Thursday, 27 August 2009

1100 Litres Of Rakia Seized By Bulgarian Customs

1100 Litres Of Rakia Seized By Bulgarian Customs

Looks like the walls are closing fast on this kind of business that has been going one for years. This is a ll as a result of EU intervention no doubt. The days of rakia making as a ‘free’ national custom in Bulgaria I can see are numbered now. This however does not prevent thousand still doing the distilling behind closed doors.

Inspectors with the Customs Office – Varna seized 1,100 liters of rakia as a result of the stepped-up check-ups on distillers in the districts of Varna andShumen, the District Customs Directorate – Varna announced.

The 1,100 liters have been confiscated from one factory for distillation of ethyl alcohol with seven stills.

No documents for paid or imposed excise duty have been presented. The duty will be calculated after analysis on the samples taken from the stills. According to initial calculations the sum runs to BGN 6,050.

Further investigation and administrative-criminal proceedings are about to be initiated under the Excise Duty and Tax Warehouse Act.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Britain's Working Families Fund The Bulgarian Mafia

I find this not surprising at all that the country I abandoned because I felt they didn’t care about me as a Brit now is funding the country I now live in. It just goes to prove a point that in this case unwittingly forced to pay, the UK cares more about supporting foreigners rather than their own people. Of course up until now the EU funds paid to date in been filtered into the hands of the mafia in Bulgaria, which is even more of a twist. Presently the funds are on hold until reforms and guarantees that funds are to be directed into legitimate business here. One think is for sure the Brits are becoming poorer and the Bulgarians don’t really see any benefit from any money being ploughed here, it is only businesses and that means mafia in disguise that will still gain from it.

Britain's Working Families Fund The Bulgarian Mafia
Every household in the UK will have to pay 257 pounds sterling towards the EU next year, according to the Daily Mail after - the newspaper claims - "Labour signed away much of Britain's hard-won budget rebate". And the newspaper claims that Bulgaria and Romania will top the list of recipients.

The Daily Mail say that official figures show that the share of the EU budget is to soar by almost 60 per cent to 6.4 billion pounds. The increase, which works out at 92 pounds for every British household, is detailed in a recently released Treasury document.

"As usual, the bulk of the budget will go on aid to the EU's poorer countries and agricultural subsidies. This year Britain will pay 4.1 billion pounds net to the EU - 800 million pounds more than the 3.3 billion pounds forecast by the Treasury, By 2010-11 the net figure will be 6.4 billion pounds," says the newspaper.

The article concludes by saying that "increases have been caused by extra demands for funding by new members, including Bulgaria and Romania".

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Bulgarian Nurses Flee Bulgaria For More Pay

Having two doctors and one nurse in the family here, the doctor both work in Bulgaria, but have outside work to supplement their income. The nurse has been working abroad over the last four years as the pay ti too low in Bulgaria. She can afford to have a year’s holiday on the earnings she made abroad and will return to work again soon but not in Bulgaria. You can see exactly why nurses flee abroad as their pay is just not good enough for most. Of course the quality of hospital service are suffering from this and other countries are benefiting of from Bulgarian exported expertise of course.

Bulgarian Nurses Flee Bulgaria For More Pay
Bulgaria is the only country, excluding African nations, where nurses are outnumbered by doctors, with 1,831 fleeing it in 2008 alone, said Prof. Stanka Markova, chairwoman of the nurse association.

With a required ratio of 1:2, Bulgaria has 36,000 doctors and only 30,000 nurses. The trend has been driven by a raft of reasons for year but no government has taken serious action to curb it, Markova complained.

It was only in the recent days that the Health Ministry requested information about the matter. The association will send a letter outlining its demands and seek a meeting with minister Bozhidar Nanev.

The organisation warned that the staff shortage is spelling trouble for medical establishments and could result in closure of departments. For example, Saint Georgi University Hospital has 33 vacancies for nurses, another 15 nurses are needed in Plovdiv Hospital in the southern city. This is the situation in most of the major hospital across the country, too. Fifty medical staff call it quits at the hospital in Bourgas, on the southern Black Sea coast. The most gaping shortage could be observed in intensive care units and surgical departments, where workloads are heavy and salaries scanty.

The lack of enough personnel also affects the quality of medical services and raises the cost of treatment, Markova explained. Establishments with an insufficient number of nurses suffer higher mortality, she said.

Nurses give up their jobs at public hospital to go to private establishments, where they are better paid. This leaves university hospital with insufficient staff and this is where the majority of Bulgarians go to have treatment, Markova said. Many medical staff are looking for job abroad as vacancies are available in the UK, Spain, and Greece. In England, for instance, staff at social care institutions are paid more than GBP 1,300 against a paltry BGN 400-500 at home, Markova added.

Matters are further aggravated by the fact that it is mostly young nurses that emigrate. In order to counter the negative trend, the nursing community is calling for higher salaries, lower tuition fees and increased student numbers. Earning a university degree in Nursing takes just one year less than Medicine but paychecks are much smaller and so young people opt for the latter specialty, Markova pointed.

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Monday, 24 August 2009

Bike Or Beer Festival In Bulgaria's Veliko Tarnovo?

