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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Border roadblocks discussed over the phone by Borissov, Samaras
  • [02] Police foil attempt to smuggle hashish via 'drug donkeys'
  • [03] Court ruling on Zammit case expected on Wed.
  • [04] Diamandouros re-elected as European Ombudsman
  • [05] New draft tax bill unveiled
  • [06] Stocks plunge 3.39% on Wed.

  • [01] Border roadblocks discussed over the phone by Borissov, Samaras

    (ANA-MPA) -- Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov spoke by phone on Wednesday and discussed the problems faced by neighbouring Bulgaria as a result of the road blockades and closures of border crossings in northern Greece by protesting farmers.

    The Bulgarian prime minister called Samaras to reportedly thank him for the responsible position adopted by ND in handling the issue, according to reports.

    [02] Police foil attempt to smuggle hashish via 'drug donkeys'

    Border guards in Kalovrissi, near Konitsa in extreme NW Greece, apparently foiled an attempt by an unidentified individual to smuggle 103 kilos of unprocessed cannabis into Greece from Albania.

    The drugs, loaded onto two donkeys, were confiscated but the suspect managed to escape by crossing the border with Albania. A search is underway for the suspect, conducted in cooperation with Albanian police.

    [03] Court ruling on Zammit case expected on Wed.

    (ANA-MPA) -- A court ruling in the homicide case stemming from the death of 20-year-old Australian tourist Doujon Zammit is expected late on Wednesday evening. The trial for Zammit's beating death, which generated international media coverage, is being held on the eastern island of Lesvos.

    A former bouncer is accused of intentional homicide in Zammit's death on the island of Mykonos in July 2008.

    [04] Diamandouros re-elected as European Ombudsman

    (ANA-MPA) -- Incumbent European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros was re-elected to the post by a large majority for a third consecutive four-year term.

    Diamandouros received 340 votes out of 678, while the other two candidates, Belgium's Pierre-Yves Monette and Italy's Vittorio Bottoli, received 289 and 19 votes, respectively.

    Diamandouros was first elected to the post on April 1, 2003. He served as Greece's Ombudsman in the period 1998-2003.

    The European Ombudsman's office investigates mismanagement complaints against EU bodies and agencies.

    [05] New draft tax bill unveiled

    A new draft tax bill - expected to be approved by Parliament in March - will cover all tax transactions retroactively from the beginning of the year, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, the minister said the government‚s final decisions on a new tax system were expected to be announced by end-January or early February.

    Papaconstantinou also said the country‚s fiscal deficit must be cut by two percentage points of GDP (around 5.0 billion euros) by June, according to the country‚s updated Stability and Growth Programme, and reiterated that the government was prepared to take additional action if any significant divergence from original goals would emerge. He categorically dismissed, however, that the government was examining plans to raise VAT rates or to impose additional taxes. The finance minister also said no decision has been taken as yet on imposing a tax to boost support to the country‚s pension system.

    Papaconstantinou said the finance ministry was planning to cover 50 pct of its annual borrowing needs (around 26 billion euros) in the second quarter of the year and predicted a gradual decline in yield spreads between Greek and German state bonds. The government was examining all alternative scenarios to ensure success of its borrowing programme, he said, adding that a plan to issue a "popular bond" was not excluded. Papaconstantinou also announced the beginning of a round of road shows in Asia and the US to discuss the possibility of issuing state bonds in other currencies than the euro.

    Commenting on a proposal by Sweden to impose a stability tax on banks, the Greek minister said the government was keen to discuss such a proposal on a European level, although the government did not have any such intention.

    [06] Stocks plunge 3.39% on Wed.

    Stocks ended sharply lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, hit by a significant widening of the yield spread in the Greek state bond market. The composite index dropped 3.39 pct to end at 2,030.28 points, with turnover a moderate 231.706 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index plunged 3.95 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 2.49 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 1.70 pct. With the exception of the Telecommunications index, which ended 0.79 pct higher, all other indices lost ground. The Banks (5.07 pct) and Raw Materials (5.06 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 159 to 36 with another 38 issues unchanged.

    Plias (9.09 pct), Hellenic Fish Farms (9.09 pct), FHL Mermeren (8.40 pct) and Technical Publications (7.89 pct) were top gainers, while Envitec (19.87 pct), Lanakam (19.09 pct), Elfico (18.12 pct) and Klonatex (12.50 pct) were top losers.

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