|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-03-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 23 March 2016 Issue No: 5137
 PM Tsipras expresses solidarity with the Belgian people"We express Greece's solidarity with the Belgian people. Fear, religious hatred and racism should not defeat Europe," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras posted on Twitter following the attacks in Brussels earlier on Tuesday.
 PM Tsipras speaks on the phone with German Chancellor MerkelPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras earlier on Tuesday had a phone contact with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the refugee issue and the terror attacks in Brussels, government spokes-woman Olga Gerovassili said in a press briefing.
Gerovassili said that the government condemns the terrorist attack in Brussels and is closely monitoring the developments adding that measures will be taken for the country's security. For that reason, the prime minister has called a meeting with Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and Alternate Defence Minister Nikos Toskas.
 President Pavlopoulos offers condolences to King Philippe of BelgiumPresident of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Tuesday sent to King Philippe of Belgium his deepest condolences for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Brussels earlier the same day. He also expressed the Greek people's feelings of solidarity with the people of Belgium in the face of these horrendous acts, which he said were an offense against Europe and democratic values, as well as all European societies.
 Terror attacks in Brussels are an attack against Europe's democracy and tolerance, gov't spokeswoman saysThe terror attacks in Brussels constitute an attack against the democracy and tolerance of Europe, government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
"This Europe should not be defeated by fanatics, religious hatred and racism. The powers of solidarity and humanism will overcome fear," Gerovassili noted. "The government is closely monitoring the developments and does everything possible to ensure the security of the country," she added.
For that reason, the prime minister has called a meeting with Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and Alternate Defence Minister Nikos Toskas.
Referring to the refugee issue, she said that the government finds the EU-Turkey agreement rather positive and noted that it opens a safe humanitarian corridor to Europe through the resettlement from Turkey. "The government is working to implement the obligations from this agreement. The needs in manpower and technical assistance are already being recorded. Moreover, a draft law is being prepared for problems related to the refugee crisis which will also constitute the institutional framework for the implementation of the agreement."
"Greece is meeting its obligations and at the same time is asking for the implementation of the EU commitments that have to do with the immediate provision of assistance to Greece," she stressed.
 Brussels attack does not raise concern over similar strike in Greece, government sources sayThe murderous, death-dealing terror attacks in Brussels do not inspire especial concern over a possible terrorist strike in Greece, government sources said on Tuesday.
Noting that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had a meeting with Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas and Defence Minister Panos Kammenos on Tuesday, the sources said that the police have taken all the envisaged necessary measures, while the Greek government is closely following developments.
In statements after the prime minister's meeting, government sources had noted that the government is calmly following developments and security forces are doing all that must be done to ensure the security of the country and the safety of Greek citizens.
 EU heads of state and institutions say Brussels attack was 'attack against open society'BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
The EU heads of state or government and the leaders of EU institutions issued a joint statement on Tuesday condemning the terror attacks in Brussels and noting that it was an attack against its open democratic society.
"The European Union mourns the victims of today's terrorist attacks in Brussels. It was an attack on our open democratic society. Our common European institutions are hosted in Brussels, thanks to the generosity of the government of Belgium and the Belgian people. The European Union and its member-states stand firm with Belgium in solidarity and are determined to face this threat together with all necessary means," the statement reads.
"This latest attack only strengthens our resolve to defend the European values and tolerance from the attacks of the intolerant. We will be united and firm in the fight against hatred, violent extremism and terrorism," it concluded.
 Alt. FM Xydakis expresses condolences to families, friends of victims in Brussels attackAlternate Minister for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis expressed his condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the double terrorist attack in Brussels on Tuesday and Greece's solidarity with Belgium in different tweets on his personal account.
"Our condolences to families and friends of victims," the minister tweeted. "No fear, no panic. All thoughts follows our friends in Brussels. #BrusselsAttacks."
He also posted two phone numbers and an email for Greek citizens who want to be informed about friends or family members who are in Brussels. These numbers are: 210-3681730 and 210-3681350 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 The attacks in Brussels are an attack against all the peoples of Europe and Greece, ND leader Mitsotakis saysMain opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday expressed his deep condolences to the families of the victims and the Belgian people, who today mourn, noting that "we mourn with them."
