|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-16
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Samaras outlines his vision for NDThe changes and what he envisaged for the future of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party were outlined by its leader Antonis Samaras in an interview with the financial newspaper "Kosmos tou Ependyti" (Investor's World), which was published on Saturday.
"We are creating a party that knows the problems of the country, is not indebted to anyone, has no bills from the past and is building the prospects of its own governance with determination but also in a responsible fashion," Samaras said.
Regarding the party's unity and the role of his rival for the leadership Dora Bakoyannis, ND's leader said that he did not see her as "defeated" and wanted her to be active on the 'front lines'.
On economic policy, he called for more drastic cuts of wasteful spending, developmental measures and reforms in market structure, saying that the exit from the crisis would be much faster and easier than many imagined once these things were done.
In terms of the Cyprus issue and the new plan being proposed, he pointed out that the Cypriot people would reject this also if it was the same as the Annan plan and underlined that Turkey must abide by bilateral agreements for stemming illegal migration.
 Government considering rolling highway to bypass TempiThe idea of using a rolling highway to bypass the blocked Tempi valley, at least for heavy goods vehicles, is increasingly gaining ground within the government as the date when the Tempi pass will once again be open to road traffic becomes more and more distant.
This was indicated in statements made by Infrastructure Minister Dimitris Reppas in Parliament last Thursday, who said that the National Railway Infrastructure Management (EDISY) company was currently looking into ways of overcoming certain technical difficulties that exist and the cost of hiring the special trains used for this purpose.
If adopted, the rolling highway will run along an old and currently disused section of track between the old Tempi railway station and Rapsani that is roughly eight kilometres in length. This distance will be covered in a very short space of time by a specially designed train capable of carrying up to 30 trucks at a time.
In order to be practical, modifications will have to be made that will allow trucks to be loaded onto and off the trains quickly, while a 50-metre section of missing track on the Rapsani station side will have to be laid down in order to reach a spot where trucks can easily manoeuvre.
Another problem that must be overcome is that of bringing the train onto the old section of track, which does not connect with the new high-speed rail. The preferred option here is to lift the train onto the track using a crane, an operation that is expected to take a few hours.
The train will have an engine at both ends, while the trucks will drive straight onto the wagons using a ramp from one end, one after the other, and then drive off from the other, without delays. The entire loading process will be completed in about 10-15 minutes. Once they have been unloaded, trucks going in the opposite direction will be loaded on and the process will continue on a 24-hour basis. The wagons will be open platforms without gaps between them and with a guide for the wheels that will prevent them from turning left or right.
Such a system can transport roughly 500 heavy goods vehicles in each direction every day, which would account for the greater part of the trucks using the roads on a daily basis.
 Second arson attack on Hania synagogueAuthorities in the city of Hania, Crete on Saturday expressed grave concern regarding the second attempt to torch the Jewish Synagogue in the old city. The fire that began in the early hours of Saturday morning was put out by the fire brigade but not before it caused an estimated 30,000 euros in damage, burning through the building's wooden roof and floor, several books, archives, four computers, CDs and tapes of Jewish music stored within.
A police announcement said the fire was set by one or more unidentified individuals that entered the Synagogue's yard through an adjacent building and then broke in via a door on the ground floor. The method used to start the fire has not yet been determined.
The fire brigade responded promptly and prevented the fire from spreading to the rest of the synagogue and next-door buildings.
This was the second time that an attempt to burn down the synagogue has been made in less than a month, following a similar attack in which books and a staircase were burnt 19 days ago.
The two attacks combined have been responsible for the burning of 2,500 rare books. All that remained of the contents of the building has now been transferred to another location.
An investigation into the two attacks has now been taken over by Hania security forces.
 Tractors, snow disrupt roadsTractor road blocks, snow and high winds were among the obstacles facing travellers throughout Greece on Saturday, where farmers' protests combined with bad weather to delay weary motorists.
The Egnatia highway spanning northern Greece from west to east remained closed by some 180 tractors at the intersections of Kerdyllia, Strymonikos and Chrysoupolis, between Serres and Kavala, forcing drivers to use the old national road to get around them.
Tractors were also ranged alongside the road but without blocking traffic at the N. Triglia intersection in Halkidiki prefecture, at Agia in Larissa prefecture and at the Vogatsikos intersection of the Kastoria-Kozani national highway.
