Friday, 31 July 2009

A New Kind Of Plant In The Bulgarian Countryside

A New Kind Of Plant In The Bulgarian Countryside
I have seen one of these types of solar energy plants being built on the road to my village between the villages of Botovo and Meden Kladinets. It is a bit of an eyesore as it is in the middle of unspoilt countryside and grape vineyards, but that a small price to pay with the renewable energy that will come from this. If there are as many built as planned then this will have some clout in being self-sufficient, at least from the villages and small towns that the surround the plants.

Balmoral Bulgaria SPV, owned and funded by Balmoral Capital Holdings Inc., has signed a 25 year deal with Apex Solar to gain approval for 18 solar power plants in Bulgaria.
Balmoral Bulgaria SPV is an integrated solar development company which will aid Apex Solar in its plans to build 130-144 PV plants throughout Bulgaria, and then expand to other European countries by 2011.
The solar power plants are currently still undergoing development but panel delivery has already roughly been scheduled for early in 2010. The solar plants will vary in size with the smallest being just 1MW and the largest at 5MW. It is estimated that once completed the plants will yeild 144MW when running at full capacity.
Each of the plants will be organized by Apex Solar and designed by Balmoral Bulgaria SPV.
“We are looking for competitive bids on state-of-the-art high performance PV panels and the results of the winning bid will be given in the next 30 days. There are so many high technically performing panels with great financial returns. It is hard to settle to one manufacturer,” said Rodney Kincaid, managing partner of Balmoral Capital and CEO of Balmoral Financial.
The partnership is aimed at helping the company move on to other European markets as soon as early 2011.
Special thanks to for the above quote, for more information please view the article on their website.
Sorry about the quality of the image a new camera needed

Bulgaria's Forestry Manager Axed After Evidence Of Corruption

Is this the start of the new tough regime now in power in Bulgaria with a witch-hunt for corruption or just a little sideshow as a token? Boyko has promised to positively seek out and stop corruption in Bulgaria could this be the start of the end? Early days.
Parliament fired Stefan Yuroukov, head of the State Forestry Agency (SFA) on July 29 2009, Bulgarian daily Dnevnik said.

Bulgaira's Forestry Manager Axed After Evidence Of Corruption

Yuroukov was accused of signing 47 orders for land swap-deals in the 10 days after Parliament imposed a moratorium on January 16 2009 and before the moratorium went into effect.

At the time, experts said that the State assessment had priced the land at between 0.24 leva and 27 leva a sq km, while market prices could reach 100 leva a km.

Yuroukov is to be replaced by Georgi Kostov, currently head of the forestry department at the Forestry University in Sofia.

The changes were intended to create an active, open and transparent management of the country's forestry, which currently has the image of being corrupt, a Parliament media statement said.

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Bulgarian Football - Humiliating Defeat For Bulgaria

This was an embarrassment and humiliating result for the Bulgarian national football team who have great ambitions right now. It wasn’t because they played a team that were good, it was just the fact that they just didn’t play well themselves. This will be seen as a one off hopefully. The Irish will be jigging all the way home to England as that where most of the Irish are.

Bulgarian Football - Humiliating Defeat For Bulgaria
Steve Beaglehole's outstanding Milk Cup record continues as Northern Ireland strolled into their third Elite final on the trot last night with a convincing and comprehensive 3-0 victory over Bulgaria in Coleraine.

However, Bulgaria reminded their hosts that they were still in a game just shy of the half-time whistle.

Ivelin Vasilev raced through the Northern Ireland defence before only being able to find the top of the net with his shot.

The Bulgarians had little answer after the break either, however, as the hosts continued to dominate in the new half.

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Thursday, 30 July 2009

EU Funds To Bulgarian Dairy Farmers - EU Assessment Now

My neighbour used to be a dairy farmer; he gave it up two years ago due to the lack of profit made from it. It is a labour intensive vocation with no rest bite and the rewards are minimal. It was a hard decision to make as the family has a long history of dairy farming. Now thousands of other dairy farmer may have to do the same is EU funds aren’t granted. People’s livelihoods are at stake here and a few EU officials at the drop of a hat will be responsible for the outcome. It is a mystery as to how they can assess the corruption and fraud by coming here! Visit a farm and talk to a few politicians? Sounds like an excuse for a summer holiday for the EU officials on taxpayers’ funds.

EU Funds To Bulgarian Dairy Farmers - EU Assessment Now
Bulgarian dairy farmers staged a number of protests last year against the blocking of EU funds for Bulgaria, including money for its agriculture. They demanded their SAPARD payments in order to continue keep their cattle.