In a statement, the president of ND stressed that "the ruthless and murderous attacks in Brussels are an attack against all the peoples of Europe and Greece" and tragically highlight the major threats and challenges of a difficult era.
According to Mitsotakis, fighting terrorism and terrorists is a vital necessity and priority for all European countries. "With seriousness and determination, we should do everything to preserve - also in our country - the principles and values of Europe, security and freedom."
 Foreign Ministry condems terrorist attacks in Brussels"We condemn with abhorrence the brutal terrorist attacks that took place this morning in the heart of the European Union, in Brussels," the Greek Foreign ministry said in an announcement on Tuesday.
"We express our profound grief at this heinous crime, our support for the people and government of Belgium, and our deep condolences to the families of the victims. We wish the injured a speedy recovery. Blind terrorism is doomed to failure," it added.
 Foreign Ministry: "Nous sommes tous Bruxellois""Brussels, our Union's capital is under attack. We mourn the dead and pledge to conquer terror through democracy. Nous sommes tous Bruxellois," the Greek Foreign Minister posted on Twitter.
 Juncker expresses sympathy to people of Brussels after terrorist attacksBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed on Tuesday his sympathy to the people of Brussels following the terrorist attack earlier this morning, noting that security of Commission employees remains a priority for him.
Below is the full statement:
"I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the people of Brussels, to the many wounded, to the families and loved ones of those cruelly hit by the explosions this morning at Zaventem airport and Maelbeek Metro Station. I would also like to express my full support for and solidarity with the Belgian authorities.
I commend the security forces, emergency services and all those who have helped victims and are still doing so now.
I would like to reassure the employees of the Commission and the European Institutions that their security remains a priority for me and that all possible measures will be taken in full cooperation with the Belgian authorities.
These attacks have hit Brussels today, Paris yesterday - but it is Europe as a whole that has been targeted. The European Union and its Institutions stand united in the face of terrorism.
These events have affected us, but they have not made us afraid. We will continue our work, to face the terrorist threat together, and to bring European solutions to questions that concern us all."
 EU Council President Tusk expresses sympathies to relatives of Brussels' attacks victims"I am appalled by the bombings this morning at Zavantem airport and the European district in Brussels which have cost several innocent lives and injured many others," European Council President Donald Tusk said in an announcement on Tuesday following the terrorist attacks.
"I extend my sincerest sympathies to the relatives and friends of the victims. These attacks mark another low by the terrorists in the service of hatred and violence," he underlined.
"The European institutions are hosted in Brussels thanks to the generosity of Belgium's government and its people. The European Union returns this solidarity now and will fulfill its role to help Brussels, Belgium and Europe as a whole counter the terror threat which we are all facing," he added.
 Brussels bomb blasts strike in the heart of Europe; staff at EU institutions talk to ANA-MPA about MaelbeekBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ C. Vasilaki)
People working at the various European institutions in Brussels were on Tuesday still stunned by the attacks on the city, especially by the blast at the Maelbeek metro station within the so-called "European quarter" of Brussels. The employees already inside the various buildings had clear instructions to stay there. Those that hadn't reached their work places yet were advised to stay away.
EU flags were flying at half-mast in front of all European buildings and traffic was stopped on all the surrounding roads. Cameras outside the European Council and European Commission buildings were all turned toward the site of the blast and followed the police and fire brigade operations from a safe distance.
"We are trying to stay calm and awaiting further instructions," a Greek employee of the European Commission told the ANA-MPA, declining to give her name since she was expressing her personal opinions and not the official position of the Commission.
She said that there was an air of "calm" and "normality" in the corridors of the Berleymont building at this time, while the concern of the staff for both the colleagues and their families had earlier been evident. The heads of the Commission general secretariats had undertaken to confirm if the staff were all in good health, she said.
"The news so far is reassuring. There has been no information that a colleague was a victim of the attacks," the same employee said.
