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The Panitza journalistic awards were announced at a ceremony in the Military Club. Tatyana Vaxberg won the award for journalistic investigation for "Technology of Evil" published in the Sega daily. BTA photo by Anelia Nikolova


Traffic police block the entrance to Alexander Nevski Square in Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia, Tuesday, May 21, 2002 on the eve of Pope John Paul II's visit to the country. Some 6,000 police officers will be engaged to provide security during the papal visit to Bulgaria. (AP Photo/Dimitar Deinov)


Gendarmery officers showed yesterday simulated quelling of mass riots with armored vehicles and jeeps, equipped with devices for tear-gas attack. Over 300 officers will take part in the security operations during the Pope's visit and NATO forum. Photo Marina Angelova


Workers install a giant poster of Pope John Paul II outside a catholic church in Sofia where the pope departs on Wednesday despite his health problems. ŠEPA

Monday night and Tuesday morning in Tetovo region there were shootings from different kind of weapons, less intensive than the previous night, as police sources announce, reports MIA's corespondent.
In the last 24 hours the shootings came from downtown and larger residential complexes, from the SEE University, the Textile High School "Goce Stojcevski," from the elementary school "SS Cyril and Methodius," some illegally build complexes by the railroad and the river Pena, as well as from direction of many villages in the region.
Fire was opened at 03.45 Tuesday morning on the Vuke Kostadinovski's house in Otusiste village, Tetovo area, MIA's correspondent reports.
Several bullets hit the house, but there were no casualties. At the time when the fire was opened, Kostadinovski, his wife and two children were inside the house.
The police was notified on this armed attack and works on discovering the armed group that frequently opened gunfire during the night in that part of Otusiste inhabited by Macedonians.
OSCE representative visited Tuesday the village.
No violations of the public order and peace have been registered during Tuesday night in Kumanovo - Lipkovo region, MIA's correspondent reports.
Tuesday night two incidents in the village of Orizare have been registered caused by students from Albanian nationality that celebrated their graduation.
Patrolling of ethnically mixed police teams is continuing without any problems in Lipkovo villages.
There are no shootouts in Tetovo crisis region Wednesday morning, reported MIA's correspondent.
Nevertheless, according to police sources, some shootings from the villages of Semsevo, Palatica, Ozormiste, Slatino, Mala Recica and Neprosteno were heard in several occasions over the night.
There were shootouts also from the area of the large residential complexes in Tetovo town, from Vonvardarska, Kupenik and Gorna Garsija settlements, from the State Reformatory and the Teke of Tetovo.
According to police sources, series of gunshots from villages Semsovo and Ozormiste were registered Tuesday evening in the period between 19,00h-20,00h.
During the afternoon hours, military airplanes flew over Tetovo and Sar Mountain, which according to ARM Spokesman Blagoja Markovski "performed exercise flights".
NATO Extends Amber Fox Mission.
NATO Press Information Center
NATO has today agreed to extend the mission of Operation Amber Fox for an additional four months until October 26, 2002. The decision by the North Atlantic Council follows a request from the President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1 for NATO to continue its mission after the current mandate expires on June 26, 2002. Operation Amber Fox provides security for the international monitors who were deployed to the country to monitor the re-entry of security forces into former crisis areas, although the primary responsibility for this security remains with the Government of FYROM.
Operation Amber Fox, in co-operation with the government of FYROM and other international organisations, has made a significant contribution to the implementation of the peace plan in the country. Operation Amber Fox has been under German command since it was launched. As of June, it will be Dutch-led. NATO is grateful to both Germany for its excellent leadership, and to the Netherlands for agreeing to take over. NATO remains committed to the stability and prosperity of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
"I have a guilty conscience for the incident at the tactical exercise of the special police unit "The Lions" held near Leunovo and I am ready to apologize to the editor in chief of "Dnevnik" daily and to all journalists," said Macedonian Minister of Interior Ljube Boskovski.
As he said, if the Gostivar trial court found him guilty, he would immediately resign.
Commenting the accusations from SDSM leader Branko Crvenkovski, delivered in an interview with the A1 TV from Skopje, when Crvenkovski called Boskovski "natural disaster", Boskovski said that he was amazed by this statement, because Crvenkovski was also one of those who voted for his appointment for interior minister.
He said that if anyone could prove that he or any member of his family have earned at least a Denar of extra profit using malversation, not only that he would resign but he was ready to also answer in front of a court.
Boskovski explained that every day he receives thousands of letters of support.
"After the opening of the public poll at the web-site of the "Vest" daily, where the main question was if the minister of interior should resign, I received 400,000 letters of support. I cannot let down these Macedonian citizens because Macedonia is still not reintegrated," Boskovski said.
Asked in the head of the exercise at Leunovo, under-colonel Boban Utkovski was sacrificed, Boskovski said that he would not sacrifice anyone and that he would not like to speculate, because there was presumption of innocence until one was found guilty.
Regarding the telephone threats that Dnevnik journalist Daniela Veljanovska, one of the wounded in Leunovo, was receiving, Boskovski said that this accusation was part of the "pallette of brutalities against the minister of interior."
Asked to clarify the results from the investigation on the Leunovo exercise, Boskovski said that the investigative team reported many flaws, adding that this problem would be internally resolved.
The Macedonian Government will submit draft-proposal to the Macedonian Federation of Trade Unions in ten days regarding the request for determining the lowest salary of the public administration's employees, and the current negotiations with IMF will be completed by then, Government's spokesman Gjorgji Trendafilov said.
"The Government will not give in to the pressure of the Trade Union leadership as this is serious social problem and should be thoroughly analyzed and afterwards a legal solution that would not be a burden of the Macedonian budget should be proposed," Trendafilov said.
The problem that has not been solved in the past ten years cannot be resolved in two days, he said adding that several ministers held continuos negotiations with the trade unions leadership over the weekend.
Speaking of the repercussions from the mass protest and emphasizing that there is some evident political infiltration in the strike organization and in the communication between the Trade Union and the Government, Trendafilov said that "the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy has seriously considered the option of employing educated but unemployed staff in the kindergartens if the child care is still not offered."
He informed that all laws arising from Framework Agreement including the draft-law on passports have been already submitted to the Macedonian Parliament.
