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 Sofia News Agency 
Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency)
Real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news - economic, political and cultural, foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and world news.

Is Bulgaria Ready For the Challenges of the Present and the Future?

We are waiting for a few trends, major evolutionary steps that will change the concept of reality as we know it. Every radical change in human society in the past has been triggered by some of the key enabling this factors such as wood, stone, bronze, iron, steam, electricity, automation, to our times, with the introduction of the Internet and technology. Soon they will predict and change not only politics, economics, trade, culture and societies, but also our biology and ethics, Dr Mariana Todorova, BAS, wrote in her analysis.

Which are these trends?

Robotic, Automation and Artificial Intelligence. Future of Professions

According to McKinsey & Company's projections in 2022, about 47% of professions will switch to partial or complete automation or robotization. For 2025, the percentage rises to 52% to reach the expected level of 70% in 2035. There are opposite forecasts. On the one hand, technological optimists say that many jobs and professions will disappear, but it will give a chance to new ones that are more creative and more innovative, capable of showing new, unrecognized human potential.

In this respect, however, it is missed that machine training (one of the approaches to creating artificial intelligence) is advancing quite rapidly and will be improved to carry out increasingly sophisticated activities. Data indicate that not only professions with monotonous and repetitive functions but also those who process data such as accountants, journalists, TV speakers, legal counselors, doctors to diagnose elementary illnesses will gradually be displaced by machines. In these areas, professionals will remain in situations where complex problem solving is needed, eg. writing or processing more diverse information, making a more complex legal analysis, or diagnosing a complicated condition from several diseases that interfere with each other.

In the book "Hommo Deus," Israeli researcher Yuval Harari talks that humanity is moving into a "dehumanization economy.

Each country must immediately reform its education systems beyond narrow specialization and profiling to create attitudes for interdisciplinary cooperation and regular retraining.

The model of social and health systems will also have to be reconsidered.

Contemporary nation states operate around two principles - a monopoly of violence (waging war and public order) and a monopoly on tax collection. The resistance to the cryptocurrencies so far guarantees the second, but Facebook's decision to create and use its own cryptocurrency will also lead to big twists.

 Bulgaria will also need to be ready with its own action plan for the global trend towards robotics, automation and the artificial intelligence. In this case, the cheaper labor and low taxes, as competitive advantages, will automatically disappear. Thousands of people will have to adapt and retrain.

Over 2 million Sales of Electronic Vignettes in Bulgaria Have Been Realized

,,Over 2 million sales of electronic vignettes have been realized.''

This was announced by the Minister of Regional Development Petya Avramova during her hearing at the Regional Commission for Progress on the Implementation of the Electronic Billing System, reported NOVA TV.

"As of 20 April, through the electronic system for time-based road tolling, 2 755 821 sales were made at a total value of BGN 182 997 922. 82% of the revenues are from the charging of road vehicles to 3, 5 tons, light and light commercial vehicles. 3% are from cars weighing between 3, 5 and 12 tons. 15% are the result of purchased electronic vignettes for cars over 12 tonnes, "the regional minister said.

She stressed that an important element of the customer service process is to ensure that the road user can transfer his electronic toll when changing the registration number of the vehicle.

"Since the beginning of March this service has been maintained with the possibility of submitting documents entirely electronically.

Within one working week, an average of 910 re-registration requests have been received. Avramova explained and added that 199,896 vignettes of socially disadvantaged people were provided.

"We are making efforts to meet the deadline for the TOLL system to be implemented on August 16," Avramova added.

The Cabinet Approves BGN 20.7 million Subsidy For Religions for 2019

 Of this amount, BGN 15,000,000 is for the Orthodox Christian Church, reported NOVA TV. 

The Bulgarian government has approved an additional BGN 20,770,000 in state subsidies for 2019 under the Religious Denominations Act, said the government press office.

BGN 5 770 000 will be spend for the Muslim minority. The budget resources of the Council of Ministers will be secured at the expense of the projected expenditures on the central budget and through the restructuring of expenditures and / or transfers to the central budget for 2019.

As the State Budget Act for 2019 was adopted prior to the amendments to the Religious Denominations Act, the latter stipulates that the subsidies should be approved during this year.


Nearly 500 Measles Cases in Bulgaria

There have been 497 cases of measles on the territory of Bulgaria as of April 24. The outbreak in Blagoevgrad Province is fading, but it is growing in Sofia-city and Sofia Province, writes NOVA TV. 

Each year the state allocates BGN 40 million to implement the immunization calendar, which is identical to those of other European countries.

For 2018, 7 percent of children did not receive the first measles vaccination at 13 months of age and 13 percent did not appear for the second.

The largest number of unvaccinated children is in the Roma community and among children of parents with anti-vaccination attitudes.

Deputy Minister of Health Svetlana Yordanova said Bulgaria is one of the 53 countries in the WHO European Region which is celebrating the European Immunisation Week 2019.

This year it will take place from April 24 to 30 to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination, especially in children.

The European Immunization Week this year is between 24-30 April, its main goal being to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination, especially among children.


Exports From the Agriculture and Food Sectors in Bulgaria Reached EUR 4.5-5 billion

Exports from the agriculture and food sectors reached 4.5-5 billion euros. The positive balance or excess of imports is close to EUR 1 billion. This was announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porozhanov at the traditional Easter Forum "Yes! Bulgarian Food ", organized by Standard newspaper, Econ.bg wrtes.

"Export is very important. Our main focus is the European market, but our niches are in the East, "the minister said.

He said after the meeting with his Chinese counterpart he was assured that after three years of efforts, there will be a solution for the export of Bulgarian dairy products to China. There is also a great interest in Bulgarian sunflower seeds. At present, 3 of our companies are exporting for $ 10 million, and another 10 companies are expected to be approved. There is also an attempt to increase the export of Bulgarian wine to China.

Minister Porozhanov paid special attention to the Arab markets and Lebanon as a point of distribution for food. There is one of the most successful global food exhibitions.

The EU agreement with Japan allows us to enter a zero duty on imports of Bulgarian products.

Executive Director of the Executive Agency for Vine and Wine Eng. Krassimir Koev announced that in 2018 Tokyo exported 1,3 million liters of bulk Bulgarian wine. It was bottled by a local company that offered it on the Japanese market with the brand "Neshka", in the name of the particularly popular Bulgarian coach in rhythmic gymnastics.

"More importantly, the prices on which Bulgarian wine is exported doubled in recent years. This means that it is appreciated and its added value is significantly increased, "Krassimir Koev said.

He recalled that the funds for the national wine-growing program remained at EUR 134 million by 2023. The subsidy rates of 75%, which is the highest share in the EU and only 2 other Member States, have also been retained.


The chairman of the Bulgarian Association of Land Owners Staiko Staykov proposed the establishment of a united agricultural chamber on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Minister Porozhanov commented that this would greatly facilitate the work and the dialogue. At the end of the discussion he congratulated all Bulgarian producers and wished them health and good Easter holidays.

