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Greece introduces tax incentives in three sectors

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Greek Finance Ministry on Wednesday announced plans for tax cuts in three sectors – workforce, environment, and audio-visual production – which will significantly contribute to revival of Greece’s economy, ANA-MPA news agency quotes Deputy Minister of Finance Katerina Papanitsiou as saying.

As regards labor sector, apart from already-implemented new rules, tax incentives for employment of young jobless people will be introduced, deputy minister said.

The government also plans financial stimulations for water-saving, energy efficiency improvements, as well as for environmental protection, Papanitsiou said.



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Economy

Mercedes maintains global luxury sales crown

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Mercedes-Benz kept the global luxury sales crown for the third consecutive year in 2018, outpacing nearest rival BMW by nearly 200,000 vehicles.

Sales of Mercedes brand cars rose 0.9 percent to 2.31 million, lifted by the introduction of the new A-class model, which helped compact-car sales account for a quarter of the brand’s annual volume.

BMW brand’s volume increased 1.8 percent to 2.12 million, boosted by demand for its SUVs, which accounted for over a third of registrations. Third-placed Audi’s vehicle sales fell 3.5 percent to 1.87 million.

European volume declined for all three automakers last year.

Audi’s deliveries dropped most with a 14 percent fall, which parent Volkswagen Group unit blamed on model changeovers, political and economic uncertainties along with the introduction of the new WLTP testing regime. Mercedes sales were down 2.3 percent, while BMW’s sales declined by 0.3 percent.

In the United States, BMW’s volume rose by 0.5 percent. Mercedes sales dropped 6.3 percent and Audi fell 1.4 percent.

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Economy

Etihad Airways to lay off 50 pilots this month

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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways plans to cut 50 pilot jobs by end of this month after a significant loss last year, two sources who have seen an internal memo by the airline told Reuters on Thursday.

The state-owned Gulf carrier has been reviewing its business since 2016 after a strategy of investing billions of dollars in other airlines failed.

Etihad has around 160 surplus pilots and will lay off 50 by the end of January, the airline told pilots in the memo, according to the sources, who declined to be named because the memo was intended to be private.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier employs 2,065 pilots, the sources added.

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Economy

Amazon is most valuable company in the world after passing Microsoft

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Amazon.com Inc. surpassed Microsoft Corp. to become the world’s largest public company on Monday, in the latest example of the list of Wall Street’s biggest names being reordered.

Amazon is now now the largest company by market value, overtaking Microsoft’s hold on the title.

Amazon’s ended trading Monday with a market value of about $797 billion, compared with Microsoft’s $783 billion. Apple, which had been part of a close three-way race for the seat, is now down to about $702 billion in market value after plunging last week on the news of its weak iPhone sales. Google parent company Alphabet has surpassed Apple with a market value of about $748 billion.

Shares of the e-commerce company rose 3.4 percent, a rally that gave it a market capitalization of $797 billion, according to Bloomberg data. While this is down from Amazon’s record market cap, which topped $1 trillion in September, it was enough to push it past Microsoft at $789 billion. Shares of Microsoft, which claimed the title of the world’s most valuable stock in November, rose 0.1 percent on Monday.

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