Former Macedonian PM in Bulgaria
A delegation led by former Macedonian Prime Minister Branco Crvenkovski visited Bulgaria for talks with the leaderships of the Bulgarian Socialists Party and the Euroleft Party. It was the first visit of Crvenkovski, an ex-Communist, now heading the Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) to Bulgaria. When he was Prime Minister, he led a fierce anti-Bulgarian policy.
A member of his staff reported on 15 January to the police that his car was stolen from the parking lot in front of the hotel where he was staying. Then the printed issue of the SDSM, Utrinksi Vestnik, wrote that the Bulgarian police had stolen the Audi car. Crvenkovski did not refute the allegations written in his party's newspaper even though he spoke of developing the relations between the two countries while he was in Sofia.
The police found the missing car on 17 January in an underground parking facility. Evidence was taken from the car and eyewitnesses were interviewed. The inspection of the car did not reveal any missing valuables or traces of forced entry. It was ascertained that its owner brought the Audi to the parking lot on 16 January. The Audi was handed over in the presence of Borcho Damyanov, the first secretary at the Macedonian Embassy.
Bulgarian engineers join KFOR
A third Bulgarian engineering section left for Kosovo on Thursday to join KFOR. Its members include five commissioned officers, 35 non-commissioned officers and professional soldiers. "The Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Bulgarian Army wish above all that Bulgarian troops stationed abroad may stay in good health," Lieutenant General Nikola Kolev, Deputy Chief of General Staff, said at the farewell ceremony.
The Ministry and the General Staff have no worries over dispatching the unit to replace the second Bulgarian engineering section, he said. "Bulgarians in Kosovo are not exposed to radiation or chemical hazards," Kolev said, recalling the conclusion reached by a team of Bulgarian military medical experts who in early January studied the air, soil and water in the area where Bulgarian soldiers were stationed in connection with the fears over the Balkan Syndrome. The main task of the new unit will be to install power mains.
Balkan Bulgarian Airlines with new management
On Thursday, a Shareholders' General Meeting elected a new Board of Directors of Balkan Bulgarian Airlines. Yosif Novak, President of Zeevi Logistic, was elected Chairman of the Board. A representative of the State, who holds 20 per cent of the airline's capital, also attended the meeting but was not elected to the Board. The State will thus have no say in corporate decision-making.
Balkan Chief Executive Zvi Frank declined to comment on a statement made by Deputy Prime Minister Peter Jotev last week that a new privatisation contract with the present owner, Israel's Zeevi Group, will be drafted to match more adequately the Israelis' capabilities.
Škoda offers partnership
The Škoda Ostrov company of the Czech Republic is ready to become a strategic investor for the next ten years to develop and renovate trolley-bus transport in Bulgaria. The initiative was set forth by Škoda executives at a national meeting of Bulgarian municipalities providing trolley-bus services. The executives said that the prices they offer are quite attractive. The recycled Czech-made vehicles cost between USD 30,000 and 50,000 each.
The Škoda management said they could train Bulgarian personnel if the company is approved as a strategic investor. Škoda has received support from the Czech Government. Two Czech banks have agreed to extend low-interest long-term targeted loans to Škoda's future clients in Bulgaria, the guests said.
Second GSM operator in Bulgaria
The name of the second GSM operator in Bulgaria will be Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile (CBM). About a month after the Greek company OTE won the auction for the license, it paid the promised USD 135 million.
The new network will be installed within six months and is expected to cover 20 per cent of the territory of the country not later than the middle of July, according to the terms of the agreements between OTE and the national Agency for Privatisation.
Contest for director of the National Radio
The National Council for Radio and Television (NCRT) extended the deadline for submitting applications for the post of General Director of the National Radio. Eight applications have been submitted so far, and the new deadline is 30 January. About 200 journalists from the radio signed a petition for the resignation of the Council over allegations of incompetence.
Slovak Speaker of Parliament in Bulgaria
"Bulgaria must become a member of NATO for the sake of the common stability of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans," Jozef Migaš, speaker of the Parliament of Slovakia, said in Sofia. He and a Slovak parliamentary delegation were on an official visit in the country and held talks with Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova and Bulgarian Members of Parliament.
Matilda Nahabedian, 19 January 2001
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