Bulgaria's Financial Regulator to Check Eurohold Over CEZ Deal

Bulgaria’s regulator said on Wednesday it was examining Eurohold to establish its financial situation given its bid to acquire the Bulgarian assets of Czech utility CEZ, reported Reuters

Eurohold, active in insurance and asset management, entered into exclusive talks to acquire CEZ’s assets in the Balkan country that include a power distributor that provides electricity to more than 3 million Bulgarians last week.

“The key objective is to check the financial situation and the capacity of the holding company in relation to future acquisitions, including CEZ Distribution Bulgaria and CEZ Electro Bulgaria,” Bulgaria’s Financial Supervision Commission said in a statement.

“By law, power distributors are part of the European critical infrastructure with a direct relation to national security,” it said, adding that it would also carry out checks at key companies that are part of Eurohold.

Electricity costs are politically sensitive in the Balkan nation of 7.1 million people that is one of the poorest in the European Union.

BDZ Provides Over 19 000 Additional Seats in the Trains For the Holidays

BDZ-Passenger Transport EOOD will provide over 19 000 additional seats of some trains that travel along the main directions in the country.

Increased seating capacity on trains is made in order to ensure comfortable mobility of customers during weekends on Easter Day, Labor Day (May 1st) and Courage Day (St.George) due to the increased interest in traveling through this period.

From April 25 to May 6 inclusive, some trains will travel along the following routes:

Sofia-Stara Zagora-Sofia;
Sofia-Gorna Oryahovitsa-Sofia;

"BDZ - Passenger Transport" Ltd reminds its customers that when purchasing return tickets they can enjoy a 10% to 30% discount on the regular ticket price depending on the different offers of the company.

Customers of the national railway operator can obtain detailed information at Information Boards and ticket offices in the railway stations and offices in the country or on the national telephone number 0700 10 200.

More than 280,000 Bulgarians Will Travel During the Easter Holiday

Additional traffic police patrols on the highways will monitor the traffic, reported NOVA TV. 

More than 280,000 Bulgarians will travel during the Easter holidays. Additional traffic police patrols on the highways will monitor the traffic.

Traditionally, the roads to Serbia and Greece, as well as the Trakia and Hemus highways will be the most busy.Alternative routes are planned through the Sub-Balkan Road and the Iskar Gorge, due to repairs.

In order to avoid serious traffic, the regional ministry introduced a heavy goods truck ban on the most busy days from 16.00pm to 20.00pm..

There is also increased police presence around rail stations, airports and ports. 

Up to 10 Years There Will Be a New Terminal and a Runway at Sofia Airport

The airport has reached its design capacity, writes NOVA TV. 

"Up to 10 years at Sofia Airport there will be a new terminal and runway". This was said at a hearing in the parliamentary committee on transport, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Rosen Zhelyazkov, quoted by BGNES.

"The chosen concessionaire will have to pay the state 550 million euros without VAT for his contract to come into force," the minister said.

"The subject of evaluation, which is the main element in the ranking, will be annual concession fees, not less than 15 million excluding VAT per year or 10% of all airport revenue. Another important factor is the investment. They can not be less than 600 million, as by the 10th year there must be a new terminal and a new runway. This is a mandatory requirement, "he said, and added that the offers of the five candidates would be open on May 9th.

About a month later, it will be clear who will take over the airport for the next 35 years.

Zhelyazkov stressed that Sofia Airport had reached its design capacity and in order to accommodate more airplanes and passengers, there should be more air halls and parking spaces.

Tow Trucks in Sofia Tighten Control Against Improperly Parked Vehicles

Municipal tow trucks tighten control against improper parking in Sofia. In addition to the gratis in the paid areas, they will now pick up all offenders of the Road Traffic Act. For one day of the action, 1200 cars went to a parking lot, NOVA said.
Data shows that one stop in an illegal spot in Sofia is 20 levs for a fine, 60 levs for the tow truck and 2 levs per hour for the parking lot. Under the new control scheme, the probability of avoiding punishment is minimal.

Under the cover of the signs of a paid area, hundreds of drivers park each day between permitted places, but in violation. As the owner of the road, the municipality has assumed the right to sanctions.
Mass workers in the center park in front of their offices in violation, according to the Center for Urban Mobility.
"It's an established practice - to park near your office, as they can not get a vignette for place of residence. They observe the inside of their car and when they see that our supervisor comes to sanction it, they enter and leave ", explains the Director of Parking and Mobility in TsMM Rumyana Milova.

On the first day of the action, 1,200 offenders were detected. Raising them has worked. On the second day, in the same perimeter, 840 were detected.
There are 10 new tow trucks and 10 new employees.
And another warning to offenders - the tow trucks will pick up without a day off.

Bulgarian Family Got the Business Prize of Queen Elizabeth II: The Home for us is Bulgaria

Angel, Iveta, Hristo and Mario Totochevi left for Britain just over 7 years ago. They created EasySkinz in 2014, and in just a few years managed to turn it into a super successful company. This is the way to one the most prestigious awards for business in the UK - The Queen's Award for Enterprise 2019 in the International Trade category. The company is engaged in the design, development and production of skins (a special self-adhesive material that the device is wearing).

The distinction won is a royal seal, a symbol of approval for the most remarkable companies in the United Kingdom. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II approves the winners personally, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Theresa May.

Angel and Iveta Totochevi moved to the UK in 2011 after 25 years of experience in the advertising business in Bulgaria. Their older son Hristo joined them after graduating from Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski "with a degree in" Public Relations ". Their younger son, Mario, is also trained at the CEMAST Campus (Center for Advanced Engineering, Production and Advanced Learning) at Fareham College, Motorsport.

In a special interview for DarikNews.bg, Hristo Totochev - the 28-year-old son and marketing director of the company

Congratulations on the award! But let's start from your path and how you reach it - for how long have you been in the UK and when did you set up your company?

We arrived in the UK a little over 7 years ago. We have had experience in producing outdoor advertising from Bulgaria. We have been in this sector for almost 25 years, and this sphere has been completely familiar to us. Four years ago, we created the company with a lot of enthusiasm and passion. We have distributed the responsibilities in the family, according to who is better in his sphere. With the common goal we had and trusting each other, things were happening faster and easier.
How did you get to the prestigious prize? Where did you find the news about it?

Documents to apply for the prestigious prize were sent out in September 2018. Nearly 6 months, our company was thoroughly studied by all UK institutions to make sure the company is crystal clear and will not stain the name of Her Majesty. We had reason to believe in winning it because we met all of the requirements, but when the congratulatory letter came, it was surely like the thunder of a clear sky. It was a very emotional moment that showed us that the endless sleepless nights were worth it.
When and by whom will you receive the award?

