Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Medal To No Hero

I just hate this as it is just high level a*** licking. Medals are usually awarded to heroes this Prince who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, sits as a fat cat in the business world and hasn’t’ done a day’s work in his life is no hero. Also he is now an honorary Doctor from the Thracian University what on earth is that awarded for? Diplomacy of this kind stinks in my mind.

During an official trip to Bulgaria, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, was awarded the “Madara Horseman” Medal — the highest medal in Bulgaria, by the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov.

Prince Alwaleed was also awarded the honorary title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Thracian University.

The ceremony was held at the Military Club in the capital city of Sofia and the doctorate was presented to Prince Alwaleed by Professor Ivan Stankov, rector of Thracian University.
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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Bulgarian Eurovision Song Contest Reforms? Why?

I have put the whole of this report inches post to give the full background of the mess and controversy earlier this year. Having gone through the whole saga here it is no surprise that something had to be done, but doesn’t the Eurovision Song Contest demand ridicule? Perhaps things should be left as they are as the freaky Eurovision contest demand more antics and attention away from actual music.

Bulgarian Eurovision Song Contest Reforms? Why?
Bulgarian National Television (BNT) has decided to change the way Bulgaria's representative at the Eurovision song contest is selected after previous choices caused much public tension and distress.

As the public broadcaster, BNT has the task of selecting the Bulgarian song and artist who represent the country at Eurovision. On September 28 2009, BNT said that this year, which will be Bulgaria's sixth participation, the selection procedure will change.

The main change is the way the winner will be selected. Until now, the procedure included candidates to appear in a semifinal and a final, shown live on BNT, where viewers selected the winner by sending text messages.

Eighteen candidates appeared in the semifinal: nine were selected by a BNT committee formed by TVs journalist and prominent composers and singers. The other nine reached the semi-final following a text vote. Of these 18 songs, nine progressed to the final, picked by a jury different from the semi-final one. In the final, TV viewers had the last word by sending text messages.

Now, BNT decided to change the procedure by eliminating the semi-final stage. The choice of the Bulgarian representative will be made after BNT surveys 51 "proven professionals from the music industry, including composers, journalists and directors," BNT said.

The winner will be asked to perform five songs, commissioned and produced by BNT, after which BNT viewers will select the song that will represent Bulgaria at 2010 Eurovision contest in Norway.

The change follows the scandal caused by the choice of Krassimir Avramov, who won the contest to represent Bulgaria at the Eurovision final in Moscow in May 2009, where he promptly exited at the semi-final stage.

The choice of Avramov and his song Illusion caused an uproar and led to people asking for Avramov to be disqualified.

As in previous years, conspiracy theories started suggesting that the voting had been rigged and that Avramov had hardly looked surprised when he heard his name announced as the winner.

The big gap between the winner and the second-ranked singer was one of the reasons why many questioned the objectivity of the voting procedure. Avramov won 55.52 per cent of the vote, which was done through text messages, with runner-up Poli Genova getting 11.74 per cent.

Many popular Bulgarian musicians also expressed their frustration at the choice of Avramov, given his live performance on February 21 2009. Some asked him to step down rather than bring shame to Bulgaria in Moscow. An initiative committee supporting Genova asked BNT to send her instead of Avramov who, they said, had a "non-traditional sexual character".

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Monday, 28 September 2009

Lying About Incomes In Bulgaria

Posh Cars

Lying about incomes for lower or no tax is not restricted to footballers in Bulgaria. Perhaps they were picked because they are high profile. It is common practice to announce on accounts of the minimum wage but actually get a much higher cash in hand payment. It will take a decade or two to get this accounted for with computerised payment made directly into Bulgarian workers’ banks (many don’t have bank accounts yet here). Even with this in place there will always be cash in the hand on top of the pay on the database. If they can get away with it they will do it, after all backhanders is how the world goes around isn’t it? Just ask any politician worldwide, but of course they’ll lie and say no. I do think though that taking expensive cars away from footballers is a bit of a feeble antidote and just an idea to provoke public awareness and media interest – Here is the evidence, as I’m writing about it.

Many of Bulgarian football stars may have to part with their expensive vehicles as the government discovered that the vast majority of them declare impossibly low incomes. An audit at football clubs and the Bulgarian Football Union disclosed a shocking practice of players being paid 200-300 levs (1 euro = 1.95 levs) on paper and 10-20,000 levs under the counter. The information came from National Revenue Agency Director Krassimir Stefanov, who yesterday approached the Prosecutor's Office with findings that Bulgaria's major football clubs missed to pay 8 million levs of taxes. PFC CSKA Sofia is the black list leader with 2 million levs in liabilities to NRA.

