Friday, 13 August 2010

St John The Baptist To The Rescue Of Bulgaria's Economy

Well here is a story and a half and how diverse can you get to get the economy moving in Bulgaria. Finding the bones of John the Baptist? Whatever will they think of next time? Well Bulgarians I suppose are one of the most enterprising of people on how to survive hard times so to many this may not be a surprise.
To help pull Bulgaria out of its worst recession since the collapse of communism here 20 years ago, the government is looking to promote tourism. Touting the relics is part of that plan. Mr. Djankov, the finance minister, says he wants to double government spending on the development of religious tourism so "we can make this history profitable."
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Sunday, 28 March 2010

'Earth Hour' Every Few Weeks In Bulgaria

This of course happens every few weeks in towns and villages in Bulgaria. Power cuts and electricity switched off are common place here and not must for one hour either. This can last all day or longer. This of course is not in aid of a greener world. So the one hour power cut is not a novelty at all in Bulgaria.

The WWF has announced that 49 Bulgarian cities are set to take part in Earth Hour 2010 on Saturday evening at 20:30.
Bulgaria will take part in Earth Hour 2010, which is the country’s third participation in the event.
The WWF also announced that 125 countries and 4000-5000 cities worldwide will join in by switching off electrical appliances for one hour on Saturday evening, the action being a mainly symbolical global call to action to every individual, business and every community throughout the world to save energy and help prevent the deterioration of the global climate.
The idea behind it is for people to gather, to spend some time with friends in "peace and quiet", and have time to reflect on "themselves and their lives", the WWF continued..
The idea for Earth Hour originated in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2,2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change.
The Australian initiative proved highly popular around the world and a year later Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries joining in.
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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

1000's Of Fake Driving Licences In Bulgaria - Accidents Galore the Result

Bulgaria's transport minister said the country's high accident rate is because of tens of thousands of people who obtain drivers licenses on the black market.
Speaking on bTV Tuesday, Alexander Tsvetkov said for as little as $200, citizens can buy a fake license without any exam or road test, the Sofia Echo reported.
He said the estimate of as many as 20,000 people buying fake licenses each year is "very modest" and the real number he is aware of is "truly alarming."
"In the European Union, Bulgaria leads when it comes to fatalities in traffic accidents," the minister said.
Tsvetkov said previous governments had done nothing to combat the corruption.
"As of summer 2009, however, we have initiated radical changes and I can say that in the future this problem will be fixed," he said. "Some amendments to legislation have already been enacted, and the black market will be stopped."

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Bulgarian Doctors Sick For A Change

The Doctors in Bulgaria are sick of not being paid what is due to them. The talking is over and the action has started, who suffers? The sick and the needy of course. With the opposition who supports their cause (if they were in power they wouldn't of course!) Is there an end? Or is it to escalate?

Doctors in two Bulgarian towns began a strike Monday that was set to expand nationally over non-payment of fees by the federal health ministry.
The National Association of General Practitioners warned of the strike during the weekend, saying its members hadn't been paid for their work in January, the Sofia Echo reported.
The strike is scheduled to expand to the capital Sofia and other cities by Tuesday, reported.
The doctors are also calling for healthcare reform to streamline the process of obtaining permission to refer patients for further treatment, the report said.
The union said anyone requiring medical care should visit a hospital emergency department, but they would have to pay cash for treatment,
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Sunday, 28 February 2010

If Could Have Been A Bulgarian Winter Olympic Medal

It could have be a very different story is Bulgaria had been the chosen nationality and the medal became Bulgarian. This would have been the first medal in the winter Olympics for 30 years for Bulgaria and another day of celebration would have been made in the already cluttered days of celebration in late winter and spring. But is isn't and Slovakia claim that accolade.

Anastazia Kuzmina won the Olympics 7.5-kilometre biathlon sprint in Vancouver to give Slovakia its first Winter
Games gold, but only a few months ago she had been ready to compete for Bulgaria, said Bulgarian sports chiefs.
Former Bulgarian biathlon's national team coach Boran Hadzhiev said Kuzmina and her husband and coach contacted him to reveal she wanted to apply for Bulgarian citizenship and to compete for the Balkan country.
"It's true," Hadzhiev told Bulgarian media. "They were in Belmeken (southwestern Bulgaria) last summer and they asked me to help and let our federation know about Anastazia's desire to compete for Bulgaria.
"I discussed the situation with our federation's chiefs, but they decided against applying for Kuzmina's Bulgarian citizenship and her inclusion in the national team after all."
The 25-year-old had never won a World Cup event before her surprising victory at Whistler Olympic Park on Feb. 12. The Russian-born Kuzmina, who also works as a police officer as well as an athlete and a coach, switched allegiances to Slovakia in 2008.
"It's a shame because she's a top performer and could have helped the Bulgarian team," said Hadzhiev.
Bulgarian biathlon is going through hard times after the recent retirement of 1998 Olympic champion Ekaterina Dafovska and 2006 European champion Pavlina Filipova.
"In fact, Kuzmina got in touch with me again a few weeks later, but our officials didn't change their mind.," said Hadzhiev.
The Bulgarian Olympic Committee announced it would award enhanced cash bonuses to athletes who win medals in Vancouver, but despite the incentive the country has yet to record a podium finish with the Games finishing on Sunday.
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Saturday, 27 February 2010

An Actor May Be Filming In Bulgaria!?

