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Simeon - Leader of New Coalition. Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is to head a triple coalition comprising the Party of Bulgarian Women, "Oborishte" club and the new party of the NMS to be set up. The prime-minister himself said it in a statement at an extraordinary meeting with the deputies yesterday. He recommended that the NMS party be set up on April 6. "I myself will nominate my favorite for the leader," Simeon elaborated. (ML) Photo Marina Angelova


KYUSTENDIL-GEORGI PURVANOV. President Georgi Purvanov visited Kyustendil for the town's festival and joined in the locals' celebrarions. Pressphoto - BTA photo: Radoslav Rankov


Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski of Bulgaria perform during the original dance program of the ice dancing in the World Figure Skating Championships at M-Wave in Nagano, central Japan, Thursday, March 21, 2002. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)


A model displays an underwear creation as a part of Bulgarian fashion house Li underwear women's collection in Sofia, late March 21, 2002. REUTERS/Dimitar Dilkoff

Shootouts from infantry weapons occurred in several occasions overnight in Tetovo crisis region, coming mostly from some town districts and some distant villages down the hills of Shar Planina Mountain and a detonation was heard around 01:00 Thursday morning, at "D'ga Kara" street in Tetovo, at about 50 meters from the police checkpoint, No one from the members of the Macedonian security forces was injured, the Media Activity Center within the Coordinate Crises Management Body announced.
The reports inform on demolishing of the gas station of "Alfaoil" in the village of Brvenica Thursday morning, where two windows were broken and a gas pump was damaged.
According to the Interior Department in Tetovo, the rifle and sporadic shots were heard from the direction of the facilities in the locality of Teke in Tetovo, from the SEE University, but also from some other districts in the town. A fire was opened also from the Rasadiste county along the road Tetovo - Popova Shapka, as well as from the villages of Lisec, Gajre, Selce, Mala Recica, Semsevo, Ozormiste and Dolno Orasje.
One hour after midnight a strong explosion blasted in the southwestern part of Tetovo town, in the area of Zicara municipality.
The police have not determined yet the exact location of the bomb blast and the structure of the explosive device that caused such an explosion.
Series of 20 volleys of fire and sporadic shots were registered coming from the direction of the Kumanovo - Lipkovo villages of Nikustak, Vistica, Ropaljce, Matejce as well as from the direction of Bukurica locality.
The ethnically mixed police teams, starting from Wednesday, continued with their patrolling in other nine villages of Lipkovo region, MIA's special correspondent reported. The police patrols are to enter the villages of Vaksince and Lojane on Friday.
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski sent a message for peace, which was read Thursday at the peace manifestation, held on City's Square in Skopje.
The first Macedonian that will go on peace mission on the North Pole Viktor Boev will pass the message to this part of the globe. Boev is part of the expedition led by Frenchmen Mario Jervazi and will dispose the Macedonian flag on the North Pole.
President Trajkovski says in his message that "it contains the wishes, the hopes and the prayers for one, more human world, in which human life and dignity will have special value."
"The politicians speak of the peace, the poets write, the artists paint, the musicians sing and compose songs about the peace. We carry the immense value of peace within ourselves, as an image from the childhood through the first written messages and wishes for peace. The first drawings that symbolize the yearning, but also the sufferings of those that are mercilessly pushed in the whirl of death called war," reads the message.
Trajkovski also states that the demolished homes, the separated families, the refugee camps, humanitarian bridges and the peace conferences are part of the everyday life in the long awaited millennium, which is in the shadow of the dramatic events from September 11 as a warning of the apocalyptic vision of the world in the 21st century.
"Will these events, which basically are threat to the world peace, will mean new and different option for building the future world order? The gap between the rich and poor has turned into dangerous and unbridgeable barrier during the declarative equal options of all human beings, regardless of their national or religious belonging. Only the hope, the sense and the prayers remain, because how can we speak of justice, love and solidarity as sources and preconditions of peace when such developments happen throughout the world and in Macedonia," reads the message.
President Trajkovski appealed to everyone to get united in defending the peace and the struggle against terror in the name of humanity.
"Let all large and small countries, spiritual leaders of the world's religions, all civilizations and cultures including Macedonia jointly enter the global coalition against terrorism, in the name of progress and peace, in the name of the human being and its universal values, as we are obliged to respect and nurture them," Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski emphasizes in his message for peace.
In organization of the US Center on international worker's solidarity and US federation of teachers two-day roundtable on "Role of syndicates in the education reforms" started Thursday in Skopje.
This is first roundtable of the SEE education syndicates realized as part of the Program on education of the syndicates from seven countries in the region.
The roundtable aims to support and establish cooperation among the education syndicates in the region and to create an opportunity for work in certain areas of joint interest.
Welcoming the attendants Macedonian Minister of Education and Science stressed that the Ministry works on the reforms in education since 2001 according to a strategy approved by the Macedonian Government, but the reforms were slowed due to the crisis in the country.
According to Minister Novkovski the starting point in the reforms was to eliminate the old types of education and improving those parts that are not compatible with the educational systems in the developed countries.
The realization of the reforms in the education is supported by the international community and the Macedonian Independent Syndicate on education, science and culture.
"The education and the science are cornerstones of the society's development, and the support from the partners would contribute towards economic development of Macedonia and its integration in the European Union," Minister Novkovski stressed.