"We have agreed to pay our taxes in installments," CSKA Supervisory Board Chair Dimitar Borissov explained.

It is customary among football clubs not to disclose annexes to player contracts containing information about the actual payment the players get. On the other hand there seems to be a general "forgetfulness" among footballers when it comes to declaring their actual income. The bad news is that now all of them will have to explain to the tax authorities where the money for the posh cars they drive come from?

Image by Purrrpl_Haze via Flickr

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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Hands Up For Crime In Bulgaria From Mr Pistole

I find this hilarious that a ‘Mr Pistole’ represents the FBI. This aside it sounds like this could be just a front for the world to see Bulgaria doing something active to counter organised crime. Most Bulgarians know it will never be quashed as the top politicians and police are infiltrated with mafia-based activities. Mr Pistole must realise that successfully fighting crime in Bulgaria is a long shot.

Hands Up For Crime In Bulgaria From Mr Pistole

Bulgarian policemen will train with the FBI and different police academies across the USA and attend courses to polish up their professional skills. This was agreed following talks between Interior Minster Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who headed a Bulgarian delegation to Washington DC, and Mr. John S. Pistole, Deputy Director of FBI.

The FBI exerts commended Bulgaria’s law enforcers for their achievements in combating cyber crimes and money counterfeiting.

Bulgaria is a reliable and predictable partner,” the FBI representatives said during the talks with their Bulgarian colleagues, as quoted by the Press Office of the Interior Ministry.

The American investigators shared valuable experience in coping with organized crime, bank frauds and corruption with their Bulgarian Colleagues.

“The fact that you came to the USA to exchange experience so soon after the new government took office is a good sign for Sofia’s resolution to fight crime,” Mr. Pistole said during talks with Minister Tsvetanov.

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Saturday, 26 September 2009

Money Grabbing Insurers

This makes my blood boil! Insurers are squeezing blood out of a stone and for what, more profit from the bloodsucking profession. They are making money with rates as they are right now otherwise they wouldn’t be in business. Many Bulgarians cant’ even afford the 80 Euros a month. Don't they know that is insurance is brought in line to other EU countires Bulagria has the poorest pay and pension! If it is increased they will lose more business as many people will just get rid of their car and go back to travelling by donkey and cart (seriously!)

Money Grabbing Insurers
The price of motor vehicle third-party liability insurance in Bulgaria had to be increased to 300 euro, Orlin Penev, chairperson of the Association of Bulgarian Insurers told private broadcaster Darik Radio on September 25 2009.

The current average price of the insurance, ranging from 80 euro to 120 euro, was far lower than the levels charged in other European Union countries, which put Bulgarian insurance companies at a disadvantage, since Bulgarian third-part liability insurances are valid for the whole of the EU.

"When the insurance risk goes down, then the insurance policy price goes down as well. However, what we have in Bulgaria is an insurance risk that goes up. We have all witnessed the numerous cases of people paying bribes for their driving licenses and the number of road accidents happening on the roads in Bulgaria," Penev told Darik.

On another level, increased competition on Bulgaria's insurance market has also helped to prevent price increases. Bulgarian-language Dnevnik daily quoted Emil Atanassov, a member of the Financial Supervision Commission, as saying that the fight for customers has made insurance companies offer low prices of their products.

These low prices could prove costly for the system and cause financial turmoil, as insurers tend to cover the losses they traditionally register from the sale of third-party liability insurance by raising the prices of other products.

According to Atanassov, about 600 000 motor vehicles did not have the obligatory third-party liability insurances. The figure is about 20 per cent of all registered vehicles in Bulgaria, while the EU requirement was for no more than 10 per cent.

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Friday, 25 September 2009

Bulgaria - A Turn Off For Foreigners?

Compared to more developed countries such as Spain and France Bulgaria is a rough and wild country and even at rock bottom prices for property, many seeking a new life abroad if they have the money would go for the up market countries. I would say that 90% if not more only choose Bulgaria because it’s cheap. I myself certainly wouldn’t have chose to be living in Bulgaria, but in France if it was affordable at the time.

Bulgaria - A Turn Off For Foreigners?

British investors are turning their backs on countries like Bulgaria and choosing more traditional countries to purchase property, according to the latest figures.

Data of the company Conti show that 31 per cent of all searches on properties abroad by British nationals have been in France, followed by Spain with 22 per cent.

Demand for properties in France and Spain surged last year as investors started to shun the so-called emerging markets in favour of more familiar destinations in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

General inquiries about properties in France and Spain have already reached 53 per cent of the total volume, while Turkey ranks third in the rankings by 13 per cent. Portugal and Italy also rank higher in the ranking, while interest in Bulgaria and the United States decreased significantly compared to 2008.