This may be of interests to film fans and 'Hollywood stars' followers, but to me I haven't the slightest interest where this actor is going to film. I'm sure he's a good actor, but many actors are treated as Gods just because they are cloned in Hollywood. There are many other better actors around who are better than Mickey Rourke but because they don't hell raise outside acting don't get noticed. It's actually called attention seeking.

Hollywood hellraiser Mickey Rourke is apparently in negotiations to play Conan’s father in the upcoming "Conan" movie, due to start filming soon in Bulgaria.
Marcus Nispel is directing the remake, which is being produced by Nu Image/Millenium Films and sees Jason Momoa playing the barbarian warrior created by Robert E. Howard.
Shooting is apparently due to start in the middle of March.
The story sees Conan embark on a quest to avenge the slaughter of his people including his father, Corin.
According to the rumour factory, Rourke, 57, had been offered the role but negotiations broke down at the last minute. Apparently, however, talks have now resumed.
Rourke's star status was revived following his Oscar nomination as best actor for his performance in The Wrestler in 2009. Although he won a BAFTA for his role he was pipped at the post by Sean Penn for Milk.
Rourke was previously best known for movies such as 9½ Weeks and Rumble Fish. His career subsequently nosedived and Rourke even became a professional boxer for a while before returning to acting.

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Friday, 26 February 2010

Tax Officials In Bulgaria Are Also Tax Evaders

This is not unusual in Bulgaria where is use to be normal to evade taxes up until recently so old habits die hard. It will be a long time before all taxes that are due are paid but it will come with computerised systems that will account for everything from source. It seems that tax is becoming a reality for most but not all Bulgarians now.

There were some embarrassed faces at Bulgaria's tax office on Thursday after an investigation found more than 400 tax inspectors had failed to pay their traffic fines.
The Balkan nation has launched a crackdown on civil servants who don't pay what they owe, as part of plans to stamp out rampant fraud and raise revenues during the recession, the national revenue agency said.
Those tax officials caught will have money deducted from their February salaries to pay the fines.
More than 50,000 civil servants also face being checked for unpaid taxes and fines in March, a sign of the pressure Sofia is under at home and abroad to demonstrate results in its fight against graft and crime.
In July the European Union is due assess the government's record and failure to show progress could threaten access to more EU aid after in 2008 Brussels froze millions in aid over fraud.
Some political analysts and EU diplomats say the center-right government, elected last July on promises to restore the rule of law, has so far spared powerful oligarchs and big tax evaders.
"It's good to see things happening in Bulgaria but so far it has only targeted small fry," one EU diplomat in Sofia said.
The cabinet led by tough-talking Prime Minister Boiko Borisov has also been checking musicians, owners of luxury Bentley cars and football clubs for possible tax evasion. No results have been reported so far.
Sofia has own praise for cutting spending and taking action to curb smuggling in a bid to boost revenues and avoid a big budget deficit. Bulgaria ended 2009 with a budget gap of 0.8 percent of GDP, the lowest in the EU.
The poorest EU nation has been hard hit by the global crisis, which ended 12 years of economic growth.
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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Politicians are just another form of organised crime in many cases. This is a prime example of another political criminal, the only difference between Emila Maslarova is that she has got caught, how many other have got away with it to date? It doesn't give voters any more confidence in a country that has been disaffected with politicians for many decades.

Emilia Maslarova, labour minister in the previous cabinet, has been charged with abuse of power, authorities announced on Tuesday (February 23rd). She is accused of misappropriating 5.5m euros in state funds. This is the first in a series of indictments that Sofia's chief district prosecutor, Nikolay Kokinov, has promised in the coming days.

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Getting Back To Grass Roots For Bulgarian Football Club Botev Plovdiv?

Sign of the times where football clubs cannot be accountable to the contracts that were made with their players. Football is a business like any other and if you can't pay your staff then you shouldn't employ them. It is no wonder that protests were made and action taken. Ironically, many football fans call for football clubs to go back grass roots where player play for the love of the game not money. It may lead to this if the club get demoted even further in the future.

Botev Plovdiv have been expelled from the Bulgarian first division for non-payment of debts and registering insufficient players, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) said on Wednesday.
In the last few weeks, the BFU has upheld claims by 19 players that Botev, twice Bulgarian champions, breached their contracts by failing to pay them for several months.
The club, who were bottom of the division, also failed to pay taxes and fines imposed by the football authorities.
The Bulgarian championship resumes on Friday after a winter break of two-and-a-half months. Botev will be marked down as having 3-0 defeats in all their matches until the end of the championship.
Botev, who celebrate their centenary in 2012, will most probably be relegated to the Balkan country's third division.
"It's a pity because Botev are a club with a great history," said BFU vice-president Atanas Furnadzhiev. "However, the BFU has to observe its rules."
Botev's players have been unable to train this year because of disruptive protests by fans who accused club president Dimitar Hristolov of doing little to pull the club out of financial trouble and of obstructing several candidates interested in buying the club.
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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Bulgarian Nuclear Plant Gets Russian Help To Get Reopened

GROHNDE, GERMANY - JULY 07:  A general view of...
This is good news and will be of some comfort to Bulgarians with another source of power that cannot be cut out from outsiders. That is if the funding and support from Russia isn't under conditions of having ownership of the plant. Let's hope that safety has gone up a gear or two with Russian nuclear designers and constructors.