"Regarding the Law on identification cards i.e. the use of languages in the forms, the citizen that does not speak Macedonian could request the form to be filled also in his language and the passports will be unified," Trendafilov said.
To a question what specific measures have been undertaken regarding "Leunovo" case, Trendafilov explained that "the Government has not undertaken anything yet, but the investigation is carried out in Gostivar Court and in the Ministry of Interior, which should confirm whether some of the officials in charge have made any omissions that are already determined by the regulation book."
He also spoke of the package of economic proposals, which were agreed at the negotiations between the Government and World Trade Organization referring to Macedonia's integration in this organization.
At the Tuesday session presided by Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, the Macedonian government discussed on the draft-law for foreign trade operating.
This legal act opens possibilities for opening of the markets, lowering of the trade barriers, non-discrimination in the trade with all clients, transparency if the information, rules and regulations, enabling of wider choice of products and quality and more efficient policy for adjusting to the markets and stimulation of the economic development, which is context to the recommendations from the World Trade Organization.
This law and its provisions are completely in accordance with the constitutional provisions for market conduct of the business entities, in accordance with the rules of the WTO, which refer to the protective measures during the export and the import.
The adoption of this law enables liberalization of the turnover in the foreign trade operating of the subjects from Macedonia and abroad. The trade will proceed without obstacles through commercial relations and based on mutual trust among the WTO members.
The government also reviewed and adopted the Decision for early buyout of the securities issued as reimbursement for the old blocked bank savings.
The government reviewed and adopted a package of changes and supplements from four legal subjects suggested by the Ministry of Interior. The changes mainly refer to the Law for traffic security, especially to the categories of driving licenses, which were so far not regulated with a Law.
The commitment for establishment of a legal state based on the principles of democracy and legitimacy, the ministry of interior also believes that there is a need of a law that would concern the organizational structure in the ministry.
The package from the ministry of interior also includes changes and supplements to the Law for personal ID, as one of the basic commitments for harmonization of the legislation with the one applied in the west-European countries. According to the changes, the personal ID would be also used as identification for crossing of the state border, if there is ratified international agreement.
The government also reviewed and adopted the draft-law for supplements to the law for passports.
At the session, the government decided to award the Kometal handball club with Denar 1,500,000 for its victory at the European Handball Championship.
The amount of the lowest salary of employees in the public sector will be known in about 10 days", President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia (SSM) Vanco Muratovski stated after the meeting with Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski.
Muratovski emphasised that SSM and the Government came close to an agreement on this issue, adding that the deadline for determination of the amount of the lowest salary has been set at about 10 days, due to the current negotiations between the Government and the IMF.
The SSM President expressed his satisfaction from the talks with Prime Minister Georgievski, estimating them as "correct, useful and exceptionally cooperative".
He informed that the strike would continue according to the determined dynamics, until the Government did not reach an agreement on the SSM requests, announcing Wednesday's session of the SSM Presidency.
"The Prime Minister did not have any remarks on the strike. He fully understood the SSM requests, especially the determination of the lowest salary. The difference between our lowest limit and the limit of the Government is not great", Muratovski stated.
According to him, the "final figure for determination of the lowest salary in the public sector" should emerge in 10 days at the latest.
Answering the question what would happen if the Assembly disbanded in around 10 days, Muratovski said, "in that case, the strike will last until the elections".
Regarding the Law on loss making companies, it was concluded that, "a solution for the employees in the loss making companies should be found".
The meeting also tackled the proposals for changes in the Law on health protection, with Muratovski's insistence for the draft law not to be passed immediately. On the SSM request on employees in the defence, the passing of a Law on army service was also on the agenda.
"The Prime Minister did not offer any positions at the talks. He does not intend to buy me, and I am not for sale. There was no pressure", Muratovski emphasised.
At the constructive meeting, Georgievski informed Muratovski about a discussion on today's Government session on "the SSM requests and the Government understanding and efforts to solve the basic problems and to meet those requests," the Prime Minister's Cabinet said in a press release.
Speaking about all open issues, Georgievski expressed his belief that an agreement for the lowest salary would be reached in ten days, and therefore asked for the strike to be put on hold.
Georgievski also said that the Government was ready to immediately start with payment of the yearly vacation bonus, i.e. packages of food products, and asked an understanding for this kind of bonus payment, saying that it would be a significant assistance to the Macedonian producers.
The general strike of the employees in the public sector continued on Tuesday, under the motto: "we demand salaries for decent life."
According to the leadership of the Trade Union Federation of Macedonia, the strike of the employees in the public sector is proceeding satisfactory in all trade union organizations, although certain obstructions have been reported.
The strike proceeds better in the other cities than in the capital, where in the education and judiciary institutions the threats to the workers have continued, i.e. the employers have threatened that their salaries would be decreased for 60% if they join in the protest.
In the other towns, obstructions have been noticed only in the medical center in Tetovo, where the head of the institution Raim Rhaci dismissed the head of the transfusion department Blagica Petrusevska, which is on the contrary with the provisions for strike. The head of the Trade Union Federation Vanco Muratovski announced criminal charges against Thaci.
Most of the schools, kindergartens and other educational institutions were closed on Tuesday, as well as the medical institutions.
There is certain reserve in the judiciary institutions, which due to the bad results from the strike they organized in 2001 are sceptic about the results from this protest.
The employees in the defense held a 30 minute protest in front of the Ilinden barracks, thus expressing their support to all participants in the strike.
The roadblocks that were announced for Thursday will be placed on Friday, due to better coordination with the workers from the loss-making companies.
Earlier of Tuesday, Muratovski had a meeting with the Head of the IMF mission in Macedonia Franec Rozvadowski, to whom he told that "Macedonia is perhaps the only country in the world that has not determined the lowest salary."
Muratovski said that the IMF representatives supported the demands of the Federation, stating that "all that is legitimate ought to be demanded, but having in mind the possibilities of the country to comply.

