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The Bulgarian Traffic Police bought high tech equipment for video-recording the violations of traffic regulations. Powerful video-cameras installed in patrol cars will enable policemen to videotape the incidents and the data will be fed into the computer of the National Police Directorate. On the photo - Mr. Orla Bennett, president of the supplier company, "Petards Mobile Intelligence" demonstrates the equipment's performance. Photo by Kiril Konstantinov
Silence That Leads to Prison.
What does No 1 Privatizer conceal in the mystery that wraps the Tobacco Holding?
Obscurity, mystery and doubts about forgery enveloped the start of the privatization of the most pivotal Bulgarian company - that of Bulgartabak. Despite the promised transparency and publicity before the investors and the public, head of the Privatization Agency Apostol Apostolov is beating about the bush. On Tuesday night the deadline for bids expired, but we never knew how much and who the bidders were, because Apostol Apostolov kept silence on the matter. Minutes after the deadline expired, Apostolov himself spread the rumour that there were 5 bidders, without naming them. The bidders, however, were prompt to say that there were only 4 offers. Obviously, Apostol Apostolov is heading for the Chief Prosecutor's Office in the way Georgi Popov, who runs Bulgartabak, did. The actions of No 1 Privatizer look like an act of sabotage, for the prompt and transparent sell-out of Bulgartabak is of great social and political value to Bulgaria.
Ministers Confer by Phone.
Premier gives instructions from Mount Athos, half of the cabinet gathered in the USA.
During the today's sitting of the cabinet the ministers will confer by phone. Vice-PM Kostadin Paskalev will chair the meeting in the Council of Ministers which only half of the cabinet members will attend. Premier Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, accompanied by his Chef de Cabinet Radi Naidenov and Associate Professor Ivan Zhelev, who heads the Directorate of Religious Affairs with the Council of Ministers, is leaving for Mount Athos this morning. Vice-premier Nikolay Vassilev, minister of energy Milko Kovatchev and minister of labor and social policy Lydia Shouleva are all in Washington. Anton Stankov, Minister of Justice, is going to join them. Minister of Defense Nikolay Svinarov is on a business trip in Pleven. On all important bills and issues Paskalev will consult with his colleagues via mobile phones.
Slavi Brought Gorbachov to Tears.
Twice in 30 minutes Slavi Trifonov brought tears to the eyes of Gorbachev, who was a guest in his show on Wednesday. The tears streamed down the face of the former Soviet president, while he was telling about his life with his deceased wife Raisa. A little later Gorbachev took out his handkerchief for a second time, after Dessi sang the popular Russian song 'The Victory Day'. After the show Gorbachev started for the 'Sheraton' hotel, where for two hours he spoke with Kevork Kevorkyan. Yesterday Gorbachev was endowed with the title Doctor Honoris Causa of the Sofia University. The rector of the university handed him the diploma after reading it in Old-Bulgarian and Latin.
Five Treasure Hunters Blasted.
Two men died on the spot, three women in the throes of death.
Two men were torn to pieces and three women severely injured by an old aviation bomb at a deserted military training ground. The tragedy occurred near the village of Karapelit, Dobritch, region at 1.10 p.m. yesterday, reported the Regional Directorate of Interior in Dobritch. The victims are treasure hunters from the village of Mirovtsi, close to Shoumen. They stroke the bomb seeking gold with a metal detector, said Major Roumen Ivanov. The killed men are Rashud Hashim (52) and Anton Angelov (40). Only one person from the group remained safe and sound. The treasure hunters hit on a metal object and when they touched it with a pickax the bomb exploded. Well into the afternoon the teams of the emergency ward, RDI-Dobritch and Civil Protection agency were collecting the remnants of the victims.
Americans to Build TPP in Sofia.
The US 'National Fuel Gas' company will build two thermal power plants (TPP) in the capital city to replace 'Sofia' and 'Sofia-Iztok' (East) TPPs. The project was presented to Energy Minister Milko Kovachev in the USA. 'National Fuel Gas' will invest a total of $180 million in the construction works of both TPPs, which will start next year. To the US experts, the returns from the project may cover completely the debts 'Toploficatsia' (Central Heating Company) in Sofia owes to 'Bulgargas'. The Sofia municipality should give its stand on the issue next week. During his visit to the USA, BG Energy Minister also met the representatives of "Westinghouse Electric". The company had shown interest in the construction of 'Belene' N-plant. Milko Kovachev went to London yesterday to negotiate with the management of BNFL company - supplier of fresh nuclear fuel.
Duty-Free Import of Cars - at 5-Year Interval Only.
The sales are banned before the deadline expires.
New car may be imported as registered in the name of an invalid at five-year interval. The car can't be sold out till the deadline expires. More than that, an invalid is to be deprived of the right to import duty-free a second vehicle, stipulates the Council of Ministers' decree about import tax on automobiles, promulgated in the State Gazette. The second-hand cars may be imported on behalf of a physically handicapped person for a 3-year term. The owner may sell the car, or to import duty-free another one as early as the deadline expires. If someone, however, wants to change the automobile before that, he should pay the duties and VAT, he had been relieved of earlier. The state remits completely the disabled of duties and VAT, if the amount is up to $900. If the due sums exceed $900, the importer should pay the difference. The amendments are drawn up to reduce the import of de luxe limos imported and registered in the name of invalids against minimum payment. Almost half of the cars imported last year are registered as property of the disabled people. The ministers compiled a list of ailments which enable people to import cars free of customs duty or VAT.
NPP Belene - Dream Opportunity.
Many candidates push hard against government to take up the NPP construction, cabinet keeps silent.
