|Thursday, 18 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-07-22
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM meets Netanyahu, promises peace initiativesTEL AVIV (ANA-MPA) Prime Minister George Papandreou held a joint press conference here on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a meeting between the two prime ministers in Tel Aviv. Papandreou is carrying out the first visit to Israel by a Greek prime minister since the country was formally recognised by Greece in 1993.
The Israeli premier joked about this to reporters, in fact, saying that they were still trying to decide whether this was the first official visit or not.
Papandreou, on his part, thanked Netanyahu for his willingness to support the actions of the Greek government to emerge from the economic crisis and referred to the strong bonds and close relations that have developed between the two countries over the course of time.
The Greek premier also referred to a further development of cooperation in tourism, agriculture, trade and technology.
Concerning the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, Papandreou praised the Israeli government's decision to relax the blockade but stressed that a series of measures would now be necessary for a final solution to the problems.
He also expressed hope and conviction that indirect talks on the Palestinian problem would lead to direct talks in the near future.
The Greek premier indirectly replied to articles in the Israeli and foreign press concerning the timing of his visit, saying that the strengthening of relations was a standing policy for Athens and underlining his intention for more initiatives to promote the peace process.
"We are neighbours, we live in the same region, we desire peace and we do not take advantage of conflicts in the area. We are taking and I will take further initiatives, including with Turkey, for a peaceful dialogue in order to proceed with building a peaceful neighbourhood for the benefit of all," he stressed.
The Greek prime minister invited his Israeli counterpart to visit Greece, an invitation that Netanyahu accepted, promising to carry out the visit in the near future.
On his part the Israeli premier stressed the many things that Greece and Israel shared in common, which he said arose from a shared set of values and principles.
He said that their talks had focused primarily on the peace process negotiations, establishing peace in the region and peace with neighbours, adding that this "could not be different".
"We exchanged views on how this could be achieved. We had a constructive dialogue that came to supplement all that we had first discussed during our chance meeting some time ago in a restaurant in Moscow," Netanyahu said.
He said the two sides had also explored ways of extending existing economic ties in the fields of technology, know-how, trade and agriculture.
The Israeli premier went on to express concern at the Iranian government's desire to develop a nuclear programme and praised the stance adopted by U.S. President Barack Obama on this issue. He also asked Papandreou, who was due to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a few hours, to convey the Israeli side's sincere desire to both negotiate and come to an agreement.
"Both sides know how to and desire to reach a compromise," he stressed.
The Greek premier, accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and government spokesman George Petalotis, on Thursday met Netanyahu, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Israel's main opposition party leader Tzipi Livny.
After meeting Israeli officials, Papandreou was to meet the family of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and then depart for Ramallah for talks with the Palestinian Authority leadership.
 Privatisations committee to meet FridayThe government's privatisations committee is to convene at the finance ministry on Friday to discuss the overall privatisations programme and especially the options available in the banking system following Piraeus Bank's offer for the acquisition of ATEBank and Hellenic Post Bank.
A finance ministry announcement said that the issues on the agenda will be the choice of financial and legal advisors to explore the state's strategic options in the banking system, a review of the progress made in the privatisation programme, modernising and extending the legal framework governing privatisations and use of public assets and creating a working group with the participation of the appropriate ministries for a study evaluating the real estate property of the State.
Taking part in the government committee are Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli, Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas, Labour and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos, Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and Minister of State Haris Pamboukis.
 Greece tops EU customs seizures of counterfeit goods in 2009BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris) Greek customs have confiscated the highest number of counterfeit goods among EU countries over the past year, according to the annual report issued on Thursday by the European Commission on customs actions to enforce intellectual property rights at the EU's external borders.
Specifically, fake or pirate goods seized by Greek customs jumped sharply from 3.6 million in 2008 to 21.9 million in 2009.
In the 27 EU countries as a whole, customs seized 118 million counterfeit products in 2009, down from 178.9 million in 2008.
After Greece, the largest number of counterfeit goods seized was in the Netherlands (17.9 million items), Italy (12.9 million items) and Bulgaria (11.3 million items).
The report shows that the main categories of goods seized for violating intellectual property rights included cigarettes, clothes and designer label goods. There was also a significant rise in the number of counterfeit goods bought for daily consumption, such as shampoos, toothpastes, toys, medication and household appliances, with the accompanying higher risks to health.
China continues to be a major source of counterfeit products, producing 64 percent of these, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in specific classes of goods.
 Fires in Viotia, Evia, ArcadiaThree major wild fires were underway on Thursday, in the prefectures of Viotia, Arcadia and southern Evia.
The first fire near the village Pera in Livadia started at noon and was burning forest, while no inhabited areas were threatened. A force of 32 firemen with 14 fire engines and 17 people on foot were battling the blaze on the ground, assisted by four water-bombing aircraft and two helicopters from the air.
The fire in Derveni, Arcadia broke out a short while later in a stretch of brush and trees and was again far from any inhabited areas. A total of 30 fire-men, 10 fire-engines and two units on foot were deployed to contain the flames, assisted by two helicopters from the air.
The third fire broke out at around 14:00 in the afternoon at Lala near Karystos, in a region of brush quite near the settlement. Two helicopters, 18 firemen with six fire-engines are currently engaged in the fire-fighting effort.
According to maps issued by the civil protection general secretariat, meanwhile, there is a high risk of fires breaking out in several regions in Greece on Friday, including Attica, Evia, the Cyclades islands, Lesvos, Samos, Chios and all of Crete. All relevant services have therefore been placed on standby and the public has been asked to carefully avoid any kind of activity likely to accidentally cause a fire.
 Stocks jump 2.66 pctGreek stocks ended significantly higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with investors discounting a positive performance by Greek banks in a European stress test procedure. The composite index of the market jumped 2.66 pct to end at 1,612.38 points, with turnover at 103.210 million euros.
The Big Cap index soared 3.37 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.14 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 0.87 pct. Banks (5.06 pct) and Personal Products (3.74 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (0.59 pct) and Oils (0.14 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 120 to 53 with another 46 issues unchanged. Neorio (10 pct), Progressive (9.09 pct) and Pasal (9.09 pct) were top gainers, while CPI (10 pct), General Trading (9.68 pct) and Technical Publications (9.09 pct) were top losers.
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