Thursday, 31 December 2009

More Bulgarian Troops To Afghanistan

More Bulgarian Troops To Afghanistan

I have a Bulgarian friend who is currently serving in Afghanistan; he only does it for the money as his politics is against being there. Defending the world by trying to force so called evil elements in far-flung foreign and not very well understood countries has been debated to the tenth degree. There seems to be no end to this, so how long with this bottomless pit of wasted lives and resource go on for and will NATO cut their losses at some point?

Bulgaria says it will send 30 more troops to the NATO-led force in Afghanistan early next year.
The government said in a statement Wednesday the troops will join a Bulgarian unit guarding the airport in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.
Bulgaria currently has 497 troops in Afghanistan, with 270 of them guarding the Kandahar airport, which has been plagued by insurgent attacks.
Defense Minister Nikolai Mladenov says that another 70 troops could be sent to Kandahar by the end of 2010.
Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and has also provided troops for international operations in Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia.
Image by The U.S. Army via Flickr
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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bulgarian Pensioners Shout On Deaf Politician Ears

Hitting their heads against a brick wall is the verdict I think on this protest! That aside, it just shows that the government view the minimum wage as the level on which a basic standard of living is calculated. This means of course that pensioners are living at around 50% less than a basic standard of living! This means nothing to politicians who will be getting private pensions that are up and away on another level of living. A politician who cares about pensioners in Bulgaria is a rare sight indeed.

Bulgarian Pensioners Shout On Deaf Politician Ears
About 50 pensioners rallied in protest against poverty in front of the Council of Ministers building in Sofia on Tuesday.
The retirees especially protested against the meager Christmas bonuses of only BGN 25 that only those of them with monthly pensions of under BGN 200 will get in January 2010.
“We are fed up with the poverty, we want European pensions,” the banners of the pensioners read.
The protesters were mostly representatives of pensioners’ organizations expressing their discontent with the social policies of the government of Boyko Borisov. They demand that the minimum monthly retirement pension in Bulgaria, which is BGN 136, be made equal to the minimum monthly wage of BGN 240.
Another one of the protesters’ grievances included the increase of the price of monthly tickets for the public transport in Sofia from BGN 6 to BGN 8.
Meanwhile, Labor Minister Totyu Mladenov declared the Cabinet was doing everything possible in order to improve the social situation in the country. In his words, 11,3% of the GDP will be allocated for retirement pensions in 2010. A total of 43% of the total 2010 state spending will go for pensions and social security benefits.
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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Poverty Whilst Working In Bulgaria

So Bulgarians on a minimum wages are in fact getting poorer as inflation is running away. This is a shot in the head to thousands of workers who get this pittance of a wage to live on in Bulgaria. A 40 hour week for around 60 BGN leva is actually poverty level. Mind you the argument is that people on this wage are lucky to be working and with no unemployment benefit I suppose they are right.

Bulgaria’s National Council for Tripartite Cooperation has approved the level of the national minimum monthly wage for 2010.

The sum remains the same as that of 2009 - BGN 240. The minimum hourly wage has been fixed at BGN 1,42 for the normal eight daily working hours, five days per week, according to the Government Information Service on Monday.

Maintaining the level of the minimum wage for next year is reasonable, according to representatives of employers' organizations.

"If in a crisis situation, the minimum wage is increased, this will lead to increased unemployment," said the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria.

"It is logical to maintain the current size of the minimum monthly wage, consistent with the fact that we are in crisis," the Confederation of Labor, Podkrepa, stated.

Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, expressed his hope that next year the country would find itself in a period of economic growth, which would have a positive impact on incomes.

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Monday, 28 December 2009

Stephen Name Day In Bulgaria

Name days have begun in earnest as most fall in the season leading up to spring just after Christmas. This is the first, Stephen name day. Always an excuse to celebrate and why not, names are important and worth celebrating. Up and down the country those Bulgarians with the name Stephen or variation of it will be in great joy with friends and family having another celebration so soon after Christmas.

Stephen Name Day In Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church marks Sunday the Day of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr and first archdeacon in the Jerusalem Community Church.

The community church accepted people from all social circles and the rich supported the church while Stephen designated the activity and the vocation of each member.