In the European Council building opposite, the atmosphere was a great deal more tense after an employee in the cleaning service entered the building in a state of shock, having just survived the attack in the metro at close quarters. A colleague that did not wish to be named said the woman was "in a state of shock and crying."
"Her shift had just ended and she was going home. She told us she was waiting for the train heading toward Erasme. As soon as the train stopped and the doors opened, she said she saw someone carrying something and immediately afterward the explosion happened. She ran to get out and fortunately was not hurt. She could not tell us anything more because she does not speak very good French. She is from Vietnam," the employee said.
The woman was not the only European Council employee that was in the metro station at the time of the attack. According to the Council, the night shift of cleaners had just finished work and one more woman was taken to hospital with light injuries. She was later confirmed to be in good health.
Some EU employees said that the European Council and European Commission were "obvious" terrorist targets for symbolic reasons. "We fear that the strike at the nearby metro station was only a warning and one day they will blow up the Council itself," one of the cleaning service staff told the ANA-MPA.
Conversely, another Council employee from the press service of Greek nationality told the ANA-MPA that he "was not giving in to fear".
"The Council building is a symbol of the EU but it is well guarded, however, and today's attacks were in areas that are not guarded. I am more worried about my children wandering out in the streets and less about us here," he said.
Asked whether the attack on Maelbeek was seen as a terrorist strike against the EU, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas declined to make any comment. "It is too early to enter into such a discussion. Some people are in a hurry but the European Commission will not follow," he said during the press briefing on Tuesday.
According to ANA-MPA sources, three European Parliament employees were among those injured in the attack on Maelbeek.
 Greek high school children on trip to Brussels all safe and well(Story adds second group of 50 students who were in Brussels)
A group of 17 Greek high school students on a trip to Brussels with their school are all safe and in good health, the trip organisers told the ANA-MPA on Tuesday, following the triple terror attacks in the Belgian capital. The group from the Raptopoulou Lyceum in Evritania were on the streets of Brussels on Tuesday morning when the attacks took place.
"All we saw was a city under police lockdown, with police officers and soldiers in the streets," said STAR Central Greece camera operator Vassilis Papamichos, who accompanied the school trip from Karpenissi in central Greece to Brussels. The teacher accompanying the high school students said they had felt great concern, because they found themselves trapped inside the European Parliament building, but now felt much calmer and more secure. At the time of the bomb blasts, the group was either at their hotel or on the coach heading toward the European Parliament, she added.
The entire group will now stay at the European Parliament building until at least 18:00 and head back to the hotel once Belgian authorities give them the all-clear, the teacher said. She was unable to say whether the trip will be cut short at this time.
There was intense concern at home, meanwhile, since the families and school were unable to contact anyone in the school trip because the phone network was not working properly in the wake of the attacks.
A separate group of 50 Greek high school students who were visiting Brussels after an invitation by two Greek MEPs, Giorgos Grammatikakis from Potami and Thodoris Zagorakis from New Democracy, were reported safe by one of the deputies.
According to Grammatikakis, the students who arrived on Monday to Brussels are from schools in poor regions of Greece (island of Tilos, Agrafa in Epitus, Drama and Evros) and were scheduled to return on Wednesday.
"They're all calm and are following the directions of authorities," the MEP told ANA-MPA, adding they have all gathered inside the European Parliament and are attending a session of the plenum.
He also sent a message to the students' parents who are worried, that they are all well in their health and that the situation is under control.
"We'll talk to them about Europe and we'll explain to those kids that all the big and smaller cities are now under the threat of terrorism until they deal with the source of this evil which is away from here, in Syria and elsewhere," he said, adding that the kids were happy to be there.
 Aegean flights to / from Brussels will not be operated"We would like to inform you that due to explosions at Brussels Airport, Aegean flights A3621, A3622, A3623 to / from Brussels will not be operated," Aegean Airlines announced on Tuesday.
"Furthermore, please note that Aegean is granting free rebooking and cancelation with full refund for all passengers who have tickets from/to Brussels till and with March 31st ," the announcement added.
Aegean flight A3620 which departed from Athens International airport at 8:30 with final destination the Brussels Airport, is expected to land at the Dusseldorf airport at 10:48 local time.
