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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-01-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Intense 3-month period in econ, public sector
  • [02] 2011 ushers in hikes in VAT
  • [03] 'Cycling for champagne' in Athens
  • [04] Alexandria attack condemned
  • [05] Holiday travel slump

  • [01] Intense 3-month period in econ, public sector

    (ANA-MPA) -- The government will enter an intense three-month period of interventions in the economy as of Monday with March looming large on the horizon -- when according to a published timetable, the EU-ECB-IMF bailout mechanism's fourth and biggest tranche (15 bln euros) is set for disbursement to Greece.

    The period is considered crucial since, apart from the new inspection by the EU-ECB-IMF "troika" in February, the issue of an extension for the repayment of the bailout's installments will also be raised.

    A draft bill on the opening of so-called "closed professions" is a top priority. Another important issue is the reform and cost-cutting plan for state-run utilities and wider public sector organisations.

    The "troika" is expecting a detailed (ANA-MPA) plan for every sector, particularly in terms of privatisations and the better utilisation of state real estate.

    January will be an important month since at the end of it, or early February at the latest, a draft law on the reform of Greece's creaky tax administration must be tabled in Parliament. Announcements are also expected in January on actuarial studies concerning the main social insurance funds (IKA, OAEE and OGA).

    Additionally, a detailed action plan must be presented by the end of February -- with specific deadlines -- for the long-south unified salary scale in the country's cavernous public sector, in order to allow the relevant bill to be ratified by the end of June. (ANA-MPA)

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [02] 2011 ushers in hikes in VAT

    (ANA-MPA) -- The advent of 2011 has brought with it price increases in a wide range of staple goods and mainly foods, public transport, cigarettes, entertainment and utilities, while the prices of some 12,000 medicines will be reduced and electricity rates for about 1.2 million low income households will also decline.

    Rises will result in the prices of a sweeping range of products and services on the market and utilities due to the increase of the 11 percent VAT to 13 percent as of January 1, 2011. These include food products sold in supermarkets, bakeries, vegetable and fruit shops and meat shops, at restaurants and all eating establishments, cafeterias and sweet/pastry shops, as well as cinema, concert and other events tickets. (ANA-MPA)

    Utility bills -- electricity, water, natural gas -- are also being moved to the 13 percent VAT category, as are the public transport tickets -- buses, metro, trains -- and also taxi rates.

    However, the 11 percent VAT rate is reduced to 6.5 percent for medicines and also for tourism services. (ANA-MPA)

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] 'Cycling for champagne' in Athens

    (ANA-MPA) -- The Greece-based cycling4wine initiative on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, organised the first-ever "Athens Champagne Ride", a bike ride from the all-marble Panathinaiko stadium in central Athens -- the venue for the first modern Olympics in 1896 -- to the upscale coastal district of Glyfada and back to downtown Athens again and Lycabettus Hill. It was at the last stop, and with a view of the entire greater Athens area below, (ANA-MPA) that cyclists opened champagne bottles and cut a traditional New Year's cake, known in Greece as "Vassilopita". ANA-MPA / P. SAITAS.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [04] Alexandria attack condemned

    (ANA-MPA) -- The Greek government on Saturday evening expressed its solidarity and condolences in the wake of a bomb attack outside a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt, which occurred earlier in the day and claimed the lives of 21 parishioners.

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, in a telephone call with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmet Aboul Gheit, expressed the Greek government's support and condolences, while the foreign ministry issued a statement by ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras condemning the attack.

    Delavekouras expressed "outright condemnation of the abhorrent terrorist attack at a church in Alexandria that targeted the faithful, who had gone to pray". (ANA-MPA)

    Caption: Egyptian Christians attend Sunday mass at the Christian Coptic church of the Saints where an explosion occured two days earlier, in the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria, Egypt, 02 January 2011. ANA-MPA / EPA / AHMED YOUSSEF

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [05] Holiday travel slump

    (ANA-MPA) -- A major decline in travel by Greeks, both to popular destinations abroad and domestically, was recorded during the 2010 Christmas-New Year holiday season, according to travel bureau representatives.

    The reduction in holiday travel mainly concerns the middle incomes, which are traditionally the staple clientele of travel bureaus, which attribute the decline chiefly to the economic crisis, according to representatives of Athens-based travel offices.

    Organised trips to European countries, in particular, fell by 45-50 percent over the holidays, while domestic tourism dropped by 25 percent, Christoforos Mouzakis, director of organised trips to European destinations at a major travel agency in Athens, told ANA-MPA.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form


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