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New Bulgarian University rector Sergei Ignatov confers Honorary Doctor's Degree on famed Polish film director Krzysztof Zanussi. PressPhoto - BTA Photo: Tihomir Penov
SITUATION IN CRISIS REGIONS.
There were shootouts overnight in Tetovo and its surrounding area, reported MIA's correspondent.
At around two after midnight, some shots were fired from the SEE University, "Beli 9" Restaurant, from the area of Goce Stojcevski Textile High School, Cyril and Methodius elementary school, Rasadiste county near the Tetovo - Popova Shapka road, as well as from the area of the "green" market and some other town districts.
All night long, till early in the morning, rifle shots were registered in several occasions from the villages of Slatino, Palatica, Ozormiste, Trebos, Golema Recica, Dolno & Gorno Orasje, Odri, Dobroste, Neraste, Prsovce and the Vratnicko Ezero locality, as announced by the Interior Department in Tetovo.
Shootouts have violated the public order and peace during Sunday night in Kumanovo - Lipkovo region, MIA's correspondent reports.
Shootouts came from the villages of Ropaljce and Matejce for six times and were directed at unknown targets.
Patrolling of the ethnically mixed police teams continues in the villages in Lipkovo region.
Albanian Nationalists Profit From Sex Slavery and Drugs in Macedonia.
Reality Macedonia - MSNBC
The spin of NLA not knowing where its money come from, countered by evidence of its thugs gathering "taxes" from bordello owners.
MSNBC in its lengthy and detailed reports about sex slavery and drug trafficking on Balkans reveal that people who profit most from it in the heart of Europe are Albanian terrorists.
“Organized crime syndicates in the Balkans, spawned when communism collapsed a decade ago, are thriving on illegal trade in drugs and sex slaves. The final destination for much of the goods and services is Western Europe. The trade, which yields billions of dollars each year, doesn’t just pay for the mansions and yachts of wealthy traffickers. It also has a political purpose — supporting the purchase of arms for Albanian rebels”, MSNBC reports, adding that this trafficking has allowed both the Kosovo Liberation Army in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and the National Liberation Army in Macedonia to be outfitted with the latest in rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, mortars, sniper rifles and night-vision goggles.
Ali Ahmeti, the leader of NLA conceded in an interview with MSNBC.com that some of the terrorists’ funding might come from narcotics trafficking and a flourishing sex slave trade in the region. But Ahmeti, whom the Macedonian government has arrested on drug charges in the past, maintained that the volume of donations to the rebel movement made it impossible to check their source.
“We try to vet all the money,” Ahmeti said in an interview.
But even Ahmeti admitted he counts rich Balkans smugglers among his supporters. “We’re not so fanatic to say that such money could not reach us,” Ahmeti told MSNBC.com.
On the other hand, Dnevnik daily in its report recounts the testimony of a Ukrainian woman, Tanja who was forced in a prostitution for a year. She said that at the nightclub where she was placed, one morning around 3 o’clock armed members from the very same NLA that, according to Ahmeti, “tried to vet all the money”, burst in, asking the boss for money. He refused them, so they started shooting throughout the house. Tanja used the chaos and managed to escape. The police found her at the beginning of august on the highway around Gostivar, and the young Ukrainian woman was brought to the Transit Centre in Skopje.
Tanja said that their “bosses” paid a lot of money for them so that girls were supposed to repay the debt. However, “the repayment didn’t end in a month, but prolonged for a year”. Another Ukrainian woman Oxana says that she tried to run away couple of times, but she was violently prevented from doing so. After one unsuccessful attempt, her owners beat her up for a week. Her face was made blue and she had several broken ribs.
At the end of its story MSNBC.com points out that no matter how much money the sex trade generates for traffickers, their big-ticket item continues to be drugs, police say. According to the U.S. Drug enforcement Agency 4,000 to 6,000 kilos of heroin are smuggled from Afghanistan to Western Europe every month, largely through the Balkans. With a kilo of heroin worth between $50,000 and $200,000 on the street, the European traffic generates a market worth $7 billion a year, making it easily the biggest regional industry in the Balkans. In February, According to MSNBC, Thomas Koeppel of the Swiss national police said, “Albanians account for 90 percent of our problems with drugs.”
The report "She Slept With Hundreds of KFOR Soldiers to Pay For Her Freedom," by Ivan Blazhevski, published in Dnevnik #1949 on September 11, 2001, won the third prize on the Competition by EU-supported Macedonian Media Institute for the best research story for year 2001.
Rousse, on the Danube, May 13 (BTA) - Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said here Monday in the presence of his Romanian counterpart Mircea Geoana that the upcoming NATO meeting in Reykjavik is one of the most important events this year.