With the amount of beer that was consumed one would think that riding bikes would be the last thing that should be practised. I’m sure the police took a blind eye to this in the spirit of bikers’ celebrations in the area. I doubt whether the amount of riders ‘over the limit’ could be sufficiently dealt with by the police. That aside, I feel that it is refreshing that festivals like this can take place here without any source of trouble. I have seen quite a few ‘bikers’ who gather to party in costal resorts and there is no problem of conflict in those areas. They are Bulgarians who just love their motorcycles and the company of other who do.

Bike Or Beer Festival In Bulgaria's Veliko Tarnovo?

Thousands of bikers from all over Bulgaria and neighbouring countries gathered at the hill of Sveta Gora in Veliko Tarnovo for a third time in what has become a tradition over the last years. Cheered by powerful rock n' roll tunes and lured into a number of interesting contests, the bikers somehow managed to consume 20 tons of beer and 20000 meat balls, provided by the local bikers’ clubs - Bolyari and Bad Company.

The special guest of this happening was Deep Purple’s legendary bassist, Glenn Hughes. His visit to Bulgaria happened on his birthday - August 21 and he received many gifts. He drew the name of the winner of a brand new Harley Davidson.

The local Bad Company bikers club presented Hughes with a leather jacket with their emblem.
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Mud Slinging In Pomorie - For Good Reason

Having visited Pomorie last year I can say without doubt that the wildlife and in particular the variety of birds that use this area is outstanding and should be protected at all costs. I wasn’t’ aware of the health benefits of the mud that the lake sits on, no doubt the mudslingers, including Miss Bulgaria 2009 should have no problem with their muscular physic over the next year or so with the mud that was caked over them.

Mud Slinging In Pomorie - For Good Reason

Miss Bulgaria 2009, Antonia Petrova (middle) together with environmentalists in Pomorie. The banner reads, "I love the Pomorie Lake".

The annual eco-festival, "The Magic of the Pomorie Lake", is taking place over the weekend in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Pomorie.

The annual environmental event celebrating the features of the Pomorie Lake, which is a lagoon off the Black Sea with an area of about 8 square kilometers.
The festival is organized by the Zeleni Balkani (Green Balkans) NGO, and is sponsored by the World Bank and the Embassy of the Netherlands to Bulgaria. It was opened by the new Dutch Ambassador to Bulgaria, Karel C. van Kesteren, and Miss Bulgaria 2009, Antonia Petrova.

The main aim of the event is to raise awareness about the uniqueness of the Pomorie Lake and to help for its preservation. The lagoon is a point on the Via Pontica route of migrating birds, and birdwatching activities are one of the key points of the festival.

The 2009 edition of the event also emphasized the medical qualities of the Pomorie Lake mud, which is said to be able to heal bone and muscle illnesses.

In order to do that, the eco-fest also included a mud fight, in which a number of young people took part, including Miss Bulgaria 2009, Antonia Petrova.

Photo by
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Sunday, 23 August 2009

2000 Bulgarian Railway Workers Receive Redundancy Notices

2000 Bulgarian Railway Workers Receive Redundancy NoticesImage by Ivan S. Abrams

Not long after the day of celebration for Bulgarian railways workers a bombshell of layoffs are now in line with 2000 losing their jobs by the end of the year. In a day and age where railways should be improving their infrastructure and getting more investment as a green and economical for of transporting goods, the opposite is happening. They may call it streamlining, but to me it looks like the demise of the goods railway system in Bulgaria. I wonder whether this will be regretted years down the line so to speak.

Bulgaria’s national railway carrier BDZ will pension off or make redundant around 2,000 employees by the end of the year as part of a package of measures to counter the economic slide.

The company currently has 15,532 people on the payroll. The state-run National Railway Infrastructure Company, which maintains the operator’s infrastructure, reported a 20% decline in revenue and a loss of NHM 48 million for January to June, said general director Anton Ginev.

In an effort to curb the deterioration, the company will follow suit with pensioning off workers by the end of the year. BDZ executive director Hristo Monov pinned the bulk of the blame for the lackluster performance on the economic meltdown and the falling prices of ready-made products. More pressure came from the withdrawal of one of the company’s key customers, Kremikovtzi, which went insolvent. The carrier booked a six-month loss of BGN 22.3 million, where reduced passenger and cargo traffic contributed 82%.

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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Boyko Borisov Gets Rid Of Police Chief For Inefficiency

Boyko Borisov, Bulgaria’s new number one, is certainly pulling some weight here in what I could describe as inefficient Bulgarian fat cats. The reason given was inadequate preparation for Bulgaria to join the new Schengen visa zone. I think there is also a conflict in personality going on there and Mister Petrov was not considered one of “the lads” in Boyko’s ream. All said and done, a replacement will be made no doubt one of Boyko’s lads this time. Lots of positive things are happening here and that’s good news, but many still think that this will wear off after a while and political compliancy will set in again – That’s what’s going out here at ground level.

Boyko Borisov Gets Rid Of Police Chief For Inefficiency

Bulgarian Border Police commissioner Krassimir Petrov was fired on August 20 2009, the latest in a series of senior officials to get the chop under Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s Government.

Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said that the reasons for Petrov being fired included shortcomings in preparations for Bulgaria to join the Schengen visa zone.

Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said that Petrov left Interior Ministry headquarters after meeting Tsvetanov with the words, "I am now a former director".

Petrov rejected the allegation of inadequacies in preparations for Schengen, saying that checks had shown progress to be not just good but "very good".

The same day, Tsvetanov met the heads of the Prosecutor-General’s office and the State Agency for National Security (SANS) to discuss the setting up of permanent joint teams of prosecutors, SANS agents and Interior Ministry criminologists to investigate serious economic crimes against Bulgaria’s financial system, specifically abuse of European Union funds.

BNT said that legislative changes were expected to clarify the roles of SANS and the Interior Ministry, and the teams would operate in secrecy.

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Friday, 21 August 2009

Healthier Diets In Bulgarian Schools - Not Before Time

I have written many time about the obesity factor in Bulgaria and this is all down to western fast food just swamping diet here. Most young Bulgarians are fed on fast food not only in school but at home. Time to cook homemade meals just doesn’t happen in many younger generation family homes and this is aided and abetted with a massive fast food campaign from global fast food companies such as McDonalds (spit!) and other addictive junk food. Glad to see that the Bulgarian government is recognising that and schools (which after all it a place to educate) are taking some form of action.

Healthier Diets In Bulgarian Schools - Not Before Time
The Bulgarian government on Thursday banned potato crisps, soft drinks, instant soups and high sugar-content cakes from school canteens to fight obesity.

The regulations will come into effect when the new school year starts on September 15, the health ministry said in a statement.

Ministry expert Masha Gavrailova recommended that schools start offering healthier foods such as mineral water, fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas, wholegrain bread and pasta, fish and lean meat.

A 2008 study on Bulgarian first-grade children showed that 30 percent were overweight and 13 percent obese, the ministry said.

Compared to a 2004 study, obesity rates among children had more than doubled, it added, highlighting the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Big Money Invested For Army Training In Bulgaria

This is very good news to local businesses in the area where the investment is planned. The partnership with American forces continues to develop and go from strength to strength. I find it quite disturbing though to find that this sort of money is found for army activities but other much needed finance towards education and health services are neglected. With better education there would be less need for war surely!

Big Money Invested For Army Training In Bulgaria
The US armed forces will invite infrastructure and construction projects with a combined price tag of $45 million for their Bulgarian bases.

The announcement posted at the website, which publishes proposals for orders to the private sector, does not pin down the precise projects. The contractors will design and construct buildings and roads as well as maintain and renovate existing projects. They will also lay down power and water transmission systems as well as overhaul the bases.

A total of $15 million will be split between subcontractors in the first of the three years of the project.

One or the bulk of the companies to be assigned contracts are expected to have the capacity to run projects ranging between $500 000 and $5 billion a year, with an option to award more than one order.

The notice is most likely aimed at attracting prospective candidates and assessing their capabilities without any further commitments. The candidates could establish contact with the assigners by the end of August. They are required to have experience in the field over the past five years.

Before September 2008, the US armed forces earmarked $61.15 million to finance construction works at its training area in Novo Selo. Eleven of the 13 contracts were awarded to Bulgarian companies.

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Thursday, 20 August 2009

Want An Office In Sofia? - Lots Going Cheap

This is no surprise at all with the way things are developing in Bulgaria with the recession in full swing. The indications are that worse is to come so the figures might paint an even worse picture in 6 months time. Good news though if you are looking for cheap offices in Sofia though. They do say that a recession is the best time to start a new business so some people are happy.

Want An Office In Sofia? - Lots Going Cheap
The number of unoccupied offices in Sofia is growing because of a lack of demand, Bulgarian-language mass-circulation daily Trud said in a report on August 19 2009.

At the end of June 2009, about 15 per cent of offices in Bulgaria’s capital city were vacant, the newspaper said.

The same day, Trud said that Irish people were selling their real estate in Bulgaria at prices reduced by 20 to 50 per cent, while in counterpoint, another newspaper reported that a foreign financial institution was buying up flats in Sofia.

Quoting National Association of Housing Construction Companies president Plamen Belinski, Novinar said that the foreign financial institution wanted to buy at least 3000 flats.

A day earlier, it was reported that the number of real estate transactions in Sofia had fallen by 58 per cent since the beginning of 2009, while the number of mortgages had decreased by two-thirds.

On August 10, Dnevnik said that real estate deals in Bulgaria had fallen 35 per cent year-on-year, according to Registry Agency figures.

The downtrend had swept over all major cities as well as seaside resorts, with Sofia, Varna and Samokov region including the upscale winer resort of Borovets collapsing by about 50 per cent.

Brokers put the finger of blame on flagging investment activity and the credit squeeze, Dnevnik said.

The previous week, Raiffeisen Real Estate said that property deals have shed an average of 42 per cent nationwide and a formidable 58 per cent in Sofia in the first half of 2009.