 Aegean flight with destination Brussels landed at Dusseldorf airportAegean flight, which departed from Athens International airport at 8:30 with final destination Brussels Airport, landed at Dusseldorf airport on Tuesday.
 Greek Police on alert after Brussels' terror attacksGreek Police had a series of meetings on Tuesday following terrorist attacks in Brussels.
The police announced increased security measures at the airports and the metro as well as in targets mainly of Belgian, French and Dutch interests.
"Stricter security measures have been taken in means of transport, the airport and foreign embassies," Civil Protection Ministry's sources said to ANA-MPA clearing out that they are just precautionary measures.
 Protests against closed borders continue in Idomeni as terror strikes shake core of EuropeThe news of Tuesday's terror strikes in Belgium arrived late but spread gloom and despair in the tent city at Idomeni, the makeshift refugee and migrant camp that has sprung up alongside Greece's northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
"Now they aren't going to want us in Europe at all," said Ahmed, a Syrian refugee from Aleppo, as he prepared to join a second day of protests on the railway tracks in the Greece-FYROM no-man's land to demand that the borders open. The refugees and migrants continued a sit-in protest throughout the day, never ceasing to shout slogans.
"Sorry Belgium" was the message that a tiny Syrian refugee had written on his body with felt-tip pen, as he stood beside hundreds of others that gathered on the tracks to protest on Tuesday, asking that the borders open and allow them to continue their journey to northern Europe.
The same message was written on a cardboard sign held by another child, while other signs said "We are refugees, not terrorists."
According to Hana, the terrorist strikes were the work of people that "hate the refugees and want to create even more problems for us."
As the protests continued and intensified, a number of non-governmental aid organisations on Tuesday announced that they were pulling their staff out of the camp due to the high tensions, while leaving behind their equipment. They said they will continue to monitor the situation so that they can return if necessary. Earlier in the day, two people even set fire to themselves during the protest, suffering burn injuries that required hospitalisation even though the flames were quickly put out. One has been admitted to Kilkis hospital and the second taken to Papanikolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki.
It was at that moment that the crowd, which had built "barricades" to enclose the protest, was provoked into anger and started to move toward the crossing point at the FYROM border. They were held back by the more cool-headed among them, however, moving only a few metres forward. Only a group of small children later walked up to the fence on the FYROM border, chanting "Open the borders" and "Merkel, help us". They pinned a piece of paper with the message "I hate ISIS" on the fence and then withdrew.
 EU-Turkey deal could expose refugee minors to danger, UNICEF saysThe EU-Turkey agreement on handling migration flows could expose many of the 19,000 refugee children currently in Greece to danger, UNICEF said in an announcement on Tuesday. The agreement made no provision for the pressing humanitarian needs of the migrant and refugee children and could push children and their families to opt for alternative and more dangerous routes to reach Europe, including traversing the central Mediterranean, it said.
While welcoming the EU leaders' commitment to examine each case individually and not proceed with blanket returns, pushbacks and other measures harmful to children, UNICEF also asked that a series of priorities be set. Among them to correctly identify and care for unaccompanied minors, provide education - even in the short-term - for children stranded in Greece for longer periods of time and the vaccination of refugee and migrant children against measles, polio and respiratory diseases.
 UNHCR suspends some of its activities in Greek 'detention centers'The UN Refugee Agency announced on Tuesday it is suspending some of its activities in Greece as it opposes mandatory detention, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming during a press conference in Geneva, adding that open hot spots are being turned into closed detention centers.
"UNHCR has till now been supporting the authorities in the so-called 'hotspots' on the Greek islands, where refugees and migrants were received, assisted, and registered. Under the new provisions, these sites have now become detention facilities," Fleming said.
It added however that the UNHCR will maintain a presence to carry out protection monitoring and ensure that refugee and human rights standards are upheld, as well as provide information on the rights and procedures to seek asylum.
Fleming also said that the organization's staff will also continue to be present at the shoreline and sea port to provide life-saving assistance - including transport to hospitals where needed. "We are counseling new arrivals on asylum in Greece, including on family reunification and on access to services. And we are identifying people with specific needs," she noted.
