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Sofia Echo staff writer Velina Nacheva with the diploma she was awarded for achieving first prize for the best and most complete article on the Third National Initiative Baby 2002. The national initiative, aimed at upping Bulgarias birth rate, was organised by Nine Months magazine. The diploma also says that it is given for most precisely reflecting the aims and meaning of the Baby 2002 campaign. Nacheva was given the award at a ceremony last Sunday at the Plaza Palace restaurant in Sofia. Lyulin Stamenov/Sofia Echo.


Because of the heavy fog many of the flights at the Sofia airport were canceled. Employees recommended the passengers with booked tickets to call in advance the information numbers of the airport: +359 2 /937 22 11, 937 22 12, 937 22 13. Photo Kiril Konstantinov.


An enormous geyser gushed forth along the channel at the national stadium "Vassil Levski". Passers-by ran down the sidewalks to keep themselves dry from a leaking water-pipe. For hours no one came to repair the leakage in downtown Sofia. Photo Kiril Konstantinov


When To Close It? Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe Coburg Gotha (R) visits a nuclear power plant near the town of Kosloduy, some 200 kilometers north of Sofia, January 28. cEPA

Reaction to Dust Files Article.

American historian, political scientist, and publicist Carl Savich contacted us with a reaction to the article “The West With A Skeleton In The Closet

The article on the "Dust" movie was great. I was reading about how German critics were referring to Osmanlic Islam and neo-fascism and how Islam is supposed to be so tolerant. But in fact, it is [Nazi] Germany that has sponsored Islam NOT Turkey. So this is a big lie by the Germans. I have an article entitled Islam Under The Swastika on the Serbianna website that examines this whole history in depth. There are a whole bunch of very rare and "forgotten" photos. Germany created two Bosnian Muslim and two Albanian Muslim SS Divisions in WWII and wanted to create some sort of Nazi Muslim Empire in the Balkans. My article presents info that is not really available in the West.

Yugoslav official says terrorist training camps exist in Kosovo, Macedonia.

Studio B TV

[Presenter] There are worrying signs of enhanced activities by Albanian extremists who could carry out new provocations in southern Serbia, which is why the [Yugoslav] Coordinating Centre [for Kosovo-Metohija] has been in constant touch with representatives of the international community in Kosovo, a high-ranking official of the Yugoslav Defence Ministry, Milovan Coguric, has told Studio B TV.

[Coguric on the phone] This is generally well known, that there are certain centres for training, that is, training grounds and camps for the training of terrorists on the other side of the administrative line [border between Serbia, Kosovo] in Kosovo-Metohija or, say, in Lojanica [as received], right behind the Presevo municipality in the territory of Macedonia where one can see with the naked eye, the regrouping and the arrival of groups of people, as well as the very training itself and so forth.

We who are in the field and who have frequently stayed in the area can easily see it with the naked eye. This phenomenon is generally well known. For some time we were in a position [changes thought] we have had a territory which was blocked, that is the Ground Safety Zone, and we will never allow any part of this territory of our state to be blocked in which normal movement of citizens would be prevented, as well as normal work and activities.

[Reporter] Coguric added that Kfor [Kosovo force] guaranteed to the Serbs that the terrorists would not get support should they attempt to realize their aims through assaults. He said that Albanian extremists were becoming increasingly discrete and were trying to prevent any kind of cooperation with Belgrade by exerting pressure on more moderate Albanian politicians.

We tried to verify these claims in a talk with Saip Kamberi [as transcribed], the chairman of the committee for human rights in Bujanovac.

[Kamberi on the phone] Well, I personally can say that I am not experiencing any pressures. I conduct my work in the committee for human rights without pressures and autonomously and I do not believe that this is true for the other [changes thought] the rest of Albanian leaders either. The problem is that the political process, begun on 25 May, is lagging behind and I think that the [Yugoslav] coordinating body, through such statements, is trying to explain its hitherto policy in the region, that is, a lag in this process.

Police Enters Matejche, Miletino And Chelopek Amid Ethnic Albanian Threats.

A1 TV; Vest


Ethnic Albanian villagers of Matejche make a show of intimidation.

Irina Gelevska

"Matejche (Vest) - Yesterday, the ethnic Albanian villagers of Matejche gave a show for the journalists and the observers of OSCE and EU.

That morning, the ethnic Albanian villagers shot two wolves that came to look for food at the entrance of the village. They put the animal carcasses on a tractor and drove them across the village as a trophy. When the villagers on the tractor arrived to the school building where the LIpkovo Major Husamedine Halili and the OSCE observer Dan Fregaty, were holding an open air press-conference, the hunters told the journalists: We shot the wolves, the Tigers and the Lions are next".