24 Dead By Drowning At Black Sea Coast - So Far

I find that deaths of drowning in the sea are avoidable if warning signs are taken seriously. 18 out of the 24 who drowned where in unsupervised areas which says a lot for people taking risks in these areas. I all of the popular beach spots there are lifeguards from my experience. Accidents do happen, but reducing the risk of this is quite simple take the advice of red flags and don’t venture out! As for another story of sick Brit who hit a lifeguard, that is what everyone expects I would have encouraged him to go out and drown along with al the other Brits that come here without a shred of respect or brains for that matter!

24 Dead By Drowning At Black Sea Coast - So Far
Eighteen people have drowned on Bulgaria’s Black Sea southern coast since the start of the 2009 summer tourist season, in each case on beaches where there were no lifeguards.

This is according to a report on August 18 2009 by Bulgarian news agency Focus, quoting the Bulgarian Red Cross office in the southern Black Sea city of Bourgas.

A day earlier, the Bulgarian Red Cross in Varna said that six people had drowned in the area since the start of the season, a death rate lower than in summer 2008.

Four people drowned on August 16, including two foreigners.

Along the southern coast, beaches that have lifeguards have seen red warning flags hoisted to keep swimmers out of the water in the face of unusually high waves and strong swells.

However, on August 17 the ban led to an alleged case of assault in Bourgas where a British tourist is said to have hit a lifeguard who barred him from disobeying the red flag. Lifeguards said that previously, tourists had subjected them to verbal abuse for being prevented from entering the sea when it was dangerous for swimming.
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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

"Cancel Madonna!" That's What Bulgaria's Clergy Say

Any other day of the year perhaps Madonna performing in Sofia wouldn’t’ be a problem, but an oversight has been made in terms of Madonna’s name and the religious holiday the concert falls on. No doubt it will go ahead mainly for the reason of logistics although there may be forms of protest from many who stand by the principles that are being made here. I personally feel that Madonna is overrated, not a particularly nice person and certainly not someone who could ever live up to her ironic psuedo name.

Living up to her stage name, Madonna is doing her best to heal the schism of Christendom – shortly after Catholics in Poland protested against the singer's concert in Warsaw on August 15, Orthodox priests in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv have followed suit, asking for Madonna's gig in Sofia on August 29 to be cancelled.

The reasoning is the same – a clash with a major religious holiday. In Poland's case, it was the celebration of Virgin Mary's assumption, while Bulgaria's Eastern Orthodox will hold the feast day of St John the Baptist.

Orthodox precepts prescribe a strict fasting, with only bread and water allowed, and total abstention from any kind of lay celebrations, according to Father Emil Paralingov, as quoted by Bulgarian daily Standart.

"I cannot even call the singer with the name she chose, because we call the Virgin Mary the Madonna," Paralingov was quoted as saying.

Paralingov asked for the concert to be cancelled and said that his call was supported by other priests in Plovdiv, the daily said.

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Russian Navy In Calm Bulgarian Waters

A Russian landing ship now in Bulgarian territory is not in battle for a change after the skirmishes with Georgia in recent times. This time it is on a mission of peacekeeping in the Black Sea. Both Russia and Georgia are avoiding each other, as there is still bad feeling between the two naval parties – Perhaps just as well as another Black Sea war might well break out with the tension between them.

Russian Navy In Calm Bulgarian WatersThe Caesar Kunikov large amphibious landing ship from Russia's Black Sea Fleet arrived on Thursday to the Bulgarian port of Varna to take part in the 14th Blackseafor naval drills.

Formally established on Turkey's initiative in 2001, Blackseafor - which comprises Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Georgia and Russia - conducts search and rescue operations and environmental monitoring, and organizes goodwill visits among Black Sea countries. Its charter says Blackseafor can also be deployed for peacekeeping operations under a UN or OSCE mandate.

"The Blackseafor warships will practice, in particular, monitoring of commercial shipping, interception and pursuit of suspicious vessels...communications and tactical manoeuvring," a spokesman for the Black Sea Fleet said.

Georgian warships have not participated in the Blackseafor exercises for a number of years, and will not take part in the upcoming drills.

Russia has said it will not take part in any joint naval exercises involving Georgian warships.

Diplomatic ties were cut between Russia and Georgia after last August's war over South Ossetia, which began when Georgian forces attacked the province in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

The Caesar Kunikov is a Ropucha-I class large landing ship. The vessel was involved in August 2008 Russian-Georgian naval skirmish.

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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

More Ancient Gold Found In SE Bulgaria

And the finds of ancient treasure continue in Bulgaria. This time in SE Bulgaria near the town of Sliven. The quest for proving that Thracian Valley of the Kings in located in this area originally made by the now deceased archaeologist Georgi Kitov is now carried forward by wife Diana. It seems this is another big step forward in their case.

More Ancient Gold Found In SE Bulgaria
Bulgarian archaeologists have found a unique golden wreath in an unnamed mound near the South-East village of Krushare, Sliven District.

This has been announced Sunday by the archaeologist Diana Dimitrova, who was wife of the late great Bulgarian archaeologist, Georgi Kitov.
Until that moment, numerous objects have been found in the mound - a bronze candlestick, a glass rhyton, a huge bronze amphora, a golden bracelet, other golden objects, and glass vessels with some kind of liquid in them. The excavations continue and more find are expected to come up.