Experts from the European Commission agriculture directorate and OLAF, the EU anti-fraud watchdog, start a visit to Bulgaria on July 29 to decide whether payments worth millions of euros under the EU-backed programme SAPARD should be restarted.

The European Union froze reimbursements in agricultural funding last year, saying Bulgaria fails to curb frauds with EU funds.

"The European Commission mission will stay in Bulgaria until August 31. The visit is crucial for unblocking payments under SAPARD pre-accession program," the new Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naydenov told the Bulgarian National Radio on Tuesday.

At the beginning of July GERB party leader and current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said he had been assured by his European colleagues that the SAPARD money may be unfrozen soon. He linked that to the high voter turnout at the July 5 Parliamentary Elections, with which the Bulgarians expressed their desire not be the poorest and most corrupt EU nation any more.

A European Commission representative denied the statement, saying Brussels will continue to monitor Bulgaria before taking a decision to this effect.
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Bulgaria's Economy Worsens In Line With The Rest Of The World

There are no surprises at all with this business report showing a further decline in the Bulgarian economy. I see it all around me in Yambol the small town in the southeastern part of the country. Shops closing down, building work stopped due to lack of funds, more unemployment without benefits. The view is it will get even worse and the winter ahead could a winter of discontent when the food and heating are unaffordable. Health to many will be a major problem.
Bulgaria's Economy Worsens In Line With The Rest Of The WorldIn July 2009, the total business climate indicator decreased by 1.2 percentage points from June with industry and retail trade as the aggravating factors, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said on July 28 2009, Bulgarian news agency BTA said.

Variations in the positive direction of the business climate indicators were registered in the construction and services sectors in July.

The month saw the composite business climate indicator in industry decrease by 4.3 percentage points from June, reaching an all-time nadir after an already worsening trend.

The decrease was due both to lowered managers' evaluations of the present business situation and to more pessimistic expectations about the next six months.

The July business climate poll found decreased production activity of industrial enterprises, but the rate of decrease was lower than in the previous months.

The order book of industrial enterprises (measured in number of months) dropped from 5.0 in April to 4.4 months in July.

In 2008 the average order book was 5.9 months long. The average capacity utilization in industry continued to decrease, reaching 63.9 per cent in July. Its 2008 average was 74.9 per cent.

Dnevnik said that managers in all four sectors were preparing to cut more staff in coming months.

Assessment for demand in the past three months was also positive but the six-year outlook is negative.

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Bulgaria's Kamenitza Beer Has A Bid - But Only One

Bulgaria in my opinion has the second best beer in the world bar Belgium. It is no wonder with Belgium management in place here in Bulgaria. Regardless of whoever takes over the Kamenitza brewery, the quality should remain the same with the process instilled. It remains to be seen whether other bids come in with both the beer and the recession in flow right now this hot summer.

Bulgaria's Kamenitza Beer Has A Bid - But Only One
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, which owns two units in Bulgaria, has received only one bid for its central and eastern European operations from CVC Capital Partners, a London-based private equity group, according to reports.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG, the US private equity groups, had expressed interest in the assets, which include 11 breweries in seven countries, including Bulgaria.
But only CVC submitted a bid, worth about EUR 1 B - EUR 1.5 B by this week's deadline, the Financial Times reported.
Bulgaria is one of seven countries in Eastern and Central Europe, where the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR) is considering divesting its operations.
Eleven breweries producing a total of 15 million hectoliters of beer a year in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro, are part of what has been called a "packaged" deal to be sold as a whole.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

More UK Northerners To Bulgaria On Holiday Next Year?

There are so many people from the north of England who have a passion for Bulgaria I do wonder why. Perhaps the rough around the edges is a common factor, or the cheapness appeals. Me being a Londoner would get a bit of stick from northerners saying that but I don’t care. Also the prices of a meal and a large beer quoted is very expensive from where I am standing, even on the Black Sea Coast, but Brits are happy to pay that so what? More Brits to Bulgaria for holidays with flights there next year? Well it is a million times better than dire Blackpool that’s for sure, but many Brits still wear blinkers. By the way I’ve lived up north in Yorkshire for 13 years and I’ve been to Blackpool and couldn’t get out fast enough so I’m qualified to say what I say.

More UK Northerners To Bulgaria On Holiday Next Year?
Bulgaria is back on Blackpool International’s destination map for summer 2010.
Demand has always been high to reinstate this popular destination and now specialist operator Balkan Holidays is commencing weekly flights next year to Bourgas direct from Blackpool starting on the 9th August.