Bulgaria and Russia have agreed to start building a nuclear power plant in the Bulgarian town of Belene this autumn, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Saturday (February 20th), after a trip to Sofia for talks with Bulgarian counterpart Traycho Traykov. Shmatko added that a series of details were discussed, particularly Russia's readiness to provide financial assistance until a strategic investor is found. Russia will finance construction of the plant through a project company established for this purpose and is ready to invest 1.9 billion euros over a period of two years. Efforts to build the plant have stalled a number of times.

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Monday, 22 February 2010

Smoking - Hard To Give Up In Bulgaria

It is more than the pressure of unemployment that causes this U-Turn in EU forced ban on smoking. Everyone knows that smoking is hard to give up and when it is part of the culture in a country it becomes even harder. There might be another motive as the tax from cigarettes is needed in these hard times, even though around 50% of cigarettes are contraband in the Bulgaria. Protests from smokers of course act as a good excuse to relax the ban from a government who want to keep up their popularity, just as they skipped on more rakia tax last year.

The center-right GERB party, which won general elections last July, said its proposed relaxation of a ban on smoking in all public places would avoid hurting the tourist industry during tough economic times.
The proposed changes have the support of the Socialists but some of GERB's rightist allies in parliament said they would vote against them.
According to a draft submitted to parliament, restaurants and cafes smaller than 100 square meters (1,000 sq ft) in size will decide whether to allow smoking while larger establishments would be required to designate separate non-smoking halls.
Similar measures were imposed as part of a partial smoking ban in 2005 but have been widely ignored. Smoking will remain forbidden in all public buildings and on public transport.
The Balkan country of 7.6 million people has the second highest percentage of smokers in the EU after Greece. More than half of men and about a third of women smoke, surveys show.
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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sergey Stanishev Criticises Boyko Borisov Come What May

Sour grapes is all I can think of when this failed Prime Minister Sergey Sytanishev now criticises the current popular PM Boyko Borisov for doing what Prime Ministers do, tell people what to do. I wonder whether there would have been criticism from Sergey Stanishev if Boyko didn't send shots over the Mayors' bow on spending EU funds.

Bulgaria Socialist Party leader, Sergey Stanishev, has slammed PM Boyko Borisov for mocking local mayors by warning them not to abuse EU funds.
Stanishev, speaking at a BSP Todorovden meeting with Chairs of municipal and district council in Plovdiv, said; “I wonder why the mayors endured that mockery. That was ridiculous. Mayors are not subject to the prime minister, nor does he give them enough money to treat them like that.”
Stanishev added that the blame for local mayors not being able to absorb EU funds lies squarely on the shoulders of the government, who he suggested do not give them enough money to be able to co-finance projects
Borisov, issued Thursday a stern warning to all local mayors to not abuse the recently released EU funds.
Stanishev concluded by saying that the membership of BSP remains high and that the rules have been prepared already for BSP elections to choose candidates for the 2011 local elections.

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Saturday, 20 February 2010

2010 Winter Olympic Medals Look Even Further Away Fro Bulgaria Now

What a shame, so many time injuries cause heartache to sportsmen and women who have a good chance of winning. Lets' hope this bad luck is balanced by some good luck in other events where one of the other 18 competitors from Bulgaria are competing.

Bulgaria's arguably biggest hope for a medal in the Vancouver Olympics was banked in the ladies snowboarding event. But that is no longer a possibility after Alexandra Zhekova fell in a practice run aggravating an old injury on February 16 2010.
In spite of the pain, she then proceeded with the first run of the actual competition, where matters got from bad to worse. She fell again and barely made it to the final where she requested medical assistance and was stretchered out.
She has been forced to pull out of the Olympics altogether and, according to Bulgarian media, her physicians advised her that she refrains from any further snowboarding activities for a while and takes a prolonged rest until June.
"My fist practice run was great. Why did I even bother to have the second go?" she was quoted as saying by Dnevnik daily. "But this is just the type of person I am, I am a perfectionist."
She was ferried to the hospital in the Olympic Village where it was revealed that she nearly suffered a torn muscle.
"She needs rest and rehabilitation. For the moment it is uncertain if she will require surgery," Victor Zhekov, father and coach of the athlete was quoted as saying.
She will remain under medical treatment in Vancouver until her return to Bulgaria, where her rehabilitation is to continue.
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Friday, 19 February 2010

Contraband Cigarettes Seized In Bulgaria

The customs had better get used to finding hauls like this - and why? Because the price of cigarettes will have gone up in retail price by some 43% over the last year. It is a natural progression that Bulgarians will use unlawful ways to avoid being ripped off with excess tax on cigarettes, not with a view of improving their health but pure finance and a slave to EU persuasion. I can't blame the contraband groups that are basically supplying a demand. Ask any Bulgarian if they are worried about smoking contraband cigarettes that are cheaper - you will not get any complaints.