UNHCR is also concerned that the EU-Turkey deal is being implemented before the required safeguards are in place in Greece, the spokesperson noted. "At present, Greece does not have sufficient capacity on the islands for assessing asylum claims, nor the proper conditions to accommodate people decently and safely pending an examination of their cases," she said.
Fleming also clarified that the UNHCR is not a party to the EU-Turkey deal, nor will it be involved in returns or detention. "We will continue to assist the Greek authorities to develop an adequate reception capacity," she added.
 Two Greek policemen arrive at Cesme as part of EU-Turkey dealTwo Greek policemen from Athens' immigration department arrived at Turkey's coastal town of Cesme on Tuesday, as part of the exchange of officers between Greece and Turkey which was agreed in the latest EU-Turkey agreement to tackle refugee flows towards Europe.
The two policemen will prepare the arrival of four more colleagues. Turkey has already sent six policemen in Chios since Monday.
 Migrants at Corinth detention centre pending return procedures at 465There are now 465 migrants at the Pre-Departure Detention Centre for Foreign Nationals in Corinth that are currently being held pending the completion of return procedures, authorities said on Tuesday. The centre is located within an old military camp in the city and the foreigners held there are mainly Afghans, Pakistanis and citizens of the Maghreb countries.
The centre has stopped operating in 2015 but reopened a few months ago, initially with some 450 individuals that were sent there. Roughly 300 of those held there were returned within one month of their arrival.
 Off-the-agenda debate on justice issues postponed until next weekAn off-the-agenda debate on justice issues in Parliament scheduled to take place on Tuesday has been postponed until the following week, at 19:00 on Tuesday, March 29. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked that the debate be postponed due to the bomb attacks in Brussels and this was adopted by Parliament's Conference of Presidents.
 Parliament postpones Transparency and Institutions Committee session, despite ND oppositionA scheduled session of the Parliamentary Committee for Institutions and Transparency has been postponed until after an off-the-agenda debate on justice to be held next week on Tuesday, by decision of the Conference of Parliament Presidents. The session was originally scheduled to be held on Thursday.
Main opposition New Democracy strongly objected to the decision and the reasoning behind it, accusing the ruling majority of trying to avoid evidence of government meddling in justice from being heard. According to the main opposition, the decision to postpone the off-the-agenda debate due to the Brussels terror attacks was no reason to also postpone the committee session, which would have included a briefing by Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos and Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos.
 Program review will be concluded by April 22, FinMin Tsakalotos estimatesThe program review will be concluded by April 22, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos estimated on Tuesday.
"A solution will have been found and the program review will have been completed by April 22," Tsakalotos said in Parliament.
"The institutions are expected to return in Athens on April 2 and the negotiations on the two open issues -- pension reforms and income tax -- will resume on April 4."
 Alternate Defence Minister Vitsas meets British AmbassadorAlternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas on Tuesday had a meeting with the British Ambassador in Athens John Kittmer. The meeting was also attended by Olly Robbins, the UK Home Office's second permanent secretary with responsibility for immigration and free movement, and defence ministry general secretary Yiannis Tafyllis.
 TAP works in Greece to begin by mid-2016Works on building a TAP natural gas pipeline project in Greece will begin by the middle of the year, Richard Skoufias, manager of the project in Greece said.
Addressing a conference on the energy market , Skoufias said the pipeline will extend from the Greek-Turkish borders to Italy, via Albania and the Adriatic Sea and stressed that the project was sending a message of investment confidence for the country while at the same time upgrading the country's role in the region. The consortium has signed partnership agreements with 150 Greek enterprises and has had 450 meetings with local communities.
"We look forward to completing the transaction for DESFA," Anar Mammadov, chief executive of SOCAR told the conference and pledged to complete works in Revithousa and for a variety of supply sources for Greece and the region with natural gas.
George Alexopoulos, managing director for Strategic Planning in Hellenic Petroleum, said that the country offered significant investment opportunities in research and production of hydrocarbons, renewable sources, transport and natural gas/electricity infrastructure. He asked for a speeding up of procedures to evaluate bids for hydrocarbon exploration in the Ionian Sea, while commenting on renewable energy sources he estimated that in the 2016-2020 period Greece could attract investments up to 2.5 billion euros for an additional 2,000 MW.