Sue Kendrick, the airport’s customer relations and communications manager, said: “The route has been sorely missed for the last few years and passengers emailing in to the airport requesting its return should be delighted that it is back.

“Bulgaria is attracting a lot of interest from holidaymakers not only because of its fantastic sandy beaches and great weather but also because it’s a euro free zone! A holiday in Bulgaria can be great value for money with a three course meal costing under £10 per person and a large beer only £1.30.”

“Getting a popular route back for next summer is more good news for Blackpool International and our passengers. We seem to be bucking the trend at Blackpool with most of our flights doing better than last year. So a big thanks to all the passengers from across Lancashire and the Lake District for supporting their local airport.”

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Heavy Metal Musical Treat For Bulgaria In September

Hot off the press is the news that heavy metal is on again in Bulgaria. There is a massive following here for this hardcore music and Bulgarians are often treated to the biggest heavy metal bands in the world performing live here. The next schedule heavy metal band to appear is the USA’s veterans Pro-Pain due here in early September. Another sell out con cert not doubt with Bulgaria’s own Odd Crew band also appearing.
Heavy Metal Musical Treat For Bulgaria In September

After their successful first concert in Bulgaria in 2008, American metal and hardcore veterans Pro-Pain will perform in Sofia on September 10 2009.

The concert, part of their European tour to promote the band's 2008 album No End In Sight, is to take place at club Blue Box, Bulgarian broadcaster Avtora said.

The European tour was to kick off at Trutnov Open Air in the Czech Republic on August 20.

Odd Crew from Bulgaria, Drone from Germany and American band Vengince were scheduled as acts for Pro-Pain.
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Iranian Cartoonists Win Prizes in Bulgaria

When the word Iranian and cartoonists are put together this to me seems quite an unlikely combination. With the worldview on Iran and Iranian with their regime and ways you would think that expression in this form would be too radical and perhaps looked down upon in their own country. That’s the picture of Iran and Iranians that has been painted westerners’ heads by the media anyway. There is obvious talent in this field and Iranians are just like you and me with humour and personalities. It still sounds strange though.

Iranian Cartoonists Win Prizes in Bulgaria
Iranian cartoonists have been awarded with major prizes at two international cartoon contests, held in Bulgaria and Turkey.

Mohammad Hosseini won the special prize of Bulgaria's Ruse International Cartoon Contest for his work on the theme of 'Together for Security and Peace'.

Doru Axinte (Romania), Daniel Strzelczyk (Poland) and Tsocho Peev (Bulgaria) received the event's first to third prizes respectively.

The jury members included Ivailo Tsvetkov, Rumen Dragostinov, Valentin Georgiev, Volodya Kenarev, Daniela Malcheva, Elena Velikova and Svetoslav Parvanov.

Selected works will be exhibited at the Ruse Art Gallery.

Turkey's Drought and Water International Cartoon Contest also granted its May and June top prize to Iran's Saeed Sadeqi who was followed by Syria's Ahmad Ali and Brazil's Joacir Dias Xavier.

The works were judged by Akdag Saydut (Turkey), Muhttin Koroglo (Turkey), Alessandro Gatto (Italy) and Raed Khalil (Syria).
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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Plovdiv - Shaken But Not Stirred

Earth tremors are common in Bulgaria, but sometime the bigger ones hit and that’s big news. Plovdiv and surround felt the most recent one yesterday with some structural damage reported and warnings of more aftershocks. After a few days this will be forgotten about until the next one comes. This is part of daily life here in Bulgaria where the people are often shaken but not stirred.

Plovdiv - Shaken But Not Stirred
Three tremors were registered in Bulgaria on Monday. They were felt in the cities of Plovdiv and Asenovgrad and neighboring villages of Krumovo, Yagodovo and Katunitsa. The three earthquakes were recorded at 11:40 a.m., 1:44 p.m. and 1:47 p.m. local time respectively. They measured 3,6, 3,5 and 3 on the Richter scale.

No people were reported injured. It was only reported that walls cracked and chimneys fell.

The earthquakes registered in the district of Plovdiv on Monday have fading strength, according to the data obtained by Geophysical Institute with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences-Plovdiv, Svetla Maslinkova, assistant with the Institute, told FOCUS News Agency’s correspondent.

According to her more, but weaker tremors are expected in the next couple of days.

The district is characteristic with a series of earthquakes – since 2000. In 2000 there were more than 50 aftershocks, as 15 of them were felt by the local residents.
Today’s jolt had 5 aftershocks, but people felt only the last one, reported at 13.45 p.m.