The prize will be awarded by a royal messenger (Lord Lieutenant) representative of the queen for the area in which we are based. It is a crystal bowl and a scroll, signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The prize is not material and has no monetary value. It is recognition, pride and prestige. Over the next 5 years we will be able to use the emblem of the prestigious awards, unmistakably in all our advertising strategies and materials. We still expect to be told the date for the event, but it will certainly be soon. We will meet at a party in our base and invite friends, colleagues and people related to our business to celebrate together.

You are invited to a royal reception at the Buckingham Palace, home to Prince Charles. Is there any excitement about the upcoming visit there?

On June 11, two representatives of EasySkinz were invited to a royal reception at the Buckingham Palace. Host will be Prince Charles who will personally meet with all the guests. Other members of the royal family, prominent business representatives, ambassadors, and representatives of parliament will be present. Excitement is indescribable, as few have been fortunate enough to experience such an event.

How one succeeds as an immigrant in a foreign country? What are the difficulties you personally went through?

Success, in our view, is not a geographic concept. It can happen anywhere in the world. If you have a good idea, believe in your dreams and work tirelessly, the chance for success to to catch up with you is enormous. We went through difficulties, we had sleepless nights, but in general we have not encountered large barriers and obstacles.
Outside of business - how do you like to spend your family time? Do you have hobbies? What are your other interests?

Beside work, we love traveling. Mario, 18 years old, is interested in sports cars, photography and reading biography books, my mother Iveta is also addicted to reading, and my father Angel draws and constructs robotic machines as a hobby.
Do you like to go to Bulgaria and are you often given the opportunity?

We love to go back to Bulgaria. At first we did it only in the summer, but lately we go back several times a year, even without reason. Whatever the people say, wherever the wind takes us, no matter how successful we are, the home remains one, and it is Bulgaria for us.

This material originally appeared on DarikNews.bg on April 24, 2019.

The Police Begins Checking all Guest Houses in Bulgaria Built with EU Funds

Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov instructed the National Police to check all guest houses built with EU funds. An investigation in Blagoevgrad is already in process on the occasion of the property of Alexander Manolev, reminded the prosecutor. The National Police also checks if the family of Elena Yoncheva uses guest houses funded by EU funds for other purposes.

Now the national police check is focused on the documents of all projects under the rural development program 2007-2013.

Policemen will check whether guest houses are used for their intended purpose. For this purpose, certified copies of registers for accommodated tourists for Bulgarian and foreign citizens will be required, documentation for registration and categorization of the site, information on paid tourist taxes for overnight tourists. It will be required from the relevant district police, based on the location of the guest house, information about the registration cards for tourists.

It will check if the guests entered in the registers have actually visited the checked guest house.

The Chief Prosecutor ordered the police to carry out an inspection of all projects that are supported by costs related to the purchase of road transport vehicles for non-agricultural activities directly related to the activity of the beneficiaries. A team of prosecutors will take over the management and support of the inspections that have to be completed within two months.

Bulgarian Parliament will be Voting on Important Changes

Parliament will vote in first reading today amendments to the Defense and Armed Forces Act of the Republic of Bulgaria. This includes the draft program for MPs for this week.
The National Assembly is expected to vote in second reading amendments to the Law on arms, munitions, explosives and pyrotechnic objects, as well as in the Law on Restoration and Restructuring of Credit Institutions and Investment Intermediaries.
Thursday is the first reading of amendments to the Law on Measures against Money Laundering and the Law on Local Taxes and Fees. Amendments to the Commercial Register Act and to the Register of Non-Profit Legal Entities are expected at second reading.
The draft program is still ratification of an agreement between Bulgaria and the World Bank to provide support for a World Bank office in Bulgaria, as well as a first reading of the Oil-Rose Bill.
Parliamentary control this Friday will not be held because it is a day off.

Six District Centers in Bulgaria Increased their Population Last Year, Rousse Loses most Inhabitants

Six district centers have increased the number of their residents last year. In 2017 Targovishte joined Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Kardzhali, Plovdiv and Sofia of cities that increased their population. This shows a BTA survey of population data by cities and gender as of 31 December 2018 of the National Statistical Institute (NSI).
According to the report, out of a total of 257 Bulgarian cities, only 28 have increased their population over the past year. In the remaining 229 cities the population decreases with a different number of people, data show.

Last year the number of Bulgarian cities, whose population is less than 1000 people, remains six. In the group of the smallest towns are Melnik, Brusartsi, Kiten, Klisura, Madjarovo and Pliska. One of these cities, Madjarovo, with a small number, increases its population.
According to data in 2018, the largest increase in population was registered in Sofia. The number of residents in the capital has increased by 3237 compared to the previous year and reached 1 241 675 people. After Sofia, the largest population increase is in Plovdiv - 1680, with the city under the hills now having a population of 346,893. The third largest city in the country - Varna, increased its population by 651 and the total population of the city is 336,505 people.

Veliko Tarnovo for third consecutive year marks growth of its inhabitants. Last year the capital city increased its population by 79 and reached 68,859. Kardzhali in 2018 increases its population by 81 people and has 43,263 inhabitants.

Last year, a minimum increase of the population was registered in Targovishte by the regional centers, with 7 people and the population is 35 453 inhabitants. In the cities that are not regional centers, the biggest increase in the population is in Nessebar, whose residents at the end of last year are 334 more. With more than 100 people last year, the population increased three cities - Kazanlak (by 260), Simeonovgrad (by 193) and Krumovgrad (by 146), according to the data. In 2018, the population increased also in Ardino - with 83 people, Sveti Vlas - with 74 people, Bozhurishte - with 65 people, Momchilgrad - with 61 people, Dulovo - with 56 people, Djebel - with 48 people, Pomorie - 30 Varbitsa - with 23 people, Tvarditsa - with 16 people, Bansko and Madjarovo - with 13 people and Sozopol - with 12 people. With less than 10 inhabitants, Kiten - with 7 people, Kuklen - with 5 people, Sungurlare, Tran and Bolyarovo - with four inhabitants and Kaolinovo with only two people.
Cities reporting an increase in population in 2018 are located in a total of 16 districts. As in 2017, a district with administrative center in Kardzhali, in which five cities are located, is the only one in the country where all cities increase their population. This, apart from the district center, is Ardino, Djebel, Krumovgrad and Momchilgrad.

In the Burgas District, which has 20 cities, 6 of the cities with an increased number of inhabitants are located. These are Kiten, Nessebar, Pomorie, Sveti Vlas, Sozopol and Sungurlare. In three districts there are up to two cities with an increasing number of inhabitants. These are Kuklen and Plovdiv in the Plovdiv region, Madzharovo and Simeonovgrad in Haskovo and Varbitsa and Kaolinovo districts in Shumen district.

The remaining eleven cities with increased number of inhabitants are in Blagoevgrad region - Bansko, Varna district - the district center, Veliko Tarnovo region - again the district center, Pernik region - Trun, Silistra region - Dulovo, Sliven district - Tvarditsa, region Sofia-city - capital , Sofia district - Bozhurishte, Stara Zagora - Kazanlak district, Targovishte district - the district center and Yambol district - Bolyarovo.
The data show that the city that loses most of its population in Bulgaria for 2018 is Rousse - 1223 people. Among other cities with declining population there is not one that has lost more than 1,000 inhabitants.