 Hellas Gold completes licensing procedure for Olympiada projectHellas Gold on Tuesday announced the completion by the Environment and Energy ministry of licensing procedures for the Olympiada project. In an announcement the company expressed its satisfaction for this development and noted that the project "was now able to continue as planned so that from the first quarter of 2017 ore production of around 385,000 tons annually could be processed from a renovated factory in Olympiada". Hellas Gold reaffirmed its commitment to continue and complete its investment.
 Alternate Tourism Minister Kountoura to visit MoscowAlternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura will visit Moscow to participate in MITT International Tourism Fair for the dynamic promotion of Greece and the Greek tourism in the Russian market.
On Wednesday Kountoura will attend the official ceremony of the exhibition opening and then will inaugurate the Greek Tourism Organisation's pavilion.
According to a ministry's announcement, she will also have meetings with government and institutional officials of Russia and tour operators.
 Greek current account shows 742-mln-euro deficit in JanGreece's current account showed a deficit of 742 million euros in January, up by 461 million year-on-year, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.
The central bank, in a monthly report, attributed this development to a deterioration in, mainly, the primary income account and, secondarily, the services balance and the secondary income account, which was not offset by an amelioration in the balance of goods.
The deficit of the balance of goods shrank by 294 million euros year-on-year, as a decline was recorded in the deficits of all sub-accounts, given that the value of imports fell more than that of exports. The surplus of the services balance almost halved year-on-year, having declined by 218 million euros, as a result of lower net transport receipts (mainly sea transport receipts, which dropped to 292 million from 631 million in January 2015). Travel receipts decreased by 4.7 pct and the number of non-residents' arrivals registered a decline of 7.8 pct.
As a result of the above-mentioned developments, the value of exports of goods and services fell by 25.8 pct and the corresponding value of imports declined by 21.8 pct, so the deficit of the balance of goods and services eventually shrank by 76 million euros.
In January 2016, the capital account showed a surplus of 388 million euros, up by 338 million year-on-year, mainly due to a rise in net capital transfers from the EU to general government. The combined current and capital account showed a deficit of 354 million euros, up by 123 million year-on-year.
In January 2016, no remarkable transactions were recorded under direct investment. Under portfolio investment, a net increase of 678 million euros was recorded in residents' external assets. On the liabilities side, a net decrease of 416 million was recorded, which is mainly attributable to a decline in non-residents' holdings of bonds and Treasury bills.
Under other investment, a net decline of 295 million euros in assets largely reflects the statistical adjustment associated with the issuance of banknotes.
At the end of January 2016, Greece's reserve assets stood at 5.6 billion euros, compared with 5.9 billion at end-January 2015.
 Retailworld reports improved results in 2015Retailworld SA, operator of Public retail chain, and a member of Olympia Group, on Tuesday said its EBITDA totaled 146,285 euros in 2015, from a loss of 9.94 million euros in 2014.
Turnover grew 22.6 pct to 222,538,358 euros, from 181,580,497 in 2014.
Christos Kalogerakis, CEO of Retailworld, commenting on the results said the 2015 results showed that the company has won the trust of consumers, confirming the company's growth strategy.
Public storew were the No.1 retailer in the country in sales of mobile telephone and accessories, action cameras & drones, books, films, music and entertainment tickets.
 Building materials' prices down 2.3 pct in FebBuilding materials' prices fell 2.3 pct in February this year, reflecting a big fall in international oil prices, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday.
The statistics service, in a report, said that diesel prices fell 19.3 pct, copper pipes fell 7.9 pct, plastic pipes were down 3.4 pct, window prices eased 3.2 pct, lifts fell 2.7 pct, boilers were down 2.5 pct, garage doors fell 2.5 pct, cement prices fell 2.3 pct, interior doors fell 2.1 pct and tiles eased 1.5 pct. On the other hand, price increases were recorded in marble dust (0.8 pct) and heaters (0.4 pct).