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Veselin Topalov - No Chance Of Stalemate Here

Chess and Veselin Topalov are synonymous. He is a household name in Bulgaria. Veselin Topalov now 34 years old is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster and former FIDE world chess champion. He currently is the highest ranked player in the world. This alone might give good reason to have the World Chess Championships held in Bulgaria. Bulgaria have made a bold first move and it seems that there will be now stalemate in the fight for the venue with India.

Veselin Topalov - No Chance Of Stalemate Here
Bulgarian organizers are preparing a bid for Anand-Topalov match and BCF President Stefan Sergiev confirmed that they will be looking for about 3 million euro.

But the other part of his statement is even more interesting:

- "Topalov is a charismatic personality in Bulgaria, much more than Anand in India and a WCC here will surely benefit from this."

- "Berik Balgabaev and FIDE have assured me that they rely on us and they believe that India is not up to the task of organizing the Topalov - Anand match."
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Boyko Borissov Now Officially Bulgaria's Number One

Well if has finally arrive Boyko Borissov is now official the Bulgarian Number One after being voted into office as Prime Minister. It remains to see what he will do with all he has put into his manifesto or whether outside forces beyond his jurisdiction lead him to detract from his promises. He may seem tough from the outside, but what is the man really made of now it comes to the crunch. Also which way will he lead Bulgaria more towards Russia with comradeship or EU in Sinkingship?
Boyko Borissov Now Officially Bulgaria's Number One
The leader of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), Boiko Borisov, was elected Monday Bulgaria's new prime minister after a vote in the parliament.

Borisov was elected prime minister with 162 votes in favor, 77 votes against, and one abstaining in a voting, in which all 240 members of the Bulgarian parliament took part.

Bulgaria's parliament also approved the structure of the center-right government of Borisov, voting 162-78. The lineup of the future government was approved on 162-77 votes, with one abstention.

The new government got the support of the MPs of Borisov's GERB and the other three rightist party -- Ataka, the "Blue Coalition" and the "Order, Lawfulness, Justice" party. The leftist Coalition for Bulgaria with the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Pary, and the ethnic Turkish party "Movement for Rights and Freedoms" voted against.

The new Bulgarian government was sworn in right after the voting, in the presence of President Georgi Parvanov.

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Monday, 27 July 2009

Loans And Credit In Bulgaria - The Clocks Turned Back

After years of ‘forcing’ Bulgarians to get loans and use credit for consumer goods the whole thing has gone pear shaped. The massive campaign on television and every nook and cranny available for advertising has been inevitably successful but now it has sunk to where is was a few year back. The ads still come but the Bulgarian public are that much wiser now and are more thoughtful about taking on loans that were so easy to get not so long ago. The figures speak for themselves, but bear in mind that much credit and loans are not accountable as this is still very much a cash driven society.

Loans And Credit In Bulgaria - The Clocks Turned Back
In line with analysts’ expectations, consumer lending in Bulgaria shrank precipitously in the year up to June 2009, when the growth decelerated almost sixfold to 450.6 million leva compared to 2.184 billion leva in the year-ago period, according to central Bulgarian National Bank figures.

The increase slowed from a staggering 47.3 per cent over the 12 months to June 2008 to an anemic 6.6 per cent in the subsequent period, retreating to the 2006 level of 6.3 per cent year-on-year.

Home loans put up the best fight against the downturn, surging by 1.289 billion leva year-on-year in June 2009, or 19.1 per cent. Still, this comes against a 2.352 billion leva rise, or 53.3 per cent, in the previous period.

Corporate loans staged a threefold decrease, rising by 2.792 billion leva, or 10.1 per cent year-on-year, as at end-June. For comparison, a year before the portfolio expanded by 9.876 billion leva, or 55.5 per cent.

Consumer loans added up to 7.253 billion leva in the six months, going back to just below their end-2008 level. This type of loans took the lengthiest slide of six months in a row, from October to April, when they managed to break the negative run.

In June, consumer loans increased by 0.34 per cent on the month, or 24.682 million leva, as home loans grew by 0.8 per cent, or 64.2 million leva, to 8.054 billion leva. Corporate loans gained 0.12 per cent, or 36.7 million leva, which left them at 30.458 million leva altogether.