Dojcin Cvetanovski, president of the Macedonian Independent Syndicate on education, science and culture, said in his welcoming speech that due to the bad social-economic situation in the country the Syndicate was not able to work on long-terms plans, but on the last congress strategy for reforming the syndicate was adopted in order to get closer to the European syndicates.
On the roundtable, the current status of the syndicate on education should be assessed as well as the role of the teachers in implementation of the reforms in the education, and to point out the ways for intensifying the mutual cooperation.
Representatives from the education syndicates from Macedonia, FR Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Albania participate at the roundtable.
Macedonian delegation led by Economy Minister Besnik Fetai had two bilateral meetings Thursday with the US representatives within the negotiations on Macedonia's membership into World Trade Organization in Geneva.
During the meeting, the both parts expressed their satisfaction from the progress that Macedonia has made by adjusting the legislation to the WTO's principles and rules.
Minister Fetai and Minister of Agriculture, Water Supply and Forestry Marjan Gjorcev informed the US representatives on the adopted laws on operation with foreign currency, payment turnover, trade companies and customs.
According to Fetai and Gjorcev the procedure on issuing phyto-sanitary licenses should be coordinated by 2003.
The domestic and international experts should review the draft-law on trade, according to which the antidumping prices should be cancelled, and three-year transition period was requested for canceling the fee of 0,1 percent, but the negotiators should consult their native countries first. Currently, one of the greatest barriers for that is WTO's rule to unify the import excise.
Macedonian negotiating team considers that transition period of five years should be granted to the country, in which the domestic industry would get ready for the competition.
Most of the issues referring to the services were agreed. The national interests regarding the postal service and the commercial presence in the telecommunications were taken into consideration.
Nikola Tupancevski, Head of the Macedonian delegation at the Group of States Against Corruption (GREKO) within the Council of Europe, and his deputy Snezana Mojsova from the Justice Ministry, held a press conference Thursday on a several-day visit of the Greko delegation to Macedonia.
"The Greko main task is to coordinate the national legislative systems with the International Penalty Convention on Preventing of Corruption, also signed by Macedonia," Tupancevski said.
Activities of the Greko team are confidential. However, the team is obliged to prepare a report for Macedonia, which is to be submitted to the country's authorities. Upon reviewing of the report, the Macedonian delegation in Greco will return it back, presenting its possible remarks.
Asked why no member of the Greko delegation was present at the press, Tupancevski said it was in compliance with the provisions of the International Convention.
"Implementing of the anti-corruption legislation, changing of the Macedonia's Criminal Law, in the part that refers to corruption, adopted Law on money laundry and a draft of law on preventing corruption, which is in parliamentary procedure, are some of the instruments for combat against corruption, which are in compliance with the international standards," Tupancevski said.
The Law on preventing corruption provides for setting up a state commission, which, as Tupancevski says, should be done in six months at latest.
The main recommendation, presented by the Greko delegation, referred to passing of laws that would contribute to gathering of evidence on corruption offences, Tupancevski said.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Macedonian Red Cross promoted Thursday the TV and video clip for raising the awareness of the citizens on the danger of the unexploded devices in the crisis regions.
TV and radio clips in Macedonian and in Albanian languages aim to inform the citizens who did not leave their homes in the crisis regions and the displaced persons intending to return to their homes on the danger of the unexploded devices.
At the joint press conference of the ICRC, Macedonian Red Cross and the Coordinate Crisis Management Body it was said that the main message of the clips is to inform the people not to get closer to the unexploded devices, not to touch them, or to throw objects on them and if they spot such devices to report the case to the competent institutions.
Spokesperson of the Crisis Management Body Zoran Tanevski stressed that this was joint operation of ICRC and the Macedonian Red Cross and is supported by the Coordinate Body and the Crisis Management Center.
Head of ICRC Francois Stam emphasized that the TV and radio clips were filmed in Macedonia, and will be broadcast by the national TV and radio stations as well as the other local electronic media that broadcast programs in the crisis regions. He added that all media accepted to broadcast the clips free of charge.
According to Stam, this was the third stage from the operation that the Committee has undertaken immediately after the crisis in cooperation with the Macedonian Red Cross. In the first stage, printed materials were distributed to the citizens in the crisis regions and the displaced persons, while in the second stage lectures were held.
According to Stam the media campaign is necessary, as the movement of citizens in the crises regions has increased now when the weather conditions are improving and consequently the danger of the unexploded devices also increases.
Organized by the Institute of Hydro-Biology from Ohrid and the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology from Tirana, Albania, a meeting will take place Friday in Ohrid, where the results from the monitoring program for protection of Ohrid Lake will be presented.
These institutes will display the results from the chemical and biological researches, performed in both territories of the lake, the Macedonian and Albanian, in the period from December 2001 up till now.
"Worth mentioning is the fact that the results from this complex process play significant role when some decisions are to be made, referring to the outflow of the lake," said Dejan Panovski, Director of the Macedonian part of the project for protection of the Ohrid Lake.
Apart from the monitoring project working groups, some governmental and non-governmental representatives from the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Albania, involved in the project for protection of the lake, will attend the meeting. Mary Watson, an independent monitoring consultant from the USA will be also present.
The bilateral project for protection of the Ohrid Lake is first of this kind in the Central and East Europe. The World Bank financed its realization. The aim of this project is promotion of most efficient solutions for management with the trans-border waters as well as performing the necessary preparations for the basis of sustainable economic development in the outflow area of the Ohrid Lake.



