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Newsbites@10: a morning news roundup

A digest of news to go with breakfast coffee and koulouri

International experts raise alarm about Greek healthcare cuts; flu claims lives of 50 people; Naxos rated 6th worldwide in tourist island ranking; Roma boy shot while gathering firewood; polluter fined; singer Sakis Boulas dies

A woman holds her meal during the Tsiknopempti holiday in Athens, 20 February 2014. Every year, the city of Athens organises an open-air lunch to welcome people to celebrate the holiday by taking part in a feast where they eat meat, before the start of a lent on Ash Monday, 40 days before celebrating Orthodox Easter (Reuters) A woman holds her meal during the Tsiknopempti holiday in Athens, 20 February 2014. Every year, the city of Athens organises an open-air lunch to welcome people to celebrate the holiday by taking part in a feast where they eat meat, before the start of a lent on Ash Monday, 40 days before celebrating Orthodox Easter (Reuters) HEALTH The austerity measures imposed in recent years have inflicted shocking harm on the Greek population, leaving nearly a million people without access to healthcare, experts writing in Britain’s leading medical journal The Lancet have said. In a damning report on the impact of cuts in the health system, academics from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found evidence of rising infant mortality rates, soaring levels of HIV infection among drug users, and the return of malaria. The report accuses the Greek government and the troika – which demanded swingeing spending cuts as a condition of bailout – of being "in denial" about the scale of hardship inflicted on people.

FLU The deaths of 18 people last week has brought to 50 the total number people, among them children, who have died after contracting a deadly strain of the H1N1 flu virus in Greece this season. About 60 patients are being treated in intensive care units around the country for the virus. Public health officials have urged people in vulnerable health groups presenting flu-like symptoms to immediately take antiviral drugs before without for laboratory results to confirm if they have the virus.

Vangelis Papavasiliou's cartoon from today's Eleftherotypia. (21 February 2014) Vangelis Papavasiliou's cartoon from today's Eleftherotypia. (21 February 2014) NAXOS Four Greek islands are among the most popular islands in Europe, a survey by travel review site TripAdvisor has found. Naxos, the largest island in the Cyclades, came in second place, after Scotland’s Lewis and Harris. Internationally, the Greek island came sixth in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Island awards, which is based on the most highly rated hotels, restaurants and attractions listed for each island on the website during a 12-month period. The European island top ten also included three other Greek islands, including Kefalonia (6th), Santorini (7th) and Paros (10th).

SHOOTING Police near Patras are searching for a man who is alleged to have shot and injured a 13-year-old boy who was out gathering firewood in a forest with some friends. The boy, a member of the Roma community, was transferred to Patras children’s hospital, where his condition is described as stable. The incident occurred near the village of Vrachnaiika.

POLLUTION The Public Power Corporation (DEI) has been fined €20,000 for pollution at the port of Agios Nikolaos at Keratsini, Piraeus. Environmental officials had found that fuel used to power DEI’s power station had contaminated the topsoil. The publicly owned company has also been ordered to undertake an environmental study on the plant’s operations and to take remedial measures to reverse the effects of the damage.

SOCRATES NOW A performance of Socrates Now, a 75-minute solo show which captures the essence of Socratic ethics in an accessible and engaging manner, will be staged at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens ( (Anapiron Polemou 9) on Friday 28 February at 6pm. The English-language play is a dramatisation of the famous philosopher’s defence and his rebuttals to the verdict and death sentence. In the Apology, reported to us by Socrates’ pupil, Plato, the philosopher defends himself against politically motivated accusations of not believing in the gods and of corrupting the Athenian youth. Starring Emmy award-winner Yannis Simonides, the show channels the eccentric yet magnetic personality of Socrates and offers an interpretation which captivates the audience with the humour, immediacy and simplicity of the drama.

DEATH Singer, songwriter, performer and actor Sakis Boulas has died. He was 59 and had been suffering from cancer. After an early career in singing, he moved into acting and appeared in numerous Greek films and TV series, such as Mega channel’s sit-com Penida-Penida (50-50).

 

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