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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-10-19
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 BLOODY ATTACK TARGETING A JOURNALISTAthens, 19 October 2004 (13:48 UTC+2)
Journalist Philippos Sirigos has escaped the danger while he is still hospitalized in Athens' General Clinic intensive care unit. Mr. Sirigos was injured in the head, and in several other parts of his body, when he was attacked by two men armed with knives and an iron bar. The two assailants were riding a motorcycle and hit the journalist in the head with the iron bar, while they stabbed him four times in the back before they disappeared.
According to the second medical bulletin issued by the General Clinic doctors, the journalist was rushed to surgery where his wounds were evaluated and treated. He was stabilized through blood transfusion and underwent medical tests.
Mr. Philippos Sirigos is the director of the sports desk of the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".
The government spokesman, the spokesman of the main opposition party of PASOK, the party Coalition of the Left and the Association of Sports Journalists have condemned the attack.
Meanwhile, an Athens prosecutor requested to head the investigation on the attack, given the fact that Mr. Sirigos is the main witness in a major anti-doping case.
The attackers left no traces behind and police circles do not rule out the likelihood for the attack be related with sports circles and specifically, with so-called movers and shakers and individuals who make decisions on major sports events because the journalist had launched an investigation on irregularities committed in the sports sector.
The attack happened when Mr. Sirigos was leaving the radio station where he works in Kallithea, Athens last night.
 THE GREEK ECONOMY IS IN A GOOD STATEAthens, 19 October 2004 (14:13 UTC+2)
Bank of Greece Governor Nikolaos Garganas expressed satisfaction for the growth rate of the Greek economy compared to Europe while delivering the annual economic report of the Bank of Greece to Greek Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki.
Mr. Garganas characterized the state of the Greek economy as generally good, pointing out that the growth rate is at 4% this year.
Mr. Garganas also referred to the drop of the inflation rate saying that it is due to passing factors such as, the drop in the fresh fruit and vegetable prices.
He also underlined that employment has increased but unfortunately unemployment still exists and has to be dealt with.
 NEW DEMOCRACY AND KOSTAS KARAMANLIS LEAD IN OPINION POLLSAthens, 19 October 2004 (17:10 UTC+2)
Governing party of New Democracy is leading main opposition party of PASOK by 7.9 percentage points, according to an opinion poll conducted by polling company MRB on behalf of Athens television station ALPHA in the period of October 11-15 on a sample of 1,207 people.
Based on the opinion poll, New Democracy has the support of 39.2%, PASOK 31.3%, the Communist Party 6.1%, Coalition of the Left 2% and LAOS 1.4%.
On the overall impression (very good, good), the government gets 41.6% and PASOK 24.7%, while regarding the ability to govern New Democracy gets 44.9% and PASOK 32.8%.
Based on the responses to the question on who is most fit for the post of the Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis is preferred by 47.7% and Giorgos Papandreou by 34.7%.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 19 October 2004 (17:00 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.41% at 2419.32 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 101,5 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 134 had gains and 128 had losses, while the value of 142 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE STABILITY PACTThessaloniki, 19 October 2004 (14:42 UTC+2)
Stability Pact special coordinator and former Austrian vice-chancellor Erhart Busek will be in Thessaloniki tomorrow on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the founding of the international organization.
After the crisis in Kosovo in 1999, the Stability Pact is active in the political, institutional, economic and social stabilization and reconstruction of eight countries in southeastern Europe by coordinating and bringing in contact the donor and recipient countries, as well as international organizations.
The Stability Pact, made up of 42 countries and 11 international organizations and credit institutions, is under the auspices of the European Union and its second headquarters is situated in Thessaloniki, while its first is in Brussels.
The programs and joint actions that have materialized for the reconstruction of southeastern Europe under the Stability Pact umbrella are estimated at 6,6 million euros.
 NANO: GREECE IS ALBANIA'S STRATEGIC PARTNERTirana, 19 October 2004 (18:55 UTC+2)
Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano characterized Greece as Albania's strategic partner in its effort to be part of the Euro-Atlantic structures.
Mr. Nano met with visiting Hellenic Republic President Kostis Stephanopoulos in Tirana today and stated that the visit by Mr. Stephanopoulos is a very important move for bilateral relations.
He also stated that he had the opportunity to discuss with Mr. Stephanopoulos all the issues that concern the priority sectors in bilateral relations.
On his part, Mr. Stephanopoulos stated that he had a very pleasant meeting with Mr. Nano that brought good results.
 BERISHA: PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS IS AN ARCHITECT OF THE FRIENDLY GREEK-ALBANIAN RELATIONSTirana, 19 October 2004 (18:43 UTC+2)
Albania's Democratic Party Chairman Sali Berisha stated that Hellenic Republic President Kostis Stephanopoulos is an architect of the friendly relations between Greece and Albania.
Mr. Stephanopoulos, who is on a three-day formal visit to Albania, met in Tirana today with Mr. Berisha.
Mr. Berisha stated that the meeting with Mr. Stephanopoulos was held in a friendly atmosphere.
Responding to a question by Albanian reporters, Mr. Berisha said: "the property issue on both sides of the border will be treated according to the Treaty of Friendship signed by Greece and Albania".
 PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS' VISIT TO ALBANIA CONTINUES FOR A SECOND DAYTirana, 19 October 2004 (16:34 UTC+2)
The three-day formal visit of Hellenic Republic President Kostis Stephanopoulos to Albania continues for a second day today, while yesterday he had a meeting with his Albanian counterpart Alfred Moisiu in Tirana. They agreed that Albania and Greece should get rid of the suspiciousness that weighed heavy on them in the past and work for a future founded on stable values and models.
The Greek President stated that there is no Tsamouria issue, stating characteristically that the issue is non-existent.
Both in his speech in the formal dinner and the joint press conference with his Albanian counterpart, Mr. Stephanopoulos referred to the ethnic Greek minority and praised its role in the Greek-Albanian relations, stressing the great significance attributed by Athens to the tangible and effective safeguarding of its rights at all levels.
Mr. Stephanopoulos said that the minority zones should be abolished and ethnic Greeks across Albania should be able to enjoy the rights stemming from European and international treaties.
On his visit to the village of Droviani at the Greek-Albanian borders, he said that it is a visit to his family roots given the fact that his great grandfather Spiridon Bratsikas came from that village.
Referring to the Albanian immigrants in Greece, he said that the Greek government respects human rights and implements them.
Both in his speech and the joint press conference, Mr. Stephanopoulos stated that the Greek-Albanian relations have a strategic importance and declared Greece's will to assist in the effort of Albania to become a member of the EU and NATO.
President Stephanopoulos and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama talked about the work done in the Albanian capital in the meeting they had today. Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed interest in the urban development of the city, while Mr. Rama pointed out that Athens is his model city.
Mr. Stephanopoulos commented on the role of the press in the Greek-Albanian relations, stressing that it hinders the effort for the improvement of bilateral relations.
He also referred to the non-existent issue of Tsamouria, which was raised yesterday by the Albanian President, and used an example from the Greek history. He referred to the issue of the German war reparations from which Greece resigned for the sake of the country's interest and the preservation of good relations with Germany.
In the meeting he had in Tirana today with Albanian Parliament President Servet Pellumbi, Mr. Stephanopoulos commented on the issue of his successor to the Greek Presidency. He said that it appears that a consensus will be reached among the major political parties for the election of his successor avoiding, this way, early elections.