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A Bosnian demining team searches a field for mines, in the Macedonian village of Lesok, 38 kms (23 miles) northwest of the capital, Skopje, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2001. A bomb blast destroyed a police station and a local municipality office in the neighboring village of Tearce on Monday, just hours after the country's first, ethnically mixed police units arrived to patrol the village. No one was injured in the explosion. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)


A German soldier and member of the NATO mission Task Force Fox (TFF) inspects the site of explosion in a police building in the village of Tearce some 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of the capital in Macedonia, October 23, 2001. Explosions ripped though two municipal buildings in a village inside former guerilla territory in Macedonia on Monday night after state police began limited patrols under a peace plan. The mission of TTF soldiers is to protect the OSCE observers in Macedonia. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski


Bulgarian soprano Zvetelina Vassileva (R), interpreting Leonor, and Argentine tenor Dario Volonte, interpreting Manrico, perform during the rehearsal of the Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il Trovatore" in Seville late October 23, 2001. The opera will run from October 25 to October 31 at La Maestranza theatre. REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo


Tsarevo to Protest in Bourgas. Eighty citizens of Tsarevo blocked the building of the District Administration in Bourgas. It resulted from the demonstration which was broken up by the police in Tsarevo on Sunday. The people are also against the referendum on whether individual municipalities to be established in Ahtopol, Sinemorets, Varvara, Brodilovo and Rezovo. Photo BTA



Tetovo, October 23 (MIA) - Interior Ministry Sector from Tetovo says the explosion in the building of the local self-government in Tearce has been caused by shelling of the Albanian terrorists located on Tetovo - Jazince road.

MIA's correspondent says that due to security reasons an investigation of the site has not yet been made. The blast has damaged the roof of the building of the police station, which is close to the municipality building. The OSCE, the NATO and the EU monitoring missions were on the road on Monday. The two fire engines have returned since there was no need of intervention.




Kumanovo, October 23 (MIA) Yugoslav Ambassador to Macedonia Biserka Matic Spasoevic visited Tuesday Recica village near Kumanovo, where she delivered 25t of high quality wheat seed as assistance.

In cooperation with the Government it was agreed this assistance granted from Maize Institute of Zemun and "Hibrid" Association from Belgrade to be distributed to all households in Recica regardless their social standing.

The village, inhabited mainly with persons of Serbian nationality, received this donation as it is one of the few villages in Macedonia that are not included in FAO program for providing food for rural households.




Skopje, October 23 (MIA) Macedonian governmental Coordinate Crisis Management Body in cooperation with the humanitarian organizations and OSCE and EU monitoring missions continued Tuesday their usual activities for establishing conditions for safe return of the displaced persons to their homes.

Teams from Tetovo Power company estimate the damages of Popova Sapka hotels, the cable car and the electric network.

The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates the damages caused by the military operations in Selce and Vejce villages.

The charity organization "Childrens aid direct" besides estimating the damages in Matejce village, also transports the material for reconstructing the houses that were damaged during the military activities.

The humanitarian agency "Worlds vision" will estimate the damages of the school buildings in Vratnica and Neraste villages.

During the day the humanitarian organization "Solidarite" will estimate the damages in Radusa village, and will continue its regular activities in Aracinovo.



Skopje, October 23 (MIA) - The national credit card, as a contemporary method of payment worldwide, will also be introduced in Macedonia, starting from the beginning of the following year, 2002.

The activities that need to be accomplished in order to introduce this card in our country are being performed as planed. As anticipated by the Stock Holding Company in charge with the project - "National Credit Card," the implementation will begin in January 2002.

Around 80 to 100 thousand of credit cards are to be released at the beginning. Komercijalna Banka, Makedonska Banka, Tutunska Banka and the other banks in the country will issue these cards upon a request. The card will be designed in correspondence with all international standards. During the first year of its application, the new card will be valid only in the Republic of Macedonia. Some activities are already being undertaken for this card to attain international recognition.