Source: propertywisebulgaria.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Health Insurance Not Being Paid By Bulgarians

I find this threat quite bizarre that you can’t buy property without proof of health insurance. Health insurance will of course become automatic when wages are paid into bank accounts after deductions are made. This will take quite a time as most workers are paid cash in hand and left to their own devices to pay the health insurance. This is why so much of it is not paid. In the meantime employers should be responsible for paying it before paying employees, this would on paper ensure payment. This is of course assuming employers are trustworthy enough to do this - Many aren’t!

Health Insurance Not Being Paid By Bulgarians
A Bulgarian citizen, who failed to pay his last six monthly health insurance contributions, might soon not be able to travel abroad.
The drastic measure was announced Sunday by Health Minister, Bozhidar Nanev, who said the move was needed because the country loses annually about BGN 1 B from unpaid health insurance.
In addition, the Health Ministry will propose that during the purchase of real estate property, a proof for paid health insurance to be required in order to conclude the deal.
Currently 1,2 M Bulgarians do not have health insurance, the Minister pointed out.
The other measures include restructuring of the management of the National Health Insurance Fund and its reduction, establishment of a special entity to control and sanction violations in the health care system and eliminating the mandate for the Regional Health Insurance Funds to sign contracts with each health care provider.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sofia - An Individual's Perspective Via Video Clip

There are many different point so view of Sofia, it is a love or hate scenario. If you love city life and the hustle and bustle of life then the chances are you'll like Sofia. To me it is another city, which unfortunately is more run down than most. I found a video extract from someone who obviously loves the city. It is from a collection of video views of different towns and cities across the world. What do you think? I still have the same opinion after seeing this.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Repeated Bulgarian Lottery Numbers Confirmed Coincidence

I posted on this last week and was amazed at the odds of 4.2 million to one of this happening. Well that is exactly that it was, a coincident. The gasp is still there by many people in Bulgaria and is the talking point around many rakia filled Bulgarians each evening. Some even still put the same numbers on their cards that have already won twice thinking that things come in threes. Mmmm, I still think it the lottery is an idiot tax!

Repeated Bulgarian Lottery Numbers Confirmed Coincidence

Investigators said Thursday they found no wrongdoing at Bulgaria's national lottery after the same winning numbers were picked in two consecutive draws.

Sport Minister Svilen Neikov ordered the probe Wednesday after the numbers 4, 15, 23, 24, 35 and 42 were selected by a machine — in a different order — on consecutive draws televised live on Sept. 6 and Sept. 10.

The commission appointed by Neikov's ministry to investigate said Thursday it found no evidence of fraud or manipulation.

Lottery officials called the repeat draws a freak coincidence — the odds are 1 in 4 million, according to mathematicians — and insisted it was impossible to tamper with the lottery machine.

No one won the Sept. 6 draw, but 18 people guessed correctly in the Sept. 10 contest and each received 10,164 leva ($7,585, euro5,150) in prize money.

Image via Wikipedia
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Monday, 21 September 2009

Many Empoyers Are Villians In Bulgaria

I know a few Bulgarians who worked for companies on The Black Seas Coast last year and this year and they didn’t get paid at the end of their contract. There is more of this that goes on that is being admitted here. Employers are villains in the main especially for seasonal work at the costal resorts. This cannot be accounted for in the check and backdated pay made in this report unfortunately.

Many Empoyers Are Villians In Bulgaria
Bulgarian employers have paid upwards of 1.4 million leva in delayed paychecks after probes by the General Labour Inspectorate (GLI) and the National Revenue Agency (NRA) in the past two weeks, said Labour and Social Policy Minister Totyu Mladenov.

The bulk of the violations were detected in the transport, construction, hotel, restaurant and textile industries, he added. Employment Agency head Rositsa Steliyanova said almost 10 000 unemployed people have been struck out from unemployment offices for having worked in the shadow economy or refusing to participate in training while unemployed.

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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Poor Bulgaria - And It's Getting Worse

All this talk about a few leva here and there gets away from the fact that the average Bulgarian is the poorest in Europe and that takes into account wages and pensions. They live on a shoestring and this winter it will get worse. There is no end in sight of poverty in Bulgaria but we never complain, we just get on with things the best we can.

Poor Bulgaria - And It's Getting Worse
After they tightened their belts in the winter months, Bulgarian consumers saw incomes glide up between April and July but this was coupled with heftier expenses, showed figures of the statistical office.

