured by the social insurance funds OPAD, TSAY, TAS, ISAP and the lawyers fund that have outstanding debts of several months.
The Piraeus Pharmacists Association will continue the rolling 48-hour strikes on Monday, Jan. 31 and on Tuesday, Feb. 1 by not filling out prescriptions on credit to those insured by the social insurance funds OPAD, TSAY, TAS, Public Power Corp. (DEH) and ISAP.
Pharmacists in Piraeus will meet on Tuesday to decide on the future of their mobilizations.
 Petalotis on economy, denies early elections speculationGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Monday once again denied speculation of early general elections, noting that the government has strong legitimisation from the people for the country's salvation.
Responding to criticism of government policy by main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, Petalotis said that the ND leader would have been terrified at the prospect of undertaking the country's governance.
Asked if early elections would be held, in light of developments in Europe for a solution of the debt problem, Petalotis said that "the solution of saving the country has the full legitimisation of the Greek people", adding that, at any rate, the government put this issue forward in the recent local administration elections, the results of which proved that the government indeed had that legitimisation.
Asked to comment on a statement by Samaras in an interview that the government will "escape" through early elections, Petalotis said that seriousness is urgently being sought for ND, which he called on to acquire a uniform line and policy platform on the burning issues, many of which it was itself to blame for.
The government, he continued, has shouldered an important role and was making a titanic national effort, adding that the present government found itself faced with the task of saving the country from the brink of bankruptcy, where the preceding ND government had left it.
These efforts, he said, will be completed with a series of structural changes in the coming period.
 We will not bow to pressures to legalise migrants, interior minister insistsInterior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis once again repeated on Monday that the government would not bow to pressures to legalise migrants, at the same time revealing that the previous government had set an unfortunate precedent by yielding to a similar demand roughly two years earlier.
Speaking to the radio station "Vima", Ragoussis said that the occupation of the Athens university law school building by upward of 200 illegal migrants may have been partly prompted by the experience of 15 Moroccans in early 2009, who had finally been granted legal residence status by the then New Democracy government after they started to develop health problems due to a hunger strike. He noted that this group also had set out from Hania in Crete to come to Athens.
Ragoussis underlined that the present government would not budge from its position and that it had shown its determination through its handling of the occupation of the law school building.
"The occupation ended without us backing down even one iota," he said, stressing that the government would adopt the same tough stance in the future.
Regarding university authorities and their handling of the occupation, the minister said this was initially mistaken but later corrected, adding that he would wait for the decisions made by justice concerning the case. A public prosecutor issued a summons for Athens University rector Theodosis Pelegrinis to testify concerning his handling of the affair earlier on Monday.
Ragoussis underlined that the prosecutor's inquiry had to be followed through to the end and that the affair should not be allowed to simply end with impunity because the worst had been avoided.
"It is not like that. Responsibilities must be attributed because, I say again, Greek society, the country as a whole, does not have the margins to cope with such unexpected dangers. There were specific inciters, organisers that must be held responsible at all costs by the public prosecutor," he underlined.
 New political asylum com'ts unveiled; EU programme to repatriate illegalsSeventeen committees assigned with evaluating applications by third country nationals for political asylum, in the appeals phase, commenced their operation on Monday, in cooperation with the UN's High Commission for Refugees.
At present some 46,000 applications are pending.
Meanwhile, the citizens' protection ministry announced that foreign nationals illegally in the country who wish to return to their country of origin can employ a EU programme for the voluntary repatriation of third country citizens.
The programme includes a full briefing of interested parties; reimbursement for basic living costs until their departure and during the first period of their return to their home country. (ANA-MPA)
 Gov't spokesman on loss of Mediterranean GamesGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Monday denied that losing the organisation of the Mediterranean Games was "embarrassing" for Greece and stressed that the government could not have consented to a "squandering of public money that the ministers of the previous government had carelessly promised".
He pointed out that the government had at no time refused to carry out works needed for the Mediterranean Games and its infrastructure but only drawn the line at "fiestas that would have cost the Greek people millions and been a real provocation" at a time of austerity.