It is believed that this has been the first real Christian community, which was so just and fair that it triggered the envy of the Judea. They slandered the archdeacon and he was tried by the Sanhedrin (high priests) for blasphemy against Moses and God and speaking against the Temple and the Law. Stephen was stoned to death (c. A.D. 34–35) by an infuriated mob.

Saint Stephen's name is derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning "crown." Traditionally, Saint Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs' palm. In Eastern Christian iconography, he is shown as a young beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer.

In 415 CE Christian pilgrims discovered Stephen's relics, after which they were solemnly transferred to a church built in his honor in Jerusalem.

Saint Stephen Day is also the Third Day of the Nativity in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the name day of Stefan and Stefka and their derivatives such as Stefanka, Stefaniya, Fanny, Bentsislav, Stamen, Stansilava, Tsanko, Stoyan etc.

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Sunday, 27 December 2009

Global Warming Evident In Bulgaria

I set out with my winter coat and Russian hat and after 10 minutes I was stripped off into just a pullover. It was that warm, around 21 C yesterday. People sitting in outside in street cafes drinking cold beer and coffee in the sun. This was spring three months early in Yambol. There is snow due in a few days say the forecasters. We just don't know what one day to the next brings us weather wise.

Global Warming Evident In Bulgaria
Six meteorological stations in Bulgaria reported their warmest Christmas Day temperatures ever, Mediapool said.

In Vratsa, the maximum reached 21.2 degrees C, making it the warmest place in Bulgaria on December 25 2009, and beating Vratsa’s 1995 record of 17.5 degrees.

However, strong winds hit the town, bringing down trees and damaging roofs.

Veliko Turnovo had a maximum 17.1 degrees, beating its 1958 record of 16.6 degrees. Varna, Bulgaria’s largest Black Sea coast city, recorded a high of 16.4 degrees, topping the city’s 1967 record of 15.7 degrees.

Kyustendil reported a record 15.4 degrees.

On December 26, forecasts for major cities were that Sofia would be nine degrees, and Varna and Plovdiv both 12 degrees.

An avalanche warning for Bulgaria’s mountains was repeated. Strong winds were reported to be blowing at altitudes above 2500m.

Weather forecasters said that on December 27, Sofia would have a maximum four degrees, the south-eastern parts of the country nine degrees, while temperatures elsewhere in the country would be slightly cooler. There would be rain throughout the country, forecasters said.

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Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Traditions In Bulgaria

Christmas Traditions In Bulgaria

There was no Santa Clause here in Bulgaria a few, only on television. It is now a more common sight and kids are beginning to think that this is what Christmas is all about now. Such a s shame a Coca-Cola invented character now is beginning to dominate things here. The customs that are in the report still go on here but I can see it running out of steam alongside the commercialism that is now in Bulgaria.

Christmas is one of the biggest Christian holidays, it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas as solemnly as Easter. The holiday is marked on December 25 (under the Gregorian and the new Julian Calendars). In Bulgaria Christmas was declared official holiday at a decision of the 9th National Assembly on March 28, 1990.
In Bulgaria, Christmas is a continuation of Christmas Eve – the last day of the Long Lent, which starts at midnight with caroling. Caroling is done by men – bachelors, betrotheds and younger, recently married men.
On December 25, carol-singers throughout the entire country will visit homes in groups. In each home, the carol-singers will sing a song to honor the hosts and wish them luck. The host invites the young men on the table and gives them wine and rakia and in the end – a ring-shaped bun, money, meat, beans, and others.
Christmas service was delivered at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral by His Holiness Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria.
In the end of the liturgy Patriarch Maxim gave blessing to all believers, who celebrate the greatest Christian holiday – the birth of Jesus Christ.

Image via Wikipedia
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Friday, 25 December 2009

No Fun This Christmas In Bulgaria - Blame The EU

This just confirms exactly what I have been saying about Bulgaria in the EU for years. There is hardly anything positive about it for the majority of Bulgarians and of course Bulgarians do not get the full benefit of being able work in any EU country. It is more like Bulgaria being a second string EU member. Many wish that they had not joined and some are even pushing for withdrawal form the EU although I cant’ see that ever happening. Like all political promises of the good life that will transform Bulgaria made when joining the EU, it is riddled with lies.

