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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-13

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Deputy FM Kassimis in Lebanon
  • [02] Tax reform eyes inheritance, fuel levy
  • [03] Athens‚ Christmas tree lit

  • [01] Deputy FM Kassimis in Lebanon

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis began on Thursday a three-day official visit to Lebanon by meeting, in the evening, the Mideast country's Culture Minister Tarek Mitri.

    Kassimis transmitted Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis' greetings and Greece's steadfast positions on the situation in Lebanon.

    "As a country interested in peace and welfare prevailing in this region, we are absolutely convinced that a solution which would offer optimism to this country and this people, can only be found within the framework of the Constitution and on the basis of Democratic principles," Kassimis told reporters after the meeting.

    On his part, the Lebanese minister expressed joy for the meeting with "such a close friend" but also his "emotion for those moments during which Greece, in the summer of 2006, contributed in a decisive manner to the withdrawal of citizens who had wished to abandon the country."

    At the same time, Tarek Mitri thanked Greece for its important humanitarian aid to Lebanon.

    Referring to his country's current political crisis, Mitri expressed the hope this would not last long, saying that what the country needed is the election of a president of the republic for a true Democracy.

    "The only road is compromise," he underlined, calling for foreign interventions to stop.

    Earlier in the day and just after his arrival in the Lebanese capital, Kassimis met with the presidium of gratuates of Greek universities, while in the evening, and during a reception hosted in his honour by the Greek community of Beirut, he was proclaimed honourary member of the community by its president Panos Andriotis.

    Kassimis is also scheduled to meet with the Mideast country's Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora.

    He is also scheduled to hold talks with Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamade and Information Minister Ghazi Aridi.

    The Greek deputy minister, apart from Beirut, will also visit Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, and hold meetings with the ethnic Greek communities and Orthodox bishops in the two cities.

    [02] Tax reform eyes inheritance, fuel levy

    The Greek government on Thursday tabled its long-awaited and latest tax reform draft bill, with the highlight being a projected abolition of certain categories of inheritance taxes and the imposition of an annual flat 0.1-percent per valuation tax on high-end properties.

    Additionally, the bill foresees the abolition of a real estate transfer tax for a property designated as a "first residence" less than 200 square metres.

    Exemptions from the flat tax are also "first residences" listed as under 200 square metres and with an objective value -- as assessed by the tax bureau -- of under 300,000 euros.

    Inheritance taxes will be abolished for property with an assessed value of less than 90,000 euros.

    According to ministry figures, some 2.5 million Greek households will be exempt from the flat property tax. The 0.1-percent tax rate affects individuals, with a 0.6-percent rate for corporate entities, down from the 0.8-percent rate currently applied.

    Farm land, pasture land and land unzoned land is also exempted from the property tax, whereas objective property values will be calculated on figures applying as of Jan. 1, 2008.

    In presenting the bill, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis also said that a special tax on heating oil will be equalised with that applied to diesel, beginning on Jan. 15, 2007, at all stages of fuel processing, from import to delivery to retail vendors.

    He added that the monetary difference between subsidised heating oil and diesel will be returned by the tax bureau to vendors, instead of an initial plan for individual consumers to line up at tax bureaus in order to get the refund.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek FinMin George Alogoskoufis.

    [03] Athens‚ Christmas tree lit

    The Christmas tree at Athens‚ Syntagma Square was lit on Thursday evening and heralded the start of the capital‚s festive events.

    An impressive show was performed with fireworks, music and songs interpreted by children.

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis said ?today is not a day for many words, it is a day of celebration and joy for all of us, for the children and mainly for the lonely people.?

    The Christmas tree is 14.5 meters tall.

    The celebration was accompanied by Athens Municipality‚s Philharmonic Orchestra, the band Big Band of Athens Municipality‚s Musical Associations, the Athens Public Choir and the Children‚s Choir of Spyros Lambros.

    Responsible for this year‚s festivities is internationally renowned light designer Eleftheria Deko, known for her participation in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and director and designer of lights at the opening and closing ceremonies.

    As of Thursday until January 6, 2008, Syntagma Square will constitute an impressive festive picture with basic element the light and rich events for the young and old.


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