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'Letter to America' Awarded 'Golden Chest' Prize.


The TV festival 'Golden Chest' awarded two Bulgarian and three foreign films at its 24 edition in Plovdiv. In the Bulgarian feature films competition 'Letter to America', directed by Iglika Trifonova was distinguished. Of the Bulgarian documentaries, 'Green Card' by Eldora Traykova was awarded. Bulgarian picture 'The Devil's Tail' by Dimitar Petkov won the special award for original performance in TV film productions. Andrey Slabakoff was also awarded the same prize, but for non-feature cinema. The director won it with the 'Perlovetz - the River of Life'. The jury singled out Alexander Morfov with his 'Strawberry Hills' as the best director. In the foreign films competition the 'Expelled' directed by de Jong won the prize. Among the foreign documentaries two big awards 'Golden Chest' were given to 'The Voice of Lily Marlen' by Irene Langemann from Germany and 'The Rock of Israel' by Izi Abrahami from Holland.


Passy: Bulgaria To Send Military to Bosnia.


Bulgarians will safeguard NATO Headquarters during the retaliatory strikes against terrorism, Bulgarian foreign minister said.

Bulgarians will be entrusted with guarding the NATO Headquarters in Bosnia. We think over Bulgaria's contribution there, foreign minister Solomon Passy told 'Standart' yesterday. This is how he answered the question about Bulgaria's participation in the US' retaliatory strike against terrorism. Bulgaria's contribution in Bosnia will provide the opportunity for the USA and other countries to disengage part of their contingent in Bosnia and re-direct it to the operation, minister Passy explained. At this stage we have concentrated on this particular move, the diplomat specified. Bulgaria will also exchange intelligence data with the allies. For the time being, the question of participation of Bulgarian troops hasn't been set forth, Passy added. He specified that we shall provide what we can and not what we are asked to.

Chernoy: I'm a Jew and I'll Invest in Israel.


Businessman has sold his shares in big aluminium companies, and will participate the tender for the Bezeq.

Assaf Zohar, "Globes" newspaper, Tel Aviv.

Mikhail Chernoy is bidding to buy control of Bezeq. Chernoy will submit his bid to the Ministry of Communications immediately upon the publication of the privatization tender for the company. In an exclusive interview with "Globes", Chernoy said, "I'm a Jew and a citizen of Israel, and I want to invest my money in the country." Chernoy is suspected of fraudulently buying 20% of Bezeq together with Gad Zeevi. He now intends to provide all the necessary permits to buy 51% of the company, and threatens to appeal to the High Court of Justice if he is disqualified. Sources inform ''Globes'' that in the past few weeks, Chernoy has sold his holdings in a number of major aluminum facilities in Russia for an estimated several hundred million dollars. He intends to utilize the money to finance the purchase of Bezeq shares. Chernoy is the first concern to officially bid for the company. "I'll openly and officially approach the Minister of Communications and everyone else necessary (in order to obtain) the option to buy 51% of Bezeq," said Chernoy. He said he has been planning to enter a new business for a long time. "This is a good time to buy telecommunications companies because the global market is in a slump, share prices are falling and no-one in Israel wants to buy the company." Chernoy added, "I'm absolutely certain that my name will be cleared in Israel at the conclusion of the investigation. Despite all the efforts of the police to frame me and force me to leave the country, I'm still an Israeli citizen, and I have the legal right to bid for the privatization tender." bid for the privatization tender."

Al Bozh and Kiro the Jap - Birds of a Feather.


Neika Krasteva

These days two Bulgarians have been in the focus of public attention - Alexander Bozhkov and Kiro Yaponetsa (the Jap). On the face of it they have nothing in common. The first one has been walking the corridors of power for the last ten years. The other moved in the underground world during the same time. So much with the differences. In all the rest Al Bozh and Kiro the Jap are birds of a feather. Both are equally rich, but cannot prove legal origin of their wealth. It's a public secret, though, how they made their bundles. But no one has ever popped up the question, anyway. Bozhkov has been nicknamed "Mister 10%" for quite a time. And by foreign investors at that. IM have been for a long time aware of the Jap's activities. For sure, the money does not come from kids' toys manufacturing. Well, we lived to see both of them facing charges. One - for the sale of some "little workshop". The other for illegal possession of weapon. However, even for these "petty" crimes (to quote one of the judges) there is not enough evidence against them. Here lies another similarity between Al Bozh and Kiro the Jap - both are at large. It's true they are on bail, but what is to them some 5, 10 or 20 thousand levs. They can readily dish up even more and buy whoever or whatever they want. They know the ways.


Bulgarian Wines Can Be Marketed in Korea.

INTERVIEW: Kim Seung-eui

Your country should develop more competitive export products, says Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to this country Kim Seung-eui.

- Your Excellency, you have been ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Bulgaria for six months already. What has changed in bilateral relations over that period of time?

- It is true, I arrived in Bulgaria only 6 months ago. During that relatively short period of time Bulgarian-Korean relations marked a substantial progress. The visit of the Korean deputy minister of foreign affairs and trade, as well as the political consultations with the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, held once every two years, were particularly resultant. The fact that the Republic of Korea is Asia's biggest investor in Bulgaria and provides living for over 1,000 Bulgarians is already well known.

- Bulgarian-Korean 1999 trade exchange came up to $50 ml. Do you think that it reflects the genuine potential of the economic ties between our two countries?

