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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-04-15

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't on eurozone support mechanism
  • [02] Samaras, Papandreou discuss economy
  • [03] Explosive device outside PASOK MP's office
  • [04] Environment minister tables draft bill on illegally enclosed "semi-balconies'
  • [05] Public transport work stoppage Thursday
  • [06] Road safety drive
  • [07] SYRIZA slams tax bill

  • [01] Gov't on eurozone support mechanism

    The government on Wednesday insisted that its goal is to continue borrowing from the open market "under the best possible conditions".

    Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis, speaking during his daily press briefing, said Athens continues to view the recently created eurozone support mechanism as a major success and a possible safety net. "If necessary we will, of course, activate the mechanism."

    In reference to possible IMF participation in such a support mechanism and especially in reply to criticism that International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials are already crafting upcoming draft laws and reforms in Greece, Petalotis emphasised that:

    [02] Samaras, Papandreou discuss economy

    ANA-MPa/Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras met with Prime Minister George Papandreou at the Maximos Mansion on Wednesday afternoon and discussed developments on the economy.

    "I was briefed, I briefed, we discussed in depth the crucial aspects of the economic crisis. I believe that with the suitable mixture of economic policy we can cope by ourselves," Samaras said after the meeting.

    Asked by the press on the activation of Greece's support plan, Samaras said "the less we speak the better it is for the economy."

    [03] Explosive device outside PASOK MP's office

    ANA-MPA/A makeshift explosive device composed of gas cannisters exploded at the entrance to the offices of ruling PASOK party Deputy Christos Protopappas, located in Sina street in Athens, at 8:25 on Wednesday evening.

    The explosion and ensuing fire damaged the door to the office. The blaze was extinguished by a citizen before the Fire Brigade arrived at the scene.

    [04] Environment minister tables draft bill on illegally enclosed "semi-balconies'

    A draft bill dealing with illegally enclosed 'outdoor' architectural features on buildings (e.g. balconies and porches) and other changes of use was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday by Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili, who said discussion on the bill by the relevant Parliamentary committee will begin on Friday.

    Describing its contents to Parliament's Production and Trade Committee, Birbili said its primary aim was to redress a land deficit that arose through as a result of how cities had been developed.

    Regarding her decision to give owners the right to "preserve" the change of use in the illegally enclosed spaces for a period of 40 years, the minister explained that this gave people an alternative to the annual 'preservation' fine, allowing them to pay once for the whole 40 years at a much lower rate.

    [05] Public transport work stoppage Thursday

    Buses, trolley buses and the electric overground railway (ISAP) will not be operating between 11:00 and 17:00 on Thursday due to a work stoppage by their staff unions, which will hold general meetings during those hours.

    They may be joined by staff on the Athens metro and the Proastiakos suburban railway, who have not yet made a final decision about whether or not they will work on Thursday.

    [06] Road safety drive

    ANA-MPA/In a press conference on Wednesday, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas announced a renewed government drive to improve road safety and lower the very high annual death toll on Greek roads, where 1500 people lose their lives in accidents each year.

    He announced a framework for carrying out a decision for improving road safety agreed by the cabinet in December, at the suggestion of Prime Minister George Papandreou, starting with a study for improvements along the entire length of the Greek road network or roughly 10,000 kilometres.

    The minister said the total cost of this would exceed 500 million euros and the changes made would be both practical and changes to practices and law, such as incorporating Community directives on road safety or drafting a strategic plan for road safety for 2011-2020.

    [07] SYRIZA slams tax bill

    In stinging criticism of the finance ministry's draft tax bill on Wednesday, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary leader Alexis Tsipras slammed the government for its inability to tap into the profits of the rich while looting lower and middle incomes.

    "When the pre-election Papandreou said that the money is there, he was right. Except that you are not in a position to seek out this money - not the 11.8 billion euro profits made by companies listed on the stock market nor the tens of billions moved by the 10,000 offshore companies owned by Greek interests. And you have the nerve to say that 'we are all together against the crisis'. How are we together? Did we share in the profits also," Tsipras asked during the debate on the tax bill in Parliament.

    SYRIZA also slammed Papandreou's recent attack on the Left and his praise of the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party in a recent interview, saying that SYRIZA would not stop criticising ruling PASOK's choices and "unnatural alliances".


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