Among the regional centers after Rousse, the population of Pleven is the most affected by 947 people. With more than 900 people, the population dropped in Dobrich - 918. Gabrovo and Haskovo have decreased by more than 800 inhabitants - 894 and 808 respectively. One district town has decreased by more than 700 inhabitants and this is Yambol - with 772 people. The population of Vidin has decreased by 612 inhabitants. Between 500 and 600 inhabitants lost in Stara Zagora in 2018 - 592 people, Pernik - 527 people and Vratsa - 503 people. The population of Lovech has decreased by 455 inhabitants last year and by Silistra 423. In 2018 Pazardzhik lost 378 inhabitants, Montana - 355 people, Razgrad and Smolyan - 346 inhabitants and Kyustendil and Shumen respectively 345 and 337 inhabitants . In two district towns, the population decreases with less than 300 people. These are Burgas - with 260 inhabitants and Blagoevgrad - with 232 inhabitants.

For the third consecutive year, in the vast cities, the population of Svishtov was reduced by 985 people. With between 400 and 500 people, the residents of Dupnitsa are reduced by 467 people. Three cities lose between 300 and 400 people. These are Lom - 394 people, Asenovgrad - 323 people, and Nova Zagora - 306 people. Eight Bulgarian cities declined in 2018 with between 200 and 300 inhabitants. These are Gorna Oryahovitsa - 296 people, Harmanli - 255 people, Troyan - 253 people, Svilengrad - 240 people, Popovo - 210 people, Karlovo - 209 people, Parvomay - 207 people and Belene - 203 people. Exactly 10 inhabitants in 2018 lost Smyadovo.

With a one-digit population, the population has decreased in eight Bulgarian cities. These are Letnitsa - 9 people, Slivo pole - 8 people, Melnik and Nikolaevo - 6 people, Obzor, Byala (Varna district) and Bankya - 5 inhabitants, and Ihtiman, whose population has decreased by two people.
And in 2018 the smallest regional center in the country is Smolyan with a population of 27,505 people. The top 3 of the district centers with the least population are Razgrad - 30 575 inhabitants and Silistra - 31 468 inhabitants.
The largest non district town is  Assenovgrad with a population of 48 719 people, followed by Kazanlak with 45 020 inhabitants and Dimitrovgrad with 33 899 people. Last year Bulgarian cities, whose population is less than 1000 people, remain six. In the group of the smallest Bulgarian town Melnik (183 inhabitants) there are also Madjarovo (597 inhabitants), Pliska (823 inhabitants), Klisura (925 inhabitants), Kiten (932 inhabitants) and Brusartzi with 941 inhabitants.

100% Increase of Property Prices in Sofia in the Last 15 Years

Property prices in Sofia have increased with 100% for the past 15 years, according to the statistics of the National Association of Building Contractors. Extremely cumbersome procedures and inadequate over-control of institutions have made a significant contribution to this increase, says Chairman of the Association Georgi Shopov. And while a private investor may take up to three years to issue a construction permit, only five days are planned for the design of an entire city square, but now under public procurement.
The Territorial Development Act has been changed 88 times for the last 10 years, says Georgi Shopov, Chairman of the Association of Building Contractors.

With each change, the procedures for preparing a private building are becoming more and more complex, and the whole process of issuing a building permit can be up to 3 years. The result of this situation is higher prices for the properties that people buy, not only in Sofia.
"These 30 years in the administration, pressed by the political model, where the protest is a loss of voters, and not the economic growth and the welfare of the population, have been made, and we have allowed an increasingly complicated and difficult regulatory framework not working in the interest of of society. We will see an example, I will not give names - there is currently a case with a building in Sofia. Do you think it is normal for a developed society with a legal base of 150 years in this area not to say for week whether the building permit is valid or not, "Shopov said.

While it takes three years for different government authorities to verify the intention of a private entrepreneur to invest money in a construction, when public funds are spent, the deadlines for such procedures are unrealistically short. This was made clear by the words of the deputy chairman of the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria arch. Petkana Bakalova:

"Strengthening a school in Pancharevo to be a public school promotion order means that it has constructive problems and is dangerous. For 4 days, it is impossible neither to calculate stats, nor to make inquiries nor to provide quality design solutions. Other such cases - Slivnitsa, a square of 5000 sq.m 5 days. These are some of the most striking cases that want to show that these public contracts have two options - either the designer is pre-selected, the project has been drafted and the procurement is being conducted to get it, or the municipalities sometimes put out design deadlines after transmission of the documentation in the so- time to remove the remarks, "Bakalova said.

After 14 Years the Fountain of Slaveikov Square in Sofia is Working Again (Video)

The Fountain of Slaveikov Square is filled with water and runs tests before it is released again, according to BGNews.
The Municipality of Sofia said they are currently making samples and the fountain will most likely soon be operational. It was completely dismantled from the square and after its repair returned to the area again as part of the reconstruction of Slaveikov Square.

The Fountain will work for the first time in 14 years after a 34-year-old man died in 2005 due to an electric shock. The tragic incident happened when he decided to dip his hands to cool down.
Then the fountain was closed and for many years stood under a dome.
"West Markets", who run the fountain, have already paid more than 100,000 leva to the mother of the deceased, who has always claimed she would not oppose the fountain to work again, provided the electrical system is replaced.

Deputy PM and Foreign Minister: Bulgaria and the Bulgarian People have Defied Hatred, Racism and Xenophobia

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva last night opened the ritual sitting dinner - the beginning of the Jewish Feast of Pesach, which our foreign minister hosted for a second consecutive year. This was announced by the press center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"In years when, unfortunately, we see increasing nationalism, manifestations of xenophobia and language of hatred, we need more such initiatives," said Ekaterina Zaharieva in her address to the guests - dozens of representatives of the Bulgarian public and the diplomatic corps.
Minister Zaharieva expressed her joy at the introduction of the tradition of such a dinner organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and took a conclusion of the initiative.
"A year after we were together for the first time together, Bulgaria is already a full member of the International Alliance for Holocaust Remembrance. This shows that our government, people and society chose to be among those countries that are opposed to hatred, racism and xenophobia, "she said.
"We are determined to teach our children history so that the black pages in it can never be repeated," Minister Zaharieva said.