Petalotis also noted that the Greek side had promptly informed the committee for the Mediterranean Games of the changes.
Asked whether any of the projects scheduled to take place for the Games would be carried out, Petalotis said that there were "behind-the-scenes" dealings for some of these projects and that all of them were now under review.
The International Committee for the Mediterranean Games (ICMG) last Friday announced that Greece had been stripped of the 2013 Mediterranean Games awarded to Volos and Larissa in 2007 because of delays in work to build the facilities and the government's decision to withdraw 190 million euro of funding for accommodation.
 German envoy visits VolosGerman Ambassador to Greece Roland Michael Wegener visited on Monday the city of Volos, central Greece, where he held talks with Mayor Panos Skotiniotis focusing on possibilities for further development of relations between the region of Magnesia and Germany.
Skotiniotis proposed the reinforcement of coperation in the sectors of tourism and culture. On his part, the German envoy noted that the city of Volos and the neighbouring Pilion mountain are very popular tourist destinations for Germans, while underlining his wish to see Volos becoming a sister city to a German one.
 Dep. FM unveils econ diplomacy initiatives for 2011Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis on Monday unveiled the Greek government's economic diplomacy initiatives for 2011, emphasising that the "foreign ministry is focusing on the best possible coordination between public and private sectors to boost the Greek economy's extroversion."
Kouvelis said the goal is for government ministries, export organisations and economic chambers to work together in order to better promote specific Greek products and services in specific markets.
"We are also focusing on the Greek provinces to boost local entrepreneurship, new entrepreneurs, quality products and brand names," he added.
The past year was described as positive considering a 7-pct increase in exports in Jan.-Nov. 2010, while in Nov. 2010 exports increased 38 pct compared with the same month in 2009.
Kouvelis said the six geographic target-regions of the initiative are: EU - N. America - Australia; Middle East - N. Africa; Black Sea - Caucasus; Asia - Far East; Latin America; Sub-Saharan Africa.
Top Greek exports are foods, energy (including RES), construction materials, construction, tourism, health and equipment (mechanical and industrial).
 Corporate governance code put together by SEVThe Greek Corporate Governance Code prepared by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) for the listed companies is ready to be implemented, it was announced on Monday.
The code took under consideration the Greek legislation and the country's business reality while it also included issues that transcend existing laws and regulations. Furthermore, it can serve as a tool for listed companies currently in the process of complying with recently introduced Law No. 3873/2010.
The code was open for discussion for more than four weeks before its definitive text was posted on SEV's website www.sev.org.gr
 UGS, ministers, discuss Greek shipping prospectsThe prospects of Greek shipping in conjunction with the Greek economy's prospects were the focus of a meeting Monday of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) with finance minister George Papaconstantinou, Maritime Affairs minister Yiannis Diamantidis, Minister of state for international economic relations Haris Pamboukis and finance deputy minister Dimitris Kouselas.
No statements were made afterwards, but finance ministry officials told ANA-MPA that the meeting was a follow-up to an older meeting with the prime minister given the importance placed by the government on the role of Greek shipping in the economy.
 Eurobank Properties report lower 2010 resultsEurobank Properties on Monday reported an 80-pct decline in 2010 profits to 8.0 million euros, down from 39.6 million euros in 2009, reflecting a fall in the estimated value of its real estate portfolio by 27.3 million euros, after an increase of 4.5 million euros in 2009. The negative results were attributed to adverse conditions prevailing in SE European markets.
The company said its 2010 results were burdened by an extra tax charge of 4.0 million euros. Interest revenues fell 1.1 million euros last year, while leasing revenue rose 6.2 pct to 44.64 million euros. Operating spending fell 21 pct despite an increase in VAT, while financial spending were down 17 pct.
Operating earnings rose 9.0 pct to 37.8 million euors, while funds from operations grew 2.0 pct in 2010. Eurobank Properties said its shares were trading at a discount of around 48 pct in the market.
 Expedia reports noteworthy hike in reservations for GreeceExpedia on Monday sent optimistic messages over this year's tourism trends in Greece, saying figures available, so far, for April, May and June are very encouraging, with significant reservations recorded for April and November.
