SITUATION IN CRISIS REGIONS.
The Media Activity Center at the governmental Coordinate Body for Crisis Management reported Tuesday that a fire was opened upon the police checkpoint near the Tetovo village of Trebos, at about two after midnight. The gunshots ended in the sandbags.
The security checkpoint near the Tetovo village of Semsevo was also attacked in two occasions at around 4:00 a.m. The security forces responded adequately.
As reported by the Media Activity Center, two grenades were thrown upon the security checkpoint at Vrelo county, Kumanovo area. The grenades exploded nearby.
There are no casualties among the Macedonian security forces in all three cases.
An increased number of shootouts was evidenced over the night in Tetovo and Kumanovo crisis region, which violated the public order and peace.
There are no shootouts Tuesday morning in Tetovo crisis region, unlike the night, when series of shots from several town districts were registered, reported MIA's correspondent.
According to the Interior Department in Tetovo, some rifle and sporadic shots were registered from the direction of the villages of Golema Recica, Neraste, Odri, Dobroste, Prsovce, Mala Recica, Rasadiste county, the settlements of Kupenik, Sipad, Vonvardarska, the Teke of Tetovo, as well as from the area of the bus and railway stations.
The provocations had no determined targets.
Around of 40 sporadic and rifle shootouts have been registered since Monday afternoon until Tuesday morning in the villages of Vaksince, Slupcane, Matejce, Runica, Vistica and Rudnicka kolonija locality.
Three flare signals have been shot from the area of the village of Lojane and a detonation has been heard from direction of the village of Slupcane.
The patrols of the multiethnic police teams continues as usual in Kumanovo region of crisis.
The police patrols also carry out their activities in Skopje crisis region.
The police patrols in Tetovo villages of Gajre, Sipkovica and Lisec and the other villages in Tetovo area are blocked by the local residents.
The multiethnic police teams have established round a clock patrols in four villages in Skopje area, in nine in Kumanovo area, in 19 in Gostivar area and in 33 villages in Tetovo area.
It is expected the police patrols to enter in Kumanovo villages of Straza, Alasevce, Strima, Gosince, Rnkovce, Presnica, Tumanovce, Lukare, Beljanovce, Runica, Izvor, Zlokucane and in Skopje villages Tanusevci, Malino and Brest.
Out of 139 villages included in the General Plan for police redeployment, the patrolling is carried out in 124 villages in Tetovo, Gostivar, Kumanovo and Skopje areas.
Gunmen fire on police positions in northwestern Macedonia.
By KONSTANTIN TESTORIDES, Associated Press Writer
SKOPJE, Macedonia - Gunmen opened fire on police checkpoints in the tense northern parts of Macedonia on Tuesday as ethnic Albanian villagers blocked roads near the country's second largest town, Tetovo.
Gunmen fired sniper shots early Tuesday at a sandbagged police checkpoint near the village of Trebos, just outside the northwestern city of Tetovo, a government spokesman, Zoran Tanevski, said, adding that police did not fire back.
Another group then opened machine gun fire on a police checkpoint near the village of Semsovo, just outside Tetovo. Macedonian police there returned fire, Tanevski said.
Two grenades also exploded a few meters (yards) from a police bunker in the northern village of Vrelo, near Kumanovo, 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Skopje, Tanevski added. No police officers were injured in any of the attacks, he said.
"This is a matter of utmost concern," Tanevski said. "These are the most serious incidents in months."
Tensions remain high in Macedonia despite efforts to implement a peace deal signed last August which ended six months of fighting between government forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents.
The agreement granted greater rights to ethnic Albanians, who account for nearly a third of Macedonia's population of 2 million. Under the accord, which also granted amnesty to former rebels, members of the ethnic Albanian insurgency calling themselves the National Liberation Army disbanded and handed over some 4,000 weapons to NATO last year.
But splinter factions of rebel fighters have emerged in recent months, saying they are dissatisfied with the slow pace of reforms envisioned by the peace deal.
Also on Tuesday, ethnic Albanian villagers blocked the main roads around Tetovo, preventing police units comprised of Macedonian and ethnic Albanian officers from patrolling 37 of 40 villages in the area, Tanevski said. The deployment of lightly armed ethnically mixed police patrols forms a part of the peace deal.