Bulgarian Customs officers detained Tuesday a container shipment with cigarettes at the Port of Varna worth BGN 1,6 M.
The container contains 997 master cases of cigarettes, with 10 boxes of cigarettes each (each box contains 10 packs).
The Customs Agency is about to order laboratory tests in order to discover where the cigarettes were made. The importing firm is registered in Sofia, and the National Revenue Agency and the Interior Ministry are about to stage an all-out inspection of its activities.
Bulgaria’s Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, who has put an emphasis on fighting contraband in order to raise state revenue, visited the Port of Varna Tuesday in order to see the captured shipment of smuggled cigarettes and to inspect the work of the port customs.
He has thanked the customs officers for their works, and vowed to continue to crack down on contraband.
He announced that the Customs Agency had ordered eight new scanners from abroad which would arrive in two months, and would be provided to the customs along the Black Sea coast, and along Bulgaria’s border with Serbia and Greece.
“We are not going to stop our efforts until contraband disappears as a topic for Bulgaria, and until smugglers select other routes circumventing Bulgaria. With respect to the contraband of cigarettes, our aim has always been to bring it from the current 40% down to 5% of the market,” Finance Minister Djankov declared.
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Thursday, 18 February 2010

More Tapping Proposed For Bulgarian Police

If the law changes to give more access to tapping form police to solve crimes that would be great. My main worry here is the the police can't be trusted due to corruption throughout the force and the power they will be given will lead to more corruption, blackmail and extortion.

On February 17 2010, Bulgaria's Parliament approved the second reading of amendments to the Electronic Communications Act, but only after serious concessions.
The version of amendments approved by Parliament's internal security and public order committee on February 3, which left in the possibility for police to use access to communication data for crimes that carry sentences of less than five years, including causing death by negligence, threatening an officer, threat of murder, soliciting prostitution and providing premises for prostitution, acquisition or distribution of pornographic material, vote-buying, illegal border crossings, was not acceptable for a majority in Parliament.
At the proposal of opposition parties and the Blue Coalition, the amendments were revised to include only serious crimes carrying a minimum jail sentence of five years, and computer crimes, Bulgarian-language daily Dnevnik said.


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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Internet fraud now is so ripe and clever that getting conned is very easy even to those who are experienced and wise to the Internet. Bulgaria has one of the fastest growing online presence and many who start up are good bait for scams and fraud, which is why these particular 'criminals' are targeting Bulgaria. Look at the web-clip picture, wouldn't you be fooled with this? Long may these online a***h**** rot in hell.

The National Center for Safe internet (Safenet) has warned Bulgarian users of the existence of a web site that collects their Skype user accounts and assumes control over them.
The warning has been received on the center’s hot-line, Safenet has announced on Tuesday.
The malicious site ( has suspended activity at present, but is specifically aimed at Bulgarian consumers.
The user is offered, in Bulgarian, to try out the "Web Skype" service, which claims to "allow you to sign in to Skype without having the program installed", in other words, for users who already have a Skype account but who are at a computer that does not have the program.
On logging in to "Web Skype", the user sees a window that is similar to that of the legitimate program. Through the use of java-script, the user is misled into entering a username and password which, instead of being transmitted to Skype, is diverted to the spurious site's creators.
The user then loses control of his/her Skype account and can no longer access it.
The creators of the site thus collect Skype accounts from the lists of misled subscribers, which they can then use for various malevolent purposes, warned the Safenet center.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Serious Flooding in Bulgaria

It is serious having got stranded with my own lada in a flooded section of road on the way to work yesterday. It has got worse with the rain that continues to fall. The River Tundzha is exceptionally high, in fact the highest I have seen it since coming to Yambol 5 years ago. the River flow south and Elhovo and Turkey are next in line.

Bulgarian authorities have notified their Turkish counterparts in Edirne that rivers and dams in the regions are overflowing from the torrential rains and floodgates are being opened, Bulgarian media reported on February 15 2010. This will heighten the risk of floods in Turkey.
Volumes in reservoirs and dams in Bulgaria are being eased to prevent the various bodies of water overflowing out of control.
Roads, bridges, farmland and houses in Bulgaria's Thrace region are already submerged, as many rivers have burst their banks.
The Maritsa River spilled over and has threatened villages and roads, blocking the E-80 motorway to Turkey and forcing the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint shut. The checkpoint is still shut and traffic is redirected through Lesovo.
The Vaya Lake in Bourgas burst its banks as well, affecting the E-87 road linking Bourgas and Sozopol, Bulgarian National Television reported. Civil Protections units were on site, attempting to build drainage ditches, reinforce the road and regulate traffic, BNT said.
The situation in Elhovo was reported to be critical. The area was hit by torrential rain lasting for more than 12 hours. The water level of Tundja River reached 420cm and flooded the region around the Elhovo bus station, Dnevnik daily said.
The Ticha Dam was also about to burst, reports say. Kamchia River and Vrana River were also close to overflowing.
Meanwhile more than 70 settlements in the Municipality of Smolyan had power cuts after the heavy snowfall in the area.
The Bulgarian Meteorologic website said that the rains should gradually cease by the end of the day and that on February 16 it should be predominantly cloudy without precipitation.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Floods Hit Bulgaria

With the amount of snow that has fallen recently then very warm weather, I have myself witnessed the exceptionally high rivers and flooded flat lands that are the result. The thaw hasn't quite finished yet so it could well get worse before it gets better. Most of the water is coming from below ground level. this means that is water is pumped out of a house into the street, it will make its way back to the house!