Dimitrova's team is taking part in the excavations Archaeology Summer "Sliven 2009", which began on June 9. In the initial plans of the team, there were 3-4 mounds marked. In is the third year in a row that the Sliven Municipality financially supports the "TEMP" expedition.

This was Georgi Kitov's expedition.
His goal was to prove that the Valley of the Thracian Kings lies to the big branch of the Tundzha River next to the city of Sliven.

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Monday, 17 August 2009

Boyko Borisov - Has He Got The Bull By The Horns?

Another sign that this new Bulgarian government under Boyko Borisov is taking the bull by the horns and making strong reforms left right and centre. When will this early push in their office end. When with the fully charged batteries of power wind down and grind to a halt like all the recent previous governments? Has Boris got the energy and will to keep this up? Too many questions that will be answered in time.

Boyko Borisov - Has He Got The Bull By The Horns?
Bulgaria's National Revenue Agency and the Customs Agency have been connected in a new joint information system that is supposed to help boost efficiency in fighting customs and tax crimes.

The new system was presented Thursday by the Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov at a special ceremony, at which the heads of the two institutions, Krasimir Stefanov (NRA) and newly-appointed Gen. Vanyo Tanov (CA) signed a cooperation agreement.
Djankov said official data showed Bulgaria lost about BGN 1,2 B from value-added tax abuses but the actual figure was much higher - BGN 2-3 B.
The main aim of the new information system would be to increase control on the import of high-risk goods (such as Chinese and Turkish-made retail goods, electronics, and grain), and to crack down on contraband and tax evasion schemes.

Thus, thanks to the new system, officers of the National Revenue Agency will be able to inspect the goods in question immediately after the respective customs duties have been paid, which will allow them to combat schemes for siphoning off value-added tax.

"Bulgaria has had a project for such a system for 6 years, and only the lack of political will has prevented its launch," said Djankov, who stated shortly after his party GERB won Bulgaria's July elections that the system had been delayed because of the former Interior Minister and top Socialist leader Rumen Petkov.

"The system will bring more revenue to Bulgaria, and will help make the country more transparent, and with less corruption. The inter-system connection will provide for a very swift reaction by the joint teams of the NRA and the Customs Agency that will be able to control the actual movement of goods", Djankov explained.

The new system is also expected to bring greater efficiency to the tracking down of deal with excise taxes around the country.

Shortly after his appointment about two weeks ago, Bulgaria's new Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, said the joint information system of the Customs and the National Revenue Agency would be launched within two months.

The new government seems to have decided to speed up this measure. According to Djankov, who is trying to find a way to close an emerging BGN 2,5 B deficit in the Bulgarian state budget, the creation of the new joint information system is going to lead to collecting about BGN 150-200 M more from duties and taxes.

On Wednesday, August 5, Djankov announced plans to reduce state expenditures by BGN 1,150 B by the end of 2009, and said the government was now going to focus on trying to raise more revenue in order to close the emerging budget gap.

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Macedonia And Bulgaria Feud Continues

This feud between Macedonia and Bulgaria will never end, just like all the other conflicts between ongoing conflicting neighbouring countries. There is a deeply imbedded hate that can only be glossed over with politics, but even the politics is produces comments, which amount to be snide remarks. Sometime the conflicts between two countries that have a similar lifestyle and ways are more deeply rooted than widely different cultures and religions.

Macedonia And Bulgaria Feud Continues

Macedonia and Bulgaria should not allow abuse of the citizenship and passports as an alibi for family issues such as divorce and tax frauds, which was the case involving former healthcare minister Vlado Dimov. This is the reply of the Macedonian Foreign Ministry, after the Bulgarian authorities sent a verbal protest note at the Macedonian embassy to Sofia over possible pressure exerted on innocent citizens, Macedonian Nova Makedonija newspaper writes.

A couple of days ago the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry summoned for an informative talk Mrs. Divna Trickovska, chargé d'affaires of the Macedonian Embassy to Bulgaria. The Bulgarian authorities handed to Trickovska a protest note over the case of Spaska Mitrova from Gevgelija, sentenced to three-month imprisonment over family issues.

Macedonian politicians and historians judged that Bulgaria will strain its policy towards Macedonia, especially as “the popular negationist of the Macedonian nation” Bozhidar Dimitrov was elected minister for the diaspora. Experts in Macedonian-Bulgarian relations think that Dimitrov will start making intrigues to create an impression that Macedonia chases away the Bulgarians and the Macedonian media spread hatred, which could make Bulgaria impose veto on Macedonia’s accession to the EU, Nova Makedonija says.

Image via Wikipedia
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Sunday, 16 August 2009

Bulgaria's Darik Radio - From Sound To Vision

Having recently posted don’t the Madonna English speaking affair with Darik Radio they (Darik Radio) are in the news again. From listening to watching is their transitional move right now with a TV medium planned. To be quite honest Bulgarian TV is dire. Whether the Darik push for another Bulgarian channel is in the same mode or a bit more stimulating remains to be seen. I’m not a fan of TV in any case so I don’t really care. It is after all another business medium geared around advertising and mainly advertising that is bad for your health.

