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Setting the standard internationally24/04/2014 - 23:33
Eurozone to pay out last tranche of Portugal aid funds in June
Portugal will receive its last tranche of aid funds form the eurozone in June, the bloc's rescue fund EFSF said Thursday, as the debt-hit country gets ready to emerge fro...
Eurozone to pay out last tranche of Portugal aid funds in Junec656f823693eb755c0bd8d0a5d79223ac22d8858.jpg
AFP / Patricia De Melo Moreira
A trader works behind a computer screen in Lisbon on April 23, 2014, during the auction of Portuguese Treasury Bills
Portugal will receive its last tranche of aid funds form the eurozone in June, the bloc's rescue fund EFSF said Thursday, as the debt-hit country gets ready to emerge from a multi-billion euro bailout programme.
The final disbursement of bailout money amounting to 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion) was approved on Thursday by the eurozone.
"As we approve the final EFSF disbursement to Portugal, I am very pleased to see the country’s achievements under the financial assistance programme," said Klaus Regling, who heads the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
"Three years ago Portugal had lost market access. After a painful but necessary economic adjustment the country is now starting to see benefits as imbalances are being corrected and credibility has been regained," he added.
Portugal had obtained a rescue package worth 78 billion euros three years ago to avert default, after decades of ballooning wages and state spending led to a massive build-up of public debt.
It is due to exit the bailout package on May 17 after having doggedly carried out reforms including sweeping job, pay and pension cuts required by its creditors.
On Wednesday, it breezed through a key bond market test, enjoying sharply lower borrowing costs compared to the height of the crisis.
"The upcoming end of the programme is not the end of the reform process. Many challenges remain," said Regling, adding however that Portugal is now "in a good position" to tackle them.
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Essential news in text, photo, graphic and video format24/04/2014 - 21:20
AFP photographer picks up eight prizes in 2014
AFP / Pedro Armestre
People standing on balconies looking at participants as they run in front of Alcurrucen's bulls during the first bull run of the San Fermin Festival, in Pamplona, Spain, on July 7, 2013
AFP photographer Pedro Armestre, recently recovered from a goring by a fighting bull, on Thursday won his eighth photography prize so far in 2014, a haul earned for images ranging from thrill-seekers at the Pamplona bull-run to raging wildfires.
An emblematic shot for AFP of spectators leaning over their balconies as daredevils packed the streets in the San Fermin bull-run in Pamplona on July 7 last year earned Armestre three awards: the Nikon Spain Press award in January; the King of Spain international photography prize in March; and the Ortega y Gasset photography prize this month.
"That was a photo I thought about for three years," Armestre said of the shot, explaining that during that time he found the right balcony and a date that coincided with the popular first run of the festival -- a Sunday, and the day of the city's patron saint.
"It is a photo that will remain in time as an image of the festival."
Armestre, a 42-year-old Madrid-based freelance photographer, also took first prize in Portugal's Estacao Imagem awards this month for a series of shots of summer wildfires in Spain for AFP.
Earlier this year, he picked up the science and natural history award in the Picture of the Year International awards for his coverage of climate change in the Arctic as well as the top photography prize for Feafes, a mental health organisation.
AFP / Pedro Armestre
Firefighters from the BRIF (Forest Fire Backup Brigade) work at the site of a wildfire in Cualedro, Spain, on August 24, 2013
Adding to the collection, Armestre this week won the Fundacion Donana 21 y CEPSA prize for an AFP picture of firefighters facing towering flames.
On Thursday, he scooped the inaugural Juan Guerrero photography prize for freedom of expression, awarded by the Avuelapluma cultural organisation in honour of his career.
Armestre returned to work in February after being gored by a 580-kilogramme (1,280-pound) fighting bull on September 17 last year as he covered an annual festival in which the townspeople of Tordesillas, central Spain, chase a bull into a meadow and slaughter the animal.
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