The building materials' composite price index fell 0.2 pct in February from January.
 Greek stocks end moderately upGreek stocks ended moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange in thin trading conditions on Tuesday, reversing a four-day decline which pushed the composite index of the market 6.49 pct lower. The index rose 0.48 pct to end at 544.30 points, after falling as much as 1.04 pct early in the session. The Large Cap index rose 0.36 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 0.29 pct. Turnover was a thin 48.462 million euros in volume of 56,629,710.
Lamda Development (5.91 pct), Jumbo (5.52 pct) and Hellenic Exchanges (3.29 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Viohalco (4.67 pct), PPC (2.41 pct) and OTE (2.15 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Among market sectors, Health (5.83 pct), Personal Products (4.79 pct) and Real Estate (2.99 pct) scored big gains, while Technology (2.92 pct) and Telecoms (2.15 pct) suffered heavy losses.
Piraeus Bank and National Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 44 to 37 with another 24 issues unchanged. Akritas (19.61 pct), Varvaresos (16.67 pct) and G.E.Demetriou (14.29 pct) scored big gains, while Pasal (19.49 pct), Lavipharm (18.52 pct) and Space Hellas (10.54 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 8.52 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 8.34 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 8.73 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.21 pct in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Brussels. Turnover was a thin 3.0 million euros, all sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month rate was -0.002 pct, the nine-month rate rose to -0.070 pct from -0.069 pct, the six-month rate rose to -0.132 pct from -0.131 pct, the three-month rate rose to -0.239 pct from -0.234 pct and the one-month rate was -0.328 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe April contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.26 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,515 contracts with 11,442 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 23,261 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (8,044), followed by Alpha Bank (2,050), National Bank (6,235), Eurobank (3,904), MIG (1,087), OTE (551), PPC (454), OPAP (289), GEK (101), Jumbo (119) and Hellenic Exchanges (72).
 Majority of Greeks say economic crisis has taken a toll on their health-researchThe health of Greeks has deteriorated during the economic crisis and this has had serious effects on the operation of the country's health system, a new research which was conducted over eight months by pollster Dianeosis found.
Asked "What effect did the economic crisis have on the state of your health?", 591 respondents said the crisis has affected their health a lot / enough / a little, because of the following reasons:
68 pct said their general quality of life worsened
56 pct said their mental health deteriorated
29 pct was forced to be deprived of basic things, such as food etc.
26 pct said their access to healthcare was limited
23 pct said their access to medical care was limited (because of cost or shortages)
Some of the main conclusions include:
A deterioration of health, mainly mental, particularly for lower-income earners
Reception of less medical care, particularly for the unemployed and pensioners
A problematic access to medicines
Very high cost of private healthcare
Furthermore, the percentage of those who said they are facing a chronic disease increased by 24 pct in the period between 2009-2012, while the consumption of anti-depressants jumped 35 pct from 2006 to 2011.
The research by Dianeosis was conducted in cooperation with the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine and coordinated by Social and Preventive Medicine Professor Yiannis Toundas from the University of Athens.
It is comprised of two complementary parts: The first studied the use of public and private health services from citizens, as well as the effects of the economic crisis on their health. The quantitative research was conducted in April 2015.
The second part includes an analytical review of the data and the bibliography which have been published by Greek and international bodies and researchers and concern all aspects of health, healthcare provision and use of health services during the crisis.
The full results will be published on Wednesday on dianeosis.org.
 Family of Rami, a Syrian boy with cancer, allowed to join him in GermanyAfter receiving the all-clear from Germany, the family of an 11-year-old Syrian refugee suffering from cancer have been allowed to join him in Munich, where he is undergoing treatment. Rami's mother, brothers and his cousin will leave on a flight from Thessaloniki airport on Wednesday, accompanied by an employee of the Thessaloniki regional asylum office where the family submitted an asylum request on Monday.
Once they arrive in Munich, German authorities will take over their case.