The National Statistical Institute (NSI) estimated that the median income per household member amounted to 321.85 leva in July, which represents a 16 leva increase from the previous month. But the rise was offset by an identical increase in expenses, which soared to 289 leva.

Compared with the year-ago period, salaries surged by 10.5 per cent thanks to fatter pay packages in the public sector and a rise in pensions.

Extending a trend that started at the beginning of 2009, wages and pensions sliced off a larger share of 78.8 per cent from the household budget. At the same time, the income of the self-employed suffered a steeper decline.

More than half of household spending went to food, non-alcoholic beverages, electricity and water bills and fuels. Families slashed further costs for transport and communication as well as clothing and shoes but spent more on alcohol and cigarettes.

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Saturday, 19 September 2009

Textiles Industry Shows Signs Of Recovery? Maybe!

Who says that Bulgaria is becoming a material based society? I do with all the advertising going on here. A different kind of material world is looking up form the textiles industry according to this report. Could this be the end of the recession in sight, r is it another report designed to instil confidence in business?

Textiles Industry Shows Signs Of Recovery? Maybe!
The Bulgarian textile sector is likely to claw its way out of crisis as signs of recovery emerge, the head of the Bulgarian association of the producers and importers of textiles, Valeria Zhekova, said during the opening ceremony of the Balkan textile exhibition Bgate, Dnevnik daily reported on September 17 2009.

Textile production, which employs more than 140 000 workers, is a key element of the Bulgarian economy.

"The current decline in production, demand, and exports is likely to dissipate soon. The transition from autumn to winter will be a key factor for the industry, but the highest anticipation and hopes are for the upcoming spring-summer season in 2010," Zhekova said, quoted by Dnevnik.

During the seventh annual Bgate exhibition, she said that textile commerce in Bulgaria accounted for a 21 per cent dip in exports in 2009.

Experts believe that local producers' potential to meet substantial orders in a short period of time while maintaining high standards, quality and service is the industry's main asset.

However, they stress that perpetual uncertainty among producers in the sector could harm the industry's future development. In particular, the lack of firm state support for local producers is cited as a pivotal factor.

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Friday, 18 September 2009

Car Rally Planned for 2010 In Bulgaria

This is a good idea and the only way to get over the accident that happened earlier this year. Accidents do happen and with sports such as these accidents are more than likely to be fatal as was the case. Let’s hope that the event is it does take place is free from such accidents.

Car Rally Planned for 2010 In Bulgaria
Bulgaria will host a round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Georgi Yanakiev, head of the Bulgarian Motor Sport Federation, told television station bTV on September 16 2009.

This became possible after Rally Bulgaria, which so far has been a round of the European Championship, was included on the WRC calendar as one of the 13 races it will organise in 2010.

The news was first announced in May 2009, but it lacked the official approval of world motor sport governing body FIA, which has now been given, according to Yanakiev.

He said that organisers would count on the help of Bulgaria authorities as the race is expected to attract a number of foreign visitors.

Rally Bulgaria is scheduled to start on July 11 2010 from Borovets mountain resort in Rila mountain, where it has been held in the past couple of years. Next year’s route, however, might have to be changed to meet the requirements set by the WRC.

The 2009 40th Rally Bulgaria was marked by an accident in which two people died.

Organisers suspended the race on its second day on July 19 2009 after an incident in which navigator Italian Flavio Guglielmini died and Swiss driver Brian Lavio was seriously injured.

The accident happened when the car in which Guglielmini and Lavio were traveling left the track, said to be in a new section of the route, and hit a rock.

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Thursday, 17 September 2009

Repeated Winning Numbers In Bulgarian Lottery

I find this quite freaky – The chances of this happening being 4.2 million to one! I find this quite funny as some people use the same number each week therefore if they won in the first instance they would win again with the same number. Surely if you win with one set of number you’d change the number for the following week perhaps they are kicking themselves for doing so. At the end of the day I still call the lottery the idiot tax in the UK. At least the money made it goes to sport a far better causes that gay black single parent father ballet dancers in the UK!

Repeated Winning Numbers In Bulgarian Lottery

BULGARIA'S Sports Minister Svilen Neykov has ordered a special review of the national lottery after the same numbers were picked in straight draws.

The numbers 4, 15, 23, 24, 35, and 42 were drawn on September 6 and again on September 10 in consecutive lottery rounds. The probability of this happening is 4.2 million to one, mathematician Mihail Konstantinov commented, although he added that such coincidences can happen. Three of the numbers also appeared in the September 13 draw.