Speaking to reporters during a news conference, Expedia's officials in Athens said a government decision to lower VAT rates for hotels -- resulting in slightly reduced room prices -- has positively contributed to the attractiveness of Greek tourism.
Expedia said it would continue promoting Greece through news letters, its website and through online and offline marketing policies.
Expedia said room reservations for Greek hotels, through special promotional offers, accounted for 43 pct of total reservations. Specifically, package reservations for Greek isles were up 50 pct in 2010, compared with the previous year, with visitors mainly coming from the US (36 pct), Italy, the UK, France and Germany.
Greek hotel room prices, booked through Expedia in 2010, were unchanged compared with 2009, although they fell slightly in the last quarter of the year, with this decline expected to be continued in 2011.
 Retail sales volume down 12 pct in NovRetail sales volume dropped 12 pct in November 2010 compared with November 2009, after a decline of 11.1 pct recorded in the 2009/2008 period, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to a 26.6 pct drop in furniture-electrical appliances-home appliances, a 12.5 pct drop in pharmaceuticals-cosmetics and 10.7 pct fall in fuel and lubricants, an 8.8 pct decline in large food stores and a 6.1 pct fall in bookstores.
The retail sales turnover index fell 6.3 pct in November, after a decline of 9.2 pct recorded in the same month in 2009.
 ASE suspends trading in PetzetakisThe Athens Stock Exchange on Monday announced it was temporary suspending trading in Petzetakis shares, for a maximum period of 10 days, in order to give the listed company time to fully inform the public over significant developments in its activities. Petzetakis announced it was in the last stages of receiving a 25-million-euro loan from Javes Services Inc to repay a 17.5-million-euro loan to Credit Renaissance & PSAM.
 Stocks end flat on MondayStocks ended flat in the first trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange, as worries over developments in Egypt reversed an early strong advance of prices. The composite index rose 0.13 pct to end at 1,593.30 points, off the day's highs of 1.42 pct. Turnover was a moderate 113.666 million euros. The Big Cap index rose 0.24 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.32 pct higher and the Small Cap index jumped 1.57 pct. Viohalco (6.94 pct), Mytilineos (4.58 pct) and MIG (2.86 pct) were top gainers, among blue chip stocks, while Titan (4.22 pct), Ellaktor (2.08 pct) and Coca-Cola Hellenic (2.0 pct) were top losers.
The Raw Materials (5.88 pct) and Chemicals (4.92 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains while Insurance (4.43 pct) and Commerce (2.42 pct) suffered losses. Epilektos (20 pct), Fieratex (16.67 pct) and ETEM (14.81 pct) were top gainers, while Paperpack (16.05 pct), Compucon (12.5 pct) and Altec (12.5 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.02%
Personal & Household: -1.81%
Raw Materials: +5.88%
Travel & Leisure: -1.18%
Food & Beverages: -1.93%
Financial Services: +2.43%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and HBC Coca Cola.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.28
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.95
HBC Coca Cola: 21.51
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.97
National Bank of Greece: 7.06
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.28
Bank of Piraeus: 1.66
ADEX closing report
The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.47 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 44.468 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,500 contracts worth 34.774 million euros, with 35,657 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 24,327 contracts worth 9.694 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (6,637), followed by Eurobank (1,136), GEK (1,750), National Bank (5,397), Alpha Bank (2,608), Intracom (982), Marfin Popular Bank (1,016), Mytilineos (1,053) and Intralot (431).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.380
Pound sterling 0.867
Danish kroner 7.514
Swedish kroner 8.937
Japanese yen 113.39
Swiss franc 1.299
Norwegian kroner 7.990
Canadian dollar 1.378
Australian dollar 1.387
 Migrants enter 7th day of hunger strikeSome 250 illegal migrants who took over an Athens University Law School downtown Athens building last week and were subsequently moved early Friday to a nearby neoclassical building entered the seventh day of a hunger strike on Monday, to press their demand for legalisation.