Melting snow and torrential rains over the last two days has led to massive flooding in parts of southern Bulgaria. No injuries have been reported.
The heavy rain caused the Tundzha River to overflow its banks, leaving dozens of homes under water in the district of Yambol, some 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Sofia, the Civil Defense Agency said on Sunday.
Hardest hit are the town of Elhovo and nearby villages which have been cut off after flood waters destroyed bridges and caused landslides.
Civil Defense rescue crews have helped transport residents to temporary shelters. Meteorologists forecast more rain in coming days.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

19 Bulgarians Trying For Winter Olympic Medals This Year

19 Bulgarian participants in this year's winter Olympics in Vancouver, but what are the chances of winning something. Even a bronze would be an achievement there. I vaguely remember the games were applied for in the 1990s for Sofia, but then didn't know anything about the City of the country. I do wonder how they would ever cope with the lack of infrastructure at the time.

Bulgaria marks Saturday the 30th anniversary since its first ever Winter Olympic medal, on the first day after the opening of the XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
On February 13, 1980, in the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, USA, Bulgarian skier Ivan Lebanov won a bronze medal in the 30 km event becoming the first Bulgarian to win a winter Olympic medal.
Lebanov (born 1957) is currently the Mayor of winter resort town of Velingrad in Southern Bulgaria.
Bulgaria’s only Winter Olympic gold medal was won by Ekaterina Dafovska in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, where she triumphed in the 15 km individual biathlon event.
During the opening of the XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Bulgaria’s national flag was carried at the opening by 22-year-old snowboarder Alexandra Zhekova, who is believed to have the greatest chances of the Bulgarian team to carry a medal.
Bulgaria’s total number of contestants at the XXI Olympics swelled to 19 after snowboarder Ivan Ranchev also received the opportunity to participate in the games in Vancouver after a reshuffle of the bidders. He will be joining the Bulgarians in Vancouver on Saturday.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Greeks Taking A Break With Ouzo?

The Greeks probably got 'pissed off' with no action from politicians and went for a ouzo or two. Don't discount this theory as people in this part of the world have needs and protests like these need a break like most people in this region.

All checkpoints along the Greek-Bulgarian border worked normally, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said on February 12 2010.
On the evening of February 11, Greek protesters who had blocked the border for four weeks opened the Kulata- Promahon checkpoint for automobiles and later that evening for trucks.
It as unknown how long the checkpoints would remain open, BNT said.
At the Kalotina crosspoint, automobiles with European Union member state registrations were let through without having to stop and buy a road tax vignette, according to BNT.
Police advised anyone traveling to Turkey, to use the Lesovo and Malko Turnovo checkpoints, BNT said.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Make The World A GM Free Zone Now Forever!

I don't care what country in the world it is put to, GM foods is a self-destruct button on nature and geared basically around greed and profiteering. Well that's not new in world terms anyway. There should not be a 5 year plan but a worldwide ban on GM food right now forever STOP

The Bulgarian Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Water has adopted the proposed changes to the GMO Act including the 5-year ban on GM Crop cultivation.
The decision was backed by the 11 MPs on the Committee and will be voted on next week in the second hearing of the Act in the Bulgarian Parliament. It was passed at its first reading in January
Some Bulgarian Socialist Party MPs also called for the center-right GERB government to look in to the possibility of announcing Bulgaria as a GMO free zone, suggesting that this would help the tourist industry amongst other things.
Earlier Thursday, Bulgaria Environment Minister, Nona Karadzhova, criticized the politicization of the issue of changes to the GMO Act while reacting to Thursday’s GMO protests around Bulgaria.
Last week the center-right governing GERB party gave in to public pressure and proposed that all cultivation of GM crops should be banned for 5-years, in a change to the new GMO Act. Five major Bulgarian cities are holding Thursday protests against the other amendments to the Act.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Bulgarian Troops Return From Afghanistan

It's pretty warm in Afghanistan right now. Although I don't approve of their presence there I think that with the severe cold weather and snow blizzards in Bulgaria right now their trip back home could have waited a week or so longer. Just a thought from a common sense point of view rather than a political one for a change. I'm sure the vast majority of the troops now freezing cold (and one of them is a good friend of mine) would agree.

Bulgarian troops from Sixth Regiment who were on rotation in Afghanistan returned to Bulgaria late on February 8 2010, Bulgarian National Television reported.
In total, 260 Bulgarian solders out of the 600-strong contingent have returned home. They were greeted at the airport by Defence Minister Anyo Angelov and Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov.
The detachment of Bulgarian solders were guarding the airport of Kandahar as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition force.
"The Bulgarian soldiers fulfilled their mission under very precarious circumstances while their base in Kandahar was under almost constant bombardment," Angelov was quoted as saying by Bulgarian news agency Focus.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Miro Has The Talent And Songs To Win the Eurovision Song Contest

Miro, alias Miroslav Kostodinov has many fans including me as I posted not so long ago. He now has a good selection of songs that is on the process of selection to go forward to the preliminary rounds of the Eurovison Song Contest. Let hope that the stupid partisan way that votes go can subside and see true talent the Bulgaria in providing in singer and songwriters.