The two foreign ministers participated in a joint session of the foreign policy committees of the Bulgarian and Romanian parliaments.
The principles of NATO enlargement will be laid down in Reykjavik even though no specific countries should be expected to be named, said Passy. In his words, what matters for Bulgaria and Romania is a balanced and large-scale enlargement in Prague.
The talks of the foreign ministers in Reykjavik will follow up on previous meetings of the 2+2 format, Solomon Passy said referring to the meetings of the top diplomats of Turkey, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria.
In Rousse, the Romanian Foreign Minister called "unfounded" the idea some Romanian papers are publicizing about "NATO interns". He said that the most important thing for Bulgaria and Romania is to meet the requirements for full membership.
Mircea Geoana also told the press that it was a pity Bulgaria and Romania wasted several years failing to understand that they would more successfully handle the obstacles to Euro-integration and would be more attractive to the other countries if they stood together.
This has changed now and the Bulgarian-Romanian cooperation is enhanced by the Greek and Turkish support for the southward enlargement of the Alliance, said Foreign Minister Geoana.
Rousse, May 13 (BTA) - The foreign policy committees with the Bulgarian National Assembly and the Upper and Lower Chamber of the Romanian Parliament adopted a joint declaration confirming the two countries' commitment to further step up bilateral cooperation on the path towards NATO membership, as well as within an enlarged Alliance.
The foreign policy committees had a joint meeting Monday in the Bulgarian town of Rousse (on the Danube).
"The fact that the Bulgarian and Romanian MPs had their first joint session is historic in terms of the accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures," Bulgarian foreign policy committee chairman Stanimir Ilchev told BTA.
"We are convinced that today, when global security conditions are changing, Bulgaria and Romania's accession to NATO will be exceptionally important for stability and security in Europe," reads the document. The MPs declare that they access highly the 2-plus-2 initiative as a security shield against conventional and asymmetric threats in Southeastern Europe, and that Bulgaria and Romania are resolved to work for the implementation of the initial Action Plan for the two countries' NATO accession which was discussed at the second meeting of the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Turkey in Athens on March 29, 2002.
The declaration describes as strong the messages in support of a big bang enlargement put forth at the NATO conference in Bucharest in March. The MPs pledged that Bulgaria and Romania will do everything within their powers to ensure that they contribute to achieving NATO's aims and to fighting new threats.
At the end of the joint session, which was attended by foreign ministers Solomon Passy of Bulgaria and Mircea Geoana of Romania, the declaration was signed by Ilchev and his Romanian counterparts Radu Podgorianu and Georgiu Prisakaru. A copy was handed to Passy and Geoana.
The two foreign ministers had a one-hour eye-to-eye meeting.
N. Mihailova to Stand Godmother to Kostov's Grandson.
UDF leader Nadezhda Mihailova is to godmother the grand son of ex-premier Ivan Kostov, kins of the family said. Kostov's younger daughter Mina gave birth to a boy (3.3 kg and 52 cm) on Saturday at 6.50 p.m. The baby will be named after his grandfather Ivan.
Sougarev Admitted Corruption in Kostov's Cabinet.
"We had a successful 4-year tenure of office but there were people among the UDF rulers who became emblematic of corruption," said UDF Deputy Chairman Edvin Sougarev at a meeting with UDF followers in Stara Zagora on Saturday night. He, however, declined to name particular figures. "We'll be very careful while selecting coalition partners at the local elections," Nadezhda Mihailova, UDF leader, said in her turn. To her, most of the newly set up right-wing parties, were trying to usurp the UDF political space.
NMS Deputy to Set Up NMS-Roma.
The NMS politburo was surprised at the establishing of the new formation
Some 60 Romany leaders gathered yesterday in Pleven to set up a NMS-Roma. "We will register the formation as a NGO. Simeon Saxe-Coburg in person blessed our idea, NMS deputy Alexander Filipov said for "Standart". To him, a constituent conference of the NMS-Roma is to be held in Sofia till end-June. The limos - Mercedeses, Audis, BMWs and jeeps the Romanies parked in front of the district administration office building - amazed the citizens. Experts from the Ministry of Education Joseph Nunev and Anton Todorov, as well as Romany poetess Sali Ibrahim and head of the Roma Court (meshare) Zlatko Mladenov took part in the pre-constituent meeting. "We were not informed about such an event. It has not been discussed by the NMS Political Council," said Vesselin Bliznakov, Chief Secretary of the King's party, in surprise.
BG Incomes Upped By 3 Levs in One Year.
The consumption of meat and white cheese grew by 100 grams.
