U Tetovo imbroglio turns nasty
In a Europe overtaken by sporting fever, it seemed appropriate that stakes were raised this week in the political games over the University of Tetovo.
The latest round in the ongoing debacle involved an alleged threat by Tetovo Rector Fadil Sulejmani to "physically liquidate" embattled Dean of Computer Science Zamir Dika in a telephone call between the two men Wednesday morning, the Albanian language Fakti reported. The two men, members of opposing political parties, are presently feuding over the future status of the university. (See the related article in this week's issue)
Dika is a sitting Parliamentary deputy of the Democratic Party of Albanians (PDSh), which supports the establishment of a privatised University of Tetovo, while Sulejmani is a known supporter of the opposition Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDD), which opposes a privatised institution.
Sulejmani denied the accusations, calling Dika a liar and explaining that he had merely called Dika to ask him to complete some work in his capacity as a faculty dean. Sulejmani added that Dika has not been properly carrying out his responsibilities at the university, accusing him as well of attempting to "trick" the ethnic Albanian minority into accepting the "puppet school," his term for the proposed privatised university, in order to "crush" the University of Tetovo.
Meanwhile, Menduh Thaçi, deputy leader of the PDSh, waded into the university fray this week saying that the Yugoslav ambassador to Macedonia had visited Gostivar, a town in the Albanian-dominated northwest, urging locals to reject what has become known as the proposal to establish a private Albanian university.
Thaçi added that Sulejmani is behaving like an "uneducated bandit," claiming that his "schizophrenic statements" have "no effect" on the ongoing debate. Such political mud-slinging is generally uncommon in the Albanian community.
Prime Minister Ljubćo Gjeorgjievski announced a restructuring of his cabinet, which will reduce the number of ministries from 23 to 15 by 15 June under a law presently being considered in Parliament.
Under the proposal, the Ministries of Defence, Interior, Finance, Justice, Health, Transportation, Local Self-Management and Social Security will remain untouched, as will the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Water.
Meanwhile, the trade and development portfolios have merged to become the new Ministry of Economy; science and culture have been combined into an expanded Ministry of Culture; the Ministries of Education and Youth and Sport have been merged to form a larger Ministry of Education; the former Ministries of Urban Affairs, Environment and Construction will become the new Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning; and, finally, the former information and immigration ministries will become the new Ministry for European Integration.
New ministers are to be announced once the restructuring is complete.
Kumanovo without water for five days
The central town of Kumanovo was left without water for five days this week when the local reservoir, Lake Lipkovo, was contaminated by natural pollutants. Some 20 tankers from across the nation supplied the areas' 130,000 residents with water for the duration of the outage.
Residents had no running water between Saturday and Tuesday, and when flow resumed Wednesday, it was for hygienic use only. The water supplies were slated to be fully on-line this past Friday, and officials will continue to monitor the water's purity.
Another border assault
In a three- to four-minute assault, unidentified attackers near the border town Lojan (Llojan) near Kumanovo fired some 100 shots from automatic weapons at a border observation tower. Army investigators later revealed that the shots had been fired from a distance of 80 to 150 meters from the tower, saying that sixty 7.62mm rounds had hit the installation.
According to eyewitnesses, four attackers escaped in the direction of Kumanovo in two cars.
At a police press conference, a spokesman said the attackers' identities were known to police, adding that their arrest was imminent.
Police leaks in local media alleged that the border assaults this week and last are connected to opposition parties that maintain close links with the Belgrade regime of Slobodan Milošević.
Unpopular tax boosts revenues
The new and unpopular 19 percent DDV (Value Added Tax) introduced 1 April collected DEM 38,000 in its first month, the government revealed this week, an increase of nearly DEM 16,000 over the same period last year, which saw the collection of some DEM 22,125 from taxation.
Italians assist local Roma
The Humanitarian Office of the Italian Embassy in Skopje donated clothing to some 2300 pupils of a school in the predominantly Roma municipality of Shuto Orizari. Ongoing diplomatic interest in providing humanitarian assistance is indicative of the awareness raised by the Kosovo crisis last year.
New Australian ambassador
His Excellency Charles Hamilton Stuart arrived in Macedonia on 14 June as the new Australian ambassador.
Eleanor Pritchard, 16 June 2000
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