The villagers demanded the release of about a dozen ethnic Albanian prisoners jailed last year because of their alleged links with insurgents, said Abdulhakim Ademi, a coordinator of the ethnic Albanian Council for the Release of Political Prisoners.
Ademi told The Associated Press that villagers have blocked the roads "to show that the amnesty law is not being implemented." He also warned that roadblocks will remain "until we receive strong guarantees, either by the domestic or international authorities, that the prisoners will be released."
Under the provisions of the peace deal, the Macedonian government pardoned and released all ethnic Albanians jailed during the insurgency on charges including high treason, mutiny, armed rebellion and conspiracy against the state.
Macedonian authorities dismissed the council's demands as unacceptable.
"They are demanding the release of all ethnic Albanians from prisons, even those who have nothing to do with the last year's conflict, even simple criminals," Tanevski said.
In a joint statement issued in Skopje, representatives of NATO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union and the U.S. Embassy condemned the roadblocks and insisted that "ethnically mixed patrols must be allowed to perform their duties."
"People should forward their demands through political channels and roadblocks are not political channels," said Irena Guzelova, a media adviser to the EU representative in Macedonia.
Police Checkpoints Under Attack.
Skopje, 23.04.2002. (Makfax) Security police checkpoints near the villages of Trebosh and Shemshevo (Tetovo Region), including the hamlet of Vrelo (Kumanovo region) had been reportedly fired on last night, says the press release by the Crisis Management Center. The overnight attacks left no casualties or injuries among the security forces.
The security forces responded the attacks on police checkpoint at Tetovos nearby village of Shemshevo. The gunfire broke out shortly before daybreak Tuesday (at 04:00 hours).
Sniper rounds had been reportedly fired last night at 02:00 hrs on the police checkpoint near the village of Trebosh, Tetovo region. The bullets hit the sacks placed at the checkpoint to protect the security forces from gunfire.
Two grenades had been fired on security police checkpoint near the hamlet of Vrelo, Kumanovo region, shortly after daybreak Tuesday. Grenades exploded near the police checkpoint.
Series of violations of public order and peace had been reported last night in areas affected by the crisis (Tetovo and Kumanovo regions). Volleys of automatic weapons fire were of higher intensity than the previous night, Crisis Management Center said.
Parliamentary Committee Demands Session on Missing Victims of NLA Kidnappings.
Parliamentary Committee for protection of civil freedoms and rights demands from the Macedonian Parliament's Speaker to put on the session's agenda the information regarding the twelve kidnapped persons from Tetovo and its area.
Previously the Parliament should ask for information from the representatives of the international community in the country, as well as from the Forensic Medicine Institute that conducted the exhumation on the locality of Trebos village near Tetovo.
"We expect this issue to be put on the next session's agenda," said the President of this committee, Tito Petkovski.
The committee sent letters in January to the competent institutions in the country, as well as to the representatives of the international organizations, which demanded information regarding the case of the twelve kidnapped Macedonians from Tetovo and its area. Such information the committee has received so far only from the Macedonian Government and the Chief of NATO mission to Macedonia, Petkovski said.
According to Petkovski, the report submitted to the Macedonian Government does not "answer a single open question, except for the one regarding the exhumation and the expert opinion by the Forensic Medicine Institute."
The members of the Committee consider that the representatives of the international organizations have huge experience with such cases gained in Kosovo and Bosnia that can be applied in Macedonia as well.
"They cooperated with the so - called NLA and its leaders, and it is obvious that these citizens were kidnapped by the "NLA" itself, so it is logical that they are in position to help to locate these persons," Petkovski underlined.
"The disappearing of these persons, according to him, "is becoming a paradigm of the lack of power of the Macedonian State and the international factor as well."
"We are morally committed to the Macedonian citizens and to the parents of these individuals, to constantly remind the international and country's institutions that this should not be forgotten, at least not for the sake of confidence building," Petkovski stated.
DE-MINING THE AREA OF MATEJCE VILLAGE SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF THE WEEK.
Memorandum on Understanding between the Macedonian Government and the humanitarian organizations CARI and Handicap International, represented by UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO) was signed on April 19, spokesperson of the Media Activity Center within the governmental Coordinate Crisis Management Body Zoran Tanevski told the press conference.
Media Activity Center, International Committee of the Red Cross, Macedonian Red Cross and UNMAO held Tuesday joint press conference.