Miro, Bulgaria’s contestant in the Eurovision 2010 contest in Oslo, says that he firmly believes the country can win this year.
In a special broadcast on Bulgarian National Television (BNT), Miro – born Miroslav Kostadinov – presented five songs from which one will be chosen to be the country’s official entry in the song contest.
The choice will be made via SMS and tele-voting with a final on February 28, just a day more than three months before the semi-final of Eurovision in the Norwegian capital. Those who make it through to the Eurovision final will compete on May 29.
Speaking on BNT on February 8, Miro said that "Bulgaria needed a win". He recalled the country’s previous popular achievements, in football in 1994 and said that he remembered crying with joy at the victories of ice-dancers Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski.
The five songs will be broadcast on Bulgarian public television and radio each night until a final choice of Bulgaria’s entry is made.
This is the fifth time that Bulgaria competes in Eurovision. The best it has managed was in 2007, when Elitsa and Stoyan’s Voda ("Water") placed fifth, but there have been low points, such as the 2009 controversial selection of Krassimir Avramov, who placed 16th out of 18th in a semi-final. After an uproar about the choice of Avramov, the system of selecting Bulgaria’s contestant was changed.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Sumo's World Number Two Is Bulgarian

A Bulgarian man who has taken Japan by storm and encompassed the culture with great respect. Pretty soon he could feasibly be the world number one in sumo wrestling! Whoever would have thought that this could have been possible? He is also getting married on Valentine's Day although I'm sure this is coincidental as this is a western invention.

Bulgarian sumo wrestler Kaloyan Mahlyanov, aka Kotooshu, has been promoted to second position in the profession, following the forced retirement of champion Asashoryu.
The Mongolian’s career came to an abrupt end following a drunken brawl in a bar in Rupongi. His behavior was judged to be against all norms, both within Japanese society and in the world of sumo.
Asashoryu will receive a pay-off of USD 1 M, and the same amount again over the year.
Kotooshu is reported as behaving totally differently, abiding by all social and professional rules. His wedding, on February 14, will be conducted entirely according to Japanese protocol and tradition.
The entire sumo community will attend the wedding of Kotooshu and his bride Asako and some 250 wrestlers are expected to attend the celebration.
His future best man and head of the Bulgarian Sumo Federation Petar Stoyanov, commented on Kotooshu’s professional prospects, following Asashoryu’s retirement.
"We are not gloating over this, but for Bulgaria it is good. The retirement of Asashoryu gives him a very big chance to attack the top position from second place . Kotooshu needs to be the winner in the next two tournaments, in one to acquire a credit of 14:1 or 15: 0 and, I think, he will immediately be selected for yokozuna," Stoyanov said.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Drivers Stranded In Bulgaria Due To Snow

Having had to dig the car out of snow this weekend and today for work and require a tow from a tractor to get home I can see clearly why many other people got stranded in the snow over the last few days. there is more forecast with will compound things even further. Shame this didn't happen at Christmas when we all didn't have to go to work.

Heavy snowfall has seriously disrupted transport in Bulgaria, blocking highways and leaving cars stranded in snow.
Officials in Bulgaria say the weather caused power outages in parts of that country Monday, and delayed most flights for about an hour at Sofia International Airport. Off-road vehicles are being used to free stranded drivers and transport patients requiring emergency treatment to the hospital.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Bulgaria versus England In The Football European Championship

Well this is of great interest to me and why? Well I really want Bulgaria to stuff England when they meet but not for the reason you think. I want more people to become aware of Bulgaria and how they can teach the mainly arrogant English, 'I know all' attitude a thing or two about many things. And if they don't win, well as they say,'I'm all right Jack' as I have learned so much from this country on the things that really matter and football and their in the main 'commercial football' really doesn't come close.

Bulgaria was handed a hard test for the qualifying rounds of the European Championship in 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Bulgaria was drawn in the same group as England and Wales, plus Switzerland, and local Montenegro.
The draw, which took place in Warsaw on February 7 2010, was conducted by Polish player Zbigniew Boniek, and Ukraine’s Andriy Shevchenko.
England manager Fabio Capello did not comment on Bulgaria in the aftermath of the draw, but was only quoted as saying by English media that
"I think the worst groups were group A and group G and we got group G. It's a tough group because each game will be strong games to play.
"Wales are one of the best teams now, although they are very young. Switzerland have qualified for the World Cup and are one of the best teams at the moment."
The 2012 Uefa European Football Championship, will be the 14th European Championship for national football teams sanctioned by Uefa. The final tournament will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine between June 8 and July 1 2012.
The draw for Euro 2012 in full:
Group A— Germany, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan
Group B— Russia, Slovakia, Ireland, Macedonia, Armenia, Andorra
Group C— Italy, Serbia, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Estonia, Faeroe Islands
Group D— France, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus, Albania, Luxembourg
Group E— Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Moldova, San Marino
Group F— Croatia, Greece, Israel, Latvia, Georgia, Malta
Group G— England, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales, Montenegro
Group H— Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, Iceland
Group I— Spain, Czech Republic, Scotland, Lithuania, Liechtenstein


Saturday, 6 February 2010

New Bulgarian European Commissioner Nominee Making Good Impressions

Well after the saga of the previous candidate Roumyana Zheleva anyone would be seen as a better option. Kristalina Georgieva certainly has made a good start and impressed with sincere promises, but then what politician hasn't before being elected? Am I really such a sceptic when it comes to politicians who make promises and break them once in power? If so, tell me one politician who hasn't.