The loan market grew by a cumulative 11.8 per cent year-on-year as at end-June versus 32.9 per cent year-on-year at the end of 2008.
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Another Archaeological Find In Bulgaria - This TIme In Veliko Turnovo

This is an exciting discovery albeit accidentally when installing some new water pipes. There is so much more in Bulgaria I’m sure that is yet to be earth up and discovered in the future. Worshipping nymphs is a cult that disappeared millenniums ago and the insight that this find bring may even bring about a renaissance and a neo-nymph worshipping cult – stranger thinks have happened. Perhaps I might start a new nymph worshipping blog out and start the cult myself. There are fairies at the end of your garden you know!

Another Archaeological Find In Bulgaria - This TIme In Veliko Turnovo
According to a report in the Balkan Travellers, the sanctuary was found by archaeologists in the vicinity of the Nicopolis ad Istrum ancient site, located near the town of Veliko Tarnovo in central Bulgaria.
The experts discovered an alley, leading to a spring and covered with limestone tiles decorated in a standout relief.
The find is a first of its kind in the region, according to Pavlina Vladkova, leader of the archaeological team.
“Until now, the only testament of the nymph cult in Nicopolis ad Istrum used to be images on coins made in the second century under the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, as well as ancient inscriptions,” she said.
Vladkova expects that her team will find the remains of a cult building where the nymph worshippers stayed.
Nymph worshipping, according to the archaeologists, can be traced back to Ancient Greece, where the mythical female creatures were usually part of the retinue of a god, such as Zeus, Hera and Aphrodite.
Although planned archaeological excavations are currently taking place at the nearby Nicopolis ad Istrum ancient site, the sanctuary was discovered by chance.
Workers came upon the archaeological remains while installing a water pipe to the village of Resen, which called for the emergency excavations to begin.
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Bulgarian Climbers Achieve Their Peak

I have to stand in awe to anyone who attempts to climb these hospitable heights. Mountain climbers must be obsessed to do such feats. Risking life and limb to get to the top is some achievement and I congratulate these four Bulgarian climbers for that. I only hope they get back down safely which is more dangerous than the climb up.

Bulgarian Climber Achieve Their Peak

Four Bulgarians managed to climb the Himalaya eight-thousander Gasherbrum-1 or the so called Hidden peak (8069 m above sea-level).

Nikolay Petkov, Doychin Boyanov, Boyan Petrov, and Nikolay Valkov reached the peak Sunday, July 26 around 8 am local time, and announced by e-mail to the Bulgarina news agency, BTA, about their achievement.

Currently the four are situated in the Base camp 4 (7 300m) and are about to continue their journey down to the valley.

The attack began at half past midnight, 10.30 pm Bulgarian time on July 25.
Quoting Doichin Boyanov, "the upper part of the track was very technical and involved climbing with front teeth on crampons and 2 ice axes."

Together with the Bulgarian party at the top where also Veika Gustafson (Finland) and Kazuya Hiradide (China).

This is the first climb of Gasherbrum 1 by a Bulgarian team. For Boyan Petrov and Nikolai Valkov this climb is the first of eight-thousanders and for Doichin Boyanov is the third after Mount Everest in 2004 and Nanga Parbat in 2006. Nikolai Petkov has climbed 4 such before - twice Mount Everest in 1984 and 2004, also Dhaulagiri and Nanga Parbat in 2006.

Hidden Peak is the eleventh eight-thousander for the Bulgarians following Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat, Annapurna, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, Shishapangma.

There are 3 more eight-thousanders left to be climbed on behalf of Bulgaria: K-2, Kangchenjunga, Manaslu.

The eight-thousanders are the fourteen independent mountains on Earth that are more than 8 000 meters high above sea level. They are all located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia.

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Sunday, 26 July 2009

Bulgarian Folk Song From The Rhodope Mountains

This brings a tear to your eye as 20 year old Nevena the first ever Music Idol winner in Bulgaria shows a marvellous talent for performing folk music of her homeland. This really is something that stirs National emotions for all Bulgarians. The music is sourced from the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains. Just sit back and let the music flow over you

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Poverty In Bugaria Proved Once Again

This is another set of statistics that yet again show how Bulgarians in the main are living well below the threshold of the expected standard of living. With wages set to remain static there is a nervous country wakening to further job cuts and higher utility bills. Out own family of four here with an income of less than 500 leva a month find it very hard indeed to make ends meet and the expensive winter is looming fast.

Poverty In Bugaria Proved Once Again
A Bulgarian household of four – with two adults and two children – would need 1923 leva a month to live properly, said Lyuben Tomev, director of the Institute of the Social and Trade Union Studies at Bulgaria’s Confederation of Independent Trade Unions.

