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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-04

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government spokeswoman announces new cabinet
  • [02] ND spokesman says government reshuffle is 'futile'
  • [03] SYRIZA, Communist Party, Centrists' Union condemn arrests of HDP leaders, MPs in Turkey
  • [04] OASA sees 2016 deficit ending below institutions' 77-mln-euro budget target

  • [01] Government spokeswoman announces new cabinet

    Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili announced on Friday evening the composition of the new cabinet in a television address on public broadcaster ERT.

    The ministers who remain in their posts are: Euclid Tsakalotos (Finance Minister), Nikos Kotzias (Foreign Minister), Panos Kammenos (Defence Minister), Christos Spirtzis (Infrastructure and Networks Minister).

    Among the ministers who will take over new posts are: Panos Skourletis, who becomes Interior Minister, and Nikos Pappas who becomes Digital Policy and Media Minister. Newcomer Kostas Gavroglou will take over as Education Minister.

    [02] ND spokesman says government reshuffle is 'futile'

    New Democracy spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos on Friday described the government's imminent reshuffle as "futile", saying it will be interesting only for a few hours.

    Speaking to radio station "Parapolitika", Koumoutsakos said the country needs a reshuffle of the prime minister which is why "we insist on our position that there's a need for elections."

    "And this can only be done by the people, with their votes," he said. "The reshuffle will only be interesting for a few hours. It doesn't change the facts. The country remains depressed and society without prospect."

    The spokesman said SYRIZA and ANEL seek to stay in power at any cost adding that there might be elections in the future. "A government majority is a feasible target for ND. However we will seek cooperation with forces that contribute to the national effort," he added.

    [03] SYRIZA, Communist Party, Centrists' Union condemn arrests of HDP leaders, MPs in Turkey

    SYRIZA, the Communist Party and the Centrists' Union condemned on Friday the arrests of the two joint leaders of Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) who were detained along with 10 lawmakers earlier in the day.

    "The persecution of HDP is based on unfounded allegations and are highly political, with the obvious purpose of terrorizing the Turkish Left and every progressive citizen struggling for democracy and peace in Turkey," said SYRIZA in a press release, condemning the arrests of SHDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, and adding it is deeply concerned about Turkey's slide towards authoritarianism.

    The party also called for a protest rally on Syntagma square on November 5, at 14:30.

    The Communist Party denounced "the growing authoritarianism of the Erdogan government in Turkey" and condemned the arrests of the co-chairs of HDP and lawmakers.

    The Centrists' Union said Turkey "continues its long tradition of persecuting the Kurds", noting that when the state arrests the political leadership of the Kurds it is like "it considers all Kurds an enemy of the country".

    The pary also urged Europe to put pressure on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to immediately stop the purges of those it calls "opponents" and respect basic human rights

    [04] OASA sees 2016 deficit ending below institutions' 77-mln-euro budget target

    The Athens public transport organisation OASA on Friday said that it expected its budget deficit at the end of 2016 to be significantly smaller than the 77-million-euro target agreed and approved by the institutions.

    An OASA announcement said that the deficit of the transport companies in the group was expected to be lower "in spite of the difficult circumstances generated by obligations 'inherited' from previous administrations and a gradual reduction in state subsidies."

    Among such difficulties it listed the absorption of a 10- and then 11-percentage point rise in VAT (from 13 pct to 24 pct) and additional spending on new projects that were in progress, such as the introduction of telematics.

    OASA said that figures for the first eight months of 2016 showed a deficit of just 34 million euros, or roughly 44 pct of the annual target agreed with the institutions.

    The group on Thursday announced higher revenues in August (5 pct) and September (3 pct) compared with the same months in 2015, due to higher sales of travel cards in August and total tickets in September. The overall increase in revenues for the two months was 1.1 million euros.

    According to OASA CEO Ioannis Skoubouris, the higher revenues largely reflected improved transport services offered by OASA after the introduction of telematics in buses and trolleys, which were warmly embraced by the public. He predicted that the introduction of electronic tickets in 2017 and a reorganisation of bus lines will bring even greater improvements to OASA services.

    In its announcement on Friday, OASA noted that the 2016 budget figures were drawn up using different data and were therefore not directly comparable with the data for 2015. Such differences included the higher VAT rate, which existed for only four months of 2015 and free travel for groups such as the unemployed, which was only in force in the second half of 2015, as well as an additional 204 staff returned to their jobs through court decisions.

    The group's accumulated arrears to third parties came to 190 million euros at the end of 2015 while state subsidies fell from 182 million euros in 2013 to 100 million euros in 2014, rising to 108 million euros in 2015 and were predicted to fall to 86 million euros in 2016.


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