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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-27

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.forthnet.gr/ape>


NEWS IN ENGLISH

ATHENS, Greece, 27/11/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • No going back on gov't economic measures, spokesman says
  • Greek industry on the mend, report says
  • Evening meeting critical for a bickering New Democracy
  • Gerry Adams due in Athens to promote autobiography
  • Ferries collide in Patras port
  • Justice minister attends Brussels EU meeting
  • Chief of Staff in Bulgaria next week
  • Athens considering trade credits for Yugoslavia
  • Privatisations are to go ahead
  • Wave of bad weather sweeps through Eastern Macedonia-Thrace

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    No going back on gov't tax measures, Reppas says

    ''The decisions announced yesterday by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou concerning tax policy are the final ones,'' government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

    Papantoniou yesterday announced new taxation measures and the abolition of several tax exemptions, saying the additional burden will be paid by ''those who have and own''.

    Asked about the government's intention to cut the benefit currently given to mothers with large families, Reppas said that the measure would enable the channeling of funds to young mothers ''since priority will be given to mothers with children up to six years of age''.

    Replying to other questions on nationwide protests organised by farmers and workers, culminating in a 24-hour general strike tomorrow, Reppas said that the government was aware that problems existed ''which is why it took its decisions with sensitivity and accordingly''.

    He expressed the hope that workers and farmers ''who have the same sensitivity about the course of the country'' would understand that ''there is only one road, namely the one shown by the government's policy''.

    Reppas ruled out the possibility of legislative measures being taken by the government to confront the labour action.

    ''There is no such issue. Greek society is not made up of friends and enemies,'' the spokesman added.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday evening announced new taxation measures and abolition of several tax exemptions, saying the additional burden will be paid by "those who have and own".

    The government projects to earn 150 billion drachmas from the new taxes and collect a further 130 billion drachmas with the abolition of 206 tax exemptions.

    In terms of new taxes concerning large real estate holdings, the tax-free limit is 60 million drachmas in objective value, 60 million drachmas for the taxpayer's spouse as well and 15 million drachmas for each child. A tax percentage is applied to the remaining value, which escalates from 0.3 per cent to 0.8 per cent.

    A 7.5 per cent tax will be imposed on new issues of bonds and treasury bills as of Jan. 1, 1997. Increased registration dues will be imposed on private vehicles, motorcycles and motorbikes of less than 785cc. In addition, a 20 per cent tax will apply to the excess value resulting from the transfer of shares not registered with the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Income tax concerning bank profits will increase from 35 per cent to 40 per cent, while the down payment for profits in the inter-bank market will increase from 50 per cent to 60 per cent.

    Industry on the mend, IOBE report says

    The climate in Greek industry appears to be improving, according to the latest survey of the Institute for Economic and Industrial Studies (IOBE).

    According to the survey, the business expectations index shows a continuously upward trend, reaching 102.5 in September this year, which however is still down on the October 1995 figure of 114.

    At the same time, prospects for undertakings appeared to be positive for the next three months, according to statements by businessmen themselves.

    There were no substantial changes in the way Greek undertakings viewed the competitiveness of domestic industry in the third quarter of 1996, both with respect to the Greek market and abroad.

    The IOBE survey noted a drop in business expectations for the retail trade in the second quarter this year, but the more long-term expectations of retail companies continued to be optimistic.

    Among the undertakings asked in the survey, 56 per cent predicted that their situation would improve during the next six months, 43 per cent forecast that it would remain the same and only 1 per cent said it would worsen.

    Evening meeting critical for a bickering New Democracy

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) political council meets this evening in a charged atmosphere after party leader Miltiades Evert and honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis traded verbal attacks about the functioning of the party.

    In a related development, ND deputy and former Parliament speaker Athanasios Tsaldaris today strongly criticised Mitsotakis for his statements on Tuesday.

    ''Yesterday's statements by the honorary president bring to mind past years and past events which we had managed to surpass. It was a mistake and I hope that (Mitsotakis) understands this and makes a retraction,'' Tsaldaris said.

    Asked by reporters whether there was a danger of ND breaking up, Tsaldaris replied:

    ''Ask those who are trying to do this, not me.''

    Mitsotakis said in a television interview and magazine article that ND ''has ceased to function democratically to a great degree''.

    Evert responded by accusing Mitsotakis of disorientating the Greek people and helping the ruling PASOK party to implement what he called ''its tough new economic measures''.

    The political council will meet at 19.00 hours local time.

    Gerry Adams due in Athens to promote autobiography

    Northern Irish republican leader Gerry Adams is due in Athens on Friday for a two-day promotion of his recently-published autobiography ''Just Before Dawn'', it was announced today.