Lottery deputy chairwoman Maria Yaneva excluded any possibility of manipulation, telling the 24 Hours newspaper that the numbers were drawn in different order each time.
The draws take place in the presence of a special lottery committee that guarantees no manipulation, and it is broadcast live on television, she added.

An unprecedented 18 people guessed all six numbers when they were drawn the second time on September 10. The winners will each get 10,164 leva ($8800).
In the first draw on September 6, nobody got all six numbers right.

The last major jackpot in the Bulgarian lottery of 3.8 million leva ($3.3 million) fell in January 2008.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Hopefully Not Krafting More Obesity In Bulgaria

So, Kraft Foods are to open their new headquarters in Bulgaria – Great news for Bulgaria and the Bulgarian economy, it certainly needs it right now. I just hope that all the junk food they produce is exported. There are enough obese kids in Bulgaria to sink a ship with the fast food boom here. It is a fact that Kraft foods are healthy for the bank balance but that it.

Hopefully Not Krafting More Obesity In Bulgaria

Kraft Foods has poured 40 million leva into the Svoge chocolate factory, north of Sofia, making Bulgaria a "regional production centre", a company press statement from the Bulgarian branch has said, quoted by Dnevnik daily on September 15 2009.

Kraft Foods was initially undecided whether to make the investment in Bulgaria or Romania, but in the end the management agreed that Bulgaria provides superior conditions because the Romanian Brasov factory is in the town centre and therefore gridlocked, making it virtually impossible to expand.

The Svoge factory has received the financial package earmarked for the purchasing and installation of new technological production lines, of which two are already in operation, while the third installation will be activated by the end of December.

Furthermore, in 2008, Kraft Food invested 1.6 million leva for new technology in the company's Kostinbrod factory.

The investment has been achieved, according to the statement, exclusively through the company's own capital. Kraft Foods Bulgaria envisages increase of exports for Greece, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Hungary. With new production lines, the factory will reach a capacity of 100 000 chocolate units a day.

Meanwhile, Kraft Foods Bulgaria have announced a drop in sales for the first half of 2009, as opposed to corresponding figures for 2008. The company envisages that the current trend, in light of the economic crisis, is unlikely to improve by the end of December 2009.

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Bronze For Bulgaria In Volleyball European Championships

This was well deserved. I watched the match and Bulgaria were on top of their game to beat the Russians convincingly. The support they got was tremendous; there were some very happy followers who went over to support them. Further accolades awat them in Sofia when they arrive back home.

An image from an international match between I...

Bulgaria men’s volleyball team won the bronze at the European Championship in Izmir after defeating the Russian team 3-0 games. This is the fifth medal for Bulgaria from a European championship. The last time when Bulgaria volleyball team won European bronze was at the finals in Berlin twenty-six years ago. Our volleyball team is coming back today at noon and will be welcomed in front of Sofia National Palace of Culture.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Loads Of UFOs In Bulgaria

Having personally witnessed many occasions where UFO have been seen in a area of Bulgaria where many reports have already been made by other locals including encounters of the third kind I do not find this surprising. There is definitely something going on that we do not know about or have any control over lets hope they their intelligence is far better than stupid self-destructing earthling.

Loads Of UFOs In Bulgaria
Dozens of times Bulgarian Military Air Forces have chased UFO-s, says ret. colonel Gancho Kamenarski. According to him, some cases may be interpreted as atmospheric conditions, balloons for meteorological purposes or virtual airborne target simulation. Others, however, remain a mystery. Especially for the visitors of UFO News Agency’s site, colonel Kamenarski shares information of the cases he has witnessed himself while serving at the command post of 1-st division of the Air Defense in Bojurishte in 1990-1995.

Colonel Kamenarski was born in 1946 in Kazanlak. In 1969 he graduates from the High National School of Military Air Cervices Georgi Benkovski. Until 1984, he serves as a military pilot in Bezmer and Uzundjovo. In the period 1974-1977 he studies at Georgi Benkovski Military Academy in Sofia. In 1984, he dedicates himself to military journalism and acts as second editor in chief of the Guard of the fatherland’s sky newspaper and the Wings magazine until 1988. From 1988 through 1990 he is second commander of a communication battalion. In 1995 he is appointed adviser on the press at the Bulgarian Army’s General Headquarters, where he works until his retirement in 1999.

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Sunday, 13 September 2009

Bulgarian President Sends Consolences To Turkey

Having seen the rainfall we have had in Yambol for two days, Istanbul is only 150 kilometres away and got the worst of the floods. It is good that the Bulgarian President takes a public call of expressing Bulgarian regret and condolences with many fatalities reported and probably more to come. |The fact that a Bulgarian was one of the victims I don’t think had any sway in the statement.