"Let us remember, do not forget and be tolerant," Ekaterina Zaharieva concludes.
In his address to the guests, the chairman of the Shalom Organization of Jews in Bulgaria Alexander Oscar thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs personally Minister Zaharieva and Deputy Minister Georg Georgiev, who is the national coordinator for the fight against anti-Semitism.
"If the fight against the language of hatred and anti-Semitism so far has been done only by the Jewish community, today the Foreign Ministry, Minister Zaharieva, Georgi Georgiev, Bulgarian diplomacy and the state have joined forces," Oscar said and called to uphold our democratic values.
The initiative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs gathered at the ritual table representatives of the Jewish community in Bulgaria, the Chief Mufti of Bulgaria, representative of the Catholic Church, ambassadors of the member states in the International Alliance for Holocaust Remembrance, Bulgarian diplomats, members of the legislature and representatives of the Jewish communities from the Western Balkan countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Tomorrow Bulgarian PM Borisov will Meet with the Management of the UNWE

Tomorrow at 11:00 I will have a meeting with the management of the University of National and World Economy, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting. The topic of the discussion will be information disseminated by the management of the school that they were faced with bankruptcy, Focus News Agency reports. "We will meet to look into the problem with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Words, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education," the prime minister said.

European IT Leader with Office in Sofia Reported Revenues of EUR 6.1 Billion for the First Quarter

German software maker SAP has raised its forecast for the growth of its operating profit for the current year due to expected better results after the launch of the large-scale restructuring program for its business.

The company's goal is to increase its presence in the cloud service segment. The company reported a 26% increase in this division for the first quarter of 2019. Its total sales amounted to 6.1 billion euros.

The SAP leaders also state that they are due to evaluate the multi-annual share buy-back program and focus on the acquisition opportunities.

Chief Executive Officer Bill McDermott has high hopes for cloud services, with the company spending more than $ 10 billion last year to acquire two companies operating in this segment.

A few weeks ago, SAP, which has an office in Bulgaria, said it aims to reach market capitalization between $ 250 billion and $ 300 billion by 2023. That's what Bill McDermott told German media.

He commented that as of 2010 when he took office, the company's capitalization rose from 45 billion to 140 billion euros.

Suggestions for Sofia to Be Declared the European Capital of Intelligent Tourism

Sofia to be declared the European Capital of Intelligent Tourism in 2020.

The idea is by the National Tourism Board, which yesterday held its 6th annual meeting.
It was on its board that they announced their intention to work for such an application, which was also supported by the mayor Yordanka Fandakova.
"In its history, Sofia ranks equally with the ancient European capitals of Rome and Athens, tourists see this," said the mayor of the city of Sofia.
The efforts of the local administration were also directed at the development of congress and weekend tourism, it became clear from Fandakova's statement at the opening of the meeting. According to the data, Bulgaria is most visited by guests from Germany, Great Britain, Israel and France.

Rain with Sand from Sahara in Smolyan

Rain, mixed with sand particle, was witnessed today in Smolyan. Most likely, it is a colorful precipitation of sand from the Sahara, which is usually observed in the spring in the region, explained Rozhen Meteorological Station.

In the region of Rozhen during the day has also fallen light snow.

The weather station will summarize tomorrow whether or not in other settlements in the Smolyan region a colorful rainfall is observed.

Household Deposits in Bulgaria are Rising

At the end of March 2019, the deposits of the non-government sector amounted to BGN 79.096 billion, the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) reported. This is 68.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2019, which the BNB expects to be 115.646 billion levs.

Deposits of non-financial enterprises amounted to BGN 23.365 billion (20.2% of GDP) at the end of March 2019. Compared to the same month of 2018, they increased by 7.8%. Deposits of financial corporations increased by 26.8% on an annual basis in March to BGN 3.363 billion (2.9% of GDP).

Deposits of households and non-profit organizations serving households amounted to BGN 52.368 billion (45.35% of GDP) at the end of March 2019. They increased by 8.9% compared to the same month of 2018.

At the end of March 2019 loans to the non-government sector amounted to BGN 58.062 billion (50.2% of GDP) and increased by 7.8% on an annual basis. Loans to non-financial corporations increased by 5.3% on an annual basis in March 2019 and amounted to BGN 33.117 billion (28.6% of GDP) at the end of the month. Household loans and non-profit organizations serving households amounted to BGN 22.168 billion (19.2% of GDP) at the end of March 2019. They increased by 11% in the same month in 2018, according to the BNB.

At the end of March 2019, housing loans amounted to BGN 10.763 billion and increased on an annual basis by 11.5%. Consumer loans amounted to BGN 9.334 billion and increased by 17.9% compared to March 2018. On an annual basis, other loans decreased by 33.2% to BGN 741.5 million.

The loans granted to financial corporations amounted to BGN 2.777 billion (2.4% of GDP) at the end of March 2019. They increased by 14.7% compared to March 2018, according to BNB data.

Abandoned 6-month-old baby Found in the Area of the Plovdiv Railway Station

A boy of obvious age 5-6 months has been abandoned in the area of ??Central Railway Station in Plovdiv.
The signal was received on 112 at 1:50 pm yesterday.

The child was found in the parking lot on "Nikola Kovachev" Street in the city between two cars and next to it was a bottle of milk. A second-line police patrol and an Emergency Response Team were immediately sent to the site.

Doctors found a good general condition for the boy. It was placed at the Pediatrics Clinic at the University Hospital "St. George ". Representatives of the Department of Child Protection have been informed. The police officers have carried out an inspection of the place.

Under the leadership of the Regional Prosecutor's Office - Plovdiv, the actions to establish the identity of the baby and the search for his parents or relatives continue. Pre-trial proceedings have been initiated.

The boy has a height of 68 cm, dark hair and brown eyes. Dressed in blue polo shirt.

On tel. 032 / 932-002 in the working part of the Second RU - Plovdiv are received signals from the people who can assist the police in the case.

Scientists have Uncovered a Quake on Mars

For the first time, scientists managed to detect "marsquake" or move the tectonic plates on Mars, writes phys.org.
France's National Space Research Center has announced that the domed probe, called the Seismic Experiment for the Internal Structure (SEIS), has experienced a quake.

The probe has been on Mars since December, and its task and capabilities are to detect vibrations caused by weather, from asteroid strikes, and from the motions of the Mars. According to the space agency, SEIS has detected a "weak, but clearly seismic" quake. It was reported on April 6, with scientists still specifying its origin to be completely sure of the results.

The hope is to gather data from the activity inside Mars to find out more about the formation of the planet billions of years ago. "We wait for the first one
months of stress, "said Philip Longeon of the Institute of Physics in Paris.

And, according to Bruce Bannard, of the US NASA space agency, the first reported earthquake has begun a new discipline in science - Seismology on Mars.

New Arrests after the Attacks in Sri Lanka, the Victims are Already over 350

Police in Sri Lanka say the victims of the attacks on Easter are already 359, AP reported. There are also more arrests - 18, with which suspects arrested turn 58, police spokeswoman Rouwan Gunesekaara said this morning.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister yesterday warned that several suspects armed with explosives are still at large.
Another senior government official said suicide attacks in churches, hotels and elsewhere were the work of Islamist fundamentalists, and they seem to be revenge for the carnage in New Zealand mosques last month.

