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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-04

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis at 73rd TIF on Friday
  • [02] Papandreou holds talks with SETE, ESEE
  • [03] FinMin on tax bill
  • [04] Anti-doping amendment

  • [01] PM Karamanlis at 73rd TIF on Friday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will begin his visit to Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on the occasion of the 73rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), with visits to the National Research and Technological Development Centre's new building complex and work at the city's METRO project on Friday morning.

    The TIF's inauguration will be taking place at 09:30 on Saturday and immediately afterwards the prime minister will visit the TIF-HELEXPO's administration and exhibition premises, while at 8 in the evening he will be addressing the representatives of producer classes at the Vellidio Convention Centre.

    The prime minister's visit to Thessaloniki will be concluded at noon on Sunday with the traditional press conference at the Vellidio.

    In another development, the premier addressed Thursday evening the inauguration of the Athens National Observatory's Geoastrophysics Museum, announcing the more than doubling of the Foundation's funds by the year 2013, as well as a new institutional framework for research and technology.

    Karamanlis also said that there was encouragement for the attraction of competitive research funds which, together with the hard work and the volunteerism shown by the Foundation's leadership and staff, the Observatory can and must continue to constitute a bright example for the country.

    The example of the Athens National Observatory "is yet another resounding proof that Greece has people with talent, capabilities and an inclination for creative work and for the production and dissemination of new knowledge in our society."

    Karamanlis also said that today we are honouring all the spiritual people who worked and toiled at this foundation for over 160 years, implementing the vision of benefactor Sinas for the development of research in our country.

    The event was attended by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos and people from the sectors of science and politics.

    [02] Papandreou holds talks with SETE, ESEE

    Main opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou referred on Thursday to meetings between party leader George Papandreou and representatives of producer classes in light of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    On the question of Papandreou's meeting with the Federation of Greek Tourist Businesses (SETE), Papaconstantinou said that the problems facing tourism were dicussed as well as PASOK's proposals.

    "It was a bad summer for Greek tourism that was marred by the known incidents in Mykonos and Santorini, it was a summer where it appeared that the attractiveness of our country decreased with the policies of the New Democracy party," the spokesman said, pointing to failure to utilise Olympic Games infrastructures as an example, "policies that led to a decrease in visits to museums and policies that turned tourists away due to high prices on the islands."

    In his meeting with the National Confederation of Greek Trade (ESEE), the PASOK leader referred to the recent tax measures and said that "when the economy is sinking, you do not let it sink even more, you help it" and discussed with ESEE the "correct functioning of competition, on a decrease in prices and support for low and medium-level incomes."

    Papaconstantinou concluded by saying that "what the merchant needs today is a market that functions competitively and a contract of trust with the country."

    [03] FinMin on tax bill

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday that the tax bill was ratified by the relevant Parliamentary Committee after two improving amendments were made.

    According to the first amendment, the tax-free ceiling amounting to 10,500 euros is maintained for large families with three or more children, with additional increases for each child.

    The second amendment maintains for young self-employed professionals, having a contract with one employer, or contracts with successive employers, the tax-free ceiling for three additional years, provided that the young self-employed professionals have not yet reached the age of 30.

    Lastly, Alogoskoufis referred to inert deposit accounts and said that changes being considered do not harm the rights of depositors and stressed that it is a question of modernising legislation existing since 1942 and that concerns the assessment of interest and the practice applied by banks.

    PASOK reaction

    PASOK party economic affairs rapporteur Louka Katseli on Thursday accused the government of "offhandedness" in exercising its economic policy.

    "The amendments produced by Mr. Alogoskoufis, regarding the tax bill, prove the offhandedness and the lack of preparation and seriousness in the exercising of the government's economic policy," she said.

    "The last-minute arrangements do not remove from the backs of thousands of young people employed with receipts the great burden being created with the abolition of the tax-free ceiling," Katseli added.

    The rapporteur further said that "the amendment that maintains for three more years the tax-free ceiling for self-employed professionals under the age of 30 favours the unacceptable perpetuation of a hostage status for young working people, who have a contract with one or with successive employers and who, while in essence providing salaried employment, are being employed with receipts to the benefit of businesses and the state sector."

    [04] Anti-doping amendment

    An amendment designed to discourage the use of doping in sports was tabled in Parliament by the government on Thursday, to be appended to a bill on combatting sports violence.

    The measures envisioned by the amendment require all substances given to athletes to be recorded in their health book, the removal of sports federation board members where it was proved that federation athletes took banned substances based on a deliberate plan, jail terms, stiff fines and subsequent professional restrictions for anyone supplying athletes with banned substances, jail terms up to two years and fines for athletes caught in possession of banned or undeclared substances or those obstructing anti-doping inspections.

    Even tougher sentences of up to 10 years are envisioned for those giving banned substances to minors and there is provision for the inspection of school championships in all categories by the National Council Against Doping.

    Another proposal is to restrict the privileges accorded to top-level athletes under current laws, such as cash prizes for athletes finishing in top positions in Olympic, world and European meets - henceforth to be restricted only to medal winners and those that break or equal world and European records. The right to a job in the public sector will only be given to those winning an Olympic medal and there will also be changes to the system of bonus marks for champion athletes for entry into higher education.


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