Rami, a boy from Syria who was in Germany with his father, has been receiving treatment Hodgkins lymphoma at Munich's University Hospital for the past four months. He urgently needs a bone marrow transplant and his immediate family, such as his mother and brothers, are the most likely donors. After the borders were closed, however, his mother and brothers were stuck in Greece, which they reached by boat from Turkey, and could not continue their journey north. They officially applied for asylum on Monday and will now travel to Germany.
Rami's story, which was published in the international media, moved both German and Greek authorities, who took action to find them and launched fast-track procedures to reunite the family.
 Refugees and migrants in Lesvos protest against their detention in MoriaA group of refugees and migrants in Lesvos held a protest at Moria's former registration center which has now turned into a detention center, in accordance with the EU-Turkey deal, requesting that they will be allowed to leave and go to Athens.
The protesters shouted slogans such as "Freedom!" in English as riot police gathered in front of them. Their main request is that they are registered immediately and allowed to leave instead of being held in Moria indefinitely.
There are currently about 1,600 people are kept in Moria since the implementation of the deal, among which about 400 Pakistanis who are detained until they are transferred to a center to be deported.
 Two ferries with more than 520 refugees and migrants docked at Piraeus on Tuesday"Nissos Mykonos" ferry carrying 140 refugees and migrants from Mytilene and 357 from Samos islands docked early in the morning on Tuesday at the port of Piraeus.
After the arrival of the 497 refugees and migrants of "Nissos Mykonos" the current number of the persons hosted at the facilities provided by the portuary authorities is totalled to 5,247, according to the newest data.
Later in the morning is expected to arrive also at Piraeus the ferry "blue star1" with 131 refugees and migrants from Mytilene.
 Two in Idomeni camp sent to hospital after self-immolation attemptsTwo people at the Idomeni refugee and migrant camp that attempted to set fire to themselves ended up in hospital with burn injuries on Tuesday, despite the rapid intervention of those around them, who quickly put out the flames. The Kilkis hospital administrator Aimilios Satsoglou said that one person was admitted to the hospital in Kilkis and the other will be taken to Papanikolaou hospital in Thessaloniki.
 Archaeologists welcome decision for open access to Apollo temple in VouliagmeniThe Greek archaeologists association on Tuesday expressed its satisfaction at a Central Archaeological Council (KAS) decision that calls for open access to the Apollo Zostiras temple in Laimos, Vouliagmeni. It said the March 8 decision, which lifts current restrictions to those wishing to visit the temple, was fully in line with 2002 legislation that had been flagrantly violated in recent years.
Archaeologists said the previous situation, where access was only possible for a few minutes and only via a guarded entrance on the coast after obtaining permission from the Asteras resort, was contrary to the law.
"We hope that the unobstructed, independent from Asteras, access to the public will be the necessary conditions for a multi-faceted promotion of the important monument, with various actions for its promotion, so that it can fulfill its scientific and educational role," the announcement adds.
 Metro stations in Athens reopen after prank bomb threat callTwo metro stations in central Athens reopened and services resumed on Tuesday evening after police said an earlier bomb threat call they received was a prank.
Police was earlier called to investigate the metro stations of Eleonas and Egaleo where a bomb was supposedly left by an unknown individual.
 Clouds, rain on WednesdayClouds, rain and southerly winds are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 9 on the Beaufort scale. Clouds and rain in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 09C-17C. Clouds and rain in the western parts with temperatures between 08C-18C. Clouds in the eastern parts with temperatures between 08C-20C. Cloudy over the Aegean islands and Crete, 08C-20C. Clouds in Athens, 11C-19C. Clouds, possibility of rain in Thessaloniki, 10C-17C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: The X-ray of interweaving interests
DIMOKRATIA: Drama with drugs
ETHNOS: Prices in the new land registry
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Uniform ownership tax (ENFIA) on cars
ESTIA: Act of cowardice against the Turks
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Revelations over corruption cases
TA NEA: More years, lower pensions
KATHIMERINI: Refugee flows despite the agreement
KONTRA NEWS: National Bank's scandal
NAFTEMPORIKI: New adaptation of real estate prices
IMERISSIA: All the new taxes
RIZOSPASTIS: They are preparing anti-popular attacks
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