No Fun This Christmas In Bulgaria - Blame The EU
If you do not see that many, or any, smiling faces on the streets of Bulgaria as people head out with grim determination to do Festive Season shopping, a new poll may suggest the reason.

According to a poll presented in Sofia on December 23 2009, about 22 per cent of Bulgarians currently described themselves as happy – though, notably enough, that figure is four per cent higher than it was in 2007, pre-credit crunch days.

Close to 17 per cent of Bulgarians were unhappy while the poll, as reported by Bulgarian news agency BTA, found that 61 per cent said that they were neither happy nor unhappy.

Which, if in paraphrase of the carol only 22 per cent of Bulgarians let nothing them dismay, as they trudge the sludge on the way to what is meant to be a Merry Christmas, may account for the lack of smiles.

It may be disillusionment about the European Union, apparently, too.

ASSA-M polling agency said the previous day that 40 per cent of Bulgarians regarded the country’s membership of the EU as "futile", Darik Radio said.

The pollsters questioned 1180 Bulgarians aged 18 to 60, who said that while they saw the benefits of the country’s membership of the EU as high living standards, justice, order, security and free travel – but the actual benefits were concentrated solely in the capital city, Sofia.

Yet, the survey found, Bulgarians saw in EU membership a number of negatives – high prices, inflation, crime, prostitution, illegal trafficking in people and drugs, severe regulations and restrictions.

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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Fiddling Bulgarian Footballers - That's What The Tax Office Suspect

It was the Bulgarian Pop Folk (Chalga) singers that were first investigated and now the tax office are turning their investigations to Bulgarian footballers. I said before that they should turn their investigations to the mafia and organised crime to find the real tax evasion community and that includes many politicians!

Fiddling Bulgarian Footballers - That's What The Tax Office Suspect

Government officials say 261 soccer players from the Bulgarian league are being investigated for suspected tax evasion.

The National Revenue Agency says it will check property and bank deposits against declared incomes and refer discrepancies to a public prosecutor.

Local media reports say some highly paid players declare the minimum monthly salary of $157.

The probe has revealed more than $5.7 million in unpaid taxes and social security contribution.

Tuesday's action was the latest embarrassment for Bulgarian soccer, which has been plagued by poor international performances and a high-profile spat over poor officiating.

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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

EU Sparked Inflation In Bulgaria Sends Shoppers Abroad

Yet another prime example of what the EU is doing to Bulgaria and how it affects Bulgarians in a negative way. Prices are climbing and climbing here because the EU bureaucrats are aiming a uniform cost of living but refuse to take into account the wages that each country gets. Bulgaria has the lowest in Europe and an EU sparked inflation that is not commensurate to this.

EU Sparked Inflation In Bulgaria Sends Shoppers Abroad

Bulgarian citizens rushed to buy sugar, flour, detergent, home-made rakia, salami and other meat products from the stores in Kriva Palanka in Macedonia, because of the drastic price hike in the country after its accession in the EU in 2007, Macedonian Dnevnik daily writes.
Macedonian goods turn more and more attractive to Bulgarians, who come to do their shopping in Kriva Palanka, mostly during the holidays. Traders say that this is only the beginning of the upcoming inflow of customers from Bulgaria’s border regions of Kyustendil and even Sofia and other cities.
For now, Bulgarian customers are heading mainly to food products. Bigger trade chains are crowded during the weekends, the newspaper says, adding that the business, hotel-keeping and other services are going to bloom over the next month and contribute to the development of the Macedonian municipality, which was affected by the low prices in Bulgaria in the past.

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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Ex-King Of Bulgaria Still Thinks He Rules

Ex-King Of Bulgaria Still Thinks He Rules Симеон Сакскобургготски

Ex-King of Bulagria, Simeon has done Bulgaria now favours and has lived in exile for many years before becoming PM and failing miserably. Some say he only came back to Bulgaria just to claim his inheritance and not to help Bulgaria politically. This latest news may well confirm that this may well be more than rumour. The consensus is that he thinks he is above the law and still reigns.

Lawmakers voted Friday to bar the former royal family from using property returned to them by judges over 10 years ago. Under the ban, Simeon Saxe Coburg, who became king in 1943 at age 6 and was forced into exile in 1946, and his sister Maria-Louisa cannot sell, rent or build on land returned to them by a Constitutional Court decision in 1998. Mr. Saxe Coburg, who returned to Bulgaria in 1997 and became prime minister in 2001, vowed to challenge the ban.