The per capita income in Bulgaria upped by 3.2 levs in one year. The average salary of the Bulgarian in March is 126.46 levs. The incomes in March 2001 were 112.18 levs. The growth amounts to 14.28 levs. Yet, it doest reflect the actual situation, since the cumulated inflation for the same period accounts for 9.2 percent, the National Statistics Institute data show. The rise of the real incomes is negligible, no matter the salaries are increasing. The major share in the family budget are the wages. From them each household receives 157.47 levs, or 46.4 percent. The pensions bring 24.4 percent to the family budget, or 82.68 levs. The entrepreneurship brings in only 5 percent of the money to the family budget. The share of the expenses which the Bulgarian households spends on food decreases gradually. In March, 41.2 percent of the family budget, or 133.08 levs was spent on refilling of refrigerators. During the same month the average Bulgarian began to eat more, as compared with March'2001. The per capita consumption of meat, white cheese, butter and potatoes upped by 100 grams. The consumption of bread, fruit and vegetables dropped. The share of the expenses on taxes, cloths and health was reduced. The Bulgarians spend more money on the house maintenance and leisure time.
M. Velchev: I Expect Favourable Assessments from IMF.
I expect friendly discussion with the IMF mission leader for Bulgaria Gerald Schiff and first of all a good assessment of the implementation of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Finance Minister Milen Velchev said yesterday. Today his first meeting with Gerald Schiff, who arrived in this country on Friday, is to take place. The favourable report of the IMF is pivotal for the next tranche, accounting for some $32 million. Moreover, it's important to keep our good relations with the fund, because of the investments climate, Velchev elaborated. To him, as for the relations with the IMF, high inflation rates are not a problem. The Government was slow in implementing its commitment to prepare a schedule for increase of energy prices and this was an unpleasant moment, but it's not a thing that would stop us, Finance Minister elaborated on the statements of Gerald Schiff.
NPOC: 52.2% Expect NATO Membership Invitation in November.
Sofia, May 13 (BTA) - 52.2 per cent of Bulgarians expect that this country will be invited to join NATO at the Prague Summit in November, according to a national representative poll carried out among 869 people by the National Public Opinion Centre (NPOC) between April 26 and 30. The results of the poll were sent to BTA Monday.
In March 31.8 per cent were optimistic about the country's NATO membership, NPOC data shows.
24.2 per cent do not expect Bulgaria to join the Alliance in November. This view was shared by 39.5 per cent a month earlier.
When asked if they were optimistic about the country's future, 41.5 per cent responded in the positive and 46.5 per cent in the negative. 40.4 per cent said they were optimistic about their own future, against 46.1 who are pessimistic.
The approval ratings of the leaders of the parliamentary represented parties and the floor leaders remain unchanged from March. However, approval in all ministers has gone up, according to NPOC.
Foreign Minister Solomon Passy enjoys the approval of 71per cent, second to only one politician - Interior Ministry chief secretary General Boiko Borissov with 90.4 per cent.
The ministers whose approval ratings have improved most markedly are: Lydia Shouleva (deputy prime minister and social minister), Mehmed Dikme (agriculture), Milen Velchev (finance), Dolores Arsenova (environment) and Nikolai Svinarov (defence).
Schedule for Increase of Energy Prices Known before June.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Milko Kovatchev
The people will learn when and how much the prices will be raised, says energy minister Milko Kovatchev.
Milko Kovachev, Minister of Energy and Energy Resources, paid a 1-month visit to USA and UK. There he promoted the new strategy of the Bulgarian energy sector. Washington and London praised highly the strategy for the development of this sector in Bulgaria, Minister Kovachev said on his return.
- Mr. Kovatchev, when will the schedule for the increase of prices on electricity and thermal power be ready?
- Before the end-May.
- Will the increase reach 45 percent till 2005?
- During your visit to the Unites States you presented the new Energy Law. In the USA and Great Britain you had a chance to meet the potential investors into BG power distribution agencies. What are your impressions?
- Strategic investors have shown great interest. The main bidders will be EDF, RVE, EON, AIS. Some Spanish firms are also interested. These are the most active companies on this market.
Assassin Convicted in Fair and Open Trial.
Reality Macedonia - UNMIK
Verbatim excerpt from the UNMIK press release.
On 18 April, 2001, Aleksander Petrovic was killed and four other people seriously wounded by a bomb that was exploded on a crowded street in the center of Pristina.
Last week, Roland Bartetzko was found guilty of the assassination and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Political assassinations are among the most difficult crimes for police to investigate and for the courts to prosecute. However, UNMIK Police not only identified the suspect and arrested him within 48 hours, we also gathered sufficient evidence for the prosecution to commence. The judicial system then conducted a fair and open trial resulting in a verdict of Guilty.
We have often talked about the importance of the rule of law. This case clearly indicates the commitment and the ability of the police and the judiciary to establish the rule of law in Kosovo.