"The Wolves" are special antiterrorist Army Units. The Tigers and the Lions are the Police Special Units for swift reactions and antiterrorist actions.

Other present villagers, all ethnic Albanians (non-Albanian villagers were absent, being driven from their homes at NLA gunpoint) cheered after the threatening statement. All this has happened in front of the eyes of the policemen who are going to patrol in Matejche.

Police Enters Matejche, Miletino And Chelopek.


Skopje - As the OSCE spokesman promised last Wednesday, the mixed police patrols entered two villages in Tetovo region, Chelopek and Miletino and the village Matejche around Kumanovo yesterday.


Chelopek is the village in which the NLA terrorists killed two guards of the hotel "Brioni" after tying them to explosives. The site after the explosion provided a gruesome sight: leg and arms separated from the rest of the body. The naked remains showed evidence of torture prior to the execution.

After nearly 9 months, the police have entered this village last Wednesday, and neighboring village Miletino, also. In Miletino, there is a Police Station, so the patrols are going from Miletino to Chelopek and also sometimes from the Police Station in the village Brvenica.

The police patrols accompanied by OSCE monitors and Task Force Fox, also entered Matejche, village in Kumanovo region, where some of the biggest battles took place during the conflict.

During the Spring Macedonian Security Forces liberated this village from the NLA two times, but then the supreme commander of the Macedonian Army, the President Boris Trajkovski, ordered them to withdraw from Matejche. Then, in June 2001, a whole police unit who was ordered to take Matejche after the latest redraw, went on strike and protested in front of the president's cabinet.

The Albanian terrorists kept hostages, local non-Albanian civilians, in the Matejche mosque. The NLA mistreated the hostages during the conflict, torturing them by beating and sexual abuse. The mosque also served as a NLA headquarters and gun-nest.


The refugees were allowed to visit Matejche monastery on September 29, 2001. Albanian terrorists abused this cultural and Orthodox Christian religious monument, using it as a military base and vandalizing the 700 years old frescoes.

Most of the non-Albanian population of Matejche still resides in the Hotels in Kumanovo as refugees. They say that they are afraid to go back to their village without the Police Station which existed before the conflict. Some of the ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Serbs from Matejche have no homes because the Albanian terrorists burned their houses.

Yesterday the policemen were met by the local villagers, ethnic Albanians, who told the police that it will be treated as they treat them. Also some of the older villagers appealed to the refugees to return. "We will do nothing to them if they come back in Matejche"-said the 75-years-old ethnic Afrom Matejche, who refused to give his name because he said it's afraid from the youngsters in the village. Today the police have entered these three new villages without any problems.



The European Union and the World Bank will organize a donors' conference in Brussels on March 12 to raise funds for Macedonia, EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said Monday.

The decision to hold the conference follows the Macedonian Parliament's approval last week of the Law on local self-government. The first condition for holding of this conference was met last month, by setting of the International Monetary Fund Staff-Monitoring Program, which has been into force since the beginning of 2002.

At the Conference, Macedonia will ask financial means for covering of the gap of US$ 173 million in the balance of payments, healing of the wounds form the crisis in the country, and the expenditures for implementing of the Framework Agreement, which will be additionally determined.

This will be the fifth Donors' Conference for Macedonia, since its independency. The first two were held in Paris, gathering per US$ million each. The next one was held in Brussels in 1996, bringing US$ 160 million to the country, while the last one was held right after the Kosovo crisis in Paris, in May 1999. The financial means from the last conference were aimed at covering of the country's expenditures for sheltering of the Kosovo refugees.




Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski had an official meeting on Monday with the members of the Coordinate Body for realizing the activities on construction of hydro plant "Kozjak."

According to the President's Cabinet, Trajkovski was informed about the realized construction activities.

It was stated that the Chinese part was interested in intensifying the works on the machine part of the hydro plant. The Chinese Government has appointed new performer - "Corporation for water and energy," that will carry out the project.

Official meetings between the representatives of the Macedonian and Chinese coordinate bodies will be held in February.

Experts from the Macedonian Electric Power Company and the "Corporation for water and energy" will also have a meeting, where they will determine the technical details and the datelines for completing the construction.

President Trajkovski emphasized the importance of the construction of hydro plant "Kozjak" for the Macedonia's economy and stressed that he would stand for its completion during the talks with the Chinese part.



As of January 2002, the European Agency for Reconstruction has been given the task of managing the 26 million EU Emergency Assistance Program for Macedonia. The plan was launched in September 2001.

On December 10 2001, the European Council extended the Agency's official mandate to cover the Republic of Macedonia, and on December 28 2001 the European Commission conferred on the Agency the management responsibility for the Emergency Assistance Program as from January 1, 2001.