Bulgarian President Sends Consolences To Turkey
President Georgi Purvanov has expressed his deep regret on behalf of the Bulgarian nation about the devastating floods in Turkey. He has also sent his Turkish counterpart, president Abdullah Gul, a message of condolence, a government press release has announced.

Purvanov stressed "his heartfelt regret for the loss experienced by the Turkish people affected by the disaster" and expressed his support on behalf of the Bulgarian people. He said that Bulgaria sincerely hopes that the situation in Turkey will be normalized as soon as possible.

Flash floods roared across a major highway and commercial district in Istanbul on September 10, killing dozens of people and forcing scores of people to scramble onto the roofs of cars and trucks to avoid raging torrents.

The sudden deadly floods were caused by relentless heavy rain that is expected to continue for several more days. Authorities report that such floods have not occurred for 80 years. Water levels rose up to 1.8m high in the city's Ikitelli district, cutting off the route to Istanbul's main airport and the highway to Greece and Bulgaria on the European side of the sprawling city.

According to reports from several media outlets, the Turkish government has pointed fingers at illegal construction in riverbeds in Istanbul for the heavy damage and casualties. "There is huge damage to infrastructure," said procurement minister Mustafa Demir. "We need to be more careful when designing infrastructure and cities," he told the Turkish Dogan news agency.

Police units have been deployed in the worst affected areas to prevent looting in factories and shops affected by the floods.

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Saturday, 12 September 2009

Macodonian Heroes Rewarded By Bulgaria

If is wasn’t for the Macedonians who came quickly to the rescue of the sunken boat on Lake of Ohrid, the figure of 15 dead Bulgarians would have been much higher. In effect they saved the lives of many Bulgarians and that why the award is being made. A good idea and well deserved too.

Macodonian Heroes Rewarded By Bulgaria
All Macedonian citizens who helped rescue Bulgarian passengers from the Ilinden boat, which sunk in the Lake of Ohrid on September 5 2009, will receive Order For Civil Merit 1st class, the Presidency said on September 10.

The order is awarded to people of great distinction who have contributed to the development and consolidation of civil society.

The idea came from Bozhidar Dimitrov, Minister without portfolio responsible for Bulgarians abroad. The full list is yet to be compiled.

The sinking of the boat, which had 55 Bulgarian passengers on board, led to 15 deaths through drowning.

The boat sank over the course of just 10 minutes but, thanks to the courageous efforts of nearby boats and Macedonian civilians on the shore, 40 people were saved.

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Friday, 11 September 2009

Michael Shileds Release Makes Bulgarians Very Angry

This is one of the reasons I abandoned England who continue encourage criminals to practice their activities knowing full well that they will get away with it. I have made my views on a previous post about Michael Shields. Shields should have been kept in Bulgaria to serve his sentence and go though the humility it would have entailed. Not only would this have been deserved but a lesson other British idiots who still think they rule the world and are untouchable. Jack Straw is a buffoon and he should have the title “Injustice Secretary!”

Michael Shileds Release Makes Bulgarians Very Angry
A senior Bulgarian politician has condemned the royal pardon given to Michael Shields, the Liverpool fan convicted of attacking a barman.

Former deputy prime minister Ivailo Kalfin said he was very shocked by the decision and said it "gave a very bad signal to football hooliganism".

Martin Georgiev, who was left with a fractured skull after the 2005 attack in Bulgaria, also queried the decision.

Mr Shields, of Liverpool, was pardoned by Justice Secretary Jack Straw.
Mr Kalfin, who is now an MEP, said: "I feel that, over the past few days, political considerations took over the need for justice and I am really disturbed with it.

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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Bulgarian Finance Minister Makes Cuts In Staff

The old Bulgarian civil service system is perhaps now coming to an end. This is where perhaps there were six people employed assigned to particular tasks which could be done by one person, even without having to multi-task. The wastage of manpower has been bordering on the ridicules, even in the private sector. Perhaps EU influence is showing here with substantial savings that will be made from reducing unnecessary staff. I can’t see any reduction in taxes as a result though – This of course is normal tight fisted financial politics.

Bulgarian Finance Minister Makes Cuts In Staff
In line with its restructuring plans, the Bulgarian Finance Ministry will make redundant more than 90 employees, or 14% of its total headcount of over 700. The lay-offs will be implemented at two groups starting with 10% by October 1 and another 4% by the end of the year. The number of civil servants reporting directly to the minister will be lowered by 13 to eight.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Bulgaria The Least Competitive In The Industrialised World

The World Economic Forum paints a bleak industrial competitive picture of Bulgaria. If you look at the reasons behind this I can see all this on ground level here in Bulgaria. The main culprit is lack of management skills and lack of business prowess. Many businesses in Bulgaria are stuck in first gear and quite happy to stay there. The workforce is tuned into ‘Leka rabota’ (easy work) where cigarette smoking takes as much time if not more that actually being on task with work. I can’t see this changing even with the banning of smoking in the workplace.