"Campaign for integration of the children with special needs" under the motto "Children are the same even when they are different", sponsored by the Office for Humanitarian Assistance within the European Commission commenced Thursday. UNICEF conducts the program, in collaboration with the Macedonian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.
The aim of the campaign is to deinstitutionalize the stay of the children with special needs in the present classical shelters and to actively integrate them into society. The campaign will start with the opening of the day-care centers in Tetovo, Veles, Prilep, Delcevo and Manastirec near Makedonski Brod, where the children will stay during the day, provided with necessary care and two meals per day, while during the night they will stay at their families.
Total registered number of the children with special needs in Macedonia is 3,000, but there are assumptions that the real number is much bigger regarding the traditionally negative attitudes of their surrounding.
The European commission donated 2,6 million for these purposes. The project, besides the opening of daily centers, includes increasing of the awareness of the public opinion for the needs and the protection of these children.
This action is conducted with the assistance of the humanitarian organization of KRIK, which assisted the opening of the sheltering centers and with the assistance of Handicap International, which also conducted the process of identification and providing of the necessary help for these persons, the Chief of the delegation of the European Commission Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira reminded. Teixeira underlined that many other organizations as well, have undertaken projects for advising the institutions in charge for the persons with special needs, as well as providing alternatives for integration of these children within the society.
Ambassador Teixeira sated that Macedonia through its concern for these children makes a step forward for faster integration in the institutions of EU, because the "economic reforms and the harmonization with the EU legislature are not sufficient for gaining membership to this association."
Macedonian Minister of Labour and Social Policy Bedredin Ibraimi reminded that in agreement with the UN Convention on children's rights, also signed by Macedonia, should not allow a separation of the children from their parents against their free will.
The practical realization and improving of the conditions for the children with special needs started with the ratification of the agreement between the Ministry for Labour and Social Policy and UNICEF, WHO, and the Macedonian - Dutch humanitarian organization, which envisages changes within the legislature regarding the integration of these children into the society.
"The daily centers are planed as new indoor facilities", Chief of UNICEF office Deborah Comini pointed out, assessing the process of opening of day-care centers for the children with special needs as "a quiet revolution within the society."
Comini underlined that the aim of the camping is the liberation of the children from the institutions, "which characterize the society which fought against its diversity," adding that "the society which accepts its diverse population is really a healthy one."
At Thursday's promotion of opening of the day-care centers, the animated cartoon character "Bate" (pal) was introduced; the character will be included in the interactive events of the campaign.