Rousse, on the Danube, May 21 (BTA) - The fifth session of the joint Bulgarian-Romanian committee on cooperation under Phares Crossborder Cooperation programme was held here on Tuesday. The participants discussed ten projects, five of each country, which stand to receive a total of 16 million euros from Phare in 2002.
The meeting was attended by officials of the delegation of the European Commission in Bucharest, Camelia Kirasou, and in Sofia, Constantine Supila.
Bulgarian Deputy Regional Development and Public Works Minister Hassan Hassan presented the projects for which Bulgaria has applied for funding in 2002: development of systematic monitoring of air pollution with heavy metals from stationary sources in the lower Danube between Bulgaria and Romania, worth 1.5 million euros; construction of a border checkpoint between Nikopol and Turnu Magurele, worth 3.2 million euros; rehabilitation and reconstruction of the road between Miziya and Oryahovo, on the border with Romania, worth 2.5 million euros; creation of a fund for joint small projects estimated at 500,000 euros; and projects for the preparation of future plans for transborder cooperation worth 300,000 euros.
Director of Romanian Directorate for Transborder Cooperation and Coordination with the Ministry of Strategy and Development Gheorge Cotiga said that Bulgaria and Romania work jointly on the implementation of three projects under Phare and that considerable improvement of the interaction has been made in the past seven months. The Romanian official said this will improve the infrastructure of transport corridors IV and IX, environmental protection and free border crossing between Bulgaria and Romania. He said that since 1999 until now Romania has received 36 million euros from Phares Crossborder Cooperation programme for eleven border districts with Hungary and Bulgaria. Regional bureaus were set up in September 2001 to manage funds made available under EU programmes.
Romanias five applications for project funding are: construction of a border checkpoint between Turnu Magurele and Nikopol, worth 3.3 million euros; rehabilitation and reconstruction of the road between Calarasi and the border with Bulgaria, worth 2 million euros; development of the systems for control of air pollution caused by stationary sources on the border between Romania and Bulgaria, worth 1.9 million euros; development of joint small projects estimated at 500,000 euros; technical aid for project implementation worth 300,000 euros.
Nadezhda Mihaylova and Former President Together in Plovdiv.
Elena Yaneva