The leader of the Solidarity Initiative for the 237 hunger strikers Petros Giotis told ANA-MPA on Monday that 133 of the migrants were camped out inside the building, in a 200 square meter area on the ground floor and semi-basement that has been made available to them, while the remaining 133 were living in tents in the yard.
Giotis also said that no further rooms in the building have been opened to shelter those currently camped out in the yard even though, he added, there were more spaces that could be used on the first floor and the semi-basement.
The neo-classical building, a few kilometers away from the Law School building, which is closed for renovation, was initially made available by the owner after negotiations with authorities for 15 days.
The Law School Council of Rectors has proposed the relocation of the migrants to another building in downtown Kaniggos Square, on condition that they will remain there until they end the hunger strike, but Giotis said a complication has arisen with the owner of the Kaniggos building and the matter has not progressed.
 Eight summoned to testify over occupation in Law School buildingAppeals Court Public Prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis on Monday sent out eight summons to suspects being charged over their part in the occupation of an Athens university law school building by hundreds of illegal immigrants. The eight suspects have been asked to testify in a preliminary inquiry into the affair on Wednesday and Thursday.
One of the summons sent out was to Athens University rector Theodosis Pelegrinis, who is being charged with a misdemeanour offence of breach of duty over his handling of the incident and will be asked to provide explanations for his actions.
The remaining summons are for the criminal offence of trafficking migrants and concern the assistance provided to the group of migrants in reaching Athens from Crete. They have been sent to the members of the "Solidarity Committee" that helped the migrants to organise their protest and enter the university building, where they would be covered by asylum legislation that barred police from entering to remove them without permission from university authorities.
The prosecutor is also continuing an investigation into the offences of disturbing the peace and damaging property.
 New Metro strike on TuesdayAthens Metro employees decided to roll over a 24-hour strike on Monday to another 24-hour strike on Tuesday in protest of a bill revamping public transports.
In an announcement, the Metro employees called the government's policy 'heartless' and, addressing themselves to the passengers, noted that their demands include preservation of the public character of urban transports and no increase in mass transit ticket prices.
The new strike coincides with the first day of a 48-hour strike called for Tuesday and Wednesday by bus employees.
The Athens Metro was not running on Monday due to the employees' strike, while Athens' buses were holding a work-stoppage from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to attend a general assembly that will formalise the 48-hour strike.
 Art models call for permanent solution to their labour issuesArt models employed to pose for students at Greece's School of Fine Arts demand a permanent and definitive solution to their labour issues, the School of Fine Arts Models' Union announced on Monday. It stressed that the models are still waiting to be hired by the school's workshops, some weeks after the start of the new term, after delays caused by bureaucratic obstacles.
The red tape obstacle, demanding that they be hired via the Supreme Council for Staff Selection (ASEP), apparently has been pushed aside following the problem's public exposure. However, the art models still demand "a stable job, labour and social insurance rights", having on their side "the students and the school's management".
The union numbers 29 art models, male and female, paid by the hour under exclusive work contracts and constitute an "integral part of artistic creation".
 Court of Appeals hands down suspended sentence to Thessaloniki riotersA Court of Appeals in Thessaloniki on Monday handed down a 6-month suspended sentence to four protesters arrested in the riots that erupted during the EU Summit meeting held in the city back in June 2003.
The four, Simon Chapman from the UK, Fernando Perez Gorraiz from Spain, Syrian Souleiman Dakdouk and a local man Mihalis Traikapis, had been released pending the Court of Appeals trial. A first instance court had sentenced them to prison terms ranging between 5-and-a-half and 8-and-a-half years.
Since last September, Traikapis is in custody accused of participating in an armed robbery in Evia, central Greece, and was represented in the Court of Appeals trial by his attorney.
 H1N1 toll climbs to 15A total of 15 people have lost their lives since the start of the year as a result of contracting H1N1 flu, Greek authorities revealed on Monday.
With another three deaths in the last two days, the toll has risen to 15 and a further 16 people had to be admitted to intensive care as a result of complications from the flu.
The Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases (KEELPNO) said that a total of 81 people have been admitted to ICUs as a result of H1N1 since the start of the year.
 Fire at construction materials companyA major fire broke out early Monday at a construction materials and paints company in the Bolati region in Dalamanara, Argos.