Kristalina Georgieva -- Bulgaria's nominee to be the new EU Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Prevention -- is expected to be approved for the post following a flawless performance at her confirmation hearing before the European Parliament (EP) on Wednesday (February 3rd).
"For those in need around the world, this is the most important portfolio," she said in her opening remarks at the three-hour session. The 56-year-old scholar and economist pledged to become "the voice of the voiceless" within the European Commission (EC).

Friday, 5 February 2010

A Bad Christmas? - For Who?

Why is it bad news that not many Bulgarians spent lots of money on Christmas presents? It is only bad news to the retail trade who are make profit on the commercialism of Christmas. This Christmas was just as good if not better than many previous Christmases as Bulgarians know how to enjoy themselves during this festive season without the need for shopping mania.

The Christmas shopping season has not driven up retail sales in Bulgaria, according to the latest data of Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office. Retail sales slipped 1.1 per cent in December from the previous month and 11 per cent on an annual basis.
The monthly decline deepened in the last two months of 2009, when it stood at 1.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent, respectively. This compares with 0.6 per cent for September and one per cent for October.
The figures were confirmed by the Bulgarian Retail Association (BRA).
Source: Dnevnik

Thursday, 4 February 2010

As much as I don't like Bulgarian television generally, this is a positive side to drawing in millions of viewers that are glued to TV sets every evening. The fund raising was one of the best causes I seen for a while, well done bTV. Although I do wonder whether all the money will go to to the people who need it most. I won't mention corruption and you know who.

A telethon on Bulgaria’s bTV raised 943 524 leva, the station said on February 3 2010.
The telethon featured Bulgarian actors, musicians, ambassadors, business people and politicians, and was done in co-operation with Unicef Bulgaria. Of the sum, 895 513 leva came in via a special SMS line and the rest into a dedicated bank account, bTV said.
Separately, as of February 2, the Bulgarian Red Cross campaign to help Haiti had raised more than 250 000 leva. Donations may be made via SMS to 1255 or a special bank account, details of which are on the Bulgarian Red Cross website.
From the Haitian capital, the Voice of America reported that residents of makeshift tent cities throughout Port-au-Prince say that conditions have improved since the earthquake three weeks ago, but shortages of food and relief supplies still make life difficult.
The United Nations News Service said that beyond food, hundreds of thousands of Haitian earthquake victims displaced from their homes in Port-au-Prince, Léogâne and Jacmel urgently need shelter, with plastic sheeting taking priority over tents.
This is according to the latest UN update, three weeks after the catastrophe struck the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere
Sanitation, which was already a challenge in Haiti prior to the devastating January 12 earthquake, which killed up to 200 000 people, injured many others and left two million in need of aid, is an even greater challenge now, and will remain an important public health issue in the coming weeks, according to UN health officials.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

EU Rules Hit Bulgaria Again - This Time It's Batteries!

Yet more dictatorship fro the European Union who continue to impose a magnitude of rules and regulations like there is no tomorrow on Bulgaria. Even though this is a green rule that they are trying to enforce they will find it very difficult if not impossible without re-educating the whole population of Bulgaria. As in the report most will end up in landfill sites and mandatory laws brought in will be ignored not purposely but through a different culture to 'green' Europe, which incidentally is more polluted than Bulgaria. Perhaps the EU can learn form Bulgaria? 

New EU rules have come into force that require some Bulgarian stores selling batteries to provide in-store recycling bins.
Any Bulgarian shop selling more than 32 kg of batteries a year - equivalent to one pack of four AA batteries a day - must comply to the new directive as part of targets on cutting landfill.
Battery maker Varta warned that a lack of awareness among consumers could hamper the scheme's success, the BBC reported.
Most batteries currently end up in landfill sites, where they can leak toxic chemicals into the soil. The EU Batteries Directive aims to tackle that problem and cut carbon emissions by reducing the need for new batteries to be made from scratch.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Vignette This Year In Bulgaria Is a Bargain

Well there's a change, not only no inflation for this year's vignette (road tax), but an extra month thrown in due to technical difficulties. You can count on most Bulagrian's using that extra month in delaying the purchase of the vignette and I was not different actually putting it on my Lada windscreen on Sunday the 31st January. Next year what are the chances of getting another bargain?

All vehicles using the Bulgarian road network need to display a valid 2010 vignette as of February 1, otherwise they risk a fine of between BGN 100 and BGN 1 000.

The only roads exempt from the need for a vignette are those in cities and ring-roads, towns and villages.

In December, it had been announced that a consortium between EIBank and VIP Security would distribute the road vignette stickers in Bulgaria for the next four years.

There were delays in setting up the distribution system, and in the printing of the vehicle tax stickers. The Bulgarian Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA) had extended the validity of 2009 vignettes to 13 months.

In addition to the traditional outlets for buying vignettes – border crossings and petrol stations, they can now be purchased online. The operating consortium has published an e-shopping site, in Bulgarian and English, with payments online and delivery of the sticker by courier.

