Ministry challenges claim that lack of beds is costing lives The lack of staff and facilities at intensive-care units in Greek state hospitals has resulted in some 3,500 people losing their lives unnecessarily over the last seven years, according to the president of the Greek Intensive Care Society, Antonis Mavromatis. He said that during this period some 150 beds were not made available to patients because of a lack of doctors and nurses. The Health Ministry said that Mavromatis’s estimate of the number of deaths is not based on any scientific research and that it would forward the information to a prosecutor to establish whether it is based on fact. PEDESTRIAN DEATHS Woman, granddaughter killed The 28-year-old driver of a truck that struck a 56-year-old Bulgarian woman and her 5-year-old granddaughter outside a metro station early yesterday morning, killing them both, will today face a prosecutor on charges of negligent manslaughter. According to police, the driver struck the pair after they stepped onto Liosion Street outside the Attiki metro station in order to get round a car that had been parked on the sidewalk. Officers are seeking the owner of the parked car who will also face charges. Gaza plea Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis yesterday backed the calls of her Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki who urged Israel to open its border crossings with Gaza so that humanitarian aid can reach the civilian population. Malki, in Athens for talks yesterday, said that it is «absolutely necessary» for the crossings to open to allow the flow of food, medicine and fuel into Gaza. Bakoyannis said that Greece is ready to receive wounded adults and children at state and private hospitals. Malki also said that he hoped the recent conflict in Gaza would lead to a «reconciliation» between Palestinians. Cops and robbers A 33-year-old man was arrested in the Kaminia district, near Piraeus, yesterday on suspicion of impersonating, with an accomplice, police officers so that they could rob supermarkets. Police said that a 25-year-old suspect is still at large. The two men, dressed as policemen, allegedly robbed three supermarkets in Athens, netting some 170,000 euros in the process. Vatopedi affair Ephraim, the former head monk at the Vatopedi Monastery, and his assistant Arsenios were yesterday indicted for trial for refusing to appear before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about their involvement in a land swap with the state. Both monks had claimed they could not testify as witnesses in a case in which they are implicated as suspects. Their trial, before a court of misdemeanors, has been set for February 25. FYROM deadline The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has until July 20 to explain its complaint lodged with the International Court of Justice at the Hague, accusing Greece of violating the terms of an interim accord between the two countries, court sources said yesterday. Greece will then have six months after this deadline to submit its counter arguments, the sources added.