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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry president on economy
  • [02] Environment minister pledges 'comprehensive' policy; Parliament ratifies new road tax fees
  • [03] Five rare Byzantine fresco-icons stolen in 1978 return to Greece
  • [04] Customs employees extend strike
  • [05] Greek pavillion at BIT
  • [06] ASE opening: Marginal decline

  • [01] Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry president on economy

    ANA-MPA/Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Costas Mihalos, addressing the 6th tax conference organised by the Hellenic American Chamber on Thursday, spoke of the need for support for economic activity to enable the Greek economy to detach itself from recession and produce revenues for the state and the citizens.

    Mihalos said that on the basis of existing proposals certain positive points surely exist but the negative ones are more.

    He further said that certain terms that harm entrepreneurship and ignore conditions currently prevailing in European and global competition are very extreme, adding that measures of a growth character are absent, meaning those that will provide a momentum and an incentive for the rewarming of the Greek economy.

    [02] Environment minister pledges 'comprehensive' policy; Parliament ratifies new road tax fees

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Thursday pledged that the government will soon unveil a comprehensive policy proposal for vehicles, which would be fairer, more effective and friendlier toward the environment.

    "We must find ways to give incentives for the replacement of energy-hungry, polluting vehicles with those having improved performance in terms of pollution emissions, combined with disincentives for driving on roads with a high environmental load," Birbili said in Parliament during a discussion to ratify a draft bill containing amendments relating to road tax and the withdrawal of older cars from circulation.

    Birbili explained that from 2011, the road tax due will be calculated based on the technology, age and engine size of cars.

    "Vehicles that are registered will have carbon dioxide emissions data and their road taxes will be determined based on this purely environmental criterion," she said, noting the need to upgrade the system for technical inspections of vehicles in order to take very old, very polluting and dangerous vehicles out of circulation.

    She also noted that cycling and walking had to become viable alternative modes of transport in Athens.

    Birbili said the ministry was working on a comprehensive policy for cars in conjunction with an improvement in public transport infrastructure and its coordination, such as extra rail services and extending bus lanes, as well as encouraging the public to have more passengers in each vehicle through price policy or prohibitions.

    The government's proposed measures were criticised by the entire opposition are purely revenue-raising and an additional burden for low incomes. The amendments were passed with the support of only ruling PASOK MPs.

    [03] Five rare Byzantine fresco-icons stolen in 1978 return to Greece

    Five rare Byzantine hagiography frescoes stolen in 1978 from the Palaiopanagia Church in Steni, Evia, returned to Greece from Basle, Switzerland at dawn Thursday.

    The priceless fresco-icons, dating from the 13th and 16th centuries, stolen by Greek antiquities smugglers from the church in August 1978 and illegally sent out of the country were traced by the Greek authorities (Athens Security Police Antiquities Smuggling unit) in 2006 to a well-known Italian antiquities dealer, at a gallery he ran jointly with his German wife in Basle.

    The Greek judicial authorities launched legal procedures for the return of the precious icons, on behalf of the Greek state, which lasted more than two years, instituting charges against the Italian antiquities dealer and all others involved, and sought the judicial assistance of the Swiss authorities for confiscation of the stolen icons. The Basle prosecutor's office in December 2009 issued a final judgement ordering the unconditional return of the frescoes to Greece.

    The frescoes depict Saints Ermolaos, Nikitas, Makarios of Egypt and Nestor, and are unique examples of the school of painting prevalent in the 13th and 16th centuries on mainland Greece.

    Palaiopanagia is a 12th century cross-shape roofed Byzantine church renowned for its exceptional art hagiographies that are distinguished for their precision of proportions and colors.

    The five stolen frescoes are a point of reference in international and Greek studies, outstanding among which is a 1971 study co-authored by the present Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos titled "Medieval Monuments of Evia", which has been awarded by the Academy of Athens.

    The study, in fact, was a key factor in definitively identifying the frescoes and positively establishing before the Swiss authorities that the five icons are protected Greek cultural monuments.

    [04] Customs employees extend strike

    ana-mpa/Customs employees on Friday extended a three-day strike by three rolling 48-hour strikes, as reserves at petrol stations have started drying up.

    The customs employees throughout the country had initially launched a three day strike from Tuesday to Thursday, but decided on Thursday evening to call an additional three rolling 48-hour strikes.

    The border posts at Evzoni, Doirani, Nikaia and Krystallopigi remain closed on Friday due to the customs employees' ongoing strike, as well as the railway crossing at Idomeni in Kilkis prefecture.

    Meanwhile, queues have started forming in front of gas stations that still have fuel, causing traffic jams on the main streets in major cities. Drivers hastend to fill up their gas tanks on Thursday afternoon after the announcement that the customs employees are extending their strike.

    However, the customs employees in Thessaloniki and Crete suspended their strike on Friday, and the petrol stations have replenished their supplies.

    In Attica prefecture most of the gas stations' have run out of unleaded gas, while their reserves in super unleaded are nearing depletion, the price of which has skyrocketed to 1.6 euros per litre.

    [05] Greek pavillion at BIT

    Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou on Thursday inaugurated the Greek Tourism Organisation (EOT) pavilion at the BIT tourism exhibition in Milan.

    The minister expressed confidence that the professionalism of Greece's tourism sector and crucial interventions on the part of the State would succeed in overcoming any difficulties created by the economic crisis.

    The aim was for Greece to become known as a sustainable business centre in the Mediterranean and a high-quality tourism destination, she added.

    During her visit to Milan, Gerekou met with a South African government official to discuss matters of mutual interest in view of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

    [06] ASE opening: Marginal decline

    Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 0.07 percent, standing at 1,880.86 points at 11:30 a.m., and turnover at 24.385 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the biggest gains in Food and Beverages, up 1.65 percent; and Mass Media, up 0.69 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Financial Services, down 1.44 percent; and Oil and Gas, down 0.88 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 0.23 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.41 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.25 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 54 were up, 35 were down, and 24 were unchanged.

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