Image via Wikipedia
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Monday, 21 December 2009

Kidknapping A Fashion In Bulgaria

Easy money in Bulgaria to many who now find that work is hard to find. The increase in kidnapping is a direct result of the recession and not only in Bulgaria. I feel that this coup is a drop in the ocean and will not put off those who look at it as a easy money making option.

MacCon security hides Calgary police misconduct

Bulgarian police busted a criminal gang, allegedly responsible for a series of recent kidnappings, and arrested 23 of its members, the interior ministry said.

"The gang, which has terrorised society over the past two years, has been dismantled," ministry Chief of Staff Kalin Georgiev told national BNT television.

The five masterminds of the gang were all arrested late Wednesday, together with 18 other members, who carried out the kidnappings, he added.

Fifteen of the arrests were made in Sofia and the eight others in the central city of Veliko Tarnovo, Georgiev said. The operation was still ongoing however, he noted.

Criminal police chief Angel Antonov recently commented that kidnappings for ransom had become "fashionable" in Bulgaria and expected to "snowball."

Image by thivierr via Flickr

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Sunday, 20 December 2009

AC/DC To Bulgaria In May Next Year

Yet another legend in rock music comes to Bulgaria. The world’s biggest entertainers are treating us often although the price that starts a 75 leva is out of he range for many Bulgarians and for me almost a full week’s wages. I’m personally no a fan of the group, but thousands of others are and their fan bas will no doubt increase with the publicity now that will take place. They will be more popular than all hose years ago as retro is the in thing right now.

Cliff Williams, picture taken in 1981 during A...Image via Wikipedia

The legendary rock band AC/DC will stage its first ever show in Bulgaria on May 14 2010 at Sofia's Vassil Levski national stadium, a statement on the band's official website said on December 18 2009.

The gig is part of AC/DC 2010 world tour with the Sofia concert being the first one of the tour's European leg.

On May 16, the band will perform in Romania's Bucharest followed by gigs in Italy, Austria, Germany and France.

Tickets for the Sofia gig are sold at Princes range from 75 leva for standing tickets to 130 leva in front of the stage. Tickets in the VIP balcony of the stadium cost 200 leva.

The band seems to have managed to persuade the management of Vassil Levski national stadium to grant the use the facility, which is the biggest of its kind in the country.

After Madonna's concert in August 2009, part of the stadium's pitch was ruined and authorities pledged not to let any other performer use the ground.
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Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Law Stinks In Bulgaria

This stinks and my opinion that the law stinks has good justification here. A law unto themselves and done at the worse possible taste in a time of cut back for ordinary people. It’s not as if they do a good job to earn this bonus. Most of Bulgaria are up in arms with this but at the same time their hands are tied!

The Law Stinks In Bulgaria
Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), which in recent years has been embroiled in a number of scandals bringing into question its credibility, has decided to give 5300 leva each in bonuses to all of its 25 members, Bulgarian-language Dnevnik daily said on December 17 2009.

The 25 SJC members will get the money for the "SJC's overall contribution to Bulgaria's judiciary in 2009," Dnevnik said.

The original idea was that only three of SJC members would get the bonus. However, when it came to voting, the SJC decided to give all its members bonuses.

The reason given was that otherwise, rewarding just some SJC members would be "a form of discrimination".

The SJC has been criticised frequently by Bulgarian public officials and NGOs for serious flaws in its work supervising the country's judiciary.

The series of scandals, the biggest of which was the so-called "brokerage scandal" regarding the SJC's appointment policy, also added to Bulgarians taking a dim view of the body.

The decision comes at a time when Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov is calling for all public bodies to cut costs, given the negative impact of the economic crisis.

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov has said that this year, employees of Government ministries will not get their traditional Christmas bonuses.

Separately, Borissov decided to give just half of Bulgaria's pensioners 25 leva Christmas bonuses, instead of last year's 50 leva paid to all pensioners. The 25 leva bonuses will go only to the most impoverished pensioners, Borissov said.

On December 16 2009, Parliament decided that MPs and Cabinet Ministers would not get Christmas bonuses.