Bulgaria's Darik Radio - From Sound To Vision

Bulgaria’s only national private radio station, Darik Radio, has received a registration for setting up a television channel, the Council for Electronic Media announced. The launch of the DRT TV channel has been scheduled for the end of the year at the latest.

“Darik radio will not suspend its broadcasts, the goal is to find one more channel for selling our product,” said Programme Director Konstantin Valkov. The company plans to modify its radio programme to the requirements of television broadcasting and build a brand new studio.

Meanwhile it emerged that the media watchdog has decided against slapping Darik Radio with a hefty fine for airing a recorded Madonna invitation to her fans in Bulgaria in English. Local legislation bans advertisements in foreign languages, but the Council for Electronic Media said that was not a major violation.
Image via Wikipedia

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Saturday, 15 August 2009

Golf - Too Posh For Bulgaria

Golf is a wonderful game in fact in my opinion too good for those who play it. This is what put me off plating golf in the UK, the worst kind of snobbiness and racist with it. Trying to join a golfing club in the UK being black was near on impossible when I lived there. Bulgaria as a major force in world golfing venues is doomed to fail, the sport it too posh for Bulgaria right now. If snobby golfers had a choice between Portugal or Bulgaria to play golf, where would they go? Will there ever be a time when Bulgarian can compete against the elite tourist destinations on the golf front. You can have the best golf club in the world but the location is everything with or without South African Gary Player who is in it for the money.

Golf - Too Posh For Bulgaria
Golf was considered a sport of the capitalist elite and banned in Eastern Europe under the rule of communist regimes -- but in the 20 years since the Berlin Wall has fallen there has been a renaissance of the game in the region.

With rising disposable income and an increasing interest in leisure pursuits, a growing number of courses, more television coverage and availability of EU funds, the future of the industry in Eastern Europe is bright.

Bulgaria is one country where the sport is on the up. Eight years ago there were no golf courses but --to fulfil the increasing domestic demand and as a means to attract tourists to the region -- the country could be set for a boom in golf development.

Kancho Stoychev, vice president of Bulgarian Golf, believes that despite there being only 200 registered players in a country whose population is eight million there is set to be an explosion of interest in the sport.
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Friday, 14 August 2009

Euro In Bulgaria - Out Of Tune With Two Tales

This report conflicts with another Bulgarian based report that says the Euro will be in place within the next two years. I don’t know how tow stories both seemingly from professional reporters can give completely contrasting predictions. I am sure the other report form the horse’s mouth so to speak is truer. Or are they both fabricating a guessing game.

Euro In Bulgaria - Out Of Tune With Two Tales

Romania, alongside Hungary and Bulgaria, could join the euro zone only in the second half of the next decade, while Poland could reach its targets for adopting the unique currency by 2014-2015, according to a Stanley Morgan.

The 3% gross domestic product (GDP) fiscal deficit limit "looks like a distant prospect" for all Eastern European EU members, Pasquale Diana, Economist for the London bank appreciates in the Morgan Stanley report, quoted by Bloomberg.

The EU financial stability agreement requests from all the member states to maintain the public finance to the same level and employs sanctions against those going over the three percent limit.

The budget deficit in Romania, Poland or the Czech Republic are "heading to around 6 percent of GDP this year, maybe even wider in 2010 and are unlikely to shrink to the euro limit until 2013- 2014", the report estimates.

In order to join the euro zone, each country needs to fulfil the Maastricht treaty conditions:
· the inflation rate should not be more than 1.5% higher than the medium inflation rate of the three most prosperous EU countries;
· the budget deficit should not go over 3% of the GDP;
· and the public debt is not allowed to be more tan 60% of the GDP.

On top of these, once all the above named conditions are met, the exchange rate needs to keep a 15% stable ratio against the euro for two years, without the Central Bank's interference.

Poland could join the eurozone between 2014 and 2015, “leading the pack” of central European candidates for the common currency, Morgan Stanley said in a report quoted by Bloomberg.
Image by manu contreras via Flickr
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Thursday, 13 August 2009

Potential Can Of Worms For Bulgarian Ex-Communist Collaborators

There are many ex-communists Bulgarian who shudder at the thought of old records being declassified. That is a separate issue but now is a good time to make that action as the files are being moved to their new home anyway. I have a funny feeling that many will just disappear in the move – mysteriously!

Potential Can Of Worms For Bulgarian Ex-Communist Collaborators
Bulgaria's most important legacy from the communist regime, the secret police files, will be stored at two buildings, located some twenty kilometers from the capital Sofia, near the town of Bankya.

The old barracks are undergoing repair works, monitored by the so-called Files Commission, a special panel, investigating Bulgaria's communist-era police files, which will turn them into a modern storehouse for documents.

The archives are expected to be collected from the different special services, where they are currently kept, and transported to the new location this autumn.

A total of BGN 15 M will be invested in the repair works.

Bulgaria's new Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has vowed to deal with the issue of communist-era secrets in a conclusive manner and fulfill hopes for a full and final declassification of the files prepared by the country's intelligence services before the fall of the regime.
Even before his official inauguration Borisov approached the parliament, where his party GERB holds a majority, with a request to approve the full declassification of the files as quickly as possible.
For years on end Bulgaria's politicians have been inching towards a further opening of the files, producing only unsatisfactory and politically compromised results.