The implementation of the national credit card will actually replace the citizens' checks as a method for payment. As explained by the Deputy Director of the Payments Operation Service, Hamit Aliu, the option for payment in installments will still be possible after the withdrawal of the checks as a payment method, as foreseen with the design of the card. This option could be used only upon an agreement with the bank. The substitution of the citizens' checks with this card will also mean less expenditures for the banks in Macedonia, as they spend around DM 14 millions for issuing checks.

The national credit card will be applicable 24 hours a day. Its application is very simple and safe, which makes people's way of living much easier.

The risk to carry around cash money will be reduced, there will be less money in cash to trade with, the turnover in the country will be safe and more efficient and there will be an opportunity for electronic payments via Internet.
Basic elements for efficient implementation and application of the national credit card are the POS terminals and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), which will be universal for all payment cards, i.e. apart from the national credit card, the cards that are currently used in our country, such as "visa," "master card," and other will also be applicable.

So far there are 19 ATMs in our country, some 20 more are expected by the next month and other 50 by the end of this year.

The national credit card project is related with the reforms in the Payments Operation Service, which is to be partitioned into several separate divisions, i.e. a ClearingHouse, National Credit Card, Central Depositary of Securities, Central Registry and Agency of blocked accounts, which will be of temporary character.

Bulgarian Ports Face Bankruptcy.


Corruption in the ports exceeds that in the customs houses.

The Bulgarian river and sea ports are in an extremely grave financial situation, and the existing laws and ordinances are disastrous for their future, said the chairman of the National Federation of the Port Trade Unions Yanaki Atanassov yesterday.The proportions of corruption and smuggling in the ports are bigger than those in the customs houses, Atanassov made the comparison. He adduced as an example the repair of the building of Executive Agency 'Maritime administration' at the Ministry of Transport for which 600 000 BGL were spent some years ago. Money had been drained from all enterprises within the system of the transport ministry in a likewise way. Bulgaria is the only one of all the maritime countries in eastern Europe whose ports haven't been modernized 'because of the unprecedented corruption'. The charges for maintenance of the ships and the load-unloading tariffs and wages of the workers are by times lower than the European ones, sources from the Trade Union Organization stressed.

Viktoria Serafimova

Premier: Bulgaria's EU Membership Is Our Priority.


Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is in Brussels on his first official visit abroad.

Bulgaria's membership in the EU is the top priority of our government, Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha said yesterday in Brussels. The PM is in Brussels on his first official visit abroad in his capacity of Bulgaria's Premier. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha met Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission. Bulgaria has achieved significant progress, Prodi said. He told the Premier that the European Commission is determined to successfully complete as soon as possible the negotiations with our country on EU membership. 'I hope that Bulgaria wont' suffer grave damages in this difficult situation, which the European and World economy experience now, Prodi said further, as quoted by the AP. He stressed that the EU may offer strong support to Bulgaria. He pointed out that the EU won't let the terrorist attacks against the USA of September 11 to affect the EU enlargement plans. Later yesterday the Prime Minister paid a visit to the NATO headquarters and had talks with the Treaty Secretary- General - Lord Robertson. He also met Belgium's Premier - Guy Verhofstadt.


Simeon Declared the Tasks In Brussels Firstly.


Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha didn't break with his tradition yesterday to talk more abroad rather than in Bulgaria. He announced the governmental plan first to Romano Prodi and Guenter Verheugen in Brussels, the press office of the Cabinet reported. Zornitsa Venkova, the BTV correspondent, however, didn't say a word about that news in her report from Belgium. I'm impressed with the program and precisely with its economic part, Prodi had said. He was deeply impressed with the microcrediting funds, which turned to be exceptionally rational step in combatting unemployment and boosting of the economic growth.


Simeon Proposed Bulgarian Forces.


Simeon Proposed Bulgarian Forces to replace the US contingent in the Balkans in case of necessity. The PM said this in Brussels at the meeting with NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, BTA released. Robertson thanked him but pointed out that for now, NATO does not need any help.

Gen. Katsarov Keeps his Post.