The Emergency assistance package has two main aims: reconstruction of the conflict-affected areas and support to confidence-building measures to bolster the implementation of the Ohrid peace accord.

The Package includes reconstruction of 750-800 houses by spring 2002. This project is worth 4,5 million. So far, as the Agency reported, 60% of this project have been realized.

The Agency signed contracts for rebuilding of the houses with the Italian NGO Movimondo for the Tearce municipality, the UK NGO Children's Aid Direct for the region northwest of Kumanovo, and Greek NGO European Perspectives for the village of Aracinovo.

Agreements have been also made with the Italian NGO Intersos for mine clearance activities, as well as with the German PROMPT for control-monitoring over the building materials and the building activities.

The program also includes rehabilitation of electricity supply networks, worth 10,5 million and realized by Macedonian Electricity Company ESM and Italian ENEL as supervisor.

The program also includes cash support for host families (3,25 million) and advice and training for the police force (1,7 million).



The situation in Tetovo region Monday morning is peaceful without any armed provocations of the Albanian terrorirists, though police and army sources say shootouts have been registered from Sunday night until early Monday from Drenovec, Ciglana and Kupenik settlements, Tetovo Teke, the reformatory, Rasadiste locality and the area from Mosa Pijade high school and the SEE University. Armed provocations have been registered from the villages of Trebos, Zelino, Odri, Neraste, Dobroste, Mala Recica, Gajre, Lisec and Poroj.

Shootings are also directed at unknown targets whereat Macedonian security forces did not fire back.

Late Sunday, the teams of Tetovo Electric distribution has provided the electrical power in the town and its surrounding.

Ethnically mixed police teams, escorted by representatives of the Governmental Coordination Body for Crisis Management, OSCE, EUMM and NATO, entered on Sunday at the village of Matejce in the Kumanovo area.

According to the General plan for redeployment of the police forces to the regions impacted by the crisis, the police teams will patrol in Matejce from 10,00h to 13.00h.

Redeployment of the police to Matejce provides opportunity for returning of the displaced persons from this village, who have been accommodated in collective centres in the past nine months.



The Law on Local self-government, adopted yesterday by the Parliament, has opened the way for scheduling of a Donors Conference for Macedonia, which was to be held at the end of 2001.

According to announcements, the conference is to be held within the next 20 days. The first condition for holding of this conference was met last month, by setting of the International Monetary Fund Staff-Monitoring Program, which has been into force since the beginning of 2002.

At the Conference, Macedonia will ask financial means for covering of the gap of US$ 173 million in the balance of payments, healing of the wounds form the crisis in the country, and the expenditures for implementing of the Framework Agreement, which will be additionally determined.

This will be the fifth Donors' Conference for Macedonia, since its independency. The first two were held in Paris, gathering per US$ million each. The next one was held in Brussels in 1996, bringing US$ 160 million to the country, while the last one was held right after the Kosovo crisis in Paris, in May 1999. The financial means from the last conference were aimed at covering of the country's expenditures for sheltering of the Kosovo refugees.

Impenetrable Fog Closed the Sofia Airport.


Not a single plane succeeded to land on the Sofia airport yesterday because of the impenetrable fog. Despite the difficult conditions two planes of the 'Balkan' airlines and the Check airlines departed. Six flights were cancelled - for Bucharest, Frankfurt, Paris, Wienna, Prishtina and Varna. 'Balkan' directed two of the flights to the airport in Plovdiv. The passengers were transported to the city by a bus.

Ukrainian Ship Sinks Near Rousse.


Tsvetelina Dontcheva

A Ukranian ship sank in the Danube near Rousse on Saturday night. The wrecked "Archangelsk" of 2000-ton capacity was heading to its port of call after unloading its cargo in Rousse. The place where the ship sank is called Kilometer 486, east of the Danube Bridge. The probable cause of the accident is the ripped up bottom of the vessel which it hit in some shallow place. No one from the crew has been injured. Two Bulgarian and two Ukrainian ships carry out the rescue operation.

Sofianski Denied a Secret Meeting.


Elena Yaneva

Within the political circles of Sofia rumours existed that PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha had had a dinner with mayor Sofianski. The PM wanted to meet Sofianski, because in important moments he never missed to consult the mayor of Sofia. They reminded that before heading the government the king several times had lunch and dinner with the mayor. 'I haven't met the PM for quite a long time. Nor did I have dinner with him', Sofianski said before 'Standart'. He was surprised by the speech and the decision of the PM.


PM Receives Congratulations All Day Long.