At the end of June 2009, the montly cost of living of a member of a household of four was 480.70 leva, Tomev said on July 24 2009.

For 2008, the required monthly income was 1884 leva.

The monthly figure is based on a household of four being able to eat a balanced diet, pay utility bills, buy clothes and for the children to get a proper education.

Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute reported that the current average monthly income per capita is 304.25 leva, meaning that people live with about 63.5 per cent of the necessary means, Bulgarian news agency BTA quoted Tomev as saying.

Tomev said that the prices of products in the Bulgarian consumer basket either remained unchanged or tended to decline.

Sales of perishable and non-perishable goods had gone down, as had employment levels, while incomes remained unchanged and the prevailing policy was to freeze salaries, he said. These factors were strengthening anxiety among Bulgarians about lay ahead in the remainder of the year.
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Young Polish Boy Drowned At Sunny Beach

So many stories are of boozing fatalities at Sunny beach known too well for alcoholic drinking holidays. This is tragedy of different sorts where the dangers on unsupervised children and airbeds combined to lead to the death of this 9-year-old. What was meant to be a lovely holiday break turned out to be a terrible nightmare to this Polish family. They are in our thoughts right now.

Young Polish Boy Drowned At Sunny Beach

A nine-year-old boy from Poland drowned on July 25 2009 at Bulgaria’s Black Sea resort of Slunchev Bryag (Sunny Beach) after falling off an air mattress. Lifeguards attempted to rescue the child but it was too late, Bulgarian media said. News agency BTA said that the child’s mother had not been watching the boy because she had been looking after a young baby. The tragedy happened as Bulgaria faced scorching temperatures, with authorities urging people to exercise caution in the heat, while in some places road traffic was banned and in the capital city Sofia, the Bulgarian Red Cross handed out free mineral water at two locations in the centre of the city. Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said that in some places in the country, temperatures already exceeded 40 degrees before noon.

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Saturday, 25 July 2009

Ex Secret Service To Be Minister Controversy

I can’t see where there is any compromise with a former communist secret service official holding a ministerial post. Surely ministers are partial to secret service information anyway. Besides which it is acceptable to have criminals standing for minister posts – Crazy double standards.

Ex Secret Service To Be Minister Controversy

Bozhidar Dimitrov, the Director of the National History Museum and former collaborator of the secret services, who triggered a political storm after being proposed for minister in the new government, said he has no regrets.

"Why the hell should I give up the ministerial post? All the fuss about the secret files is being orchestrated by no other than people close to the former secret services," an emotional Dimitrov said in an interview for local Trud daily when asked about the strong public opposition to his nomination.

Earlier in the week the right-wingers from the Union of Democratic Forces and Democrats for Strong Bulgaria vehemently opposed his nomination for minister in charge of the Bulgarians abroad because of his collaboration for the secret services.

Dimitrov turned into the apple of discord and quickly soured the relations between the two parties and the formation of Boyko Borisov, who did not hesitate to defend what he called his "friend."

"I have done many things about many people and they have not always paid me back... This is the first time that I have seen anyone defend me so powerfully as Boyko Borisov. If I was not a man, I would have cried," Dimitrov recalled.

Bozhidar Dimitrov, who was tipped to head the parliamentary culture commission, entered the cabinet of GERB leader Boyko Borisov shortly after it was decided that MPs who were collaborators of the so called State Security, the intelligence and secret police during the communist regime, will be banned from leading parliamentary commission.
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The Exam Busters In Bulgaria - Why Not Switch To Mafia Busters?

Isn’t this a worldwide problem? Buying Diplomas and Degrees has been around for decades anyone can buy these online right now. This is slightly different of course as there is allegedly direct payments made to educators here. Might it be to do with not paying educators a big enough salary? I think not, it is greed that is instilled in most human being and taking advantage of their esteemed position as student peers. I find it strange that this corruption was sourced and seemingly thwarted, but political and organised crime in Bulgaria is left untouched.

The Exam Busters In Bulgaria - Why Not Switch To Mafia Busters?
Bulgarian police and prosecutors busted an organised group that routinely fixed examinations at the University of National and World Economy (UNWE) in Sofia, the Interior Ministry said on July 24.

Two men, one of them a professor at UNWE and an intermediary, were arrested on July 23, the ministry said.

Rather than directly bribe the professor, the group used doubles - people who would stand in for the prospective students at admission exams, using counterfeit ID. Fees ranged between 500 leva and 4000 leva, the police said.