Bulgaria The Least Competitive In The Industrialised World
Bulgaria has maintained 76th place in global rankings, making it the least competitive country in the industrialised developed world, according to the latest report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), released on September 8 2009.

Bulgaria comes last among all European Union member states. Even Romania, which used to be in 75th place has now progressed up to 64th, whereas Greece is down to 71st position. The Czech Republic showed the best performance out of all new EU member states, in 31st place.

The reasons why the country trails so far behind other EU states are legion: Inadequate top management, corruption, shoddy infrastructure, low productivity, low grade innovation, poor financial markets, lack of business sophistication and inept and corrupt government institutions are the main explanations offered by the report.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Madonna Indirectly Blamed For Boating Disaster

What have Madonna and the Bulgarian boating disaster that killed 15 Bulgarians got in common? It was indirectly Madonna’s fault as she encouraged Bulgarians for singing and dancing on the concert day that coincided with the supposed national mourning of St. John the Baptist on the 29th August. Whether you believe this to be fate or not Madonna is now officially implicated in this disaster and one wonders whether she will be welcome in Bulgaria ever again.

Madonna Indirectly Blamed For Boating Disaster

The Plovdiv Metropolitan, Nikolay, served Sunday a mass for the 15 Bulgarians, who drowned Saturday in Lake Ohrid in Macedonia.

The 15 were on the tour boat "Ilinden" in their way to the St. Naum monastery, when it went underwater. All passengers on the ship were Bulgarians, 40 survived the accident.

The Council of Ministers declared Monday, September 7, a National Day of Mourning and canceled all Sunday events dedicated to the 124th anniversary of the unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia. The official celebration is traditionally held in the city of Plovdiv because the unification was declared there in 1885.

The only events that took place all over Bulgaria Sunday were the services for those who died in Lake Ohrid the previous day.

Over 200 people gathered Sunday morning at the Plovdiv Cathedral. According to its sexton, the cathedral had never before seen such day of mourning. Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov, and the Speaker of the Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, attended the memorial service for the victims.

During the mass, the Plovdiv Metropolitan, Nikolay, hinted that God had punished Bulgarians over their many sins including celebrating and partying too much on August 29 (the day of the concert of pop diva Madonna in Sofia) instead of mourning for St. John the Baptist.

The Eastern Orthodox believe that John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, thus serving as a bridge between that period of revelation and the New Covenant. They also teach that, following his death, John descended into Hades and there once more preached that Jesus the Messiah was coming, so he was the Forerunner of Christ in death as he had been in life.

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, August 29 is the day of the beheading of St. John the Forerunner.

A solemn laying of the wreath at the "Unification Monument" with military honors, but without fireworks, will still be held in Plovdiv Sunday evening. Tsetska Tsacheva and the Plovdiv Mayor, Slavcho Atanasov, will attend the ceremony.

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Monday, 7 September 2009

15 Bulgarian Dead As Boat Sinks In Macedonia

Another tragedy a few months after the coach crash in Yambol with 15 Bulgarians lost as a result. A weekend of mourning and beyond begins with this accident and words can’t really capture the feeling in Bulgaria right now as the news is filled with the tragic story. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the dead in this close knit community of Bulgaria.

15 Bulgarian Dead As Boat Sinks In Macedonia
Bulgaria on Sunday mourned its 15 citizens who drowned when their pleasure boat sank on Macedonia's popular Lake Ohrid, gathering at churches around the country and cancelling a national holiday.

A total of 55 Bulgarian tourists were on board the Ilinden when it suddenly veered and sank in the waters of the deepest lake in the region and Macedonia's most popular tourist site on Saturday.

Sofia cancelled Unification Day, a holiday usually marked by a grand army review in the central city of Plovdiv, with President Georgy Parvanov instead attending a mass for the victims in the city's cathedral.

Masses were also held in other churches across the country.

Monday has been officially declared a day of mourning in Bulgaria, while Macedonia called a day of mourning on Sunday.

A team of Bulgarian pathologists arrived in Skopje on Sunday to assist their Macedonian colleagues in the autopsies of the victims and speed up the return of the bodies.

A Macedonian investigating magistrate has ordered the boat's captain and owner, Sotir Filevski, 23, held for 30 days pending an investigation into the tragedy.