Dilyana Dimitrova

All day yesterday Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha received greetings for the speech he delivered before the constituent assembly of the NMS, press-director of the cabinet Tzvetelina Uzunova said. Everybody approved his decision not to be nominated for a leader of the party. Many people from all over the country phoned in the 'Vrana' residency, too. The PM spent a full working day at the building of the CM, Uzunova added. He read all the papers and was very pleased by the objective covering of his speech. Then he locked himself in his office to take a look at the papers and write his speech for the 'Kozloduy' NPP. At the moment the most famous Turkish journalists are in Bulgaria and prepare materials for the visit of PM Bulent Ecevit this week. Till yesterday requests for an interview were submitted by the 'Sabbah'newspaper, NTV and ATV. Till the visit of Ecevit every day on the NTV there'll be 40-minute reportages for Bulgaria.


Gerdzhikov Was Aware of King's Move 1 Hour Earlier.


Nadelina Aneva

Deputy Dr Atanas Shterev also admitted yesterday that he knew in advance. It was Deputy Chairman of the PG Vladimir Donchev who told him. Dr Shterev supposed that Tzvetelina Ouzounova, head of the press office of the Council of Ministers, broke the news. She and the BNT Director Kiril Gotsev entered Hall No 2 of the National Palace of Culture at 4.10 p.m. The delegates speculated in the lobbies on what the reason for King's delay was. His speech was handwritten in the last moment, NMS MPs maintain.


King's MPs: Panayotov, step down!


If the Professor Doesn't Give In His Resignation, He'll be Dismissed by Voting. The chief of the NMS PG discusses his future with ministers close to him.

The change of the chief of the NMS PG Plamen Panayotov is inevitable. If he doesn't give in his resignation, we shall dismiss him by voting this Tuesday, stressed for 'Standart' the MP from NMS Mariana Assenova. In her opinion two thirds of her colleagues are against the authoritarian style of Panayotov. The group accuses him personally for the foiled constituent assembly of the NMS party last Saturday. However, according to the Regulations of the parliamentary group of the NMS, Panayotov can be replaced only in two cases - on the motion of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, or of two thirds of the MPs. The discontented within the NMS had a meeting in the coffee house of the 'Radisson' hotel last Saturday. This is the third successive meeting for the past week. That group includes Emil Koshloukov, Dimitar Lambovski, Yavor Miloushev, Borislav Tsekov. Emil Koshloukov and Borislav Tsekov will be proposed for the seat of Panayotov. Plamen Panayotov met some of the ministers claimed to have been appointed on his insistence. He feels very wretched, but he is to decide what he'll do by himself, commented a close aide of Panayotov yesterday. 'No one will demand his resignation. After the slap he got from the leader, he has to withdraw by himself', commented another NMS MP.

Nadelina Aneva

Parvanov Welcomed with Fireworks in Razgrad.


Armourers are to complain to the president in Targovishte.

Stela Kovacheva
Roumiana Nikolova

President Georgi Parvanov is to take part in a meeting and fireworks dedicated to the 124 anniversary of the liberation of Razgrad tonight. Earlier he is to meet the district governor and the mayors of the 7 municipalities in the Ludogorie region. Tomorrow Parvanov leaves for Targovishte. There, he is to visit the armoury plant "Terem" AD, where 1,000 workers were downsized in the recent years. Later, he is to attend the sanctification of a chapel in the same town by Metropolitan Cyril. In the afternoon, the president will visit the settlements damaged by the winter calamities in the region of Targovishte. A visit to the only school for children with injured hearing in the northeastern parts of Bulgaria is also scheduled.


Kachakova Delays Plane Take off because of Journalists.



Friday's flight was delayed by half an hour because of expired visas of the six reporters who accompanied the delegation. The economy ministry employees had arranged a 4-day stay in Moscow. Despite the interference of the Bulgarian diplomats and the foreign ministry, the employees at 'Sheremetievo' airport demanded another $ 70 for the extension from each one of the reporters. After a long checkup of the passports, the journalists were taken to the plane. At its door was only Lyubka. She reportedly told the pilot and the 'Balkan' representative that she wouldn't let the machine take off until the reporters got on board.

Bulgarians Arm Like in War Time.


In Sofia region only 60,000 have license for carrying a gun.

"One pulls out a gun to shoot, not just to scare somebody". This is the olden rule taught to the cadets in the Police Academy. In Bulgaria, however, it doesn't work. Both townsfolk and villagers are arming as if the country is going to declare war. In Sofia region only, last year 60,000 licenses were issued, says chief of Sofia Regional Police Directorate, Col. Roumen Stoyanov. Twenty thousand armed men walk the streets of Sofia. Nineteen thousand carry guns in Plovdiv. Really curious things happen - an owner of a local exchange office has license for a machine-gun. Other businessman in town has a grenade-discharger. Everyone offers the same explanation - self-defense. Last year during task force operations the policemen collected 1,500 illegally owned gun pieces. Among them pistols, rifles, home-made weaponry and automatic guns. This arsenal was kept in the homes of 809 people.