The Islamic State group has taken responsibility for the attacks in Sri Lanka and has circulated pictures that the attackers claim to be showing. Prime Minister Ranil Vikrassingheh said investigators are still exploring where the bombers' foreign ties are stretching.

J&P AVAX Files Lowest Bid to Build Bulgaria-Greece Gas Link

Greece’s J&P AVAX filed the lowest offer in a tender to design and build a gas pipeline between Bulgaria and Greece, project manager ICGB said on Tuesday, reports Ekathimerini.

The company offered a price of 144.85 million euros ($163 million) to build a 182 km (113 mile) pipeline which Sofia hopes will become operational in 2020 to transport Azeri gas to Bulgaria and end its almost complete dependence on Russian gas supplies.

A consortium of two Bulgarian companies and Italy’s Bonatti submitted an offer of 229.3 million euros in the tender.

ICGB said it would examine the offers and pick a winner by the end of May. The pipeline will have an annual capacity of 3 billion cubic metres.

The European Commission has said it would invest 33 million euros of European Union funds in the project.

ICGB is 50 percent owned by Bulgaria’s state-held BEH energy holding company. The remaining shares are held by the Greek gas company DEPA and Italy’s Edison. 

Bulgaria’s Ombudswoman Office Receives Highest UN Status Accreditation

Bulgarian Ombudswoman's office received the highest UN status "A" as national institution for the protection of human rights. The status obtained means that the Ombudswoman works in full compliance with the requirements of the UN Principles of Paris. Through it, the institution rceives the opportunity to participate and express its position in the meetings of all UN human rights committees as well as in the Human Rights Council, reports BNT.

Maya Manolova, national Ombudswoman: This of course enhances the good reputation of the institution on international and national level. This gives more weight to our recommendations because they are given by an institution that meets the highest standards. This will also make our work more effective in protecting human rights.

Testing Begins for Trains in the Third Line of Sofia Underground

As of 24th of April, testing begins for the new underground trains Inspiro made by Siemens. The testing will take place in the newly built third line, Sofia municipality said on 22nd of April. The trains will run in the section between “Depot Zamlyane” and “Krasno Selo” staion, reports BNT. 

The Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, will check the progress on the construction of the third underground line.

Spells of Light Rain in Places in Bulgaria, Highs between 18°C and 23°C

Today the cloud will break to mostly sunny, in isolated places with spells of light rain, meteorologist Boryana Markova of the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) told Focus News Agency. Light to moderate east wind. The daily temperatures will quickly rise reaching highs between 18°C and 23°C, lower along the Black Sea coast (13°C -15°C), in Sofia around 21°C. The Black Sea coast will be cloudy in the morning and some places will see light rain, but it will quickly clear and the day will be mostly sunny. Light to moderate wind from east-southeast. 
The atmospheric pressure will remain almost unchanged - higher than the April average. The mountains will be mostly sunny with temporary increase in cloud, mainly in the afternoon, some rain in isolated places. Moderate south winds, in higher parts of Rila and Pirin – west wind. Maximum temperature at 1,200 m about 15°C, and at 2000 m – about 7°C.

75% of Young People in Europe Can Not Distinguish Fake From Real News

75% of young people in Europe openly say they can not distinguish fake from real news. This is also true for Bulgaria, so the team of EU Commissioner for Digitalisation Maria Gabriel is already working on media literacy to be included in the Bulgarian education system.

The EU commissioner held a discussion with students from the 149th high school in Sofia, the main topic being Internet security and the resistance of cyber-attacks.

According to EU Commissioner Maria Gabriel, many young people today admit that they often encounter hate speech or even terrorist content online and do not feel safe.

Maria Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society: That's why it's important to have cyber-habits, that means changing our password more often than a toothbrush. Be very careful when we send links to other sites or attachments because they can be a virus and can have a very devastating impact.

One of the most asked questions from young people today was about the new directive on copyright.

Maria Gabriel reassured them that the individual use of the Internet will be preserved and it will continue to be a free place to access information and contacts.

Ekaterina Zaharieva Has Welcomed Montenegro's Efforts on the Road to European Integration

,,Bulgaria strongly supports the integration of Montenegro, we believe that Montenegro is the most advanced country in European integration from the Western Balkan countries.''

    This was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva at a meeting today with a delegation of the Montenegrin Prevention Agency, led by the Agency's Chairperson Goranka Vucinic, the press center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

  ,, Opening the negotiating chapters is difficult, but closing them is even more difficult, so your overall progress in combating corruption is largely appreciated, Zaharieva noted.

        Ekaterina Zaharieva, who is also chairman of the National Council on Anti-Corruption Policies, has introduced the representatives of Montenegro to the ways in which the institutions involved in the fight against corruption in Bulgaria operate.

She stressed that the fight against corruption can only be won by unity and coordination between the institutions.

   ,, Without the working prosecutor's office, without a working court, without the involvement of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, every administration and every leader, will not be enough to fight corruption'', Minister Zaharieva said.

    She has emphasized once again Bulgaria's readiness to help and support Montenegro on its way to the EU.

    Goranka Vucinic thanked for the opportunity to meet with the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and to exchange experience with colleagues from anti-corruption institutions in Bulgaria.

    ,,Bulgaria has many good practices in this area, I hope we will receive the support of your institutions, exchange experience, get expertise and further improve our activities, "said Goranka Vucinic.

Bulgarian Vice President Participated at a Conference "Euro-vectors to the US-China-Russia Geopolitical Triangle"

"Russia is an immediate neighbour of the European Union, with which we have to define our relations clearly and take them out of the deadlock they are in. The talk about sanctions against Russia is important and the economic security of our citizens does not allow us to reduce the debate to superficial slogans with questionable purpose. " This was said by Vice President Iliana Yotova at a conference "Euro-vectors to the US-China-Russia geopolitical triangle".

The event is organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Institute for Economics and International Relations, the presidential press service has said.

   According to the Vice President, relations between the EU and Russia should be seen in the context of the situation in Ukraine and international crises.

Iliana Yotova is convinced that with this policy, the European Union loses its partner in the face of Russia on the increasingly complex and dynamic Asian continent, and all over the world, the presidential press secretary added.

   In her speech, Iliana Yotova highlighted Europe's lacking active role on the international scene.

"The European elections are coming, and the last thing for what people in Bulgaria are talking about, is about the place of Europe in a global perspective," the vice president said.

"European citizens are not happy with their governments, and in Brussels they see a soulless bureaucratic machine that is endlessly away from their real problems and everyday needs", said Iliana Yotova.

   Iliana Yotova is a supporter of the model set before the adoption of the euro - general finance, but also a common economy.

According to the vice-president, all trade and economic treaties with China and the United States should be based on an open and rule-based economic system with a truly level playing field leading, in the worst case, to coherent policies in foreign economic relations, the report says.

What Does It Take to Start a Digital Marketing Career?

Digital marketing refers to all kinds of strategies to market and build an audience for your products online. It is now the main method that businesses use to advertise their products due to many people using the internet to buy stuff in the modern age. It covers all kinds of marketing techniques including search engine ads, social media marketing, and SEO optimization.