According to Tanevski, three teams from the International Trust Fund for demining and mine victims' assistance (ITF) that work on de-mining the area of Matejce village have detected 16 explosive devices since April 1.
Tanevski explained that the operation in Matejce should be completed by the end of the week, and it would continue near the monastery above Matejce village as well as in Lukare and Strima villages, and some other villages in the region of Skopska Crna Gora Mount.
The Crisis Management Center will de-mine the houses, the other facilities, the roads and the arable land as their priority task.
Tanevski informed that the training of four domestic teams for de-mining began Monday in Skopje. Three teams of twelve members from the Civil Defense and one team of sixteen members from the Ministries of Interior and Defense are attending the training course, and will be involved in the de-mining operations after they finish the training.
Head of ICRC Francois Steamm spoke of the new video promoted on Tuesday, which aims to raise children's awareness of the risk of unexploded devices. The video will be broadcast in Macedonian and Albanian language.
He informed that there are ongoing informative sessions in Serbian for the residents of Matejce village.
Steamm explained that the video promotion was within the third stage of the campaign that began in August 2001, whose aim is to establish a network of instructors that would pass the information in the crisis regions regarding the danger from the unexploded devices.
Violeta Kuzmanovska, President of the Macedonian Red Cross, informed that there 16,829 internally displaced persons in the country, out of which 14,014 are with the host families, while 2,815 are in the collective centers. She emphasized that 4,419 are children up to 14 years of age.
According to Sandy Powel from UNMAO, its role is to connect "all agencies involved in the de-mining and to coordinate the efforts in order not to double these activities."
He reiterated that three ITF teams work on de-mining of the ground in Kumanovo region, which is one of the priorities of the Macedonian Government.
Powel informed that with the signed Memorandum it is envisaged twelve international teams to work on de-mining and should complete their activities by the end of the year.
INTERNATIONAL FAIRS "INFOCOM 2002" AND "A&V 2002" OPENED IN SKOPJE.
"We live in an era when the highest progress in the area of communications, information and electronic is achieved," Macedonian Minister of Transport and Communications Ljupco Balkoski said Tuesday proclaiming the 8th International of Computers, Telecommunications, Office Equipment and Professional Literature - INFOCOM 2002 and the 4th International Fair of Audio and Visual Equipment, Musical Instruments and Accessories A&V opened. The Fairs will be open until April 27.
Minister Balkoski pointed out that the Macedonian Government and the Ministry of Transport and Communications are actively participating in the advancing technology and along with the direct manufacturers and active participants in the process contribute Macedonia to be a center of communications and information technology in the region.
He urged the visitor to seize the fair manifestations INFOCOM and A&V for better cooperation and presentation in order "Macedonia to become even larger center of the communications, information and electronic."
At INFOCOM fair, 250 general representatives and authorized distributors out of which 75 are direct exhibitors from Germany, Austria, France, Taiwan, Japan, Denmark, Greece, Italy and other countries.
The exhibition program includes computer publications (DTP), graphic work stations, special computer equipment for banks and exchange offices, multimedia, computer accessories, telecommunication equipment, telecommunication networks, digital telephone switch-boards, radio relay systems, mobile telephony, safety devices and systems and professional literature.
The world known IT and telecommunications companies as well as the domestic companies "Macedonian Telecommunications" and "Mobimak" will be present at the Fair.
These companies will present the latest achievements from the world of communications and will also have many giveaways for the visitors.
The only mobile operator in Macedonia "Mobimak" will be presented in the Third Hall along with its business partners "Alcatel," "Siemens," "Media Electronics," "On-net," "Newsphone," "Netphone," "Mobiko," "Tutun promet," and "Tobacco."
"Mobimak" space is arranged according to the new image and strategy of the company, emphasizing the transparency, openness, invention, two-way communication and information available at any time.
On its stands "Mobimak" will present its new services" INFO SMS platform, GSM adapter, GSM Pro, Bug alarm and GPS system.
Numerous presentations, promotions and business meetings will be held during INFOCOM 2002.
The exhibition program of 4th International Fair of Audio and Visual Equipment, Musical Instruments and Accessories includes several presentations of audiovisual and stereo systems, home movies, microphones and headphones, studio equipment, national musical instruments as well as lightning equipment and visual effects.
Concerts of national instruments' orchestra will be held along with performances of various soloists, cultural-artistic associations and musical groups.
