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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-24

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Weather forecast: Overcast, windy on Friday
  • [02] Arsonists target bank in Galatsi, minor damage
  • [03] KKE: Propaganda 'wrapping'
  • [04] LAOS: Blame on PASOK, ND
  • [05] SYRIZA leader Tsipras
  • [06] Sharp drop in trade deficit
  • [07] Proposed tax reforms uploaded

  • [01] Weather forecast: Overcast, windy on Friday

    Cloud and wind were forecast throughout the country on Friday, with unseasonably high temperatures in many parts of the country and local rainfall in the north.

    Scattered cloud in Athens, with chance of light rainfall locally, and temperatures ranging from 11C to 19C. The same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures of 5C to 12C.

    [02] Arsonists target bank in Galatsi, minor damage

    A home-made incendiary device exploded in the early morning hours outside a bank branch in the Galatsi suburb of Athens, causing material damage but no injuries.

    The device, comprising four small propane canisters and a canister of flammable liquid, exploded at 4:00 a.m., breaking the Piraeus Bank branch's glass facade and damaging two parked cars.

    [03] KKE: Propaganda 'wrapping'

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, said the new budget was "consistent with the PASOK party's election programme which has, however, a propaganda wrapping".

    Papariga ,speaking in Parliament on Wednesday evening during the debate on the new state budget, added that for her party "the storm of antilabour measures that is coming was expected, it had predicted it and had told it to the Greek people."

    She also criticised the other opposition parties, saying "they have no substantive differences and side with the capitalist growth model that the government is implementing at the expense of working people."

    "The only difference between main opposition New Democracy (ND) and PASOK regards the way of implementing this growth model. You did not abolish any law of ND. You are stepping on them, you correct them and make them worse," she stressed.

    Papariga said that ruling PASOK "is using the economic crisis of the capitalist system as an alibi" and that it "has no ground for manoeuvres and its only solution is its antilabour policy that it is concealing."

    Lastly, Papariga accused PASOK of making a conscious effort to slander her party, adding that "the popular movement has not said the last word. The Greek people only have one possibility, to correct their vote with struggles."

    [04] LAOS: Blame on PASOK, ND

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday evening during the debate on the state budget, attributed longstanding responsibilities to the two mainsteam parties that rule the country, questioned the government's ability to curb the deficit and provide measures for the recovery of the economy.

    Karatzaferis also called on the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras to change position on the issue of granting Greek citizenship to immigrants and to state his stance on Turkey's accession course and on the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    He further criticised the government's intention to grant voting rights to immigrants, stating that the adoption of this policy will find LA.OS opposed and appealed to the democratic sensitivity of parties not to accept it.

    "Lets go to the people to tell us if they want the vote for immigrants and citizenship, the people must speak with a referendum," he said.

    [05] SYRIZA leader Tsipras

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alexis Tsipras, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday evening during the debate on the new state budget, likened the state of the economy with the national motorway following the landslide at Tempi, central Greece, that cut the country into two.

    Tsipras added that the case of prosperity in Greece is similar, the citizens are constantly paying the cost of prosperity that is expected.

    Tsipras, who raised the isseu of what happened with the benefits of growth of a single decade from 1997-2007, claiming that "they went for military armaments, the costly Olympic Games projects, tax exemptions, systematic tax evasion and deposits in Switzerland."

    He further said that unemployment was currently at dramatic levels, while "productive sectors have been disorganised and governments looted the public sector, while the worst is the looting of resources of the public sector by private businesses and corporations of strategic importance were sold out."

    Tsipras also said that the real discussion on the budget "does not take place in Parliament, but took place in London with the representatives of the markets that we must appease."

    He also spoke of "a state of unbelievable monetary terrorism and restricitve measures that were those that led us up to here."

    Tsipras concluded by saying that in the face of this unfair and deadlocked policy, "we present the leftist alternative proposal for a breakthrough for the creation of a shield of social protection and solidarity and for the positive exit from the crisis. We demand and we shall claim drastic measures for the taxation of the richer classes, for the strengthening of the social state, for dignified salaries and steady employment."

    [06] Sharp drop in trade deficit

    Greece's trade balance deficit fell by 46.7 percent in October 2009 to 1,910.7 million euros from 3,582.2 million euros in October 2008, according to provisional figures released on Thursday by the national statistics service ESYE.

    The decline of the trade balance deficit resulted from a 39.8 percent drop in imports-arrivals and a 25.3 percent drop in exports-dispatches.

    The trade balance deficit for the 10-month period January-October 2009 also dropped by 43.3 percent to 20,562.6 million euros from 36,288.7 million euros in the corresponding period of 2008.

    Caption: Container terminal (EPA)

    [07] Proposed tax reforms uploaded

    The government's proposals for changing Greece's tax system were posted on the Internet on Wednesday, alongside questions asking tax-payers their opinion on the measures proposed. The changes suggested concern all areas of taxation law, from that on real estate property and individual incomes to that of businesses and legal entities. Among others, the public is asked to give an opinion on taxes linked to environmental policy goals and decentralised taxes paid to local government.

    In addition to the introduction of a single, progressive tax scale linked to inflation for all categories of income, the government asks the public its opinion on deducting receipts for goods and services from taxable income, tax deductions for certain categories of spending, taxation of dividends at the same rate as personal income, and abolishing certain categories of tax exemptions and relief.

    Another question posed to the public is whether it agrees with establishing a minimum assumed income for the self-employed, taxation of surplus value on short-term stock market transactions, and a new system for calculating the income of the self-employed, based on their books.

    On taxation of property, the government proposes replacing the current uniform tax with a tax on larger properties, taxing property economically exploited by the Church and charities, restoring inheritance and parental gift taxes and taxing property owned by offshore companies.

    In terms of taxing businesses and legal entities, the government suggests a different taxation rate for retained and distributed profits and seeks feedback on which of the existing categories of tax exemption or relief should be abolished. It also proposed a review of the special tax regime for rent earned by Church institutions and charities.

    Finally, it outlines a series of proposals for tackling tax evasion that include a more detailed record of existing assets on tax statements, the use of bank accounts to which tax services have access for all commercial transactions above a certain amount, and additional taxes on transactions with offshore companies, among others.

    Other ideas, designed to cut costs for tax offices, are a switch to using only electronic tax statements for all tax-payers and sending pre-completed tax statements to those with income derived exclusively from salaried employment, as well as extending the range of electronic transactions available between the public and tax offices.


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