Macedonia: A Nation of Ingrates.
by Christopher Deliso,
March 21, 2002

It's official: Spring has arrived in the Balkans. It is now the season of renewal and prosperity, when the jovial sun chases away the harsh winter snow, and the fecund earth blossoms with new life. And not only is it Spring – in Macedonia, it is also time for celebration, now that the long-awaited donor conference has finally happened. And verily, all across the country the elated Macedonians are rejoicing in their newfound wealth, grateful for the overflowing cornucopia of their international patrons, whose generosity is matched only by their sincerity.

Yeah, right.


The real mood in the country – as usual, one of fatalistic cynicism – was captured by a recent retort in the daily Makedonija Denes newspaper. The author, Petre Bakevski, pulled no punches in explaining why a $515 million infusion of foreign capital signifies nothing more than "defeat" for his country:

"Yes, this is a defeat. A genuine and helpless defeat. The Ohrid peace pact was reached under great pressure, without asking the people's actual opinion. It was signed by the four Macedonian and ethnic Albanian leaders under threats from the world elite political guard. And, of course, the Macedonian side had to sign it. There was no choice, no alternative. Behind the signatures, there were the raging fires in the Macedonian homes and the 100,000 Macedonians who lived to see the most horrible and humiliating exodus from their own country.

With this, the Macedonian defeat became official. With this, Macedonia was forced to walk a path it did not choose. Squeezed in that agreement, the Macedonian political leadership was placed in a cage made by the strong and powerful, and it had to implement every provision obediently and without defiance. The year-long dramatic chronicle was notable for the constitutional and national changes of the Macedonian country, the minimization of historical continuity, and the endangering of the Macedonian identity. Every change was achieved through violence."

Bakevski goes on to point out that the NLA's demands, chief among them the local self-government clause and the amnesty act, were passed. The first triumphant celebrations for the latter piece of legislation happened last week in Shemsovo, where Albanians fired weapons at random to welcome home some local commanders, freed from Macedonian jails by the amnesty act. After that experience, I'm sure the NLA men of Shemsovo are planning to settle down to a pleasant pastoral existence…


Mystery handouts, people in costumes, darkness and confusion – yes, the situation for the Macedonians held little in the way of Yuletide cheer. Indeed, with the money comes an ultimatum: the West will enforce the donation by installing an "anticorruption advisor" to monitor the spending. Surely, a jocund Santa would make a different kind of house call. Besides, the Macedonian suppliants had to trudge all the way to Brussels, where they knocked on the gilded doors of the European Union, just to be told that they were children needing supervision. Trick or treat, anyone?


The most farcical aspect of the donor's conference is that the bulk of the money is earmarked for the "crisis region" – in other words, those heavily Albanian sections of western Macedonia which are already receiving generous foreign assistance. Driving past the Albanian mansions lining the Tetovo-Gostivar road, one wonders how this scandal of false poverty has been maintained for so long. Of course, it makes sense that the Albanians would get the cash – they have, after all, a much warmer relationship with the West than do the Macedonians. In utilizing NGO's and the media, as well as political lobby groups, the Albanians have proven themselves adept at advancing their agenda at the expense of Macedonia. As the donor conference has reaffirmed, loyalty has its benefits.


Lavish Albanian mansions like this one in the Tetovo area are plentiful, and contrast sharply with the mass media's depiction of downtrodden villagers living in squalor.

