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December 1, 1996
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 269


Opium For The People

The daily Vecernje Novosti wonders why so many people in Vranje go to local pubs and cafes. The answer, according to the daily, is simple: marijuana and even heroin are very cheap in pubs and cafes. Kids aged between 10 and 15 are given free doses so that they can become addicts and hence regular buyers later. Estimations made by Vranje's medical workers that almost a half of the town's population is on drugs lead to the conclusion that this evil vice culminated recently, probably after the local elections. Surely, one would never expect stoned, drunk and drugged people to vote for the ruling socialists and thus show their loyalty at a time when many Serbian towns fell into the hands of the opposition. Or could it be that the population is capable of admiring the authorities only if they are stoned or drunk enough to believe their prime time news fairy tales ?


Yugoslav customs officers detained and shortly afterwards released a Romanian owned ship and its crew caught smuggling yellow sugar along the Danube river near the Serbian town of Smederevo. An engine malfunction grinded the vessel to a halt and prompted its captain and crew to sell five and a half tons of sugar bound for Novi Sad. A fierce brawl broke out when they started sharing the loot worth eight thousand German marks, which is why they were caught red-handed.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia once again showed its respect for the law and determination not to tolerate contraband. Major contraband gangs smuggling cigarettes, textile and other goods are probably trembling with fear already, but things will surely be put back under control before our Romanian friends and traditional allies start taking pictures of Slobodan Milosevic off their walls.

The Serbian president's policy which led to the UN-imposed sanctions against

Serbia enabled agile Romanian contraband gangs to make a fortune from selling toilet paper, tinned food (Russian army war stocks) and Taiwan-made perfumes (not to mention fuel and cigarettes) to the heavenly nation.

Better Off Drunk...

The Tokyo Institute for energy planning predicts that a substantially increasing percentage of the elderly population (one out of seven Japanese citizens is over 65) will consume more electricity and therefore electric devices in the future for heating purposes.

Japanese pensioners will probably install heaters in bathrooms, elevators, floors and elsewhere to feel warmer and more comfortable, which will lead to a 40 percent rise in costs over the next 14 years. As a country which boasts of a sunstantial eldrely population too, we could hope for the same if the pensions were just a little bit higher amd more regular. Fortunately, pensions in Serbia are as low and irregular as in Montenegro, so pensioners in Yugoslavia's two federal units have no reason to feel discriminated or deprived.

However, should Serbian vice-premier Slobodan Radulovic be proved right in

his optimistic vision that pensioners will receive their October and November earnings in December (he said that they might even start receiving them regularly next year!), the power industry will have no choice but to roll up its sleeves in order to keep up with the lost generation's ever-growing purchasing power and daily demands for more sophisticated devices.

A Non-Working Holiday

After giving some thought to the problem of what to do with the former independence day of our former country, the authorities came up with a solution even the great Salomon would admire: the federal justice ministry declared November 29 and 30 non-working days in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The decision was made in accord with the law on public holidays, they said.

If November 29 is no longer a holiday but simply a non-working day, why shouldn't other national holidays be decalred non-working days too, for the sake of accord with the "law on public holidays".

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