The site contains comprehensive information, and is accessible at Vignette costs remain at the levels of 2009, despite a short-lived proposal to raise the levels to plug some of the shortfall in revenue of the RIA.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Bulgaria Not The Most Corrupt In The European Union

I would go along with this statement and say that Italy are probably the most corrupt EU country. It is always those who know noting about Bulgaria and Romania that criticise and point fingers. Yes there is corruption for sure, but anyone would think that the rest of the EU are white as white. A lot of corruption in western Europe we just don't hear about as it is covered up very well.

Günter Verheugen, European Commissioner for Enlargement at the time when Romania and Bulgaria were preparing for the EU accession, defended these countries by saying that they were not the most corrupt states in the European Union.
I think these countries are being treated unfairly when they are reproached with being corrupt, their administrations not being operational and the crime making the law, said Verheugen.
If I were asked what the most corrupt EU country was, I would not first think of Romania and Bulgaria. And if I were asked in what country the organized crime did have the most powerful influence on the governmental policy, again I would not first think of Romania and Bulgaria, he told the Phoenix TV show.
The current Commissioner for Industry, who is at the end of his mandate, did not want to nominate the countries he would think of first, when it came to corruption and organized crime, but he added that you could easily recognize them.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Stray dogs are a common sight in towns and cities in Bulgaria. There have been attacks on humans with gangs of dogs that have the courage in numbers. There has been a tagging process over the last year or so, but this doesn’t solve the problem. My own opinion is that stray dogs should be put down, but that is too politically sensitive and because of this more incidents of attacks from dog will persist.

Zoo director Ivan Ivanov says an unknown number of dogs leapt through a fence and attacked eight mouflon, four fallow deer and a doe.

Ivanov told The Associated Press on Saturday the incident occurred last week and was the most serious in the zoo's recent history. He believes freezing temperatures and hunger had driven the dogs.
Two fallow deer and one mouflon managed to escape and survived before security guards intervened. The dogs also escaped.
Ivanov said that new animals of the same species have been already transported to Sofia. The zoo is the largest in the country with 1,310 animals of 274 different species.


Saturday, 30 January 2010

Borisov Prevents Bulgaria's Tobacco Industry Going Up In Smoke

Good one Boyko! Take the bull by the horns and sort it out is exactly what he has done. Politics is too fancy sometimes Boyko Borisov certainly is not in that fold. It is so refreshing to see direct and effective action to resolve disputes like this. Tobacco is a big industry in Bulgaria and the money lost from disputes like this doesn't help in a recession. With a conspiring opposition party making waves Boyko did good.

Boyko Borisov, confirmed that he is set to replace the entire leadership of the so-called Tobacco Fund. The changes are forthcoming in the next few weeks while he is waiting only for the results of the probe.
The PM also said he had made an agreement with tobacco growers and producers that they designate 3-representatives to be appointed as members of the Monitoring Board of the Fund.
Borisov further reiterated his Wednesday statements, January 27th that the tensions among tobacco growers are politically motivated and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is behind the unrest.
The tobacco farmers had a mass protest rally scheduled for Thursday, but they canceled it after a midnight meeting with Borisov. (Between 15 000 and 20 000 Bulgarian tobacco producers were making preparations for a protest planned for Thursday morning. They were blockade the Danube Bridge crossing to Romania, and the border checkpoints with Greece.
“I made commitments and everything I promised is going on; we are working on getting more money,” Borisov declared.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry informed they have signed an agreement with the National Tobacco Growers Union 2009.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Less Beer Drunk By Bulgarians in 2009

67 litres of beer a year! That's just over a litre a week. I bet that this figure would equate more to the amount of home made rakia drunk than beer. The cost is paramount here and the price of beer rose last year. In a recession where do the brewers who have a mandate for increased profits year in year out what did they expect. Everyone I know here in Bulgaria drink at home, it is cheaper, like I said cost is everything here.

Five of the six major breweries in Bulgaria declared a decline in retail sales for 2009 amounting to about 11 per cent on average compared to the previous year, the Union of Bulgarian Breweries said in a media statement, cited by Bulgarian media, on January 28 2010.
The average Bulgarian consumes about 67 litres of beer annually, while total beer production in the country for 2009 amounted to five million hectolitres.
"The primary reason why we incurred a decrease this season is attributed to the decline of sales in restaurants and hotels, as more people opt for drinking at home," Vladimir Ivanov, head of the UBB, was quoted as saying by Dnevnik daily.
The industry expects further decline in 2010 in the range of three to five per cent.
Currently, 3070 people are employed in the Bulgarian beer industry, but breweries are contemplating further job cuts in 2010, Dnevnik said.
Total investments in the sector in 2009 amount to about 66 million leva, and there are eight major beer breweries in the country overall. BBU members are Bolyarka, Zagorka, Kamenitsa, Carlsberg Bulgaria and Lomsko Pivo.
The only brewery in Bulgaria that is not a member of the BBU is Ledenika Beer.
Beer sold in plastic bottles was consumers' preferred choice, with more than 48 per cent of the total market share, while beer sold in classic half-litre bottles amounted to 42.5 per cent. Draught beer accounted for a meagre 5.5 per cent of the total market, while canned beer was bottom with four per cent.
About 72 per cent of Bulgarians preferred to drink at home, compared to 28 per cent who opted for pubs and/or restaurants, Dnevnik said.