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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-06-20

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] New Acropolis Museum celebrates first anniversary, hosts first touring exhibition on Pericles
  • [02] FinMin: Clampdown on tax evasion
  • [03] Shangai: Greek Day at Expo 2010
  • [04] Fire in Kavala Industrial Zone
  • [05] More strikes ahead

  • [01] New Acropolis Museum celebrates first anniversary, hosts first touring exhibition on Pericles

    More than two million people have visited the new Museum of the Acropolis during its first year of operation, according to figures presented by the museum to mark the first anniversary since it first opened to the public on June 20, 2009.

    The museum's board chairman Prof. Demetris Pandermalis said the museum received a total of 2,010,641 visitors in that time, had set research and scientific goals, made progress in the area of conservation and also in educational programmes.

    He also announced the launch of the museum's first touring exhibition "Pericles Xanthippos" on June 20. This uses archaeological finds such as inscriptions, coins and other artifacts to illustrate and explore the life of the famous ancient Athenian statesman, the man who led Athens during its 'Golden Age' and who conceived the idea of building the Parthenon. The exhibition will run until January 31, 2011.

    The Acropolis Museum is the first public museum in the country that operates as a public-sector legal entity and its aim is to cover its costs with its own revenues as much as possible. It currently employs a staff of 200, some of whom are contract workers and civil servants detached from the culture ministry. It currently covers its public utility bills on its own and gets financial assistance from the Organisation for the Building of the New Acropolis Museum (OANMA).

    Once a presidential degree on the operation of the museum is completed, following delays caused by the change of ministers and government, this will allow the museum to address the issue of hiring managerial staff and the position of the director will be proclaimed.

    Pandermalis also referred to the museum's medical unit and in-house doctor, noting that this had dealt with 377 incidents from November 1, 2009 until May 31, 2010, of which 67 percent were visitors to the museum.

    The ticket will remain at 5 euros in 2011, by decision of the museum's board, while it has also allowed the lease of the restaurant and cafe area on terms decided by the museum management.

    (Photo: ANA-MPA/S. Pantzartzi)

    [02] FinMin: Clampdown on tax evasion

    The government is determined to clamp down on tax evasion and punish those who acquired wealth at the state's expense, regardless of "how high" they are, finance minister George Papaconstantinou stressed in an interview appearing in the Sunday newspaper "Proto Thema".

    Papaconstantinou also stressed that every new measure will be enacted in order to put a stop to the impunity, and announced that "we will soon see shops being closed due to tax evasion".

    He said that the next step for regaining the taxpayers' confidence in the inspection mechanism will be minimisation of their direct contact with the services.

    He further said that the country's exodus from the economic crisis "tunnel" has already commenced, "from the moment we pinpointed the problems", and "we are proceeding, together with the society, in the implementation of a three-year program for the salvation and recovery of the country".

    "We have already the first indications that the economy can cover more quickly than we had anticipated," he added.

    Papaconstantinou said that legislation is being drafted for the speedy processing of large investments, along the model of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, while, regarding the substantial increase in inflation, he explained that this was due to the impact of the increase in indirect taxes but also to the manner of operation of the Greek market.

    He further criticised as "untimely and unjustified" the recent substantial downgrading of the Greek economy by Moody's, and stressed once again that Greece will not depart from the EU's common euro currency and return to the drachma.

    Papaconstantinou said that another bill will be tabled in parliament in the coming days on "fiscal responsibility" which will introduce rules and regulations setting a limit to the abilities of each budget to diverge from its initial forecasts.

    He also said that default and renegotation of the Greek debt was an option "that we fought hard to avoid, because it would have been catastrophic for our economy".

    [03] Shangai: Greek Day at Expo 2010

    SHANGHAI (ANA-MPA/E. Papadosifaki) -- Greece looks to greater cooperation with China in the areas of tourism and shipping and hopes to attract Chinese investment to Greece, Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli told on Saturday, during a press conference in Shanghai during Greek Day at the EXPO 2010.

    According to the minister, her contacts with Chinese officials and business people in the city had revealed potential for further business activity between the two countries in these areas. During the press conference, she also presented the e-book "Invest in Greece" that provides information for potential investors on all the securitisation programmes planned by the Greek government in an upcoming privatisation drive.

    Speaking at the Greek Pavilion in the Shanghai EXPO earlier the same day, China Ocean Shipping (COSCO) CEO and President Capt. Wei Jiafu stressed that China gave a vote of confidence to the Greek government's efforts to emerge from the crisis, adding that other Chinese companies had already shown interest in investing in Greece.

    Katseli is also due to visit the Shanghai stock market on Monday as part of the effort to support and promote Greek business. During an event that the Greek Embassy, she had noted that Greece was hoped to promote cooperation with China in areas such as trade, by promoting products and services that could be sold to Chinese markets, by attracting investments from China, in the tourism and shipping sectors and in cultural exchanges.

    The minister revealed that the two sides were currently considering a direct air link between Greece and Shanghai to assist tourism development, while China had expressed an interest in buying Greek products such as olive oil, wine, furs, jewellery, medicine and building materials.

    Other areas of possible cooperation includr those of logistics, technology, construction and transport.

    She appeared confident that Greece will be able to overcome the current problems and predicted that inflation would level off sometime in 2011, followed by economic growth.

    Earlier on Saturday, Katseli had a meeting with Chinese Vice Minister for Transport Weng Mengyong, after which the two sides appeared confident that Greece and China can further extend bilateral cooperation.

    [04] Fire in Kavala Industrial Zone

    Firefighters were battling since dawn Sunday a huge blaze that broke out at an automobile tire warehouse in the Industrial Zone in Drama, just a few kilometers from the prefecture's capital.

    A strong team of firefighters with more than 15 fire engines from the Drama, Kavala and Serres prefectures have rushed to the scene to put out the fire, which the Fire Brigade has initially attributed to lightning.

    Efforts, however, were hampered by strong winds in the area that fanned the flames which, coupled by the fumes from the burning rubber tires have resulted in a stifling atmosphere in the surrounding area.

    Firefighters have covered the largest part of the burning expanse, some 15 acres, with fire retardant in an effort to contain the blaze.

    [05] More strikes ahead

    The scene looks set for a long, hot summer, with a new wave of strikes ushering in the second half of June. This includes a 24-hour nationwide strike on June 29 called by the country's two largest umbrella union organisations - GSEE and ADEDY - against planned changes to pension and labour law and an ongoing strike by teachers marking the nationwide university entrance exams.

    After a brief hiatus over the weekend, meanwhile, workers on the Athens Metro will resume rolling work stoppages from Monday to protest against the management's refusal to renew the contracts of 286 workers hired before the elections. According to the Public Administration Inspector, their contracts were illegal because they were hired during the pre-election period. Metro workers are additionally demanding that they be exempted from the general public sector pay cuts imposed by the government.

    The strike by examination markers will continue until next Tuesday, based on a decision by the board of the highschool teachers' union OLME. This strike is also held over cuts in pay. The strike has delayed the announcement of results in university entrance examinations, with Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou reporting that one quarter of papers in Attica remained to be marked.

    In a decision on Friday, meanwhile, the plenum of bar association presidents announced that lawyers will abstain from court appearances and other duties from June 23 until July 7.


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