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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-05-11

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Depeche Mode sing up a storm at Attica's Terra Vibe Park
  • [02] Mitarakis: PM's visit 'opens new chapter' in relations with China
  • [03] National Bank to take over 'healthy' assets of FBB

  • [01] Depeche Mode sing up a storm at Attica's Terra Vibe Park

    ANA-MPA -- British pop veterans Depeche Mode blew Greek fans away on Friday with a gutsy performance at Attica's Terra Vibe Park venue in Malakasa, Attica, in what was one of the season's first great open-air summer gigs near the Greek capital.

    The band played before a packed crowd, with most tickets sold months in advance and people converging on rural Malakasa from all corners of Greece in cars, motorbikes and buses. Despite some early glitches with the barcode system at the entrance, the sour notes were fairly quickly overcome and the evening progressed more smoothly, more than compensating fans for the three-year wait since the previous Depeche Mode concert in Athens was cancelled due to singer Dave Gahan's health problems.

    After Greek support band 'Space Blanket' and Essex-based F.O.X. had warmed up the crowd, Depeche Mode hit the stage to riotous applause at 9:00 p.m. and kept their audience electrified for more than two and a half hours with old favourites from their 1993 album 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' and tracks from the more recent 'Delta Machine', ending with "Never Let Me Down Again".

    The band will leave Athens to continue their European tour, with 34 concerts in 25 European countries and an estimated 1.5 million fans, before they cross the Atlantic to tour North America.

    [02] Mitarakis: PM's visit 'opens new chapter' in relations with China

    ANA-MPA -- Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' visit to Beijing next week opens a new chapter in relations between Greece and China, Deputy Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Notis Mitarakis said in an interview with ANA-MPA broadcast on Saturday.

    Currently in Beijing to prepare for Samaras' visit, Mitarakis stressed the fact that it was only the second visit by a European Union member-state leader to China since its new government took over, after a visit by French President Francois Hollande.

    "China, as we all know, is one of the great superpowers of the world. It is significant that the invitation to the Greek prime minister was among the first made by China's new political leadership," Mitarakis said, adding that the premier's visit would serve to further strengthen the already good relations between the two countries.

    Replying to questions, Mitarakis reported a positive climate in China ahead of the Greek premier's trip and said that the goal was to develop relations one step further, so that the business delegation accompanying Samaras was able to close specific deals for cooperation in investment and exports.

    The minister pointed out that China was already an active participant in the privatisation process in Greece and had expressed an interest in new tenders due to be held in the near future, with particular interest in infrastructure such as ports and airport.

    "This visit will be an opportunity for discussion on this to take place. There is also fairly significant cooperation between Greece and China in the shipping sector. Already, I should remind you, from 2010 there is a cooperation memorandum that set up a general framework and we are now proceeding to the implementation phase," Mitarakis said regarding the issues likely to be discussed.

    With respect to tourism, the minister said there was strong interest in boosting tourism to Greece on the Chinese side, while Greece considered China an important market and wished to cultivate it.

    "There is also great interest in the import of goods from Greece to China and for this reason, the prime minister's mission to China will include representatives of the exporters' sector and agencies," he added.

    At the same time, the minister stressed that the prospects for cooperation in China could not be realised without systematic hard work, pointing out that Greece was not the only country seeking to attract investments.

    "This is a very competitive area. Greece, at this time, offers important comparative advantages. It is important that we are able to progress to the implementation of investment plans that may have been discussed in the past or are starting now," he said.

    The audio of the above interview is currently available at the ANA-MPA FTP files protocol server at the address ftp.ana-mpa.gr (NOT http://). The access codes are:

    username : radioUser

    password : r@d!0

    [03] National Bank to take over 'healthy' assets of FBB

    ANA-MPA -- The National Bank of Greece is to absorb the healthy portion of First Business Bank (FBB), following an offer made to the central bank that was approved by Greece's Fiscal Stability Fund shortly after midnight on Saturday.

    On Monday, FBB's network of 19 bank branches will operate as part of and under the responsibility of NBG, with all transactions with customers, deposits and loans being carried out as normal. According to a Bank of Greece announcement, NBG's offer for the healthy portions of FBB fully protects the deposits of all the bank's customers and ensures their continued, unobstructed service.

    FBB's licence to operate was revoked and it went into liquidation after it informed the Bank of Greece that it could not raise the necessary funds for recapitalisation.

    NBG will take over all the deposits and the majority of the loans, with the exception of those that have been declared non-performing. Any difference between the estimated value of the assets and the actual value will be covered by the Fiscal Stablity Fund.


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