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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-01-05
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Samaras to meet Merkel on sidelines of Berlin forumAMNA/ Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday, Chancellor spokesman Steffen Seibert has confirmed.
He said they would "exchange views unofficially" at a meeting not open to the press. Both leaders will be attending an economic forum sponsored by the German daily Die Welt in Berlin.
The agenda of their private meeting was not disclosed.
"It is natural to take advantage of the opportunity to note once again the progress achieved by Greece in anything related to its efforts for reform," Seibert said, adding that "the chancellor and the prime minister have kept in frequent and intensive communication over the past few months."
 PM, FinMin confer ahead of Eurogroup meetingAMNA/ Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the Maximos Mansion offices to discuss the progress of the Greek economy and the processes that must be completed before the next Eurogroup meeting.
The January 21 meeting in Brussels is expected to decide on the next loan tranche, in preparation of which Greece must have voted the new tax regulations into law. The draft bill is expected to be voted in Parliament a week from today.
 Athens Med Association warns of health hazard from woodsmokeAMNA/ The Athens Medical Association (ISA) warned of the hazard to the public health from a drastic increase in the use of wood fires for heating throughout the country, urging subsidies for natural gas and oil in order to contain the "toxic phenomenon" resulting from the burning of firewood and other wood products in fireplaces and woodstoves by the public due to spiraling heating oil and natural gas prices.
"The health of the citizens cannot be put at risk by the economic crisis. Oligory will have a cost not only in money, but also in human lives," ISA said in an announcement on Thursday following a meeting of the relevant ministries on ways to deal with the rising levels of wood-fire smog in Greek cities.
"We have no more margins for waiting for a solution to be found. Vigilance can prove to be a salvation, oligory will prove fatal: We have enough cancer cases in our country, let's not cause more due to the economic crisis, because the cost of primary and secondary healthcare of sufferers of the damage caused by the wood-smoke fog is much larger than the cost of subsidizing natural gas and oil," ISA president George Patoulis told AMNA.
Patoulis is scheduled to visit the National Health Operations Center (EKEPY) on Monday to discuss a study of epidemic data on respiratory and heart problems caused by the carbon particles in the atmosphere and a series of prevention measures to safeguard the health of the public, especially the vulnerable groups such as the chronically ill, the elderly and young children.
In a similar announcement on Thursday, the Panhellenic Medical Association warned that the rising smog levels in Greek cities as a result of people burning firewood and other wood products to keep warm harbour grave dangers for public health. The Panhellenic Medical Association urged the state to take measures to mitigate the impact of atmospheric pollution reported in many areas, especially in large urban centres such as Athens, Viotia and Thessaloniki, and protect the population from the unpredictable and potentially harmful repercussions for their health.
Among others, it stressed the urgent need for financial incentives to promote use of oil and natural gas for heating by the general public.
"Advice alone is not enough for the financially strained population. Cooperation among all competent agents is needed in order to protect public health and environment," the announcement said.
 Pharmaceutical sales down 15.8 percent in Jan-NovAMNA/ Sales of pharmaceutical products fell by 15.8 in value and by 12 pct in volume in the January-November period last year, hit by a dispute between pharmacists and health authorities, a report by sector analyst IMS said.
Pharmaceutical sales fell by 6.7 pct in the first quarter of the year and by 13.5 pct in the January-July period. The report also showed changes in the sector as both domestic and foreign enterprises sought to strengthen their position in the emerging market of generic pharmaceuticals.
IMS said the volume of sales fell by 12 pct in the 11-month period to 327.1 million packages, while revenues fell by 15.8 pct to 2.91 billion euros over the same period.
Novartis topped the list of the most active companies in the sector, with a market share of 8.7 pct and revenues down 19.1 pct to 252.9 million euros, followed by Pfizer (8.0 pct market share and revenues down 25.2 pct to 232 mln euros), Sanofi (7.3 pct market share and revenues down 15.4 pct to 211.8 mln), AstraZeneca (5.6 pct market share and revenues down 12.6 pct to 164.6 mln), Vianex (5.2 pct market share and revenues down 2.2 pct to 152.8 mln).
Following in market share rankings from sixth to tenth were GlaxoSmithKline with a market share of 4.9 pct, Elpen with a market share of 4.2 pct, Pharmaserve with a market share of 3.8 pct, Boehringer Ingelheim with a market share of 3.2 pct and Merck Sharp Dohme with a market share of 3.1 pct. The 20 top pharmaceutical enterprises accounted for 72.2 pct of total sales in the market.
The report does not include figures for pharmaceutical sales to hospitals.
 Greece to auction 2-bln-euro Treasury bills on TuesdayAMNA/ Greece will auction two Treasury bill issues on Tuesday (8 January), seeking to raise 2.0 billion euros from the market. The state Public Debt Management Organisation will auction a four-week T-bill issue worth 750 million euros and a 26-week T-bill issue worth 1.25 billion euros. Settlement date will be Friday, 11 January 2013. The auction will be made with competitive bids by the market's primary dealers, while the organisation will also accept non-competitive bids up to 30 pct of the asked sum at a cut-off price.
 Government stepping up privatisation effortsAMNA/ Acceleration of the privatisation efforts was the focus of a meeting between Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and managers at the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED).
Officials at the agency responsible for privatisation of state assets said that plans called for the completion by the end of March of bids for the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), the National Natural Gas Transmission System (DESFA), the Hellenic Football Prognostics Organisation (OPAP) and the beachfront properties of Afantou on Rhodes and Cassiopi on Corfu.
Plans also include transferring 1,000 properties to TAIPED by 2014, starting with 40 properties by the end of March this year; accelerating the process to develop ports, marinas and regional airports; and accelerating the development through sale and lease-back of 34 assets currently under TAIPED management, including 6 properties abroad.
 Daniel Day Lewis in Athens for Greek premiere of film 'Lincoln'AMNA/ Oscar-winning British-Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis will be coming to Athens for the Greek premiere of his new film "Lincoln" and to promote the work of the Hellenic Spastic Society, which has invited him.
Day-Lewis has requested that all the proceeds of the premiere be donated to the Spastic Society's 'Open Door' Center, which the actor holds dear to his heart.
Oscar winner of the Best Actor Award for the films "There will be Blood" and "My Left Foot", Day-Lewis will be in Athens for the Greek premiere of 'Lincoln' on January 22 at CityLink in downtown Athens, and after the screening will discuss with the audience, followed by a reception.
'Lincoln', directed and produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis as US President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, covers the last four months of the life of one of America's most important presidents, focusing on his efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, outlawing slavery, passed by the House of Representatives.
Last week the Academy of Athens awarded the Spastic Society for its 40 years of contribution to children and adults suffering from cerebral palsy through the systematic provision of quality services, programmes and activities designed to improve and promote their quality of life.
Day-Lewis has been nominated for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for his role as 'Lincoln', and is also expected to be nominated for an Oscar for the 5th time.
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