A partial opening of the files under an anti-communist government in 1997 first gave over 25,000 Bulgarians access to their own dossiers, and led to the naming of around 150 state security collaborators (a parliamentary commission identified several MPs, ministers and candidates for public office as former agents).

However, in 2002 new legislation on access to information gave the power to declassify files to the successor bodies of the communist-era intelligence services. As a result, little progress was made in the direction of declassification.

More effective solutions were sought in the years afterwards and culminated in the establishment of the Files Commission in April 2007 as part of Bulgaria's long overdue efforts to finally face up to its totalitarian past and disclose who did what for the secret police under communism.

The list that the commission has prepared so far features Socialist President Georgi Parvanov, former MPs, former constitutional judges, supreme magistrates, investigators, members of parliament, prominent and well-known former and current Bulgarian journalists.

The files of the former Committee for State Security are a thorny issue in Bulgaria, especially when it comes to the past of high-ranking officials.

Bulgaria's communist-era security service is believed to have remained potent after the fall of communism with the ex-operatives closely linked to the political and business establishment.

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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Russian Leader Putin In a Panic

Vladimar Putin is in a panic, and we all knew this was coming, you could say it was in the pipeline as that is where his panic comes from the proposed gas pipeline that will halt Bulgarians being held to ransom by the Russians. This is not just a Bulgarian vested interest but other European countries also want the Russian monopoly of gas supplies to end. The only country that doesn’t want that to happen is Russia of course and that’s where Putin stands right now.

Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was in Turkey on Thursday courting support for a gas pipeline project it hopes will help maintain Russian energy dominance in European nations.

Putin was holding talks with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the two planned to sign an agreement on constructing part of the South Stream pipeline through Turkish waters in the Black Sea. The pipeline would eventually run from Russia to Bulgaria before delivering gas to consumers in the Europe Union.

The deal with Turkey would give Russia a clear path to reach Bulgaria, while avoiding Ukrainian waters. Some South Stream supporters had worried that Ukraine might not allow Russia to route the pipeline through its waters, as many European countries have sough to diminish Russian dominance in energy markets.

Ukraine was also at the center of a January price dispute that led to Russia shutting off gas supplies through Ukraine, affecting European Union countries further to the west.

Investors have proposed an alternative EU-backed Nabucco pipeline to carry Caspian and possibly Central Asian gas through Turkey to Europe.

Putin and Erdogan also planned to sign other energy deals, including on nuclear cooperation. Turkey is considering a bid by Russia's Atomstroiexport to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant.

Hours before Putin's arrival, about 20 Greenpeace members protested the plant plans. Hundreds of riot police stood guard.

Russia also was expected to commit to join the Samsun-Ceyhan project, a crude oil pipeline between the Black Sea city of Samsun and the Mediterranean commercial hub of Ceyhan, both in Turkey.

The pipeline would carry Russian oil and provide an alternative route to the congested Bosporus strait.

Recently, Bulgaria has threatened to back out of a similar project, Burgas-Alexandroupolis.
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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Bulgarian Astronomers Make Asteroid Discoveries

Another Bulgarian groups founded on the name of Vassil Levski probably Bulgaria’s most famous hero of the past. These Bulgarian astronomers are certainly very active and making inroads and making pioneering discoveries en route in the space they view above. The clear unpolluted Bulgarian skies at night give a good base in which to observe.

Asteroids, comets and moonlets visited by spac...Image by ehartwell via Flickr

Bulgarian astronomers from the Bulgarian observatory "Stellar Society - A79" found seven new asteroids during an expedition to the Yundola area, 16 kilometers northwest of the southern city of Velingrad, local media reported Wednesday.

The Minor Planet Center with the International Astronomical Union (Harvard, United States) has confirmed the asteroids and given them temporary designations.

The planetary bodies, which are in the Capricornus constellation, have diameters of between 0.7 and 1.7 kilometers and orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter for between 3.9 and 5.7 earth years.

One of the asteroids designated as 2009 OW2 belongs to a rare class of bodies called the Nysas family, situated on the fringes of the main asteroid belt near Mars.

For the last four years astronomers of the "Stellar Society - A79" observatory, headed by Filip Fratev, have found 16 asteroids and in March 2009 one of the bodies was named after Bulgarian freedom fighter Vassil Levski.

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Monday, 10 August 2009

More Historical Finds In Bulgaria

The historical finds go on in Bulgaria. There hasn’t been a time where the discoveries of Bulgaria’s rich historical past haven’t been headline news over the last few years. This perhaps accelerates into more archaeological groups making more hunts in untapped areas with the aid of hi-tech instruments. I can’t see these finds ending for decades to come.
More Historical Finds In Bulgaria
Near the village of Yabalkovo, in the Southern Dimitrovgrad municipality of Bulgaria, a team of archaeologists headed by Dr. Krasimir Leshtakov have uncovered two Byzantine coins in perfect condition. Each depicts an image of Byzantine emperor Basil II (later called the Bulgar-slayer) with his son on one side and Jesus Christ on the other. The coins were apparently never used and date to the 11th century.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Cheap Holiday In Bulgaria? If Your Not From Bulgaria It Is

I found this holiday package deal to Bulgaria by accident and it looked like a real good deal if you are on a western-based income. Of course I wouldn’t even pay half that price on my earning here. I do wonder though what the extras are, i.e. baggage, various other taxes and of course the normal rip off taxi fare from the airport to the hotel.