The investigation was launched some time ago and was carried out by the corruption-fighting unit in the criminal police department together with the Interior Ministry's regional directorate in Blagoevgrad, in southwestern Bulgaria, Sofia chief prosecutor Nikolai Kokinov said, as quoted by Focus news agency.

Charges would be pressed by the end of the day on July 24, Kokinov said, but declined to comment whether the group had accomplices higher up in the university hierarchy. The investigators were also checking whether the group carried out similar activities in other universities, the police said.
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Friday, 24 July 2009

Boiko Next Bulgarian PM - Tell Us Something New

Boiko Borissov the next PM? This is a no news report everyone who knows anything knew this was going to happen. Well I suppose they have to go through the motions on this. Not too sure whether Georgi and Boiko get on too well looking at the body language on Bulgarian television news yesterday when the officialdom and announcement was taking place.

Boiko Next Bulgarian PM - Tell Us Something New

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov named Sofia Mayor Boiko Borissov to be the next prime minister and backed a Cabinet that faces pulling the nation out of recession and patching up a reputation tattered by corruption.

Parvanov, speaking at the presidential palace in Sofia, urged parliament to approve the government on July 27. Borissov, a former bodyguard, set up his GERB party three years ago, which ousted the ruling Socialists in July 5 elections.

Borissov, a 50-year-old former communist-era special forces soldier, promised that fighting corruption will be its main focus. The government, facing its first budget deficit in six years because of the recession, must persuade the EU to release 350 million euros ($488 million) of subsidies withheld because of claims his predecessor failed to stop graft.

“He has chosen a governing formula that will not be easy to fulfill, which is a challenge,” Parvanov told reporters after meeting Borissov.

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New Ambassador In Old One Out With A Top Medal - Why?

Looks like we’ve got a bloke back in as the ambassador in Sofia, surely that is sexist? Well that what some feminist extremist might think and say. Nancy is going out with a nice Stara Planina honour. Not quite sure why she got the highest possible honour for just being an ambassador? Not quite a hero’s job is it? I suppose we haven't heard much about here in the news so she must have kept the peace pretty well then.

New Ambassador In Old One Out With A Top Medal - Why?

US president Barack Obama is to name Marc S Ellenbogen, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, as ambassador in Sofia to replace Nancy McEldowney, a Bulgarian media report said on July 24 2009.

Ellenbogen (47) chairs the board of directors of the Global Panel Foundation, Standart said.

The paper quoted diplomatic sources. There was no announcement on the White House website or that of the state department.

McEldowney, who is moving to a senior state department post in Washington, met Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov on July 23 when he presented her with the country’s highest honour, the Stara Planina first class.

Purvanov said that over the 106 years of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and the US, relations were at an all-time high, "not simply because we are strategic partners, allies, but because we have dialogue such as we have never had before".

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Experts On Bulgaria?

Location of Bulgaria within Europe Experts On Bulgaria?

Everywhere you look in the press and media there is bad press with regard to corruption and organised crime in Bulgaria. Literally hundreds of spin doctors giving their spiel on a daily basis. The purpose of course is to write article that people want to read and bad news is certainly of more interest than good news. Writing about the supposed turmoil in Bulgaria seems to the European topic since January 2007. Most writers of course haven’t even been to Europe let alone Bulgaria and profess to be experts on the country. I have put a map for these people to guide them as to where exactly Bulagria is. Need I say more?

Thirty months after joining the European Union, Bulgaria and Romania are still plagued by widespread fraud, corruption and organized crime, according to a report published Wednesday that also questions the will of political leaders to deliver the necessary reforms.

The hard-hitting judgment from the European Commission listed an array of deficiencies, citing inadequate measures to fight money-laundering, vote-buying, fraud and killings linked to organized crime.

The report said Bulgaria had made some progress in restructuring its criminal prosecution service and recording more convictions over all. It suggests that in other respects, however, not much has improved since 2008 when the commission issued its last stern warning.
The slow pace of change in Bulgaria and the lack of convictions in high-profile corruption cases have served as a potent example of the problems of bringing fragile ex-Communist nations into the European mainstream.

“The capacity of enforcement authorities to deal with high-level corruption,” the report said, “has not increased on a general scale over the last 12 months.”

Image via Wikipedia
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Thursday, 23 July 2009

Jananese Donate To Various Bulgarias National Gallery Of Art

It can be said unequivocally that the Japanese are a generous clan and appreciate art not only from their own perspective. It is a growing respect that Bulgaria has for the Japanese who also are investing in many businesses in Bulgaria as well. This all does well for their standing and relationship with Bulgaria as a whole. Looking at the receivers of the funds in the past, they are all worthy of the funds apart from perhaps Bulgarian National Television.