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Friday, 18 December 2009

Public Holidays Planned For 2010 In Bulgaria

This report is well laid out and easy to understand how the borrowing of pubic holidays works and what plan is now in place for next year (2010) in Bulgaria. Taking days in credit and working Saturdays to pay them off is common here. This Saturday I am working in lieu for the 31st January which is not a public holiday.

Public Holidays Planned For 2010 In Bulgaria
Bulgaria will have a four-day non-working holiday in May 2010, the Cabinet decided at its weekly meeting on December 16 2009, news agencies said.

The reason is that May 6, celebrated as St George's Day and Army Day, which is a public holiday, falling on a Thursday in 2010. Because of this, the Cabinet decided to declare Friday May 7 2010 a non-working day which, together with the weekend, adds up to four non-working days.

To compensate for May 7, the Cabinet decided to declare Saturday May 15 2010 a working day.

The Cabinet declared Friday, December 31 2010 a non-working day, given that January 1 is a public holiday. This will give Bulgarians three official consecutive days off for New Year 2010-2011

To compensate for the day off on December 31, Bulgarians will work on Saturday, December 11 2010. The Cabinet also approved a draft bill amending the Labour Code to make Good Friday also a non-working day.

In 2010 Good Friday is on April 2, which would give Bulgarians a four-day long Easter holiday, counting in the existing holiday on Eastern Monday.

Public holidays in Bulgaria in 2010 are January 1 (New Year's Day), March 3 (Liberation Day), April 4 (Eastern Orthodox Easter), May 1 (Labour Day), May 6 (St George's Day and Army Day), May 24 (Day of Bulgarian Culture and the Slavonic Alphabet), September 6 (Unification Day), September 22 (Independence Day), and December 24-26 (Christmas).

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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Russians Top The Foreigners In Bulgaria

Out of these 24,000 foreigners in Bulgaria there are around 5,000 from the UK. I have met a few Russians here, not surprising as many older generation Bulgarians speak Russian as a second language. There are still strong links with Russia including business links and investment which Bulgaria relies on.

Russians Top The Foreigners In Bulgaria
There are about 24 000 foreigners living in Bulgaria, making up 0.3 per cent of the country’s population, according to a new report by the EU’s statistical office Eurostat.

The report, released on December 16 2009, says that by far most of the foreigners living in Bulgaria are from countries outside the EU.

The three largest groups of foreigners in Bulgaria are Russians (9000, or 36.7 per cent of all foreigners in the country), Ukrainians (2200, or 8.8 per cent) and Greeks (1600, 6.6 per cent).

Eurostat said that as at January 1 2008, 30.8 million foreign citizens were living in the 27 EU member states, of which 11.3 million were citizens of another EU member state.

The remaining 19.5 million were citizens of countries outside the EU27, of which six million were citizens of other European countries, 4.7 million from Africa, 3.7 million of Asia and 3.2 million from the American continent.
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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Bulgaria Sacks Bad Referees

The performances of referees should be assessed on a regular basis and if they are not up to the required standard then they and their governing body should be sacked. There is no difference here to any other job, if you can't do the job properly you should be got rid of and replaced. The decisions referees make on the pitch have major consequences on football teams.

Association crest

The Bulgarian football federation has fired the country's referee commission for the second time in 15 months, citing a string of mistakes from onfield officials during league and cup matches.

The Bulgarian Football Union decided to dismiss the commission late Monday and said it will appoint a new one in January. The seven-member body is responsible for the appointment of referees and assessing their performance.

The BFU also announced the indefinite suspension of two referees because of substandard performances in two recent Bulgarian Cup matches.

"Clearly, referees have committed errors that have affected the results of some matches,'' BFU president Borislav Mihailov said.

The performance of a Bulgarian referee was criticized in the Macedonian media despite the country winning 3-0 over Canada in a Nov. 14 friendly. He awarded two penalties to either team.

Bulgaria's referee commission was dismissed under similar circumstances in September 2008. Several months later, the head of that committee was charged with allegedly pressuring referees to fix the outcome of seven games in the country's top division.

The trial is still pending.

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Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Another Free Ticket To An 'EU Posh' In Bulgaria

Another Free Ticket To An 'EU Posh' In BulgariaWill Herman Scare The Corruptors in Bulgaria? I'm not Shaking With Fear!