In recent weeks many candidate-investors for the nuclear power plant in Belene have surfaced. Canada, Russia, France, Japan are all competing for the right to invest into the future Bulgarian atomic plant. The day before yesterday, the Czech Republic also joined in the race. It is clear that foreign interest to the still blueprinted plant has been provoked by the well-known statement PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg made at the constituent meeting of the NMS-party. Many days have elapsed since then, yet the government didn't give any sign that a decision had been taken by the Council of Ministers about the fate of the nuclear plant. Only the Council of Ministers is entitled to procure for the plant a mandatory license from the State Committee on Energy Regulation and a permit to start the construction from the National Construction Control Directorate. Without ministerial approval there is no sense to even talk about investments or construction works. Selling off NPP Belene would have served a relatively good chance to resolve the energy deficit problems forecast by the experts after the looming decommission of Units 1-4 of the NPP in Kozloduy. The solution must be found rapidly. The government must stop looking around undecided and finally assess all economically advantageous options and finger the winner.
Adopt a Law on Parents.
We are dissatisfied with the fact that adults are solving our problems without asking us, Ginka Hristova says.
Marta Kunova and Ginka Hristova - two Bulgarian girls, winners in the national competition "To Change the World for Children together with the Children", are attending the Children's Forum, which is an important side event of the Special Session on Children, held form May 5 to 7 in New York. "It's all right that the state regulates legally the conduct of parents, taking into consideration children's safety. It is inadmissible, however, that parents allow teenagers being in disco clubs at night, for kids' security is threatened," thinks 17-year-old Ginka. Bulgaria and two other East European countries seeking EU membership will be covered by a child welfare programme of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Labour and Social Policy Ministry's press office said Wednesday. An agreement to this effect was reached by Labour Minister Lidia Shouleva and UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe Philip O'Brien in New York City on Tuesday. Shouleva is leading the Bulgarian delegation to the current UN Special Session on Children, which is scheduled to close on Friday. Shirin Mestan, President of the State Agency for Child Protection, and Stefan Tafrov, Bulgaria's Permanent Representative to the UN, are also on the delegation. On Thursday, Shouleva will confer with Herbert Haupt, Austrian Minister of Social, Family, Youth and Women's Affairs. Shouleva is expected to address the sixth plenary meeting of the Special Session on Friday.
We Can Help BG Police.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Orla Bennett
Mr. Orla Bennett is the Director General of the Danish-British joint venture "Petards", which is a part of the "Screen" consortium. It has business contacts with 38 countries and its yearly capital turnover runs at 50 million euro. "Petards" is the world leader in manufacturing high tech control video-systems. Within the consortium the firm is in charge of the international markets and sales.
Our video-monitoring equipment meets world standards, claims President of the Danish-British company "Petards", Orla Bennett.
- Mr Bennett, what can you say about the product you will promote to the Bulgarian police?
- We'll present the "Provida" system meant for video-monitoring and control. Speaking in general terms, our markets serve the police, emergency aid, fire service, special services, etc. The system we promote in Bulgaria is on sale in many countries and has all EU certificates.
- How can it help the BG traffic police?
- It is used to monitor and control motor vehicles and road traffic and collect videotaped evidence in case of infringements. In all countries where the system is applied, the police has 100-percent sure evidentiary material. Thanks to its reliability the court accepts this video-material as a proof. The camera can take 25 shots per second and each of them bears a unique number. This guarantees against any manipulations. The system we are presenting in Bulgaria has a radar which can measure the speed of all vehicles passing by a patrol car.
- Can you guarantee that the data are objective and mistakes are excluded?
- Certainly we can. I would like to tell the Bulgarians that there can be absolutely no mistakes, they can rest assured.
PRO-TURKISH GROUP IN CONGRESS DISBANDED AFTER ECEVIT ACCUSES ISRAEL OF GENOCIDE.
The California Courier
By Harut Sassounian Publisher
The damage to Turkish interests is continuing unabated more than three weeks after Turkeys Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit accused Israel of genocide against Palestinians. Despite various attempts at damage control, including profuse apologies by many Turkish officials and Turkish Americans, Jews dont seem to be pacified. For the record, in the past three weeks, the Turkish Prime Minister has said mea culpa at least on seven different occasions. None of his apologies has been accepted by Jewish leaders.
Taking a page from the Turkish denials of the Armenian Genocide, Ecevit has now begun to describe Israels military actions in the West Bank as a tragedy, not genocide." One wonders if in his eighth apology he would refer to tragic losses suffered by both sides under war conditions, adding that the number of Palestinians killed has been vastly exaggerated!
Barbara Lerner, a Turkophile Jewish-American, in her National Review article, The Turks too joining the anti-Israeli left? described Ecevits accusation of Israel as shocking. She called the Turkish Parliament a Byzantine place and Turkish politicians a disappointing lot. Despite her obvious ignorance about the basic facts of the Armenian Genocide, she did admit that in 1915 some Turks did things [that] honorable Turks are ashamed of.
She also wrote, its shocking that any Turk even a politician would play the demagogue with a charge like genocide which is the very charge non-Turks demonize Turks with.
The most damaging fallout from Ecevits accusation, however, has been the reported disbanding of the Turkish-American Friendship Group in the US Congress. Zeynep Gurcanli reported in the Turkish Star newspaper on April 15 that the Turkish group in the US Congress is being disbanded. Great efforts had gone into bringing together 38 members of Congress. As a result, we [the Turks] will no longer be able to counter the Greek and Armenian lobbies in the US Congress.
The Turkish newspaper lamented the fact that it took one word [genocide], just one word to destroy the three year effort of organizing this Friendship Group in Congress. It said that the congressional groups most ardent pro-Turkish member, Cong. Robert Wexler (D-FL) who is of Jewish descent, no longer wants to see the face of Turkish diplomats. Cong. Tom Lantos (D-CA), a survivor of the Holocaust, was another member of the now defunct pro-Turkish group.