Speaking to journalists on Sunday, Parvanov said that Macedonian investigators were investigating the possibility that the breaking of a metal cable linking the helm to the propeller caused the accident.

He added that overloading of the ageing boat, made in 1924, was another possible cause as the ship was carrying 10 more people than its capacity.

Fifteen Bulgarians, including a child, drowned in the accident involving what Bulgarian newspapers slammed on Sunday as "a coffin boat."

The 24 Hours newspaper praised the swift rescue efforts of Macedonian campers on the lake and the Macedonian authorities "who prevented a bigger tragedy."

Thirty-eight of the 40 Bulgarian survivors returned to Bulgaria on a government plane late Saturday and eight of them were hospitalised with minor injuries, Health Minister Bozhidar Nanev said.

A Bulgarian army plane was on standby to immediately leave for Macedonia and fly the bodies of the victims home, once the Macedonian authorities release them for burial.

All those who drowned in the accident came from the same region, east of Sofia. A list of their names released by the government showed that whole families had perished.

Eight of the 15 victims were from the central village of Anton, where authorities declared three days of mourning starting Sunday.

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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Bulgaria's Bertbatov's Potential Miracles Too Late

Still on a football theme, it seems that Bulgaria are relying heavily on the Mr Berbartov to perform miracles on the pitch to send them to the world cup finals. Unfortunately he should have performed these miracles earlier in the qualifying rounds. To date he has failed to live up to expectations both Internationally and in the UK with Manchester United. However Berbartov performs the results of other sides with decide Bulgaria’s outcome.

Bulgaria's Bertbatov's Potential Miracles Too Late
With four rounds of matches to play before the end of European Zone qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Bulgaria no longer have their fate in their own hands. If the eastern Europeans wish to reach next year's global showpiece, they must hope their rivals slip up while accruing maximum points themselves. That looks nothing short of a minor miracle, yet anything is possible when you can call on a player like Dimitar Berbatov, a striker with the ability to score a goal out of nothing and the coolest of heads in high-pressure situations.

Currently back in third spot in Group 8, six points behind Italy and five short of Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria have played one game fewer than their rivals. Even so, coach Stanimir Stoilov needs his captain in inspirational mood for the upcoming clashes against Montenegro and Italy, as well as October's encounters with Cyprus and Georgia. Only then can Bulgaria harbour hopes a qualifying coup on a par with Emil Kostadinov's dramatic last-minute winner in France in November 1993 which earned a place at USA 1994.

At the age of 28, Berbatov has already written his name in the annals of his country's footballing history. Forty-one goals in 67 national-team appearances have taken the Manchester United man past the legendary Hristo Stoichkov (37 goals) and just six short of all-time top scorer Hristo Bonev (47).


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Saturday, 5 September 2009

Madonna Concert Ruined Home Advantage For Bulgarian Football

I find this rather funny, as it seems that most who attended the concert had a field day. Why they didn’t put a hard board covering over the pitch like other big concert venues? Even with hindsight of the previous concert no lessons were learnt. Madonna now may be the scapegoat for Bulgaria’s football team failing to qualify for the world cup as this is their familiar home ground and home advantage might not transpire.

Madonna Concert Ruined Home Advantage For Bulgarian Football

The Vassil Levski stadium in Sofia has apparently been left in ruins following the Madonna concert, according to the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) and its sporting director and former Levski player and head coach Nassko Sirakov.

The news comes just two days before the cup qualifier against Montenegro on September 5.

"The state of the pitch is appalling," he said, quoted by the website of the BFU. "Do we have a pitch for the match at all?"

Some commentators have found it strange that the authorities did not realise what would happen to the turf following a major event like the Madonna concert. Metallica performed in Sofia on July 25 2009. The event attracted 50 000 hard core heavy metal fans and surely the crowd inflicted a lot more damage to the turf than the Madonna faithful.

Yet it would appear that the Bulgarian Football Union and the Vassil Levski administration failed to take into consideration the lessons from the Metallica show, knowing how long it would take for the grass to recuperate and for the field to be restored to the standard required for such an important encounter.

"They've been aware of this Montenegro qualifier for one-and-a-half years and now the stadium administrators are complaining about the short time they have to repair the pitch." Sirakov was quoted as saying on the BFU website.

The barrage of criticism didn't end there. Bulgaria coach Stanimir Stoilov also accused the stadium officials of allowing last Saturday's Madonna's concert to be held on the national ground only days before the world cup qualifier

"These people have no idea how to take care of the pitch, the turf is utterly destroyed," Stoilov said

"There is no grass left, we will be suing," he said.

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