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News from Bulgaria, 96-07-19
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From: Embassy of Bulgaria <firstname.lastname@example.org>
EMBASSY OF BULGARIA - WASHINGTON D.C.
BTA - BULGARIAN TELEGRAPH AGENCY
20 July, 1996
 MONUMENT OF LEVSKI UNVEILED IN U.S.Washington, July 19 (BTA) - A monument of Bulgarian revolutionary Vassil Levski was erected in front of the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington on July 18, his birthday. The monument was unveiled by Ambassador Snezhana Botousharova. Levski was born on this day 159 years ago to become the strategy-maker of the Bulgarian liberation movement against Ottoman rule. He was caught by the Turkish authorities and hanged near Sofia at the age of 36.
The initiative to build a monument to commemorate Levski came from President Zhelyu Zhelev on February 19 - the day Levski was hanged - last year. The funds came from the 13 Centuries Bulgaria Foundation and the Vassil Levski National Committee and Foundation. The monument is identical to Levski's bust in Sofia's Boris Gardens designed by sculptor Vladimir Ginovski and architect Ivan Bitrakov.
Attending the ceremony was a delegation of Bulgarian intellectuals who had arrived especially for the occasion. Addresses were delivered by literary critic Mihail Nedelchev and Tob Gibson who chairs the Bulgarian-American friendship society. Flowers and wreathes were laid at the monument to the national anthems of the two countries. President Zhelev, was also invited but stayed in Sofia for personal reasons.
Attending were also outstanding members of the Bulgarian community in the US, representatives of US state institutions, journalists and diplomats. Among them were William Montgomery, former US ambassador to Bulgaria and now special advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Bosnia implementation issues, and John Schmidt, Director of European Affairs at the US National Security Council.
A monument of Levski was also unveiled yesterday in Blagoevgrad, Southwestern Bulgaria. His 159 birth anniversary was marked by a series of events in his home town of Karlovo, Central Bulgaria, in Sofia and other towns across the country, connected with his life and work.
 GOVERNMENT PRPOSAL ON FINANCIAL REHABILITATION OF STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISESSofia, July 18 (BTA) - A project of a bill, approved by the Government today envisages the formation of a special rehabilitation fund in support of the processes of stabilization of state-owned enterprises.
The bill is mainly intended to provide an opportunity to the 70 state-owned enterprises, which account for more than 50 per cent of the total losses in the public sector and which have been banned from receiving loans, to offset the losses and achieve stabilization through a specific way of management.
In May this year the Government decided to take special measures against losing state-owned enterprises, which have accumulated large debts. The Government worked out two lists: one including enterprises subject to liquidation and the other one, enterprises to be banned from receiving loans.
The bill approved today suggests that the 70 enterprises which have been banned from receiving loans, work out programmes for their financial rehabilitation within two months after the legislation enters into force. The enterprises will be expected, on the basis of these programmes, to negotiate with their creditors delay of payments on their debts, accumulated before June this year. At the same time while the rehabilitation programmes are in operation, the companies will not be allowed to receive new loans and accumulate new obligations. The restrictions will not be applied only to the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) and the National Electricity Company (NEC) due to their infrastructural importance. The law will not violate the rights of the creditors, because each of them will be allowed, if he finds the programme unreliable or if he sees it has not brought positive results, to claim his rights before the court, Finance Minister Dimiter Kostov said today.
The bill envisages a possibility for the Finance Minister to propose to the President to write off the debts of certain enterprises, which have been quick in showing positive results, have proven their viability and have reached an agreement with their creditors.
The bill also regulates the possibility for the rehabilitation fund to credit and subsidize certain enterprises which have proved the temporary character of their difficulties. The rehabilitation fund will raise funds from dividend proceeds, from the state fund for reconstruction and development, outside sources etc.
Several possibilities are envisaged after the implementation of the rehabilitation programmes: liquidation in case of no positive financial result, finalization of the processes through privatization of more than 50 per cent of the enterprises etc. The bill suggests that the enterprises be divided into two groups. The first one will include Sofia city transport companies, Sofia central heating companies, companies of the power engineering (coal producing enterprises) and the BDZ, which cannot be liquidated due to their infrastructural importance. The second group will include all other partnerships, for which this alternative is possible.
It is certain that two of the 70 enterprises banned from receiving loans will be offered for cash privatization, Minister Kostov specified. The Government will insist that the National Assembly considers the bill before it goes into recess in August.
 INTERIOR MINISTRY STATEMENT ON SOFIA BLASTSofia, July 18 (BTA) - The Interior Ministry today provided details on the bomb blast in Sofia yesterday that caused damages. The terrorists used a makeshift explosive device found to comprise TNT, a fuse and a detonator with a steal casing, the press release says.
The explosive was placed under an upturned flower pot and had the TNT equivalent of 2-2.5 kg. The terrorists, probably experts in explosives, also used nails of varying length that caused additional damage went he bomb went off. After questioning people who witnessed the explosion, police suppose the device has been planted by two people.
This is brutal act of criminal character and a gross challenge to the law-enforcement bodies in this country, the Interior Ministry says in a press release. Over the past six months Bulgaria witnessed a number of explosions. In most cases explosive devices were planted in private dwellings and in vehicles, less often - in public buildings and business premises. "This situation calls for rigorous and uncompromising action to prevent the escalation of terrorism in Bulgaria," the press release goes.
The Interior Ministry has launched a series of measures to ensure the safety of important sites such as nuclear power plants, airports, seaports and highways. Plans of action to counter terrorist attacks are being drawn up jointly with the CEOs of the above units, says the press release. The Interior Ministry has activated the work of all its bodies for getting due information of thefts of explosives, arms, ammunitions and the like, as special attention is paid to the premises where they are stored. It is also working actively to trace all illegal explosives, arms and ammunitions.