In organization of MRTV production and Macedonian Composers' Association the books "Harmonic basis of Jazz" by Ilija Pejovski, "Movement crucial elements in symphonic works" by Toma Mancev and "Ex Tempore" by Marko Kolovski will be promoted at the fair.
During the "Evening of JAMAHA," Goce Dimitrovski Quartet, "Mama bend", Kaliopi, Vlatko Stefanovski and DJ Mladen will perform, while the organizers announced special surprise for the closure.
WORLD BOOK AND COPYRIGHT DAY CELEBRATED IN SKOPJE.
Ceremony was held Tuesday in National and University Library "St. Clement of Ohrid" in Skopje on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, where the messages of UNESCO General Director Koichiro Matsura and the national message from Macedonian writer Tome Arsovski were read.
According to the Library's representative Violeta Martinovska the idea for celebrating the World Book Day was promoted by the International Publishers' Union within United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Spanish Government. Upon the proposal by the Russian Federation April 23 is also celebrated as World Copyright Day.
UNESCO's General Conference unanimously adopted the Resolution from 25 October 1995, which proclaimed April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day.
The celebration of this day originates from Catalonia, where traditionally on April 23 - Day of St. George one rose was given as a present for every bought book. Another reason why the World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated on April 23 is the fact that many renewed authors were either born or died on this day such as Shakespeare, Cervantes and Vega.
According to Martinovska, the World Book Day aims to attract the attention of the authorities, professionals and the public as well as to be a basis for active education and critical thinking. "This days emphasizes the role of the book and of the copyright as carriers of the peace culture, tolerance and universal dialogue," Martinovska said.
According to the Catalonian tradition books and flowers were given to the attendants of the ceremony in the National and University Library.
On the occasion of the World Book and Copyright Day, April 23rd, the UNESCO Secretary General, Kochiro Matsuura send a message, pointing out that the books are a fundamental means of access to knowledge of values, wisdom, aesthetic sense and human imagination.
"As vectors of creation, information and education, they allow every culture to print their essential features and to see the identity of others. As a window on the diversity of cultures and a bridge between civilizations, beyond time and space, books are a source of dialogue, a means of exchange and a source of development," he said.
"For all of these reasons, UNESCO has celebrated World Book and Copyright Day since 1996, on the 23rd of April, with the participation of millions of people representing a hundred countries. Devoted to the promotion of reading and writing, in addition to copyright, which is closely associated, the occasion aims to bring out the various aspects of books, be they creative, industrial, standard-setting, political, national and international.
The celebration of the United Nations' Year for Cultural Heritage in 2002 is a particularly appropriate event.
UNESCO has indicated two major themes to celebrate the year: "Heritage and Dialogue" and "Heritage and Development." Books and copyright exemplify these themes. As a protector of memory and a vector for creativity, a book is both a receptacle for words and a mechanism for the exchange of ideas, an incomparable instrument and a reproducible object, an echo-chamber of feeling and a source of revenue, an original work and a mirror of the social climate. Books represent a heritage that is specifically rooted in distinct cultural traditions and which is continually evolving through interaction with other traditions, in relation to and in dialogue with the Other.
The celebration of World Book and Copyright Day in 2002 is an opportunity to consider the major contribution of books to the cultural heritage and thereby spark new initiatives from the fertile interaction between the pages - be it in printed or in electronic form - and the cultural wealth of humanity, both tangible and intangible.
By safeguarding and adding to the cultural heritage of humanity, we maintain a synergy whose finest support comes from books", reads the end of the message from the UNESCO Secretary General, Koichiro Matsuura.
In the national message on the occasion of the World Book and Copyright Day, "The book, power of the light," by the writer Tome Arsovski, the writer Edmondo De Amicis is quoted as saying, "a house without a library is a house without dignity."
The Humankind lives in the book for centuries and distributes its message to the future generations. Many nations are grateful to it as a living testimonial, defending their own identity. The Great All-Slav Educators helped the Slavs to see the right way via the Letters and the Book.
This country has put up with many violences and wars. Nevertheless, it knows nowadays that the culture is not a surrogate, but a key to the life. Therefore, in the honour of the book, we should believe in the three principles: Belief, Hope and Love, the universal symbol of the human friendship and wisdom.
"Long last the book and those who deserve it," recommends Arsovski.