It is better if Head of Reconnaissance Gen. Angel Katsarov keeps his post for some time because of the dramatic situation in the region and the world, President Petar Stoyanov said in a statement before journalists. On Saturday Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov announced about Gen. Katsarov being pensioned off under the military law because of turning the envisaged age. I think we are to reach consensus on the matter with the PM and the Defense Minister, Stoyanov elaborated.

Evgeni Genov

The New French Ambassador - Fan of the National Theatre.


The new French ambassador Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge became a fan of the National theatre. He and the heads of the French Cultural Institute will watch the play 'The Reflection' tonight. Talented and beautiful Emanuela Shkodreva and Antoniya Malinova will perform the play by Ani Topaldzhikova in the language of Moliere and Corneille. Antonia, who lives and works in Paris, has arrived especially for the performance on the last floor of the cult hall. It's not sure that 'The Reflection' will continue to be on the bill of the academic group, which lacks funds. The one sure thing is that the play will be on a tour in France.

Albena Atanasova


Zucchero Likes Bulgarian Women.


Your country fascinated me, the Italian musician said after his first day in Bulgaria.

After his visit in Bulgaria which lasted forty-eight hours, Zucchero left today. The performer came to present his new album 'Shake' before the Bulgarian audience in the 'Show of Slavi' on the national channel bTV. Several hours before the performance the musician said that after spending a night in Bulgaria, he's fascinated by our country. 'I expected to see a beautiful and green place. And that's what I found. But the new thing I learnt is that there are many beautiful women in Bulgaria, too. 'I usually sing with friends', says the Italian. The song Ali D'Oro with John Lee Hooker from the new album takes a special place in Zucchero's heart, because that remained the last record of the deceased musician. The album has been recorded in three countries - Italia, England and the USA. Its Italian version is distributed by 'Virginia Records' 'The world I depict in my songs, the atmosphere, is that of Italy. Most of my musicians are from the USA. It's more comfortable to travel alone instead of doing it with ten people. And the best and most cosy studio is in England - that of Peter Gabriel. Zucchero doesn't wear his famous hat with which he used to be inseparable any more. He valued it so much that recently he paid $7,000 to an alpinist to take her from the Grand Canyon where he let it slip during a flight by helicopter. Now the singer has replaced the hat with red glasses. Zucchero wears them while performing the first clip in the album - the one to the song 'Baila'.

Asya Mollova


We Want Bulgarian Marine to Be Sold Promptly.

Standartnews INTERVIEW: Minister Plamen Petrov.

BTC directors will be punished because of the tapping, Minister of Transport and Communications Plamen Petrov, says.

- Minister Petrov, why was not the contract with Deutche Bank on the BTC deal sealed, after it was preliminary announced to be a fact in the middle of the previous week?

- On Thursday last, certain texts were endorsed. I hope a contract to be signed as soon as possible. The texts have been concerted. My information is that there is no differences. So, I hope that we will soon have a clear-cut instructions on how the BTC privatization proceedings are to be conducted.

- Will directors of BTC be sanctioned because of the tapping?

- Let's voice them when we will be ready to.

- When a competition will be provided for a consultant on the privatization deals in the Bulgarian Marine (BM) and Bulgarian River Navigation (BRN)?

- Actions must be taken without any delay both in regard to the BM and the BRN. I.e. a competition to be held for a consultant to develop a strategy.

- By end-week you met your Romanian counterpart Tudor Mitrea. Is there any progress concerning the construction of Corridor No. 8 - The Danube Bridge 2?

- Next week a regional meeting of the donors will be held in line with Corridor No. 8. It is important to enlist the support of the Stability Pact in the field of trans-border cooperation, which will be kind of a credit rating to us. Negotiations are held with Yugoslavia on clearing out the debris of the bridges at Novi Sad and there is some progress in this respect, because the toll per a ton of cargo, taken over the pontoons, were reduced from 3 levs down to 0.80 Pfennigs. Presently, negotiations are held as well with Yougoslavia on the railway Sofia-Nis.

Irena Tsekova
Rosalina Dimitrova

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