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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 'Antigone' performed in ancient Greek at Brussels theatre
  • [02] FM talks with Albanian leadership
  • [03] Cost of borrowing slides in Dec.
  • [04] Greek stocks end moderately up

  • [01] 'Antigone' performed in ancient Greek at Brussels theatre

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni) - Sophocles' "Antigone" has been successfully staged since Feb. 3 at the La Comedie Claude Voltaire theatre here.

    The tragedy, which is performed in the original ancient text, is staged by the Greek "Theatrical Club" group and is directed by Spyros Vahoritis.

    The particularity of the work is that the famous ancient tragedy is performed in the authentic Sophoclean text, while actors reproduce the exact accent and rhythm of the ancient Greek language.

    The tragedy, produced under the auspices of the Greek embassy in Brussels, will be staged until Feb. 15.

    [02] FM talks with Albanian leadership

    TIRANA (ANA-MPA) -- "Our neighbourhood must be a priority," Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed here during an official visit on Monday.

    The Greek minister is visiting Albania in her capacity as chairperson of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and as part of an ongoing a tour of western Balkan states.

    Among others, she urged Albania and the other countries of the region to make use of Athens' term at the helm of the OSCE for 2009.

    "The OSCE is in a unique position to help the region's Euro-Atlantic prospects," Bakoyannis underlined after a meeting with her Albanian counterpart Lulzim Basha, noting the contribution of OSCE missions to step-by-step modernisation and democratisation of western Balkan states.

    Basha noted that the Greek presidency had indicated the importance that it attaches to the western Balkans, through Bakoyannis' recent visits to Belgrade and Pristina, where the OSCE also has missions.

    The OSCE's role in Albania will be particularly important in the coming period since the country is due to hold general elections in June.

    Basha conveyed to Bakoyannis his government's desire to cooperate with the OSCE in holding free and fair elections, adding that his country had invited the largest mission of OSCE observers that has ever come to Albania to monitor elections.

    The Greek minister also stressed the vital role of the OSCE mission in Albania, saying it has boosted political stability, adding that Albania will only gain through the presence of a strong OSCE mission that will cooperate closely with its government.

    Bilateral relations

    The two sides also noted the progress in already close bilateral relations between Greece and Albania, with Basha describing Greece as a strategic political and economic partner.

    Along those lines, the two sides signed an agreement for the operation of two military cemeteries on Albanian soil for Greek servicemen killed during the Greek-Italian war (1940-41) in WWII -- an issue to which Athens attaches particular importance.

    Bakoyannis underlined the close economic ties between Greece and Albania, Greece's prominent position among foreign investors in Albania, while noting that Greece will soon ratify a protocol for Albania's entry into NATO, while it has already ratified the EU-Albania Association and Stability Agreement.

    She noted that Greece also supports more relaxed visa requirements to Albanian citizens visiting the EU and continues to support Albania's EU prospects, believing that the western Balkans belong within the European family.

    The two ministers also pointed to the unique bond between the two countries arising from the ethnic and autochthonous Greek minority in southern Albania and the sizable community of Albanian immigrants and guest workers in Greece, with Bakoyannis noting that the Greek minority's future depended on "respect of human rights within the country".

    Bakoyannis also held meetings with Albanian President Bamir Topi, Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the president of the Albanian Parliament Jozefina Topalli.

    She is due to meet with the main opposition leader and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama on Monday afternoon, in addition to representatives of other parties, while she is also due to visit the offices of the OSCE mission in Albania before returning to Athens on Monday evening.


    [03] Cost of borrowing slides in Dec.

    Énterest rates in the Greek banking market mostly fell in December 2008, the Bank of Greece announced on Monday. The central bank, in a report, said one-day saving deposits by households and non financial enterprises fell by 3-9 basis points in December 2008, while time deposits up to one year rose by 14 basis points and repos interest rates fell significantly by 56 basis points.

    Lending interest rates fell by 41 basis points - reflecting the technical effect of a securitisation of consumer loans with high interest rates. Excluding the securitisation the decline in the interest rate was just 15 basis points.

    [04] Greek stocks end moderately up

    Greek stocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index rising 0.37 pct to end at 1,768.18 points. Turnover was a low 80.7 million euros, of which 2.2 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Raw Materials (3.33 pct), Healthcare (3.18 pct) and Constructions (3.13 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (1.88 pct), Banks (1.25 pct) and Utilities (1.09 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.04 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 0.94 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.18 pct up. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 115 to 84 with another 52 issues unchanged.

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