The Interior Ministry believes that in spite of the seriousness of this crime, there are on grounds for panic and calls upon the public to remain calm and observe a order in public places. The Interior Ministry is expecting help from members of the public in tracing down the perpetrators and preventing other such crimes.
 PARLIAMENT ADOPTS LAW ON RADIO & TVSofia, July 18 (BTA) - Parliament today passed a Radio and Television Act. The work of the two electronic media has to date been regulated by an interim statute adopted over five years ago with an agreement of the political forces. Over the past couple of years Parliament has considered several drafts of this law.
The law bans the broadcasting of programmes that offend against the ethic norms, spread libels, or inspire cruelty and violence. No radio or television body can acquire exclusive rights for the coverage of events of major public interest.
The law guarantees radio and television bodies the freedom to choose the content of their programmes independently of state bodies and independence carries with it full responsibility for these programmes. Bulgarian productions should make up at least 15 % of the programming time of each radio and television body, and at least 30% for the Bulgarian National TV and the National Radio.
Radio and television bodies are to provide extensive and objective information, and newscasts should be distinguishable from commentaries. Broadcasters have no obligation to disclose the sources of information they have used. Special provisions in the law provide for the plurality of opinion and guarantee against the interference in the private life of citizens.
The bill provides for the setting up of a National Council on Radio and Television to make sure the law is observed and monitor the signing of consession contracts. The 11-member Council will also appoint and dismiss the chiefs, the managing and programming boards of the national radio and TV. A separate chapter regulates radio and TV advertising and sponsorship.
Particular attention is given in the law to Bulgarian National Radio and TV. They have the status of public organizations of national importance and the law provides guarantees for their independence. It also regulates their management and financing, and provides for access to airtime for political figures and government officials.
The opposition protested strongly against some of the provisions arguing they contradict the Constitution. In the course of debates, many journalists and intellectuals declared themselves against the passage of the law.
 UNEMPLOYMENT ON THE RISESofia, July 18 (BTA) - In June the number of unemployed increased by 5.9 per cent, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and head of the National Employment Service Milcho Dimitrov told a news conference today. The number of unemployed in June was 380,291. According to the National Employment Service the demand for workforce has gone down. A total of 16,715 jobs are offered, which is 7.1 per cent down from the previous month.
During the month the Vocational Qualification and Unemployment Fund paid 280,915,400 leva in indemnities, the news conference was told. There were 24,094 who received jobs on the programme for temporary employment. The realization of a programme for the regions of Madan and Roudozem (Southern Bulgaria) has been launched.
435 work permits have been issued since 1994 to foreigners in Bulgaria, Mr Dimitrov said. 145 of them are for US citizens, 46 for British, 83 for Macedonian, 40 for Russian, 38 to Ukrainian, 12 to Turkish, 29 to Greek, 24 to German and 20 to French citizens.
 NO F.M.D. IN BULGARIASofia, July 18 (BTA) - No cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) have been registered in Bulgaria, Ilia Makedonski of the National Veterinary Service (NVS) told MPs today.
Ilia Makedonski reported before the parliamentary Agriculture Committee on the FMD in neighbouring countries and the measures taken to prevent a spreading of this disease to Bulgarian territory. FMD cases have been identified in Turkey, Albania, Greece, Serbia and Macedonia. Romania is the only neighbouring country clear of the disease.
A major problem is the absence of fences along some sections of the border, said Makedonski. The regulation of the Bulgarian Health Care Ministry and the NVS banning grazing in the 2-km border area, is frequently violated. In the meantime, following official reports about an FMD outbreak in Macedonia, the government today banned the import and transit of cloven-hoofed animals, products thereof and animal feed from this country.
The NVS is ready to act in case the disease spreads to Bulgaria. It has provided the necessary quantity of disinfectants for vehicles passing Bulgaria's territory.
 BSP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PIRINSKI MEETS WITH DIPLOMATSSofia, July 18 (BTA) - The presidential candidate of the Democratic Left, Georgi Pirinski, had a meeting with the heads of the diplomatic missions in Bulgaria. "I accepted to run in the presidential race as candidate of the Democratic Left because I am convinced that this year's presidential elections are very important for the development of the public and political process in Bulgaria for years to come," Mr Pirinski said in his speech. "I am convinced that the Bulgarian Constitution assigns the President important functions in the efforts to unite the nation and I am determined to use my powers as head of state to attain this goal in compliance with the Constitution," he stated.
 STATEMENT BY THE DEMOCRATIC LEFTSofia, July 18 (BTA) - Today the Democratic Left parliamentary group (the coalition of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Alexander Stamboliiski Bulgarian Agrarian National Union and the Eco-Glasnost Political Club) made an express statement on statements President Zhelyu Zhelev made this week on national radio and television to call for stronger presidential powers and protest against the suspension of an issue of the "Official Gazette" promulgating his decrees on the appointment of presidents of the Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme Court of Cassation. The Democratic Left document is strongly worded and acccuses Zhelev of irresponsible and thoughtless statements, of mounting public tension, fanning up conflicts, sparkling tension among institutions aimed to destabilize the country politically, to create chaos and foil the presidential elections so that he can stay in office. "Mr Zhelev has been defaming his country and prejudicing the world against Bulgaria for years. The bitter results of his destructive activities are felt and will be felt by millions of Bulgarians for decades to come. Zhelev will be remembered as the President of Bulgaria's ruin," it is said in the statement.
On behalf of the Bulgarian people, the Democratic Left makes an appeal to Zhelyu Zhelev to behave with dignity, as a true President, at least in the last months of his term in office. "More than ever Bulgaria needs peace, national concord, dialogue. That is what it badly needs," the statement says in conclusion.
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