That said, it is no mystery why the funds were doled out as they were. Deciding where money should be allocated is a lengthy and cumbersome task. It is made much easier, however, by persuasive and well-organized grant letters, sent through all the right administrative channels. Who writes such letters? Non-governmental organizations, and crisis-management groups. And what are such bodies designed to do? To care for poor, downtrodden ethnic minorities wherever they are being oppressed (except for, say, in the United States). And so we have it. By mainlining money from the caring nurturers of the Balkans, the "oppressed" Albanian minority has locked on to something real special.


The donor conference seems to have had three motivations. First, to pour money into the Albanian coffers as a means of appeasement; second, to allow the West to keep bathing in the narcissistic light of its own altruism, shining forth as the beacon of hope for human rights everywhere. That this is blatantly false matters little; the average person has not the time to read between the lines of the daily newspaper (or indeed, to read columns like this one). Numbing repetition of the Western position in the media guarantees that over time it will gradually seep into the collective subconscious, in the same way that we've all learned how fundamentally evil the Serbs are.

The third objective of the donor conference is, if we can imagine it, more sinister still: to deprive Macedonia of any future bargaining room when it comes to inter-ethnic negotiations. The donor conference was heralded as a reward to Macedonia for its capitulation to the NLA's demands. And indeed, the NLA kept the peace, the West will proudly proclaim (four months of snow cover had nothing to do with it, of course). The Albanians have held up their end of the bargain, the West will say, and now you Macedonians should too: after all, haven't we just given you $25 million, for the common good of the Macedonian people?

In time, exactly how the money was divided up will be completely forgotten. Not to worry – none of the major media have picked up on this yet, anyway. It is unlikely that they will.

The advent of Spring in Macedonia means a time for renewal – the renewal of war season, that is. If the NLA, emboldened by its unimpeded gains, decides to fight again, Macedonia will be forced to respond. Not far behind, of course, will be the Western Mother Goose, clucking for caution and a "proportionate response." Inevitably, when the Albanians come up with new and improved demands, the Macedonians will have little to counter with. After all, the West will say, did we not just drop $25 million into your laps? Since no one will remember where the money went, it will be a simple matter for the West to denounce Macedonia, finally and triumphantly, as a nation of ingrates. In the end, the Macedonians will end up on their knees, begging the West to at least allow them the privilege of choosing which state they would like to live in – Bulgaria, Greece, or the Greater Albania.

Time passes; seasons come and go. The ebb and flow of time engenders a constant stream of forgetting. In this stream the events of today rush past us, like luminous stones that briefly shimmer, before disappearing into the oblivion of the open sea. They sink to depths where no light can penetrate, until by chance, hundreds of years later, some intrepid adventurer discovers them, buried deep in the mud – and wonders how their owners could have parted with objects of such inestimable value.

President Met Graduates in His Office.
Sixty two eleventh grade students from Fifth Foreign Language high-school in Varna made a tour for more than an hour round the building of the presidency. 'Aren't your powers rather limited, and how will you hold us back from fleeing abroad,' asked the students during the off-the-cuff briefing with the President in the Emblem hall. Parvanov elaborated, that he didn't want more power and assured the teenagers that in their fatherland they would have a better chance on realization. At parting, the students presented the Head of state an almanac of their school, red hat, T-shirt and ball-point pen.
Simeon: NMS to Become a Party on April 6.