Cheap Holiday In Bulgaria? If Your Not From Bulgaria It IsOk, this is a combination of deals from Easyjet and Holiday Inn, but for £150 for flights and 2 nights FIVE STAR hotel, with access to Spa, Pool, Gym, Free internet etc etc for 2 people (£75 each!), I think it's a good deal! I just booked for November...!

Flights from Manchester or Gatwick to Sofia during Nov are currently £23.99 one way, £13.99 back (current offer is £10 off per flight, so this may change as the offers change). Book with no bags/ visa debit, etc. Total = 77.96 for 2 return flights. For the hotel, use the link to reach the 241 page.

This is for 'selected' hotels and most of them aren't selected, but the new 5* Holiday Inn in Sofia is one of them! Rates for weekends (Fri/Sat/Sun) = 35euro per room per night with the 241 offer! This doesn't include breakfast, but does include access to the Spa/Pool/Gym, which is 30euro per person per day on the site normally! Flights are available at this price throughout November and towards the end of October from both Manchester and Gatwick. Flights = £77.96 Hotel = £72.86 (35euro per night + tax @ 1.17 Euro to pound (nationwide Visa card exchange rate)

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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Who Knows the Truth In Alleged Mafia Murders In Bulgaria

Who know what really happened in these kinds of incidents. Clashes between the police and Mafia seem to come up every so often and one wonders whom the bad guys are. Differentiation between the police and Mafia is sometimes quite tricky and complicated even further with the justice system infiltrated into the mix. Throw the dice and see what happens is what I see here?

Who Know the Truth In Alleged Mafia Murders In Bulgaria

Bulgaria Court Upholds 82 Years in Jail for Anti Mafia Policemen Bulgaria’s Military Appellate Court has upheld the sentencing of five anti mafia policemen who allegedly killed 38-year-old Angel Dimitrov in the city of Blagoevgrad to eighty-two years in jail in total.

The verdict is not final and is subject to appeal at the Supreme Cassation Court. Major Miroslav Pissov was sentenced October 2, 2008 to 18 years behind bars, while the other four - captain Ivo Ivanov, chief-lieutenant Boris Mehandzhijski, and sergeants Georgi Kalinkov and Yanko Grahovski were sentenced to 16 years in jail.

Angel Dimitrov AKA Chorata, was allegedly killed in November of 2005 by the Blagoevgrad police during a law enforcement operation entitled “Respect.” Dimitrov’s death was first pegged as a heart attack but expertise showed that he had passed away due to blows to the head.

Dimitrov aka Chorata was a close ally of the alleged mobster Vassil Gorchev, who was publicly executed in January of 2005.

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Friday, 7 August 2009

Bulgaria The Stage For Cypress Hill Music

You can’t say that the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria doesn’t attract the top name in world music. Not my style of music but many young Bulgarian people just love the rap scene and summer by the sea should present a great occasion. At 40 leva per seat it doesn’t sound too expensive and affordable to most who want to go.

Bulgaria The Stage For Cypress Hill Music
Cypress Hill's lead-rapper B-Real will perform at Cacao Beach, part of the Sunny Beach resort at Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.

The rapper will perform together with Psycho Realm and Bulgarian bands Upsurt and Spens, a media statement from organisers Pride Records said.

The concert is B-Real's first appearance in the country and he will perform a number of Cypress Hill hits, the band with which he achieved star-status.

Along with a slew of alcohol, several juices and three boxes of cigars, B-Real had requested to be introduced to "some beautiful Bulgarian girl, possibly miss Bulgaria," organisers said.

When he was sent a photo of current miss Bulgaria, Antonia Petrova, the rap-star was obviously less than impressed. Allegedly, the answer organisers received was that "B-Real was not interested in meeting this miss Bulgaria."

Tickets for the concert on August 19 are on sale via the Eventim network, the National Palace of Culture ticket centre, the Germanos chain, along with the Orange, Usit, Pikadili, M Svyat chains and the better record stores. Tickets cost 40 leva.
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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Hottest Day for 100 Years In Veliko Turnovo

Yet another year and more record broken in terms of temperatures recorded. If it’s not the coldest on record in the winter it’s the hottest in the summer, the latter hit the mark this time. The hottest for 100 years! There ma be hotter days to come in future years with global climate inching its way up gradually. Good for grapes and watermelons though.

Hottest Day for 100 Years In Veliko Turnovo
People in the town of Veliko Tarnovo, Northern Bulgaria, sweated out their warmest August 4 for the last one hundred years with highs standing at 39.08 C.

The warm weather that swept Bulgaria last month continued on Tuesday with the most searing temperatures recorded in the whole of the Northeastern part of the country.

Temperatures will come off the boil on Tuesday evening, when spells of cold air and showers will cool down the country.

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