Nadezhda Mihaylova and Peter Stoyanov have to come to Plovdiv together, UDF followers from Plovdiv insist. To them this will be a proof of the positive attitude of the UDF party to the former president after the scandal, provoked by Edvin Sugarev in the media. 'The regional council of the UDF invites Petar Stoyanov in Plovdiv immediately after his return from the USA, but whether his visit will coincide with the tour of Nadezhda Mihaylova will be decided by the NEC of the UDF', regional chairman of the UDF Yordan Bakalov said. To us Peter Stoyanov is one of the biggest politicians in Bulgaria and the opinion of Edvin Sugarev is of no interest to us, Bakalov commented the statements of the deputy leader of the UDF who in the beginning of the last week involved the name of Stoyanov in rumours about an attempt for ousting Kostov from his post as PM in 2001.
BSP Demands Resignation of Minister of Education.
Sofia Popova
Mariana Zhekova

BSP will demand the resignation of Minister of Education Vladimir Atanassov, because of the real mess in secondary education. That's what the MP from the 'For Bulgaria' Coalition Associate Professor Borislav Borissov said in Plovdiv yesterday. The proposal will be discussed by the BSP MPs on Wednesday, after the BSP asked for the assistance of the UDF and the MRF for ousting the minister. To Prof. Borissov the Ministry of Education makes the existence of the Parliament and the education commissions meaningless. It's senseless to draw up ordinances which lead to the liquidation of schools and dismissal of 17.600 teachers before the new Secondary Education Act is passed. To him the liquidation of schools will lead to illiteracy boom in Bulgaria. In the current year 94,000 children haven't attended primary school and 185,000 weren't enlisted in a higher grade.
Scandal with Russia about Aircraft.
Victoria Seraphimova

Of the seven Russian airlines, whose chartered flights are banned according to rumors, five haven't submitted orders at all, said sources from the Transport Ministry. One of them - 'Poulkovo', for two years have been flying regularly between Sofia, Bourgas, Varna and several Russian cities. Two of the seven airlines on the 'lists' are licenced for chartered flights this summer: 'East Line' - which will fly to Varna and Bourgas, and 'Krasnoyarskie Aviolinii' - for flights to Bourgas. Nine are the Russian airlines, which have chartered flights certificates to transport tourists to Bulgaria. Yet, three other carriers may be deprived of licence - 'Russia', 'Um Air', and 'Tyumen Airlines' - they haven't yet answered if their aircraft were equipped with the TCAS system to avoid air crashes. Prompt meeting was called in the Transport Ministry because of publications in the media. Dmitrii Evstatov - senior advisor in the embassy of the Russian Federation to Bulgaria, deputy-minister of Transport - Milcho Milanov, and representatives of the Civil Aviation attended the meeting. Immediately after the end of the talks they qualified the articles as a sign of unfair competition among the touroperators companies. To well-informed, the publications were instigated by Russian touroperators firms, whose activity was not re-licenced. Thus they make an attempt to frustrate the summer tourist season in Bulgaria.
Combat Vehicles to Guard Pope and NATO Officials.
Stefan Tashev

Combat vehicles of the gendarmery will secure order during the Pope's visit to Bulgaria. 330 elite gendarmery officers, armed to teeth, will assist the police during all events connected with the visit of the Holy Father and NATO assembly in Sofia. The officers will wear bullet-proof vests, helmets, plastic shields, clubs, gas masks and automatic guns for tear-gas grenades. Apart from the combat vehicles the gendarmery will have ambulances at their disposal. All in all 5,978 policemen are mobilized to be on duty from May 24 to May 28, the Interior Ministry reported. In Sofia only they will be 3,665.
Kyulev to Bid for 'Biochim'
Nevena Mircheva
Rosseximbank - owned by Emil Kyulev, in consortium with Russian 'Mezhprombank' submitted an offer for buying 99.59 percent of 'Biochim' assets. Bank of Austria and consortium between 'Hebrossbank' and 'Charleman Capital' Ltd - both of them property of 'iRegent' - also placed offers. The Trade Bank of Greece backtracked from the bidding, since the Bank Consolidation Company (BCC) overruled its claim to extend again the deadline for due diligence in'Biochim'. The offers of the three candidate-buyers will be opened publicly today at 5 p.m. BCC requires minimum price of 95 million levs for 'Biochim'. 'There are 3 additional finance commitments in the joint offer of 'Rossexim' and 'Mezhprombank', apart from those of BCC,' Vladimir Vladimirov - CEO in Rossexim' said for 'Standart'.
New Tax on Cars Prepared.
Stephan Kioutchukov
Victoria Seraphimova