The new formation's title has to be hyphenated.
Nadelina Aneva

The NMS party will be constituted at No 2 hall of the National Palace of Culture on April 6, said Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha yesterday before the NMS MPs at the last moment before flying off to Vienna. The NMS PG was urgently summoned in the break between the plenary sittings. The prime-minister said that 1,000 will be the founders of the party and elaborated on the way to enlist the delegates. Each NMS deputy and minister is allowed to invite 4 founders. Today, at 11.00 a.m. the working party to draft the statutes is to gather urgently. It has to consider several staples: the duel membership, the way to elect the leader and the way in which any Bulgarian citizen could join the party. The new party has to be registered with a different title containing NMS, as well a hyphen and another name.
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Schuessel Give Talk on "Bulgaria and Austria: Future Partners in a European Union" to Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe.
Vienna, March 21 (BTA special correspondent Vanya Ivanova) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel gave a talk on a common subject, "Bulgaria and Austria: Future Partners in a European Union", to the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe.
This was the last item on the official schedule of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha three-day official visit, which opened on Wednesday. The two government leaders talked about the shared features of their countries' historical development.
The Bulgarian prime minister noted Austria's support to Bulgaria in environmental protection, the fight against crime and the development of agriculture.
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha identified the need to step up cooperation among the countries of the Danube region.
Schuessel spoke about the positive trends in Bulgaria's economic development, emphasizing its 5 per cent economic growth in 2001, about the two countries' good cooperation in areas including the economy, trade and the fight against crime.
Schuessel noted Bulgaria's progress in its accession negotiations with the EU, saying that recently Bulgaria had narrowed the gap between itself and the Luxembourg Group of applicant countries.
Both government leaders said Bulgaria was a factor of the stabilization of Southeastern Europe.
Before his talk, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was described by Schuessel as a real European. The enumeration of the languages he speaks drew loud applause.
Ambassador Elena Kircheva said the Austrian-Bulgarian business club, which was formed on Wednesday night, would make it possible to intensify contacts between business representatives of the two countries.
On Friday, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will talk with Dr Leitl, president of the Industrial Association. Then he will attend the opening of an economic forum, at which Bulgaria will be represented by 34 companies. His official visit will end with a meeting with National Council President Heinz Fischer.
Bush to Meet With Bulgarian PM.
Yahoo! News
EL PASO, Texas - President Bush will meet April 23 with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of Bulgaria.
The meeting in Washington will cover "Euro-Atlantic and regional issues of common concern," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
"Bulgaria is a good partner and friend of the United States, which has actively supported the war on terrorism and made significant contributions to our common effort of maintaining peace and stability in southeast Europe," Fleischer said.
Panayotov and Koshlukov to Vie for the Leader's Post.

In all probability, NMS PG Chairman Plamen Panayotov and Emil Koshlukov are to vie for the leader's post of the NMS party that will be set up on April 6, MPs forecast yesterday. Save for Plamen Panayotov and his deputies I expect Daniel Valchev, Valeri Tsokov and Ivan Iskrov to be nominated, said Stanimir Ilchev. He believes that the party should have several leaders to rotate in office.
CITUB: 20,000 to Block Sofia on Friday.

Taxi cabs and mummers will join the procession.
Dilyana Dimitrova

Twenty thousands members of the trade unions will block Sofia downtown on Friday in a nationwide rally for new economic and social policies. The CITUB (Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria) is the organizer of the protests. Pensioners and certain sections of 'Podkrepa' Labor Confederation will join it, employees of the CITUB said yesterday. Three processions of protesters will block the central boulevards of the capital city at noon. The main procession will follow the route of the protests that ousted former PM Jean Videnov in early-1997. 1,000 employees in the telecommunications will occupy the BTC (Bulgarian Telecommunications Company) headquarters. Mummers will take part in the rally as well as all the well-known attractions from previous rallies, the CITUB representatives promised. The three processions are to meet at 2:00 p.m. in front of the Parliament. Sofia Mayor Stephan Sofianski sanctioned the protest. The trade union made their apology to the Sofia citizens for the chaos in the traffic.
Aviation Expert to Replace Katchakova.

Hitherto economic chief secretary takes over the trade relations.
Milen Keremedchiev, the now chief secretary of the Economy Ministry, was appointed the new deputy-minister of economy. The PM signed his appointment order yesterday. Keremedchiev replaced Lyubka Katchakova on the post and will be in charge of the foreign trade relations. The new deputy-minister was born in 1968 in Varna. He graduated at the University for National and World Economy in Sofia. He has a great command of English and Russian and has knowledges in Arab language.
Bulgarians Are Becoming Vegetarians.
Stephan Kioutchukov

