|Tuesday, 28 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-25
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM briefed by interior minister on new civil servants' codePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Wednesday, as the latter briefed the prime minister on the ministry's priorities until the end of the year.
Specifically, Pavlopoulos briefed the premier over the approval of a new civil servants' code, completion of a local government code and a draft bill on immigration policy.
The civil servants' code has already been conveyed to the General Accounting Office and a vote in Parliament will he held in November, Pavlopoulos said, adding that a vote on the latter code will take place by the end of the year. He added that no such local government code existed in the country for nearly a decade.
Referring to the immigration draft bill, he stated that a vote will be held next month.
 Papandreou chairs meeting on party's programmeMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday chaired a closely watched party meeting on PASOK's programme positions regarding public administration, local government, security and justice.
As he emerged from the meeting, top PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos described the meeting as "very important and useful", adding that PASOK "is in a position to present very specific, feasible and cost-assessed proposals on these issues".
More importantly, he also denied numerous press reports this week citing a rift between himself and Papandreou following an eight-hour session of PASOK's high-ranking political council two days ago, a meeting that reportedly concluded with a political clash between the two former ministers.
According to MP and former EU commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, meanwhile, PASOK was making progress on the most important aspects of its programme, which she said will be comprehensive and address the important problems faced by citizens.
ANA-MPA file photo of Papandreou.
 Evening of Greek culture to mark UN anniversaryThe 61st anniversary of the founding of the United Nations will be celebrated at the UN headquarters on Wednesday with an evening of Greek culture, in a concert by Greece's state-run Radio and Television broadcasting organisation's (ERT) symphony orchestra entitled "Greece: Poetry and Music" featuring Greek poetry put to music by noted composers Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hatzidakis.
Greece will be hosting the anniversary concert, to take place at the UN General Assembly Auditorium, for the first time, with the event, a tribute to civilisation and peace, also marking the approaching completion of the country's two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2005-2006 period. The concert is sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation, under the auspices of the Greek foreign ministry and with the support of state broadcaster ERT.
The ERT National Symphony Orchestra will perform Mikis' Theodorakis' "Axion Esti" and "Epiphania", based on the poems written by Nobel laureate poets Odysseas Elytis and George Seferis, as well as Hatzidakis' "Megalo Erotiko" and other poetry set to music by 20th century Greek composers.
ERT has engaged the renowned Mexican tenor Ronaldo Villazon to sing, alongside Greek soloists Fotini Darra, T. Apostolou and A. Smyrnakis.
The United Nations Day concert was organised by ERT with the assistance of a grant from the Alexandros Onassis Foundation, and will be broadcast by satellite over an area spanning America, Australia and South Africa, while it will be broadcast in Greece on the following day from 19:00-21:00 in the evening.
The President of the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation, Antonis Papadimitriou, at a press confererence he gave at the Foundation's Cultural Centre in Manhattan on Tuesday, referred to the presentation by Greece, for the first time, of the anniversary concert which will be held on Wednesday evening at the hall of the UN General Assembly, both on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, and of Greece's participation at the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for the 2005-2006 period.
The concert is sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation, under the auspices of the Greek Foreign Ministry and with the support of state-run Greek Radio and Television (ERT).
The concert will be attended by UN officials, permanent representatives and many other diplomats of the organisation's 192 member-states, including officials of the political and cultural life of the United States and Greece.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of UN building in Athens
 Dep. FM cites major trade ties with AlbaniaThe conviction that the centuries-old ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania and Albanian guest workers in Greece constitute a bridge of "cooperation and friendship" linking the two neighbours was again outlined here on Wednesday by Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, following a meeting of the Albania-Greece Parliamentary friendship group.
The Albanian Parliament deputies thanked the Greek minister for Athens' multi-level support of their country's European prospects and development, stressing that such support is a request shared by both the Albanian government and the opposition.
Stylianidis briefed the bipartisan Albanian delegation on progress in bilateral relations, noting that Greece is now the biggest foreign investor in the neighbouring country and one of its most important trade partners.
Additionally, discussed also touched on the initiative "Albania 1 euro" - whereby state property is leased out at a rate of one euro for every one square meter of space, or services provided to foreign investors for one euro -- aimed at attracting foreign investments to the country.
Stylianidis said the initiative should further boost Greek investments in Albania, referring, among others, to a recent expansion in Albania by Greece-based Titan Cement.
Stylianidis also briefed the Albanian side on the HiPERB-backed project concerning the construction of the 41km-long Sagiades-Konispol-Sarande motorway along the two countries' Ionian coast, a project expected to link extreme northwestern Greece with Albania's southwest quadrant, an area that hosts that country's ethnic Greek minority. The overall cost of the project is 33.5 million euros, of which 25 million euros will be allocated from the Greek state budget.
A total of 15 36-milion-euro investments have been made within the framework of the HiPERB framework, 10.7 million of which emanated from Greece. A total of 215,000 euros has been invested in smaller projects, corresponding to 1 percent of the HiPERB credit line, with 283,000 euros remaining.
Regarding cooperation in the education sector, Stylianidis referred to the three bilingual schools already inaugurated by the Greek government in Korce, Himara as well as the Arsakio academy in Tirana where both Albanian and ethnic Greek students can study. The foreign ministry has also funded the construction of regular schools in Albania as well.
The construction of a middle school in Korce has also been approved, while a similar facility is scheduled to be opened in Gjirokastr at the request of the town's mayor and local government.
In the health sector, Greece has contributed to the construction of hospitals in the south of the country and supported medical centers in the north offering medical care to all citizens, with medical staff offered training in Greece.
On their part, some members of the Albanian delegation called for increased business activity by Greek firms and interests in the country's north, whereas Stylianidis noted that some of the biggest Greek investments have been based in the north, citing companies such as Alumil, Loulis Flour Mills and the ongoing Titan investment.
Finally, Stylianidis requested the assistance of the Albanian parliament in efforts to cut red tape faced by foreign companies operating in Albania.
Caption: An ANA-MPA file photo of Stylianidis.
 President Papoulias in ThessalonikiPresident of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias arrived in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Wednesday to attend three-day celebrations for the city's Patron Saint Demetrius, its liberation and the October 28 national holiday.
President Papoulias is accompanied by Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis. He was welcomed at Macedonia airport by Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Kalantzis, Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis, deputies, mayors and local authority representatives.
"Thessaloniki and Macedonia have experienced the woes of war in a dramatic way and have written a glorious history in the struggles for freedom and independence," President Papoulias said.
"The citizens of Thessaloniki have the dynamismn and the creativity required to meet the challenges of the new era. I am confident that now is the time for extroversion for Thessaloniki, it is time for it to play a leading role in economic life and in efforts for development in the entire Balkan region," he added.
President Papoulias further said that "sometimes in the past its geographic position was the cause of tensions and turmoil, but today it is a strong advantage for it to develop into a business and economic centre in southeastern Europe."
Papageorgopoulos said on his part that "the month of October, your excellency, is for us Macedonians a month heavily loaded with historic memories, messages and symbolisms."
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will arrive in Thessaloniki on Thursday, while main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou is expected to arrive on Saturday.
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