Another ‘EU posh’ getting he VIP treatment and a façade that will be shown to him whist he is here. Do you really think he will make any difference to the corruption that goes on here?

The European Union's new president Herman van Rompuy is visiting Bulgaria as part of an effort to build consensus on improving the bloc's economy and implementing climate change reforms.

Van Rompuy, who assumes his post on Jan. 1, says economic activity is likely to remain weak in 2010, doing little to spur job creation or further EU social spending.

On Monday he met Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov and praised efforts by his new center right government to improve the Balkan country's image which has been tarnish by widespread corruption.
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Monday, 14 December 2009

Only The Poorest Bulgarian Pensioners Get Christmas Bonuses

We sat and watched the news of this on television and a great big sigh was given by Baba who will be entitled to this as she is in the poverty bracket for entitlement. I suppose that fact alone makes sense, namely to give it to those who need it most, but its half of what is was last year. Working class pensioners are always the ones who suffer due to the low rate of pension they get in the first place and most have worked all their lives for peanuts. Let’s hope next year the bonus is increased.

Only The Poorest Bulgarian Pensioners Get Christmas Bonuses
About 1.1 million pensioners will get one-off 25 leva Christmas bonuses added to their regular pension payments, the Bulgarian Government's website said on December 13 2009. Pensioners will get the money after the Christmas holidays on January 4 2010. Only pensioners whose monthly pensions are less than 200 leva will get the bonus. The money will come from funds made available by cost-cutting by the state administration "and this is the maximum amount of money we can spent on pensioners' bonuses this year," Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said after meeting Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov. The reason why other Bulgarian pensioners, who number 1.2 million people, will not get bonuses this year was that the Budget could only afford bonuses only for those people who were in dire financial straits. Last year, all Bulgaria's pensioners got a 50 leva Christmas bonus. To get the funds, Borissov asked all ministries and other state bodies not to give Christmas bonuses to their employees, although some such as Agriculture Ministry had made the required cuts to spending. Borissov apologised to state administration employees for not giving them their traditional Christmas bonuses this year, and said that together with Dyankov, he was working on a scheme to compensate for this in 2010.

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Sunday, 13 December 2009

Christmas Trees On The Black Market In Bulgaria

I was going to say that trees are cut price anyway here. No Bulgarian is going to refuse to buy illegally cut Christmas trees, it is another part of the black economy that is widespread here in Bulgaria. I would go as far to say that Bulgarians would go out of their way to find illegal Christmas trees to say a few leva. Who can blame them with things as they are financially here? By the way pensioners have just been awarded a 25 leva Christmas bonus, they won’t be buying illegally cut Christmas trees - they’ll go without!

Christmas Trees On The Black Market In Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Agriculture Ministry has decided to impose a BGN 1 000 fine for the illegal sale of Christmas trees, Deputy Agriculture Minister Georgi Kostov, informs.
According to Kostov, the substantial fine would stop the illegal sales.
The Deputy Minister says that the price of the trees sold legally varies between BGN 7 to 16 and if a tree is sold below BGN 4 this means it has been cut illegally.
On Sunday, Kostov verified in person two Christmas trees stands at the Sofia “Sitnyakovo” market and did not find any violations. The merchants had the necessary documentation and the required cash register.
The Deputy Minister further informed that the authorities have not yet established any violations in Christmas trees sales in Sofia, but pointed out the illegal sales are expected to emerge close to the Christmas holiday.

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Saturday, 12 December 2009

Property Prices Plummet in Bulgaria - For Good Reason

Who would want to buy property in Bulgaria right now? It’s winter, it’s an earthquake zone, there is a recession and the infrastructure fo the country is in turmoil. The language is difficult to learn as a foreigner and a large proportion of Bulgarians would leave Bulgaria if they could. It is no wonder prices are dropping? I for one can see a further fall and still no real increase in sales coming from it. I live here because I like the practical and very basic lifestyle, not as an investment in property.

Bulgaria is amongst the top four countries across the world where real estate has plummeted the most in value in the third quarter of 2009, according to the research of real estate consultants Knight Frank.

According to Knight Frank's report, which tracks 42 countries across the world, troubled Baltic states Latvia and Estonia have seen real estate valuations drop 34 per cent in the third quarter, but still not enough to rival Dubai, where the slump in the local market has reached 47 per cent.