Experts: Let's Stop the NPP Only Temporarily.


Europe doesn't observe its commitments in connection with the closure of the nuclear power units in 'Kozloduy'

Dilyana Dimitrova

Bulgaria to close down the small reactors of the 'Kozloduy' NPP only temporarily, the chief of the power committee from the 38th National Assembly Kiril Ermenkov suggested yesterday. He and his colleagues from the Committee in defence of the NPP met with President Georgi Parvanov. We have to suspend first and second units till their safe exploitation has been proved and later on put them into operation again, the expert said. He recalled that to take the capacities out of exploitation would take up to 50 years. Ermenkov insisted that the commitments undertaken by Europe in return for the closure of the NPP be reviewed. No Eurosceptical sentiments should be taken into consideration while drafting our position, President Georgi Parvanov warned. He will announce of his stand after the adoption of the new power strategy by the end of March. The concept should be announced by this Friday.


No One Knows How Costly Will Be Decommission of Small Reactors.


Europe offers Bulgaria a ridiculous price for NPP Kozloduy. USD 900 million in missed benefits are to be compensated with 200 million euro.

Beltcho Tsanev

The statement Premier Saxe-Coburg-Gotha made before his Greek colleague Costas Simitis about the before-the-term decommission of Units 3 and 4 of the nuclear power plant in Kozloduy was generally accepted as a political scandal. However, the construction and decommission of nuclear reactors is a political and environmental issue first and foremost. Huge funds are needed to resolve it. And while it's relatively easy to calculate the money needed for the construction of one unit, hardly anyone can say for sure what is the cost of its decommission. The reason is that no country in the world has done it from beginning to end so far. The estimations of the most audacious experts show that about 3 billion USD is needed only to bury the radioactive wastes. And the sum may prove to be just a minute share of the necessary money. To it one must add up the indefinite means for the safe decommission of nuclear units. Having this in mind, the 200-million euro aid offered by the EU sounds as sheer mockery. The actual losses Bulgaria is going to suffer look as follows. If Units 3 and 4 are closed in 2006, they will not produce 25 billion kW/h. Should the price of power remain unchanged, the damage done to the country would run at 550-600 million USD. The losses from the decommission of the already doomed Units 3 and 4 are estimated at 12,5 billion kW/h or 300 million USD. For this 900 million USD in missed benefits EU is offering to Bulgaria a 200-million euro compensation. Apart from it, before-the-term closure of Units 3 and 4 only, deprives our country of 18 percent of the total installed capacities, or 1760 megawatt. So, in winter of 2007 the energy balance of Bulgaria will be so drastically disturbed that whatever government runs the country at that time, the social discontent will unavoidably topple it.



According to Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, Bulgaria could manage without the Czar, but not without the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant.


On his way to Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, Premier Simeon Koburg-Gotha was intercepted by Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization activist that had been leading a protest procession in protecting national interests of Bulgaria, the organizational Secretary of Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization Miroslav Murchov reported. The mail slogan raised by the rally spelled "Bulgaria could manage without a Czar, but not without the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant!" Murchov explained that the Premier had told the protesters that nevertheless Bulgaria should help Romania, because Romania needs it. Murchov said that such a statement is ridiculous from an economic point of view.

Russia and Bulgaria Are Not In The Same Team.


In Moscow Bulgarian businessmen perceived how much Bulgaria was lagging behind.