How It Works

A career in digital marketing doesn't mean you are entitled to choose from only one job title, digital marketer. This is a generic job title. Usually, in an SEO company, the staff will be given a more specific job title such as content strategist, SEO specialist, and social media manager. So, you must ask yourself what niche of digital marketing you want to start a career.

Digital marketer must be knowledgeable in getting a consumer who doesn't know anything about a product to become really interested in the product. This requires you to possess the skill in finding targeted customers through research and following up through various sales funnels.

Digital marketer must know how to interpret the campaign data and design a strategy to improve it. You must have the knowledge to optimize the campaign using white-hat method. In addition, you need to know how to perform testing’s on the various strategies that you implement to find the best strategy that can help the client's business to get high conversion.

Digital marketers must have some knowledge of social media marketing as lots of people spend a great amount of time on social media nowadays. You must know how to accumulate followers, how to communicate with the fans, how to write an effective post on social marketing, and how to organize events to attract conversions on the social platform.

Digital marketers must be knowledgeable in driving traffic from major search engines like Google and Bing. It is SEO that enables a website to get traffic from the search engine continually. You must know how to create and optimize content for SEO so that Google will rank the site.

Digital marketers should be equipped with the knowledge to create optimized ads that can attract high conversion. Not every ad will get click through and conversion. Knowing how to create a successful ad campaign allows the client to save money and get higher conversions.

The best way to learn about digital marketing is to enrol in a certification course from a recognized academy such as Atton Institute. At the Atton training center, you will get to participate in hands-on training to help you more clearly understand the lesson. In addition, attending the course will give you the opportunity to meet with other professionals in the field. Communicating with these professionals can help you to gain some tips that will help you in the digital marketing career you are pursuing.

Here is a quick look at the 7 points that are being discussed on what it takes to start a digital marketing career:

1. Know how to find customers and get them to stay loyal to the brand for the long term.

2. Decide what niche of digital marketing you want to specialize in

3. Be able to interpret data and create a suitable strategy plan to improve the conversion rate.

4. Be knowledgeable in social media marketing.

5. Know how to use white hat SEO tactics to improve website ranking and increase traffic

6. Skilled in creating an optimized ad campaign.

7. Have a digital marketing certification that proves he is trained to perform the job properly.


Bulgarian President Rumen Radev Met With Medical Specialists

,,Healthcare is one of the main priorities of any prosperous country. The protest actions of medical professionals and the dissatisfaction of patients in Bulgaria show that the health model needs to be rethought.'' This was announced by the head of state Rumen Radev at a meeting with representatives of the Initiative Committee, which organizes protests throughout the country asking for urgent actions to overcome inequalities in the healthcare system, the head of the press service has said.

 "We insisted on this meeting because we trust the presidential institution and expect moral support," the representatives of protesters nurses, paramedics, midwives and physiotherapists noted at the meeting.

In their view, the current model of healthcare is vicious because it places a major emphasis on active treatment, and preventive care and rehabilitation activities do not exist.

"The health system has an interest in the Bulgarian being sick because the patients generate income", according to the Initiative Committee.

They assured their protest actions not only for higher wages but also for changing the model so they would not be forced to leave the country but would be able to take full care of Bulgarian patients.

"We are also insisting on changes to the Law on Professional Organizations that will regulate the right of representation for any profession among medical professionals.''

According to Rumen Radev, head of state, it is necessary to place the person and his health at the center of the healthcare system.

The president has stated his support for the fair demands of medical professionals and is committed to helping solve problems within his / her powers.

69% of the Gross Premium Income of the Non-Life Insurance in Bulgaria Comes From Motor Insurance

The gross premium income of the non-life insurance companies reached BGN 403,109,672 at the end of February, according to the Financial Supervision Commission. A little over 69% of it comes from motor insurance, and 15% is under "Fire and natural disasters" and "other property damage". In the automobile "Civil liability" the companies have sold insurances for BGN 179 193 307, and by car - for 100 044 645 BGN, the business edition insmarket.bg reported, quoted by Econ.bg

Top 5 companies by market share based on gross premium income

14.9% - Lev Ins

11.1% - Bulstrad Vienna Insurance Group

9.7% - DZI - General Insurance

8.7% - OZK - Insurance

7.8% - Euroins

The benefits paid at the end of February reached BGN 155 304 330. Of these, 85% are motor insurance and 7% are insurances "Fire and natural disasters" and "other property damage".

In the auto insurance companies the companies covered damages for BGN 82 432 808, and in the auto insurance - BGN 49 498 128

Top 5 companies by market share based on paid benefits

18.3% - Lev Ins

12.0% - Bulstrad Vienna Insurance Group

9.7% - Bul Ins

9.6% - DZI - General Insurance

9.4% - Armeec.

Report: Europeans Do Not Exclude War on the Old Continent

Europeans believe that war on the Old Continent is possible. The main reason - the tension between the West and Russia. The findings are from a report commissioned by a prestigious German foundation.

In the context of the dramatic challenges facing the European security architecture, the emergence of hot and cold conflicts, annexes and increasingly frequent cyber attacks, the aim of the report is to highlight two key factors that matter in decision making: public opinion and expert assessments security and the foreign policy situation in Europe.

This is the conclusion of the document, called the Security Radar 2019 - A Wake Up Alarm for Europe, commissioned by a prestigious German foundation and showing that millions of Europeans are expecting war conflicts in Europe.

The study was conducted in seven countries - Germany, France, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.

Almost half of the population of these countries - 47%, expects similar actions.

Apart from the tensions between the West and Moscow, the situation is compounded by the regrouping of four major security-related factors - the European Union, China, Russia and the United States.

Experts also recognize Europeans' very low trust in political institutions and the rule of law. Army and police have higher levels of approval.

JYSK Opens 5 New Stores in Bulgaria by the End of August

Danish furniture and household goods chain JYSK plans to open five new stores on the Bulgarian market by the end of August.

Meanwhile, the company's distribution base in the Bozhurishte area, where investments amount to 100 million euros, must reach its full capacity in the autumn of this year. There are yet to be opened 100 more jobs.

"In Bulgaria, our plans are to open at least 5 other JYSK Bulgaria sites by the end of August, to increase the positive growth of the financial year 2017/2018 and to maintain the current expansion rate," commented the manager of the Romania and Bulgaria chain Alexandru Bratu at an event in the capital.

"Bulgaria is among the fastest growing in the region, and the company has also been named Investor of the Year for 2018. By the end of autumn, the distribution center in Bozhurishte, a hub for the region, will work with 100% of its capacity by planning to hire at least another 100 people on this basis only, "says regional manager Georgi Vassilev.

In February, it became clear that the Danish company reported a 68.6% increase in sales on the Bulgarian market for the financial year 2017/2018 to 43.3 million leva. Its profit for the same period reached BGN 1.27 million.