Today, the experts discuss at a special working session in the Ministry of the Regional Development and Public Works, introduction of new taxes for motor vehicles from 2003 on. The tax policy of the Finance Ministry envisages only one kind of duty to be paid for the cars - the road tax. It will be paid by the so-called 'Vignete System'. The sum will depend on the weight of the cars and on the time-limit for use of the roads. Initially it's to be paid for travelling on the highways, which are duplicated by second-class roads. Payment of both duties levied upon motors will start from June 3 on, tax inspectors reminded. When paying the due amounts we are to carry IC and the ID of the car. The road duty is 10 levs per each ton, while the ownership duty depends on the horsepower and the year of production. Both taxes will be discounted by 10 percent till August 31. The fine of 30 levs levied upon drivers for using cell phones when driving comes into force from Sunday.
UDF Jr. Shows Muscles to Nadezhda.
Velislava Krasteva

Members of the UDF youth organization have unnerved Nadezhda Mihailova.
When it became clear that YUDF independently raised funds for a 3-day seminar from the Konrad Adenauer foundation and invited UDF leader Nadezhda Mihailova to take part in it, another fact has surfaced - the juniors are about to get emancipated and become independent from the UDF. Mihailova understood it by the end of the meeting and finished it abruptly. Ambitious Miroslav Borshosh declared that the youth organization will select their own nominees for mayors. The UDF activist insisted that YUDF should be a partner not a satellite of the UDF. Another young man required to amend the Statutes of the party to put all youth clubs on equal footing. Nadezhda Mihailova suffered a disappointment - she realized that the youngsters know what they want and they want it now. To get it they are prepared to pay any price. So the alternative is either to give more freedom to the YUDF or to see the emergence of yet another right-wing party tied by a umbilical cord with the UDF.
Sea Resorts Filling up Again.
Eli Dimova

The days are getting more sunny and the summer is approaching. Only in a few weeks the big Bulgarian resorts will be full of Bulgarian and foreign tourists. That's why the hotel owners use the last days of May to renovate the hotels expecting their customers. Traditionally the interest is not only to the elite summer resorts, but to the smaller towns situated in the south, which have long ago proved they have excellent service, too. Russian tourists are vacationing in Nessebar already. The season there started on April 18. At the end of this month tourists from Macedonia, Yugoslavia and the Czeck Republic are expected. One night in an unpretentious room with common utility core in a private lodgings in Nessebar costs 5-6 levs when the season is not so busy. But only in a month the prices will get higher and till August they'll double. The old town in Nessebar continues to be the most preferred by the holiday-makers, but it's the most expensive, too. A luxurious apartment in a private house there costs about $100 per night. In Sozopol the lodgings are full already. Now primarily German tourists rest there. They are accommodated in small private hotels in the town. Here, as well as in the other seaside towns, people are worried by the visa-regime with Russia, which will be an obstacle for many of the tourists. In the 'Dyuni' vacation village 30% of the beds are booked already. The percentage will increase to 50 in the following week. Mosty German and Austrian groups are expected to arrive.

We Pay Once More for Prefabs.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Atanas Zakhariev


Pavlina Zhivkova

Renovation is mandatory for all apartments built before 1985, says engineer Atanas Zakhariev.

- Mr. Zakhariev, when can the renovation of the prefab blocks of flats be started, having in mind that some of them are cracked and are dangerous for people who live there?

- The renovation project has already been launched in Bulgaria. The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works wants to carry out several pilot projects that will mark the beginning of the renovation process. We shall start from the state-owned apartments, which are currently used as hostels.

- Who will provide funds for it?

- The idea is to establish a state-run company that will deal with the renovation.

- How many blocks have to be renovated?

- In Bulgaria there are 750,000 apartments in prefab blocks. All of them which were built before 1985 must be renovated. It accounts for 60 percent of the apartments. To start it, though, we need new legislative basis and new concept for our settlement policy.

- And how much will the renovation cost?

- All in all we need 10-15 billion levs. The renovation of one square meter will cost about $ 100-150.

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