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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-05-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't imposes extra tax on companies' net profits
  • [02] Israeli tourism official promotes country's 'rebranding'
  • [03] Stocks nosedive 6.68%

  • [01] Gov't imposes extra tax on companies' net profits

    (ANA-MPA) -- The Greek government on Tuesday said it was imposing an extra one-off tax charge on companies‚ profits above 100,000 euros for the year 2009 and a special tax on TV ads, part of a draft bill implementing austerity measures agreed with the EU and the IMF in exchange for a 110-billion-euro support mechanism for the country.

    Under the draft bill tabled in Parliament, the government will impose a 4-pct tax rate on net profits up to 300,000 euros, a 6-pct tax rate on net profits from 301,000 to 1,000,000 euros, a tax rate of 8-pct for net profits from 1,000,001 to 5,000,000 euros and a tax rate of 10 pct for net profits surpassing 5,000,001 euros.

    The draft bill also envisages a special tax on advertisements broadcast on television (20 pct of the value of the ad). (ANA-MPA)

    [02] Israeli tourism official promotes country's 'rebranding'

    (ANA-MPA) -- "Rebranding" Israel as an increasingly attractive holiday destination beyond long-standing "pilgrimage tourism" to the Mideast country brought a top Israeli ministry of tourism official to Athens on Tuesday for a scheduled address before Greek travel agents and tour operators.

    According to Yehuda Shen, the director of the Israeli ministry's department for central and southern Europe, his country is actively and vigorously promoting what he termed as joint marketing agreements with travel agents around the world.

    The emphasis, beyond countering whatever stereotypes and misconceptions regarding Israel, is to promote visits and travel to the country outside of the usual "Holy Land" context.

    "The bottom line is to bring more people to Israel," Shen said during an interview at the Israeli embassy in Athens, hours before his address at a downtown Athens hotel.

    Along those lines, "niche" tour packages within the country, increasingly trendy "city breaks" to Tel-Aviv, promotion of Israel's numerous boutique vineyards, the so-called "Four Seas package" -- Med, Red Sea, Dead Sea and Galilee -- and burgeoning convention and trade tourism are being showcased by the Israeli tourism sector, Shen said.

    As per visits by Greek passport holders to Israel, the figure exceeded more than 22,000 in 2008, dropping to 16,000 arrivals in recession-plagued 2009, but already reaching more than 5,200 in the first quarter of 2010 -- a figure that includes the March Easter holiday.

    As a "rule of thumb", the Israeli ministry official said Israeli tourists -- amongst the world's most prolific holiday-makers -- visiting Greece usually top the 200,000 to 220,000 mark on an annual basis.

    However, he reminded that in recent years the eurozone meant dramatically higher prices for holidays and shopping in the east Mediterranean nation, a development that shifted tens of thousands of Israeli tourists to non-eurozone destinations in the Mediterranean, especially Turkey.

    Nevertheless, frank assessments by Israeli officials project a noteworthy return of Israelis to EU member-state Greece, given recent high-profile friction in Israeli-Turkish relations and a sense that the former represents the closest west European state to the Middle East.

    [03] Stocks nosedive 6.68%

    Stocks nosedived at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, hit by aggressive selling of bank shares, pushing the composite index of the market below the 1,800 level.

    Rumours ‚ denied by the finance ministry - over a debt restructuring by Greece, combined with heavy losses in international markets over worries that the Greek debt crisis was expanding, created a very negative climate in the market.

    The index fell 6.68 pct to end at 1,729.68 points, with turnover rising to 215.093 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 7.35 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 6.49 pct down and the FTSE 80 index fell 4.46 pct.

    The Raw Materials (11.10 pct) and Banks (10.30 pct) sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 168 to 20 with another 33 issues unchanged. Compucon (12.5 pct), FHL Mermeren (9.24 pct), Texapret (8.33 pct), Fashion Box (7.35 pct) were top gainers, while Druckfarben (19.57 pct), Sprider (17.74 pct), Epsilon Net (16.99 pct) and Sidenor (16.50 pct) were top losers.

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