The devaluation of real estate in Bulgaria in the third quarter, as opposed to the corresponding period of 2008, stood at 28 per cent.

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Friday, 11 December 2009

Spring Turnaround In The Bulgarian Ecomony Predicted

It is indeed going to be a hard winter for Bulgaria with the worse still to come in the recession. I see it all around me, shops closing unemployment widespread with many of my family and friends here. Spring can’t come too soon here. At least a recession doesn’t affect growing and producing your own food, which feeds you throughout the winter. Without this Bulgaria would have sunk many decades ago.

Spring Turnaround In The Bulgarian Ecomony Predicted

Bulgaria's economy will hit bottom in the current quarter or in the first three months of 2010, analysts of Economist Intelligence Unit forecast. The data were announced at the eighth roundtable with the Bulgarian government, organised by Economist Conferences.

Exports to the EU and Turkey and unfreezing of financing are the factors that will take Bulgaria back on track to growth, Richard Eames, conferences programme director CEMEA, said. Bulgaria's economic performance since the beginning of the crisis differs from that of other EU countries in that slump has been very rapid in the past two quarters. Therefore we think the bottom will be hit by this year's end or in the first quarter of 2010 at the latest, Eames explained.

Besides prospects for recovery, Economist's analysts also see serious risks to Bulgaria's economy. The big foreign debt may force Bulgaria to seek financing from the International Monetary Fund or the European Central Bank. The bulk of it, however, is private debt. Therefore Bulgarian National Bank deputy governor Kalin Hristov believes the concerns that Bulgaria may need external financing are ungrounded. The big private debt does not jeopardise the currency board system.

The Economist's report forecasts a rise in government debt to 21.3% of GDP at the end of 2009 and a level of 24% in 2010. According to official data of the finance ministry, currently the government debt is 14.65% of GDP. That means that analysts expect state debts to rise substantially in the last quarter of the year.

Unemployment increasing faster than payment affects consumption, which is crucial for steady economic growth, the analysts say. A drop in consumption was reported by business representatives, too. Reviving the credit market is a mechanism for improving the business environment. It is not very likely for interest rates to fall in the next one year, Kalin Hristov pointed out.

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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Only 30% Have Internet In Bulgaria - I wonder Why?

These ridiculous surveys really get my goat! What do you expect form the poorest EU member! I suppose some statistics have to be made from this purely for businesses for market research and on where to focus their advertising. Internet is on the increase here even in the isolated villages which previously had no access at all. Shopping online in Bulgaria is becoming ever more popular as lot of stuff being sold cannot be bough tin local shops, this however is not limited to those who have internet as family and friends who do have it shop for them. We do this all the time for our family and friends without it.

Only 30% Have Internet In Bulgaria - I wonder Why?
Over a half of the European Union’s households have access to broadband internet connection, but Bulgaria’s take-up is among the lowest, at 30%.

A report by Eurostat, published on Tuesday, shows that Bulgarian access to the internet has increased since 2007, from 19% of households to 30%. During the same time, broadband access has grown from 15% to 26%.

These figures are, however, among the lowest of the 27 EU member states. Serbia shows a growth from 26% to 37% in internet access, with 23% now on broadband. Romania currently has 38% internet penetration, with 24% broadband access.

Across the European Union, 65% of households had internet access, compare with 60% at the start of 2008. Broadband connections accounted for 56%, a rise from 49% in 2008.

The highest rates of internet access are in the Netherlands (90%), Luxembourg (87%), and Sweden (86%). The most prolific broadband users are in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark, with between 76% and 80% access.

Almost 75% of the population between 16 and 24 used the internet daily, compared with almost 50% in the age group between 16 and 74. Of this wider group, some 5% of Bulgarians used the internet for online shopping, compared with an average of 37% across Europe, and 66% in Lithuania.

Overall, men were more likely to shop online than women.
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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A Bulgarian Is Branston's Customer

A Bulgarian number one emigrant in the US and a link with Richard Branston’s spaceship trip is quite and expensive business. It seems that spending US$200,000 for a trip of a lifetime is well worth the fee. I must admit the adventure is something 99% of us in this commercial world can only dream of, the rest are just thinking about getting though winter and having enough to pay the fuel bills. Let’s hope with the top man called Branston that they don’t get into a pickle. ( A UK pun.)