Pavlina Zhivkova

In Moscow, Vice-Premier Nikolai Vassilev got to believe that after his visit the problem with the Russia's debt would be solved and that the issue over Russia's estates in Bulgaria and Bulgaria's in Russia would be finally settled. The vice-premier came to think that the Russians will right away agree to reduce both the agreed upon supplies of natural gas and its price. Vassilev left Moscow believing that he opened the markets, unfroze the relations and reached common consent in all issues. It did not become clear, however, how far in time this problems were to be carried out. Nikolai Vassilev's deputy, Lyubka Kachakova, with her inherent emotionality, gave birth to the motto of the visit: "We broke an iceberg rather than the ice." Asked what was to happen if the iceberg melted all at once with a flood as a result, Kachakova answered: "We'll not drown. If there will be so much water, we are to swim synchronously in the same team with Russia." A synchronization, however, is unattainable. In Russia, they are swimming in an ocean of money. There, rich people are rich according to the world standards. Everywhere construction works are carried out - it is, in no uncertain terms, indicative of means. In the outskirts of Moscow, where at the time the rocketdromes were, now blue-chip villas are standing. A square meter of land costs $ 50,000 to 100,000 and the cheapest of the villas costs around $500,000. In Russia they do not speak in terms of dollars to keep their national identity. They call them "conventional units", but they talk about hundreds of thousands, rather than thousands only. "The doors are opened, the relations - unfrozen," says Mariana Licheva, press officer and head of the protocol of the Economy Ministry. Most of the small and medium businessmen in the Bulgarian delegation did not look quite certain. And their embarrassment showed. They came to understand that Russia demanded hundreds of tons of wine, hundreds of thousands of canned food and early vegetables, but the Bulgarian firms had not the capacity to produce them. They saw that foreign companies were already dominating over the Russian markets and they could not afford to compete with them. Not to mention replacing them. It is not relevant to the big Bulgarian business, but the small businessmen understood that even if they succeeded in producing thousands of tons of production, the certificates would stand in their way. Bulgaria can only dream of the European quality, but to Russia it is an obligatory term. Moscow citizens were implicit that the days when they bought Bulgarian canned food for brotherly sympathy had gone for good. Now, first-class goods are demanded. This is why only the official persons of Nikolai Vassilev's team were satisfied with the visit to Moscow. The political mission seemed carried out. The meetings were friendly, the doors ajar and the willingness for cooperation was declared.

A handful of psychopaths profited from the health reform.

INTERVIEW Standartnews: Emil Iliev

NHIF(National Health Insurance Fund) in Bulgaria is madness, and Government Hospital - a paradox, says Dr Emil Iliev.

Dr Emil Iliev is in charge of acupuncture in the dermatology department with the Medical University in Sofia. He specialized in traditional Chinese medicine in many countries of Europe, Asia and America. He is the author of over 75 scientific articles and monographs. The first of them was published in 1987 in Munich. Dr Iliev teaches acupuncture in several European countries. For a year now he has been chairman of the Public Committee for protecting people from the health reform.



- Dr Iliev, French medics began large-scale protests. They were called 'the white fury'. Is everything O.K. with our medics as long as they keep silence?

- On the contrary. Things in Bulgaria are going to a catastrophe. The state of healthcare is critical. Or to put it in a word, there isn't a cure for the Bulgarian people. A year ago I headed a Public committee for protecting people from the health reform. We asked sociology students to launch a poll among 3500 inhabitants of Sofia who had availed of the services of G.Ps. and hospitals. The results showed that 89% of them were dissatisfied. As for people in the country, their interests are much more infringed on. Neither funding nor qualified aid reach them.

- Medics are apparently contented with this state of things. Is this so?

- Contented are only the ones who, some ten or so years ago misled medics and made them put blue bands on their white overalls. Then a handful of querulous psychopaths (people who in the event of major public disturbances hide behind a big objective and start working only for their personal interest) seized power and still avail themselves of it. I don't know who let them pass the examinations but they've got no idea of certain medical subjects and particularly so, of healthcare organization. They eliminated it and nobody holds them responsible.

- Where is the place of the Bulgarian Doctors' Union?

- It turned out that he is unaware of the state of things. Its management mended their fortunes. We help feed an organization which is detrimental to medicine. Regrettably, our people, doctors included, boasts a very well developed herd instinct.

- They are said to win more now.

- That a G.P. earns a lot is but an illusion. With a contingent of 1000 patients the family doctor gets around 1000 levs. It sounds well. But this doctor also has expenses. On the other hand, if all the patients of the G.P. are young and healthy, the doctor profits without doing anything. Many of the consulting rooms are filthy, and as for the nurses - they get 150 levs. The G.P. became a bad private tradesman. A man who is more stingy than the state can't cure you. For instance, when I was very ill, my G.P. didn't come to see me. He told me on the phone: 'I'll give you a sick-leave certificate. You are a doctor and know what to do.'

- What do you suggest?

- My personal suggestion is very extremist. To eliminate everything that has been done to date, and the people who started this reform to be imprisoned. Georgi Atanassov and Stoyan Ovcharov were sentenced for the allocation of 100 000 levs for the construction of orphanages. A respected professor and deputy minister of healthcare was also sent behind bars because of Chernobyl, although he had hardly been aware of what was taking place there. The damages now are calculated in millions of US$ and it is normal for the guilty to be jailed. Having applied that measure concerning the former communist celebrities, why don't we use the same measure, and even a more severe one, because we live in a democracy, to the present ones? The NHIF is a folly including a 2000 strong personnel. Under socialism all the healthcare administration did not go beyond 400 people. Not to mention the Government hospital which is a paradox. Following November 10 1989 it was denounced for its being state-subsidized. The hospital remained much to the amazement of all the civilized world. There are such hospitals only in Sofia and Pyongyang.


