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Deputies wait for the opening of a key session of the Macedonian Parliament in Skopje, Wednesday Oct. 24, 2001. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Ethnic Albanian deputies talk during a break in a session of the Macedonian Parliament in Skopje, Wednesday Oct. 24, 2001. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
400 representatives of 26 institutes to the Agrarian Ministry in Sofia region protested for having not received their salaries. Carrying slogans 'Believe Us, We Have Been Starving for Seven Months' and 'Vencislav Varbanov in Court' the scientists surrounded the Ministry. Minister Dikme (on the photo) came out, invited all of them in and promised bigger budget for the National Center for Agrarian Sciences and reshuffles in its managing body. Photo Nikolay Donchev
INTERPOL CLAIMS THAT ALBANIAN TERRORISTS ARE LINKED TO BIN LADEN.
Interpol has information that the Albanian terrorists have links with Al Qaida organization and its leader Osama Bin Laden, London-based newspaper the Independent reads.
The Independent reports that Interpols investigation team was claiming that Osama Bin Laden was related to the Albanian criminal gangs, which have wide network of trafficking in weapons and people, prostitution and racketeering throughout Europe.
Interpol also has information that recently people from the Albanian criminal circles met with leaders of the Algerian terrorist organisations. The Albanian police reported that Osama Bin Laden was also present at that meeting.
The Independent reports that the Albanian terrorism was one of the main pillars of the terrorism in Europe, adding that the Albanian Mafia controlled 70% of the narco-business in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries.
According to information from Interpol, one of Bin Ladens military commander was appointed for head of the elite terrorist units of the Kosovo Liberation Army, during the Kosovo conflict in 1999.
Investigating the origin of the finances that have one of the Chechen criminal groups, Interpol has discovered terrorist cells linked to Bin Laden. Also, Bin Laden's group has been provided with forged documents in Montreal, Canada. This group has developed business contacts with groups and individuals in France whose prime activity was to support the terrorists. Bin Laden's group was in contact with group mujahedin groups who were active in Bosnia, Interpol claims.
SOLANA, ROBERTSON AND GEOANA THURSDAY AGAIN IN MACEDONIA.
NATO Secretary General George Robertson, EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Mircea Geoana Thursday will again arrive in our country in a mission to assess the achieved results from their last visit one week ago.
Diplomatic sources claim that the European troika is expected to make new pressure for urgent implementation of the Framework Agreement and to focus on finding solution for the most difficult issues, like the preamble and the issue for amnesty.
The visit of European Troika Solana, Geoana and Robertson to Macedonia was aimed to unblock the work of the Assembly and to speed up the Assembly procedure on adopting the draft amendments of the Constitution.
In order to find a way out from the dead-end of the political process, the European troika after the numerous meetings with Macedonian state officials and the leaders of the political parties signers of Framework Agreement from Ohrid, succeeded to schedule a meeting of the Constitutional Commission on Monday and Assembly session on Wednesday. In that respect President Boris Trajkovski obliged to develop and submit the other amendments as soon as possible.
Although Solana and Robertson insisted on respecting the Preamble without wording "Macedonian nation" agreed in Ohrid, Trajkovski was decisive that he would withdraw if pressure is imposed on him and if the impossible is requested. In that respect it was agreed the European representatives to hold talks with the representatives of the Albanian political block in order to find acceptable solution.
EU High Representative Javier Solana openly requested from President Boris Trajkovski to start the blocked political process, to restore the negotiations in the Assembly and to change some parts of the Statement on amnesty, which according to him is not in compliance with the one agreed in Ohrid i.e. amnesty for all Albanian terrorists. According to Solana and the European representatives the amnesty should be applied to all "NLA" members and the International Court of war crimes should conduct a procedure against all those under its jurisdiction. The official Statement of President Trajkovski, supported by the Government reads "the amnesty will not be applied to all members of the so-called NLA that committed war crimes and crimes against the humankind, torture, murder of civilians and ethnic cleansing as well as demolition of cultural monuments and other acts included in the Statute of the international criminal tribune for former Yugoslavia, including the crimes in Vejce, Karpalak, Ljuboten, Matejce and Celopek." Trajkovski is decisive that 140 members of "NLA" responsible for crimes against the humanity should appear in front of the Macedonian courts of law.
Trajkovski asked for a revision of "Essential Harvest" operation, as there is a body of evidence indicating that some armed groups were still active.
Assembly speaker Andov conditioned the holding of Assembly session with obtaining guarantees from the European troika that the kidnapped persons will be released.
During the meetings with EU High Representative, NATO Secretary General and OSCE Chairman in Office, the Macedonian block accepted the draft-amendments on constitutional changes to be reviewed in a package, under the condition the wording "Macedonian nation" to be put back in the Preamble.
One of the topics within the talks with Solana, Robertson, Geoana and General Ralston was the return of the Macedonian security forces in the regions of crisis. The Macedonian part expressed the dissatisfaction from the draft plan suggested by OSCE and NATO, according to which six policemen (including three from Albanian nationality) should be sent in the villages, their presence to be limited from 9 14h until the Framework agreement is fully implemented. They should be only armed with gun, handcuffs, talky walky and policemens stick.
ASSEMBLY SESSION ON CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES.
Wednesday at 12 p.m., the Macedonian Assembly is to start a debate on nine draft amendments to the Macedonian Constitution, proposed by President Boris Trajkovski.