- No, there exist wide vistas for extending and make closer economic cooperation. I believe that along with the economic development of Bulgaria and Korea, bilateral trade exchange will logically grow. We have to see which of the Bulgarian products will sell well on the Korean market. I believe, for instance, that with their high quality and reasonable prices the Bulgarian wines will be marketed well in Korea. At the same time Bulgaria has to produce more competitive export articles by which it will be present more tangibly on the international markets.

- The initiatives within the framework of the Days of Korean Culture currently under way are numerous. How would you assess the interest shown by the Bulgarian audiences?

- It is for the first time in the 11-year-long history of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Korea that we hold a month of the Korean culture. It is an extremely large-scale event aimed to get the Bulgarian audience familiar with various genres of the contemporary and traditional Korean art and culture. I'm particularly pleased to see the enormous interest of the Bulgarians in the Korean fine arts, music, cuisine, etc. Actually, in organizing the Days of Korean Culture we were very encouraged by the fact that Bulgaria has not only created a remarkable culture of its own, but has proved its tolerance to the spiritual achievements of other nations. And because the Days of Korean Culture enjoy a warm welcome, I plan to turn the event into a tradition and hold it on an annual basis.

Boris Spiridonov


Rabbi Baker: I'm Not Optimistic about Peace.

INTERVIEW: Rabbi Baker

The point is what Russia will demand in return for its support for the anti-terrorist coalition, says the International Relations Director of the US Jewish Institute.

- Rabbi Baker, in your view, how will develop the operation 'Enduring Freedom' of the anti-terrorist coalition against Bin Laden?

- There is hardly anyone, but the top military to know it precisely. The first thing to do is to determine the targets, because you can't just launch missiles from afar. The US troops are still concentrating. Expectations are that there will be a precise preparation, a very good reconnaissance, infantry forces are to be used as well.

- Following the tragic developments in the USA of September 11, hasn't peace in the Middle East come closer now?

- You know, it is difficult to forecast the way things will develop. We are witnessing great tensions and anger. In the first place, Arafat and the Palestinians have to admit that terrorism and violence are not the way to reach an agreement.

Most of us who follow the development of the ME processes are pessimists.

For example, President Clinton's peace plan failed. It envisaged that Israel grant definite territories to the Palestinians. However, the plan failed for two reasons. The first one was Jerusalem's sovereignty, the second one - the return of the Palestinian refugees.

- There is no doubt that a change has taken place in relations between Moscow and Washington. How do you see their future development, including the problem of Chechnya which had been an obstacle to date?

- Recently Foreign Minister Ivanov paid a visit to New York. And naturally, his first comments were: 'We fight terrorism in Chechnya'. Of course, we cant' fight the radical Islamic terrorism in the way Russia is acting in Chechnya. But it is a fact that following the tragedy in New York and Washington the criticisms at Russia because of Chechnya have faded away a bit.

It is a very positive fact, that Russia joined the international community. And Russia's support makes things easier.

The question now is what Russia will demand in return. One of the things the now American administration has been persistently carrying through and which Russia is against, is the anti-missile defence. The other controversial issue between the two countries is NATO's enlargement. It would be naive to think that these questions are not discussed between the two countries, particularly so in connection with Russia's support in the struggle against terrorism.

Svetozar Bahchevanov

Travelers must also declare sums below USD 1,500 on leaving Russia.


The option for leaving Russia with sums of undeclared money below USD 1,500 was called off, the Department for Trade Economic Relations with Moscow to Ministry of Economy announced. Physical persons leaving Russia that are not Russian citizens must prove the origin of the currency they have with them irrespective of the amount. Bulgarian citizens traveling to Russia are advised to declare the amount of currency they bring to the country. For more detailed information, people concerned should approach the Department for Trade and Economic issues in Moscow to the Ministry of Economy or could visit the web page www.bolgaria.ru of the Bulgarian embassy in Moscow.

Petar Beron will run for President.


Bulgaria Union and Protection Patriots and Reservists Union nominated Dr. Petar Beron and Gen. Stoyan Andreev for President and Vice President respectively. Their nomination was officially presented to the media today. Dr. Beron is currently the Director of the National Museum of Natural History, while Gen. Andreev is the Director of the Center for Scientific Researches and former National Security Advisor to the former President Zhelyu Zhelev. Speaking at the presentation, concerning the membership of Bulgaria in the European Union and the NATO Beron emphasized that he would adhere to the policy of seeking membership in these organizations, although he would insist that Bulgarian politicians behave with dignity. Gen. Andreev said he was among the founders of the Atlantic Club and allegations of some people that he was against the NATO were ridiculous.


The Premier thanked Ministry of the Interior for providing the security of the summit in Sofia.


Premier Simeon Koburg-Gotha thanked Ministry of the Interior for providing the security of the summit in Sofia, Information and Public Relations Department to the Cabinet reported. The letter of Premier Simeon Koburg-Gotha to the Ministry of the Interior personnel also reads: "I would like to congratulate you for the excellent organization and cooperation in carrying out the summit, which was one more proof for your professionalism."

Petar Stoyanov convoked National Security Consultative Council concerning the strikes against Afghanistan.


Petar Stoyanov scheduled an emergency session of the National Security Consultative Council concerning the strikes against Afghanistan, presidential press-secretariat reported. The session would take place tomorrow at 12 AM at the presidential office.

Security of Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant was tightened.


New security measures were introduced in the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant apropos of the USA strikes against Afghanistan. The new measures include tightened admission regime and establishing a 30-km no-fly zone around the plant.

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