Other Exciting Events Are in Store.

INTERVIEW Standartnews: Nikolai Tchukanov

Nikolai Tchukanov, organizational secretary to the "Oborishte" movement.

- Mr. Tchukanov, what has happened at the constituent assembly?

- Recently, some of our colleagues have succumbed to the temptation to use the name and the reputation of the King to set up an organization of their own. The delegates to this constituent assembly have been chosen according to this principle. However, they have forgotten that His Majesty is very well informed and, as a man who made strong commitment to the entire Bulgarian people, he would have never allow this to happen.

- The Premier sharply criticized the MPs and ministers. Will his speech precipitate any real changes?

- Everyone who knows His Majesty well, is aware that he is not given to idle talk. After his proclamation on April 6, 2001 nothing has changed. We have to work towards fulfillment of our pledges, not to cater to our personal interests.

- Could it happen that the so-called lobby of professors and lawyers delivers a counter-blow and splits the NMS parliamentary group?

- The split is out of the question. All of us who became deputies representing the NMS signed the proclamation of His Majesty. Those who want to use their position in the NMS to serve their mercantile purposes will have to reconsider where they actually want to be.

- From now on how will the NMS function?

- There is plenty of time to think the things over. I think that many interesting events will be happening in this country.


Elena Yaneva

Some Actors are Minions, Others are Parachutists.

INTERVIEW Standartnews: Ivan Laskin

Cinema is my passion. I'd rather live in it, in the cinema, maintains actor Ivan Laskin.

Stoycho Kerev


- Could young actors adapt to all that happened in Bulgarian theatre?

- The worst thing I notice is that young actors are trying to become a part of the Bulgarian theatre in a way that is not quite inherent in youth. They are imitating cronyism.

- Do you mean the weakness of the past?

- No, I mean the cronyism and conduct of the elder people in this profession, for there are a lot of incorrect persons exercising it, who are preoccupied with dominating in this field an being allotted subsidies or projects, or showing their dumb performances, rather than creating worthy things. To me, this is the reason that good theatricals are a rarity.

- Did anything change in the relations between actors and directors?

- Now, they are existing in groups. Directors prefer certain actors, actors are fond of certain directors and they are cursing one another. I can't be an actor only, though it is what I really want to be. I want to create, to shoot: generally, the cinema is my passion. I'd rather live in it, in the cinema.

- Have you any particular projects?

- I want to work together with Dimitar Petrov, you know, who filmed "Vasko Da Gama from Rupcha Village", but my character is still an obstacle, for I'm more occupied with the mistakes of the others, rather than my own ones. It is quite an obstacle.

- Are you aware that they could view you in a negative way?

- Well, yes, of course they could, but I often quote the sentence that, as far as I'm concerned, if someone hates me, it is as if someone is throwing dung on a flower - it is flowering even more.

- To you, what counts most?

- I do not know, I'm making attempts to find out. Once upon a time, I believed that what counted most was to hang around in pubs, to drink all night long, to throw parties. Now, I believe that the most important thing is to manage somehow to work and realize myself. On the other hand, I do think that my family is the most important thing. In Bulgaria, people are very limited, we are living in quite unhappy times. Now, it is worse, for at the time there was one wall only and now there are many.

- As for you, you are a minion of cinema and theater, or aren't you?

- Sure, I am.




Macedonian Defence Minister Arrives Tuesday.

Sofia, January 28 (BTA) - Macedonian Defence Minister Vlado Popovski arrives Tuesday on a two-day official visit here at the invitation of Bulgarian counterpart Nikolai Svinarov.

The visit will aim to continue the high-level dialogue on effective formats for bilateral military cooperation and to discuss the opportunities to coordinate the efforts of the two countries towards regional stability and membership in EU and NATO.

A plan for the cooperation between the two defence ministries in 2002 will also be signed.

Popovski's itinerary features meetings with President and Commander-in-Chief Georgi Purvanov, Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Foreign Minister Solomon Passy and parliamentary speaker Ognyan Gerdjikov, the press office of the Defence Ministry said.

Parvan village saw a Bulgarian President for the first time in its history during the visit of President Georghy Parvanov.



