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Diana Velikova, 23, presents late evening news on Bulgaria's private M-SAT cable TV channel during a rehearsal in Sofia, December 9, 2001. M-Sat plans to launch its 10-minute news show called "The Naked Thruth" on Monday, which they claim would be the first such television show in Europe. Four girls aged between 18 and 23 will be presenting the news, starting fully dressed and finishing naked. REUTERS/Oleg Popov



"Macedonia overcomes the crisis", President Boris Trajkovski estimates in an interview for the German newspaper "Welt Am Sontag", made after NATO decision to continue the mandate of its mission in Macedonia for three more months.

In the interview, President Trajkovski expresses hope that second continuation of the "Amber Fox" mission would not be needed because "Macedonia overcame the crisis."

"In order to be able to successfully proceed on our path we need support from NATO in the next three months. In that context, it is especially important that the German army the Bundesver - continues its engagement, because Germany is involved in the reconstruction of the country. For that we are truly grateful," President Trajkovski said.

He underlined that with the continuation of the "Amber Fox" mission, NATO proves to be true partner of Macedonia, "helping it to overcome the obstacles on the path to democracy."

Asked if in the next three months an end could be put to the hostilities, President Trajkovski repeated that after this period there would not be a need from continuation of the NATO mandate.

Referring to his political engagement, Trajkovski said that surprisingly he became president two years ago. As Protestant, he said he always stood for equality among the people and for respect of the different religions.

I hope that together with the EU we will carry out the economic reforms and we will enable Macedonia to have access to the European market, Trajkovski said.

"I am an optimist that I will bring my country into NATO in the next three years. We have fulfilled all political conditions for NATO membership," he said.

On a request from President Boris Trajkovski, the Alliance decided to continue the mandate of the "Amber Fox" mission for three more months, i.e. by March 26, 2002.



Rousse, December 9 (BTA) - As a result of the problems in the Serbian section of the Danube river in March 1999, the port of Rousse has sustained losses of over 900,000 leva, the management says in its report.

The conflicts in Yugoslavia and the overall socioeconomic changes in the past 10 years have had a profound effect on the structure and volume of cargo handled by the port. In 1990, the port used to process 2.5 million tonnes of cargo; that figure came down to one million tonnes in 2000 and only 8% of that volume was export-bound. The port has almost ceased handling transit cargo after 1997, the statistics shows.

The dramatic drop in cargo traffic has left the multipurpose port with idle overcapacity: 9,600 m of railways, 29 cranes, indoor storage facilities with floor area of 2.5 ha and outdoor storage facilities with floor area of 13.5 ha.

The opportunities for a ferry service to Western Europe are being considered in order to utilize the idle potential of the ro-ro terminal of Rousse-East. At the moment, the terminal services only the regular lines to Giurgiu (Romania) and Reni (Ukraine). A regular cargo transportation line between Rousse and Straubring (Germany) is being negotiated.


Kosovo assembly heads for opening without a political deal.


The first multi-ethnic assembly in post-war Kosovo holds its first session this week, without any clear idea how power-sharing between its political parties will function.

None of the four main political forces has a clear majority in the 120-seat Kosovo parliament, which is supposed on Monday to elect the first president of the Albanian-dominated south Serbian province.

The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) of moderate Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova, which won 47 seats in the November 17 elections, still needs at least one partner to form a government.

Rugova's main Albanian political foe, former guerrilla leader Hashim Thaci, whose Democratic Party (PDK) came second with 27 seats, is only prepared to join a Rugova coalition if it also includes the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK).

The AAK, led by the former regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Ramush Haradinaj, won 8 seats in the assembly.

Meetings on Thursday and Saturday between the three ethnic Albanian leaders failed to produce an agreement. They were due to hold furthertalks on Sunday.

"Everything is open and something concrete is expected in the near future," Thaci said after Thursday's four-hour meeting at the United States' diplomatic office in the Kosovo capital, Pristina.

There is another option but it seems out of the question for the Albanians -- a coalition with the Serbs who make up the third political force in the province. The Kosovo Serb coalition Povratak (Return) obtained 22 seats in the elections.

Two and a half years after the end of the war in Kosovo, the leaders of the Albanian majority and Serb minority in the breakaway province are still a long way from forging any kind of political alliance.

Almost 200,000 Serbs have fled Kosovo since the war there ended in June 1999, fearing attacks by Albanians in revenge for years of oppression under the regime of former president Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic, who was ousted in October 2000, is now in jail, awaiting trial at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague for war crimes committed in Kosovo and elsewhere in the Balkans.

The vast majority of the 80,000 to 100,000 Serbs who remain in the province live in enclaves, guarded for their own safety by NATO-led peacekeeping troops.

The 22 Serb deputies in the provincial parliament will be escorted to Monday's session by UN policemen.

"The government building will be a weapons-free area. UN police will provide personal protection for the Serb members up to the entry point," Neeraj Singh, a spokesman for the UN police in Kosovo, told AFP on Friday.

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