The parliamentary groups of DPA and PDP parties that have been boycotting the Assembly work, since the Macedonian Chief of State insisted on all amendments to be reviewed in a package, will also appear at the session.
According to the agreement with the international representatives, four amendments more are expected to be submitted to the Assembly by the end of the day, while the remainder are to be submitted by Friday and added to the agenda of the session that is to be initiated Wednesday.
The Committee on Constitutional issues concluded the debate on the nine draft amendments at Tuesday's session. All of the five amendments, reviewed Tuesday, were completely supported by the members of this body. The Committee's report will be forwarded to the Assembly.
General Atanassov To Be Replaced after the Elections.
The chiefs of the NSS general Atanas Atanassov, of Border Police, colonel Valeri Grigorov and of the military intelligence, general Anguel Katsarov will be removed immediately after the elections, a government source announced. The change of the special services chiefs was decided when the NMS declared its support for President Peter Stoyanov at the elections, informed sources claim. Two of the chiefs of the national services will be replaced within a month or two, interior minister Georgi Petkanov confirmed. The results of the checkup ordered by the Interior Ministry chief secretary to prove whether the services had tapped and shadowed politicians will be ready by then.
World Beauties Give Presents to Margarita.
In the 'Hilton' hotel in Sofia yesterday afternoon world beauties presented gifts to Marguerita Gomez Asebo, wife of Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Particularly attractive was the gift of Miss Surinam - the exotic girl gave the noble wife of the Bulgarian premier a basket made of coconut. The high-life party was part of the program of the international contest 'Dream Girl'. The final round will take place in the National Theatre tomorrow. The premier's wife applauded the models of top-designer Dessi Moskova who organized a fashion show during the afternoon cocktail.
New Foreign Policy to Coincide With The Old One.
The main priorities of the Foreign and the Defence policy in the Cabinet's program are almost the same one, followed by the former government, it transpired after the expose of Defence Minister Nikolay Svinarov. Instead of Solomon Passy he was the one to specify what the government will do in these fields, since the Foreign Ministers and the Premier went on a work visit in Brussels. Our strategic targets are to join both EU and NATO. The protection of Bulgarian citizens and legal persons abroad is not missed as well. The main accent, however, in the defence is placed upon the components of the defence potential and the reform in the army in lines with the NATO standards.
Bulgaria Alone with Decreasing Population in UN.
Bulgaria is the only UN member with the decreasing population, shows the latest census taken by the Institute of Demography with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Statistics (NIS). In the period 1990-2000, 874,000 were born, but 1,247,000 have died in Bulgaria. The population has reduced by half a million within 8 years. Bulgaria ranks among the first countries with low birth-rate - 8.8 per 1000. It means that those who can afford a second child are just a few, demographers said. The population growth is negative, -5.1 per 1000. As regards the infant mortality rate, Bulgaria ranks among the first of the former socialist countries, said senior research officer Nikolay Golemanov from the Institute of Demography. Only in Romania and Russia the demographic picture is even worth. By March 1, 2001 the population of Bulgaria amounted to 7,974,000. In 20 years we are to shrink by another million, if this trend persists, Golemanov prognosticates.
100 Days of Hanging around.
If an expression exists in the Bulgarian language to summarize the characteristics of the first 100 days of the cabinet, it is "100 days of hanging around". For more than 3 months the ministers have been occupied mainly with talks, dismissals and appointments, rather than with what they were given a record-breaking credit by the voters - to promptly raise the living standards of the people and to rescue the country from the mess. From taking offices and to date, the cabinet passed 4 (four) governmental regulations. At least this is what reads the Register of Administrative Structures and Acts of the Executive Power Bodies on the site of the Council of Ministers. Besides, the ministers have passed also 4 (four) bills with two of them being amendments to the now in force normative acts on state employees. The other two are new - on the private data protection and on the classified information. The latter was drafted as early as by the Kostov's cabinet and only insignificant cosmetic amendments were made to it. Within their first 100 days the cabinet succeeded an rising all sorts of things: taxes, excises, fuels, prices of heating, electricity, phones. The 10-percent downsizing of state administration started. The power-vested took to writing a White Book about Kostov's inheritance. It will be promoted on the 101st day of cabinet "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha".
Japanese To Build Car Recycling Plant.
A plant for recycling old cars will be built near Lom, said the deputy district governor of Montana Ivo Filipov after a meeting with representatives of the Japanese association for trade with Russia, Central and Eastern Europe. Invested in the plant whose construction starts at the end of 2002 will be $216 ml. 300 jobs will be created. 1000 cars will be sorted out daily with the fit metals being smelt, and the refuse dust turned into roofing material. The technology is environment-friendly, the Japanese representatives claim. The old cars from the country and the neighboring Balkan states will be delivered by ships.
PM Gives State Award.
Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will award a prominent Bulgarian author in the day of the National Enlighteners - November 1. The award 'Paisiy Hilendarski' is given for big achievements in the sphere of art, culture and history. Last year Professor Vera Mutafchieva was the awarded person. All the state and non-governmental organizations in Bulgaria could present their nominations. This year the jury has singled out seven people. Among them is actress Stoyanka Mutafova, artists Svetlin Roussev and Krum Damyanov, writer Gencho Stoev and architect Vassil Kitov. Except for diploma and honourable sign the winner will receive 10,000 levs.