Vegetables replace meat and bread, show the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) data. The average consumption of pork per household was 737 gram in the third trimester of 2001. This means some 200 gr. less as compared with the previous year. The share of the vegetables is becoming larger. The consumption of tomatoes boosted by 2.5 kg - up to 24.7 kg. More cucumbers and cabbage are being eaten. The prices of vegetables were almost unchanged last year while that of the pork upped by almost one lev. From July to September 2001, the ladies have renovated their wardrobes oftener that the men did. The rates show 4.33 dresses and 0.27 suits per 100 households. The trends in petrol consumption are the same. The consumption had dropped by some 10 percent in a year.
Bulgaria Demonstrated Valour before the EU.
Antoaneta Murkova
The Bulgarian diplomacy took the offensive in its relations with the EU. The day before yesterday, in his speech, delivered before the respectable audience of the 670th conference of Wilton Park in Sofia, Foreign Minister Solomon Passy was explicit that Bulgaria would not reconcile with the witting delay of the negotiations on EU membership caused by the European Commission. In the presence of chief of the EU negotiating team Michael Leigh, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister was flat that Europe backtracked its principles for individual assessment of each of the aspiring countries. Sofia is right to withstand its positions. Our negotiations with the EU are gained momentum in the recent 6 months and the discussions on the Farming Chapter are to be opened today, only the chapters for the economic and currency unions remained. Only a wittingly delay by Brussels could stop us. And if it is for want of funds for the accession and of administrative capacity in Brussels, the European Commission should either know better and voice it or stop posing obstacles to Bulgaria.
Passy Waits for NATO to Start for the Pole.

Foreign Minister promoted a post stamp for the Antarctic.
I wait for the NATO invitation to Bulgaria in order to start for the Antarctic, Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said yesterday. He made his announcement at the ceremony on occasion of the finished tenth national expedition to the pole and the 15-th anniversary of the Bulgarian presence there which was held in the building of the Central Post Office. In the Telecommunications Museum Passy and director of the Antarctic Institute Assoc. Prof. Hristo Pimpirev promoted the first post issue dedicated to the Bulgarian colony in the Antarctic. It includes a blocklist with three post stamps that look alike and three different vignettes, an illustrated envelope with a sign for the price of the post service and a special post seal. Todor Vardzhiev is the painter of the issue, and the nominal of the stamps is 0.25 levs each. The Bulgarian presence in the Antarctic is a big national undertaking, which engaged many people, institutions and different governments, Minister Passy said.

Minister Could Head NMS Party.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Emil Koshlukov


Many people will vie for the post of the leader, says deputy Emil Koshlukov.

Nadelina Aneva

- Mr Koshlukov, were you given a permission for this interview by the NMS press secretary?

- Why should I ask for a permission? The new colleagues will not speak on our behalf. They are just trying to help with the media policy of the NMS.

- Vice Premier Nikolai Vassilev said before the NMS PG on Tuesday night that all the pre-election pledges were being fulfilled. Is it true?

- There are many pledges yet unfulfilled, such as combatting corruption, raising the living standards and unsettled problems in the social sphere.

- Did the premier confirm before the deputies that he was unwilling to be nominated for the leader's post of the party?

- He was clear-cut concerning it on January 26. So, it is unnecessary to confirm his stand once again.

- Is a struggle for the leader's post to start within the NMS PG?

- Many people are willing to become leaders and just a few are able to. One can't be appointed the leader but must develop oneself into a leader.

- Recently, you and Miroslav Sevlivski hinted in an analysis that the "school circles" are running the NMS PG and it was harmful to it. Is there any danger that the "school circles" could seize the party as well?

- Yes, there is such a danger, if we would not be able to make an electoral party.

- Do you expect many nominations for the leader?

- I suppose so.

- Is it possible a minister to be elected as the leader?

- Yes, I do not rule out such a possibility. Everybody has the right to nominate or be nominated.



I Heard the Miners, We Don't Correspond with Dr. Hristov.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha before his leave for Vienna

- Mr. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, when is the leader of the NMS party to be nominated?

- We'll decide this within several days.

- Do the protests of the miners today and the forthcoming ones on Friday bother you?

- I listened to the opinion of the miners this morning. We know that something will happen on Friday, too. There are other channels through which we could communicate and settle the things down.

- Have you received a letter by Dr. Zhelyazko Hristov, head of CITUB.

- We know each other well and talk frequently, but I haven't received any letters.


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