Tighter border control
President Petar Stoyanov has ordered special security forces to tighten control at the Bulgarian-Yugoslav border to prevent war criminals from fleeing from Yugoslavia to Bulgaria. Both Greece and Romania have urged the Yugoslav security forces not to open fire on their own people.
Largest state-owned bank sold
UniCredito Italiano SpA and Allianz AG Bulgaria completed the acquisition of Bulbank AD, the largest, state-owned Bulgarian bank. UniCredito, Italy's third-largest bank, acquired 93 percent, while Allianz, Europe's second-largest insurer, took five percent of Bulbank. The purchase price was EUR 360 million for 98 percent ownership.
The Interior Ministers of Russia and Bulgaria signed an agreement on combating crime on Monday last week. Chief of the Department for International Cooperation of the Russian Interior Ministry, Alexander Malinovsky, said that the heads of the two law enforcement departments are planning to discuss the problem of creating a joint working group of the Russian and Bulgarian Interior Ministries to supervise anti-crime activities. Such joint groups have already been established by the Russian Interior Ministry with Germany and Israel. Another is soon to be established with the US.
World Bank talks
Discussions for another three-year program were opened between the Bulgarian Government and the World Bank. John Wilton, head of the World Bank Credit Risk Department, was received by Prime Minister Ivan Kostov on Friday last week. Wilton advised the government to conduct a more aggressive policy of economic growth next year, adding that his bank can provide financial assistance to this end, the Deputy Prime Minister's press office said. The bank will continue to fund education, health care and social projects.
Over two-thirds of the bank's current program for Bulgaria has been successfully implemented, and it is hoped that the implementation will continue in the following few months. According to Wilton, the first stage of national economic reform, ie macroeconomic stabilization, is now complete. Although this stage took a very long time, Bulgaria can be proud that it has been finished, Wilton said. He also said that he is confident that the country can achieve more rapid economic growth.
Turkish broadcasts on BNT
Bulgarian National Television (BNT) will launch news broadcast in Turkish starting this month. They will be aired after the regular 17:00 weekday news. Another bimonthly show is also in the works and will cover human-interest stories with reports by BNT correspondents around the country.
The show may be expanded to include programming for other ethnic communities as well. BNT's news editor, Kissimov, said he expects there will be a negative reaction to the new program and pointed to the fact that nine out of ten opinions on the subject sent to him via e-mail were negative. He said the launch of the newscast in Turkish complies with the framework convention on minorities and with radio and television law.
Survey on political attitudes
The National Public Opinion Center, in a survey entitled "Political Attitudes Today" determined that if elections were held in Bulgaria now, 35 percent of the Bulgarians would not vote and 19.5percent were undecided. Some 17.3 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for the ruling Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), 9.8 percent for the the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), 2.8 percent for the ethnic Turks' Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), 0.6 percent for the Euro-Left, 0.2 percent for the Gergyovden Movement, and 0.1 percent for the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization.
Among political and public figures, President Peter Stoyanov enjoys the highest approval (25 percent), followed by Prime Minister Ivan Kostov (6.1 percent), BSP leader Georgi Purvanov (4.8 percent), Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofiyanski (3.3 percent), exiled King Simeon II (1.7 percent), MRF leader Ahmed Dogan (1 percent), and Euro-Left leader Alexander Tomov (0.4 percent).
Nadia Rozeva Green, 6 October 2000
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