A Bulgarian Is Branston's Customer
Bulgarian businessman Shefket Chapadzhiev from Chicago has paid in advance to to be one of the first space tourists on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.
Sir Richard Branson unveiled the rocket plane he will use to take fare-paying passengers into space. In the Mohave Desert, New Mexico, the company Virgin Galactic presented SpaceShipTwo on Tuesday - the world's first commercial manned spacecraft.
Chapadzhiev, often referred to by the media as emigrant № 1 from Bulgaria, was among the invited guests at the ceremony. The price per flight is USD 200 000. The new space vehicle can carry up to 6 passengers and 2 astronauts. They will fly into space at 110 km altitude in the so-called suborbitalen flight.
Chapadzhiev told that he is not worried by the flight nor about his health. He has already passed the first test successfully. “When the start flight time approaches, we have will have repeated tests...The company believe that any healthy person can withstand the stresses,” he added
Built from lightweight carbon composite materials and powered by a hybrid rocket motor, SS2 is based on the X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne concept - a rocket plane that is lifted initially by a carrier vehicle before blasting skywards.
SS1 became the world's first private spaceship with a series of high-altitude flights in 2004.
Its successor, however, is twice as large, measuring 18m in length. And whereas SpaceShipOne only had a single pilot (and the ballast equivalent of two passengers), SS2 will have a crew of two and room for six passengers.
The New Mexico authorities are investing almost USD 200 M in a purpose-built facility in Upham. It will have a USD 3 000 M runway and a suitably space-age terminal and hangar building designed by Foster and Partners.
Sir Richard's Virgin Galactic enterprise will have competitors but he is almost certain to be the first to market, barring any problems arising in the test campaign.
SpaceShipTwo's carrier plane is called WhiteKnightTwo. It was finished last year and has already begun its own trials.
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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

St Nicholas Day In Bulgaria

Our family celebrated with a feast of fish on Sunday although the trip to the church was put off as we had a bit of a hangover from the party the might before. The tradition goes on every year here in Bulgaria and another important day in the calendar for celebration, reflection and feasting. It is such a privilege to be part of this year in year out unaffected in this instance with commercialism and western materialistic influence. By the way no one cares too much about it being Bankers' Day other than bankers and their's a word that rhymes with bankers that describes them very well.

St Nicholas Day In Bulgaria
Bulgarian fishermen, sailors and bankers are celebrating on December 6 their common patron, Christian St Nicholas.

According to Christian orthodox mythology, St Nicholas is roaming the seas and helping ships that might be in trouble. He is also believed to be the master of sea winds.

The traditional Nikulden dish is oven-baked carp, stuffed with rice, walnuts, raisins and herbs. Bulgarian tradition requires for the fishbones to be then reduced to ashes, buried underground or thrown down a river. This ritual is believed to bring well-being to the family.

Meanwhile, people named Nikolay, Nikola and Nikolina invite friends and family members to big Name’s Day parties.

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Monday, 7 December 2009

Homemade Bomb Kills Three Children In Bulgaria

It doesn’t matter when or where this happens, but when children are injured or killed from evil based activities such as homemade bombs, the culprits who caused this should be made to pay the price of their actions. Why on earth would anyone want to make an explosive device other than to use it for an evil purpose? This wasn’t top news here on Bulgarian television, perhaps because the children were Turkish not Bulgarian. I assume the four men who made the bomb are Turkish as well.

Homemade Bomb Kills Three Children In Bulgaria
Bulgarian police on Sunday arrested four officials after a homemade bomb killed 3 Turkish children at an orphanage.

A homemade bomb exploded in an orphanage in Bulgaria's Western Thracian city of Kardzhali (Gırcali) where Turks mostly live.

The director of the orphanage Svetoslav Daynov and another three servants were detained at the order of district prosecutor Svetlozar Lazarov, Sofia news agency reported.

Three boys, ages 13, 15 and 16, died Saturday when the device went off around 2 pm.

One of the boys died on the scene while the other has been taken to the Krumovgrad hospital where he later died. A third boy was listed in critical condition in the hospital in the regional center – the city of Kardzhali, and died during surgery.

Police officials investigate who made the bomb and how children reached it and psychologists help other children in the orphanage handle the tragedy.

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