    Adams, leader of the Sinn Fein party since 1983, will be in Greece on the occasion of the publication of his autobiography here by the publishing firm ''KOAN - Books of the World''.

    In the book Adams, who was born in western Belfast in 1948, describes his childhood and reminisces of glorious hours of play on the mountainsides behind his home, moving on to the years of conflict and uprising in Northern Ireland.

    On Saturday, Adams will be signing copies of his book on the 4th floor of the Eleftheroudakis Book Store on 17 Panepistimiou street in downtown Athens.

    Ferries collide in Patras port

    An Italian and Greek flag passenger/car ferry collided late Tuesday night, causing slight damage to the one but no injuries, Patras port authorities said today.

    The stern of the Italian-flag ''Ionian Star'', as it was entering the port, rammed into the stern of the Greek-flag ''Aretoussa'', causing light damage.

    The Aretoussa was immediately repaired and set sail early in the morning for Ancona, Italy.

    The Ionian Star is still in Patras Harbour with engine trouble probably caused by the collision.

    The vehicles and passengers from the Ionian Star left for Ancona on another ferry, the authorities said.

    Justice Minister due in Brussels for EU meeting

    Justice Minister Evangelos Yannopoulos leaves Thursday for Brussels to represent Greece at a meeting of the EU Council of Justice Ministers.

    The Council will discuss EU justice and internal affairs issues.

    Chief of Staff to visit Bulgaria next week

    The Chief of the National Defence General Staff, Lieutenant-General (air) Athanasios Tzoganis, will pay an official visit to Bulgaria from 2-4 December at the inviation of his Bulgarian counterpart General Tsvetan Bladenov Totomirov, it was announced today.

    During his stay in the neighbouring country, Tzoganis will have talks with the political and military leadership of the Bulgarian defence ministry on issues of mutual interest in the defence sector.

    In addition, he will sign the programme for bilateral military cooperation for 1997 and visit a number of military units and installations.

    Athens considering trade credits for Yugoslavia

    Greece is seriously considering extending credits to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in order to boost trade between the two countries, which totalled only $170 million in the first 10 months of 1996.

    The dispatch quoted the counsellor for economic and commercial affairs at the Greek embassy in Belgrade, Christos Farmakis, who addressed a meeting of Greek and Yugoslav businessmen.

    At present, he added, 150 Greek companies are cooperating with Yugoslavia, either directly or through joint ventures.

    Govt. going ahead with privatisations

    Labour and Social Security Undersecretary Christos Protopapas yesterday told Greek businessmen that "all of us should have the power to see the privatisations issue through."

    Addressing a conference on the "Hour of the Greek Economy," organised by the Hellenic-American Chamber, Mr. Protopapas said the government was proceeding with the privatisation of all public sector companies falling under the jurisdiction of the Busines s Restructuring Organisation.

    Referring to efforts to contain state intervention in the banking system, Mr. Protopapas said that only if the governments, the parties and the social forces agreed on certain principles and procedures, while bureacracy was lessened as well, could denationationalisation procedures come to fruition.

    Elaborating on the same issue, President of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) Jason Stratos said that denationalisation would free resources which can be channelled to the private sector thus encouraging development.

    SEB's president stressed the lack of signs for an expanded denationalisation in other sectors where the presence of the state is strongly-felt, such as the banking system, with the exception of smaller banks.

    Wave of bad weather hits Kavala

    Strong winds and heavy rain swept eastern Macedonia and Thrace in northern Greece today, causing damage and disruption particularly in the area of Kavala.

    Gale force winds were blowing in the northern Aegean, forcing ferry boats to interrupt services from Kavala and Alexandroupolis to the islands.

    A number of small craft were blown from their moorings, some sinking and others being seriously damaged. Trees uprooted by the wind fell on power lines, cutting electicity to Thassos and villages of Paggaio and the Kavala region for several hours.

    The power supply to the Kavala municipality pumping station was cut off for 6 hours.

    WEATHER

    Rainy and stormy weather throughout the country. Same for Athens where temperatures will range from 10-16C and in Thessaloniki from 6-11C. Snowfalls in the mountainous regions.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    U.S. dlr 237.713, Can. dlr.177.270, Australian dlr. 192.994, Pound sterling 397.990, Irish punt 398.050, Cyprus pd 516.634, French franc 46.003, Swiss franc 184.115 Belgian franc 7.571, German mark 156.012, Finnish mark 51.854, Dutch guilder 139.118, Danish Kr. 40.642, Swedish Kr. 35.696, Norwegian Kr. 36.962, Austrian Sh. 22.171, Italian lira (100) 15.738, Yen (100) 211.534, Spanish Peseta 1.855, Portuguese Escudo 1.548.

    (M.P.)


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