Serres farmers have decided to further step up action on Monday by blockading roads toward the Promahonas border crossing with Bulgaria. At that time they will be joined by their fellows in Larissa and Thessaly, who are determined to block the junction at Nikaia and add yet another obstacle in the path of motorists already having to negotiate the closure of the Tempi pass, where the road has been blocked by a major landslide.
The farmers have decided to forego a road block at Tempi, where motorists are already facing severe delays due to the landslide, but they will range their tractors at the side of the road.
Their demands include an immediate payment of money due to them, guaranteed prices for their products, lower production costs and a freeze of their debts. Those of Larissa and Thessaly are also pressing for a completion of the the Aheloos River diversion in order to top up depleted water supplies to their fields.
Heavy rains and snow were another inconvenience facing those travelling in northwest Greece and Thessaly, where snow chains were needed in the mountains and on national roads between Florina and Kastoria, on the rural road network between Kastoria and Ioannina and some sections of the Volos-Zagora route via Nestorio.
Snow chains were also needed by those travelling on the Trikala-Arta national highway around Elati and the Bili-Mesochora rural road.
Two sections of the Karditsa rural road network were made impassable due to snow, one on the Mouzaki-Arta road and another on the Mouzaki-Petrilos road, while eight regions of the Argithea muncipality were cut off.
On the Ionian island of Zakynthos, meanwhile, the ferry connection from Zakynthos to Kyllini was shut down due to high winds.
 Papoulias to meet Cyprus presidentPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias is to receive Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on Saturday night. The Cyprus president is due in Athens for talks with Greece's state and political leadership regarding the Cyprus issue.
Christofias will focus on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem after the last set of positions presented by Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, which are in no way satisfactory to Greece and Cyprus. On Sunday, he is to visit the fire-stricken regions of Ileia with Prime Minister George Papandreou.
On Sunday, meanwhile, Papoulias will leave for Abu Dhabi as the guest of United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan, in order to attend the World Future Energy Summit taking place there on January 18-21, in which he will be the keynote speaker.
During his stay in UAE, Papoulias will have meetings with the president and his successor, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan. The World Future Energy Summit is taking place under the aegis of the crown prince.
Papoulias may also have other high-level bilateral contacts on the sidelines of the summit.
 Greek Press ReviewThe Saturday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The draft bill for parental gifts and inheritance tax and the stability and development programme sent to the European Commission mostly dominated the front-page headlines in Athens' dailies on Saturday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Super taxes for real estate, inheritances, parental gifts. Draft bill that 'burns' tax payers".
APOGEVMATINI: "Tax-free allowance of 150,000 euros for parental gifts of real estate. Controversial amendment tabled in Parliament as draft bill with many changes"
AVGHI: "Part-time life...government now defending Medieval labour conditions for flexible employment, claiming that this is society's choice".
AVRIANI: "In a state of siege from farmer blockades. While the country sinks, the 'union barons' get down to ...revolutionary gymnastics".
CHORA: "Who gets the kickbacks from the loans to the public sector and municipalities. Publish the names of all those making the deals".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The changes for parental real estate gifts. Ten percent 'fee' on informal cash gifts".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New taxes for parental real estate gifts - inheritances. Backdated to January 8".
ESTIA: "New tax for gifts - inheritances. The provisions of the draft bill tabled".
ETHNOS: "Four keys to parental real estate gifts. Tax-free allowance rises from 95,000 to 150,000".
IMERISSIA: "New taxes for parental gifts of real estate - inheritances. Tax-free limit up to 150,000 - the burden on large property holdings".
KATHIMERINI: "Major changes in the taxation of parental gifts of real estate. Reduction of taxes for small value properties, increase for large".
LOGOS: "Opening night for farmer mobilisation..with blockades on national highways. Tractors take to the roads once again".
NIKI: "River of 150 thousand taking our home. Raid on real estate, tax on trips (!) in cars".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "'Two-speed' tax for parental gifts of real estate. Cuts for transfers valued up to 310,000 and increases for larger sums".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Popular front of demands. Stability programme a guillotine for the people".
TA NEA: "Tax cuts for parental gifts but also 'tax blow' for expensive real estate. For assessed values up to 310,000 euros".
VIMA: "All new civil servants to be insured by IKA. Under the new reforms for pensions".
VRADYNI: "Education by the hour - [permanent] appointments slashed".
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