Jananese Donate To Various Bulgaria Art
The Japanese government is to donate equipment worth 46.5 million Japanese yen (346 239 euro) to Bulgaria's National Gallery of Art.

The donation would be used towards the acquisition of restoration and audio-visual equipment, Bulgarian news agency BTA quoted a media statement from the gallery as saying.

In the form of annual donations, Japan has given more than $7 million to various cultural, educational, sport and media government institutions in Bulgaria since 1991, BTA said.

Recipients of Japanese donations included Bulgarian National Television, the Bulgarian Judo Federation, the Boyana church, the National Library, the National Theatre, the National Music Academy, the National Gallery for Foreign Art, the National Institute for Monuments of Culture, the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Palace of Culture, the Sofia National Opera and Ballet, the museum of the Archaeological Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Bulgarian National Radio symphony orchestra, and a museum for Thracian art in the Eastern Rhodopes, near the village of Alexandrov.
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Kultur Shock Back In The Balkans

Having been a secret fan of Kultur Shock for a few years now since seeing them on Bulgarian television it is obvious that their concerts here will be sold out yet again. This is of course a promotion tour for their new album release coming out soon. Good to see a multi cultural band with Balkan links doing so well and of course a success in the States.

Kultur Shock Back In The Balkans
Their music is probably best described as high energy punk-rock, infused with run-off-the-tracks Balkan-style melodies. Kultur Shock's previous two concerts in Bulgaria, in 2006 and 2008 were sold out completely, weeks before the events.

Though based in Seattle, the band members come from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Japan, and the US.

On December 1 2009, Kultur Shock will return to Bulgaria, for a single concert in Club Blue Box.

The band's first concert in Bulgaria, in December 2006, was recorded and released as a concert album.

The concert in Sofia is part of the band's 43 city Integration tour, to promote the band's fourth studio album by the same title.

The Integration albums, to be released in September 2009, is produced by Jack Endino, who also worked with Nivana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney, Bulgarian broadcaster Avtora said.

At the concert in Sofia, the band will perform not only songs from the new album, but also older hits like Mastika, Tutti-Frutti, Tango and God i

Names of support acts were not yet release by organisers Tangra Mega Rock.

Tickets for the concert will be on sale at Club Blue Box and via the Ticketstream Bulgarian network.

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Racism Or Protectionism In Bulgaria

What the hell did you expect from a survey that asks such questions? There is a natural built in tendency to prefer to be with people from the same culture and make up. Isn’t this true worldwide? Non-white (including European non whites and excluding Gypsies) in Bulgaria is few and far between and restricted in the main to sports and music genre. It is very rare to see a non-white person in many towns and even less in villages. Because of this, there is an element of the unknown and unfamiliarity built in there. There are a few expatriates here who came to Bulgaria to get away from non-whites who they felt had invaded and taken over many area in their home country, now that’s racism!

It would be interesting to know whether these statistics had a fair representation of the youth of Bulgaria. I know they are much less extreme Nationalism tendences than their peers.

Racism Or Protectionism In Bulgaria
Bulgarian society displays significant prejudice against African, Arab, Vietnamese and Chinese minorities, sees Roma as thieving and dirty but views ethnic Turks as hard-working and entrepreneurial, according to a survey done by the Open Society Institute.

According to reports by daily Sega and Bulgarian news agency Focus, Bulgarians are tolerant towards ethnic Turks – the legacy of the country’s 500-year domination under Ottoman rule – and also towards Jewish people, who not dissimilarly to people of Turkish descent, are seen as entrepreneurial and wealthy.

The Armenian community was seen as "ingenious," Focus said, quoting AFP.

Among foreigners, those coming from the European Union were most well-received, while black people were rejected, regardless of their country of origin.

Fewer than four per cent of the population wanted their children to attend a school with high numbers of black or Kurdish children, and fewer than six per cent said they would enroll their children in schools with large numbers of Roma, Chinese, Vietnamese or Arab children.

In the workplace, 11 per cent of people said they would take orders from a black, Roma, Kurdish, Albanian or Vietnamese superior, while more than 44 per cent were willing to work for a European boss.

Just 26 per cent of Bulgarians said they would accept Roma, Africans or Albanians as neighbours, but 55 per cent would be happy living next door to Europeans.

Only 11 per cent said they would marry a black person, Roma or Kurd, while 44 per cent said they would happily marry a European, Focus said.

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