The first Bulgarian settlements visited by President Georghy Parvanov became the town of Omurtag and the village of Parvan, the special delegate of News.bg Agency reported. President Georghy Parvanov was welcomed in the center of the town by a short folklore performance, and with bread and salt and red wine. After having talks with the municipal leadership, he visited the Saint Dimitar church. The villagers in Parvan, 20 km away from Omurtag, saw a Bulgarian President for the first time during the visit of President Georghy Parvanov in the village. President Georghy Parvanov gave BGN personal money for the Saint Dimitar church in Omurtag and for the unfinished mosque in Parvan that the villagers started building in 1993 with their own money.

Kosovo Albanians arrested on war crimes charges.


PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, Jan 28 (Reuters) - International police on Monday arrested two Kosovo Albanians suspected of war crimes against civilians from their own ethnic group, the Yugoslav province's U.N. administration said in a statement.

The pair are accused of a series of murders, attacks and abductions in 1998 and 1999, during a crackdown by former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Serb forces on Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and the NATO air war which drove the Serb forces out, the statement said.

The U.N. administration, which has run the province as a de facto international protectorate since the end of the war, said the two were members of the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army's (KLA) military police in the northern Podujevo area.

Two international sources in Kosovo told Reuters the two were suspected of intimidating and using violence against Albanians who worked with the Serb authorities. One said they also acted against the KLA's political opponents.

"Investigators have been working on this case for a very long time. These detentions are a very significant step in the investigation of the killings during the war," a senior international source said.

In a sign of the sensitivity of the arrests, Kosovo's main ethnic Albanian political leaders were summoned for a meeting with officials of the U.N. administration and the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force. None would comment afterwards.

U.N. police supported by KFOR carried out the arrests and searched homes and offices in Pristina for evidence. Police in riot gear sealed off a large part of the centre of the Kosovo capital for several hours during the operation.

Milosevic is awaiting trial at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague. His indictment accuses him of responsibility for a systematic ethnic cleansing campaign, during which hundreds of Kosovo Albanians were killed and thousands terrified into exile.

Civilians were also at risk from ethnic Albanian militants if they worked in Serb institutions, otherwise supported the regime or opposed taking up arms against it.

Kosovo war crimes arrests.


United Nations police in Kosovo have arrested two ethnic-Albanian men suspected of war crimes during the conflict in the province.

The UN says they were detained during the first operation specifically targeting ethnic-Albanians.

The two men are former members of the disbanded guerilla group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

They're suspected of carrying out killings and abductions against other ethnic-Albanians, and have been charged under Yugoslav law in an investigation not linked to the International War Crimes Tribunal.

A BBC correspondent in Kosovo says war crimes remain a sensitive issue in the province, and that the UN has stressed it is not necessarily implicating the KLA in the crimes.

Albanians imprisoned after brawl in southern Serbia.


Belgrade, 28 January: A number of ethnic Albanians have been sentenced to 60 days in prison for taking part in a brawl in the Aida Hotel in Bujanovac, the [Serbian government] Bujanovac press centre said today.

In the brawl between the Albanians of Konculj and those of Bujanovac which took place on 26 January, the Konculj group was led by Dzevdet Musliu, the brother of the commander of the former Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, Sefcet Musliu, the statement said.

Saudi Arabia Wants 100 Detainees From Afghanistan Tried at Home.


By Paul Tighe

Riyadh, Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia said 100 of its citizens captured in Afghanistan and held by the U.S. at the Guantanamo Bay navy base must be sent home for interrogation, the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse reported.

The Saudis are among 158 prisoners the U.S. flew to its base in Cuba for interrogation over their possible links to the Taliban or the al-Qaeda network, which is held responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

``We want them (to be handed over) to interrogate them because they are subject to the kingdom's rules,'' AFP cited Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz as saying. Saudi Arabia is in contact with the U.S. over the detainees, he said.

The Saudi request will be considered on a case-by-case, President George W. Bush said yesterday.

``There's a lot of Saudi citizens that chose to fight for al- Qaeda and/or the Taliban that we want to know more about,'' Bush said.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation identified 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks as being Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabia has rejected criticism in the U.S. it hasn't done enough to crack down on extremists since the attacks.

Bush said yesterday the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay may be given noncombatant status under the Geneva Conventions, paving the way for the men to be prosecuted.

``The detainees will be well treated,'' Bush said after meeting Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai. ``They just won't be afforded prisoner-of-war status. I'll decide beyond that whether or not (they) can be noncombatants under the Geneva Conventions.''

Government lawyers are discussing how to apply the Geneva rules written in the wake of a world war ``to the war on terrorism, where people don't wear uniforms, there are unlawful combatants, and they come from 30 different nations, not any one recognized nation with whom the United States is fighting a war,'' White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said.

Civil rights groups and some European allies said the prisoners' treatment and legal status violates the Geneva Conventions.

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