A strong team of firefighters from Argos and Nafplion that rushed to the scene battled the blaze for more than two hours before managing to contain the fire.
The firefighters remained on scene and continued operations because the fire was still smoldering due to inflammatory materials at the site.
The building was totally destroyed, while the causes of the fire are being investigated by Fire Brigade experts.
 Greek football hit by economic crisisGreek football is heavily hit by an economic crisis, with attendance figures falling steadily raising worries over the sport's outlook in the country. Rising unemployment, violence in stadiums (keeping spectators away), poor quality and a drastic reduction of investors and sponsors, are the main reasons for the current misery prevailing in Greek football.
Most football enterprises are at the brink of despair over their finances, with their outlook painted with even more bleak colours. Average attendance figures for the first 17 schedules of the Super League are disappointing with only five teams reporting higher attendance: Olympiakos (up by 4,881 compared with the same period in the previous season), Larisa (1,449), Asteras Tripoli (634), Xanthi (307) and Atromitos (58). On the other hand, Aris Thessaloniki recorded a decline of 3,905, followed by Panathinaikos (1,061), Ergotelis (880), Heracles (717), Kavala (689), Panionios (651), PAOK (598) and AEK (459).
OPAP, the state lottery organisation, is offering great help to Greek football with several sponsorships, while television rights are expected to be unchanged by 2012. Soccer teams, participating in lower leagues are facing even bigger problems with several matches cancelled as teams cannot afford transportation expenses. Panos Bitsaxis, secretary-general of sports, has repeatedly said that football teams should not rely on state help to survive and the ministry mulls a restructuring of many teams.
 Showers, frost on TuesdayCloudy weather and light showers are forecast in most Greece on Tuesday with morning frost in the north and sunny weather in the west and eastern Aegean. Winds east northeasterly, 3-6 Beaufort, rising up to 8 Beaufort at sea. Temperatures will range from -3C in the north to a maximum of 16C in western Greece. Cloudy in Athens, with temperatures from 5C to 9C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures ranging from 3C to 8C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceEconomic issues and the Siemens scandal, and the crisis in Egypt were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Critical deliberations for the 4th tranche of the support loan".
AVRIANI: "Prosecutor must intervene immediately in the Siemens scandal".
DIMOKRATIA: "Samaras: The Memorandum must be changed".
ELEFTHEROS: "The big secret of Siemens and the political parties' coffers".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Fuse in the Mediterranean".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Rough time for corporate work contracts".
ESTIA: "Tax evasion rampant".
ETHNOS: "Crash test for auxiliary pensions".
IMERISSIA: "Foreign funds' test on Athens Stock Exchange - Four conditions for package purchases".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Strict German conditions for solution of debt crisis in EU".
TA NEA: "Finance minister pre-announces austerity, by virtue of law".
VRADYNI: "30 years of austerity".
 Spokesman: Turkish official repeating provocative positionsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou stressed on Monday that there is only one state in Cyprus, pointing out that the head of Turkey's negotiations for accession to the EU Egemen Bagis was ''unfortunately repeating the same negative and provocative positions.''
Referring to Bagis' remarks that there were ''two states'' in Cyprus, Stephanou noted that the Turkish official was ''conveying the position of the Turkish leadership for two 'states' and two 'peoples' in Cyprus, which does not reflect reality and is outside the positions and decisions of the international community and especially the UN.''
''There is only one state in Cyprus, one people comprising two communities, the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot community,'' Stephanou pointed out.
He added that the secessionist action of Turkey in 1983 to unilaterally declare an illegal state in the northern Turkish occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus was unanimously condemned by the UN Security Council, which considers it legally invalid and has called on all states not to recognise it.
The only country that has recognised the illegal regime ''is the country that has committed the illegality in the first place, namely Turkey,'' he noted.
Asked when the talks between the leaders of the two communities would resume, after their meeting in Geneva last week with the UN Secretary General, Stephanou said that a date for their next meeting has not yet been set.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, namely President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, are currently engaged in UN-led negotiations with an aim to reunify the island.
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