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A heavy snowstorm that blanketed Greece triggered power outages in the capital Athens and its suburbs and prompted the nations government to order businesses and public services shut down.

Schools and private companies, apart from supermarkets and pharmacies, will remain closed in Athens, Evoia, Crete and another three regions, Climate Change and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Monday. 

At any cost we must avoid any loss of human life, he said, in an appeal to Greeks to stay put. 

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The heavy snow snarled traffic and stranded drivers, while flights were canceled at Athens International Airport.