JYSK entered Bulgaria in 2005, with 26 stores in 18 separate cities in the country today. Its employees in the country reach 300 people.

The Fines for Bear Grylls's Film after Violations in Bulgarian Rila Park are Paid

In connection with established violations in the filming of an episode under the title "Rila Mountain Running Wild with Bear Grylls S04E05 Derek Hough 2018" in the region of Musala peak on the territory of Rila National Park, sanctions were paid for two of the three acts for establishing administrative violations, announced Rila National Park.

For violations of the regimes and norms of conduct on the territory of Rila National Park, the Bulgarian legal entity, responsible under the order authorizing the activity, has drawn up 3 acts for establishing administrative violations. They were issued two punitive decrees to impose an administrative sanction.

Penalties imposed under both Penal Decrees are to enter and swim in the Karakashevo Lake water basin and capture and kill animal species.

A punitive decree is to be issued by the director of Rila National Park Directorate for non-observance of the regimes in the park when filming the film by burning a fire at an unregulated site in the protected area. The sanctions are in the amount of 1000 to 10 000 levs, according to the legal regulations.

Grigor Dimitrov: I Dream of Winning Wimbledon this Year

Bulgaria's best tennis player, Grigor Dimitrov, gave an interview to the Spanish newspaper AS, he talks about what tournament dreams of winning and what he thinks about tennis stars Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

"The tournament I would like to win this year is Wimbledon, and every Grand Slam final would have been a dream come true for me," said Dimitrov, the former world's No. 3, who triumphed on the grass in London for teenagers in 2008. He expressed his admiration for Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. "They are tennis players who have a wise program and who continue to work for their physical shape, they deserve everything they have achieved, it is not easy to maintain quality for so many years," Grigor said.

Dimitrov also told how difficult the recovery process is after a game. "I think people do not know the restoration process very well, after each game I have to spend at least two hours on the recovery to keep my body in shape and have the opportunity to go out for the next game Good food, , procedures, etc. We also have a number of responsibilities after every match, meetings with the media, "he said.


Train Ran over a 72-year-old Woman

Train ran over and killed a 72-year-old woman from the village of Cherna Gora. The report of the incident was filed on April 22, police said.

The tragic incident happened about a kilometer west of the train station in the village of Cherna Gora, Bratya Daskalovi Municipality. As a result of the blow, the elderly woman died at the scene.

Pre-trial proceedings have been initiated.

Bulgaria's Debt is BGN 24.4 Billion

According to preliminary data of the National Statistical Institute, Bulgaria's debt for 2018 amounts to BGN 24.430 billion, or 22.6% of GDP.

In addition, the institutional sector "Government" reports a budget surplus of BGN 2,149 billion, or 2.0% of GDP. The surplus in the central government sub-sector amounted to BGN 1.9 billion, or 1.8% of GDP. The local government sub-sector has a surplus of BGN 145 million and the Social Security Funds sub-sector has realized a surplus of BGN 104 million.

Statistical information on the activities of the institutional sector "General government", including debt, deficit and surplus, is prepared according to a harmonized EU methodology. Pursuant to Council Regulation No 479/2009 implementing the Protocol on the Excessive Deficit Procedure, each Member State provides Eurostat (EC) with preliminary deficit / surplus and debt data for the reporting year as at 31.03. next year and final data by 30.09. next year.

30 Years in Prison for the Murderer of Bulgarian Journalist Victoria Marinova

The proceedings of the Regional Prosecutor's Office - Rousse court proceedings in the murder case of the TV presenter from Rousse - Victoria Marinova ended in a first instance court with a conviction.

Accused of murder Severin Krasimirov made confession and demanded a shortened trial. By a judgment of 22 April 2019, the Ruse Regional Court found him guilty of the three charges of attack, rape and deliberate murder in a particularly painful manner and with extreme cruelty.

The court imposed the maximum penalties on the three crimes. Due to the shortened trial, the life imprisonment sentence imposed for the murder was replaced by a custodial sentence of up to 30 years. It is defined as a general punishment for serving the three crimes. The defendant Severin K. was sentenced to pay 150,000 leva for each of the civil claimants in the case - the mother, the father and the minor daughter of VM. He was ordered to pay the costs in the amount of over 16,000 leva.

The verdict is subject to appeal within 15 days.

VMWare Invests Another BGN 46 Million in Bulgaria and Hires 500 People

US technology giant VMWare will invest 46 million leva in Bulgaria, according to a press release from the Ministry of Economy. The company receives a Class A investment certificate within the meaning of the law.

The main objective of this investment project is to expand the existing enterprise by exploring and developing new software products and by increasing the number of employees in the coming years. The working capacity of VMware Bulgaria EOOD will improve the development of new products and will offer professional services for the implementation of the products purchased by the customers, the announcement shows.

VMWare, which has been operating on the Bulgarian market since 2007, will employ another 500 people. Since joining Bulgaria, the company has invested more than 350 million leva, making Sofia one of the world's three main strategic research and development centers for VMWare. At present, over 1,000 employees work in Bulgaria and more than 20,000 worldwide.

From the Summer, Drivers in Bulgaria will be Able to Make Money by Having Ads on their Cars

Macedonian startup enters the Bulgarian market this summer, it allows drivers to drive their cars, advertise businesses and earn money, said the executive director and founder of the project, Peter Hristov, quoted on Tuesday by BTA.

PowerAD is an online platform that meets the mutual interests of advertisers and car owners. The mobile apps used allow the creation of a huge network for the distribution of advertisements by branding cars. Car owners benefit from the advertised car and advertisers and advertising agencies receive real-time data about their advertising products.

There are already 600 drivers in Sofia who are waiting for the project to start work in Bulgaria. It is about to work in several other Balkan countries. The startup is already active in a number of European countries, Asia and Africa, and the drivers involved in the online platform are over 55,000. It is aimed at the regular driver of a car, and its payment depends on the budget that the company has allocated for advertising and the kilometers to go.

The driver logs into a mobile application, applies for an ad campaign, and the company approves it. Branding of the car will not be at the expense of the driver. The conditions of the ad campaign will depend on which areas of the city will have to go around the driver and which part of his car will be branded.

Advertisers typically pay a minimum of 20 euro cents per kilometer. The driver will be monitored if he / she complies with the terms of the campaign via the gps in his / her phone.

If the car is electric, the driver will be paid double. The company seeks to use as many eco-cars as possible.

Pediatricians from Sofia are Ready for Collective Resignations if they are not Heard

Prof. Dr. Ivan Mitev Specialised Children's Hospital in Sofia is protesting again, the Bulgarian National Television reported. In less than a week, this will be the second protest of the only hospital specialised in children's diseases in Bulgaria. The doctors continue to insist on a special status of the medical facility and on removing admission limits. They also demand that the problem of low salaries and staff shortages be addressed as well. The health ministry has pledged extra funding and said the new status of the hospital could become a fact in two years when it would become part of the future National Children's Hospital.

Bulgarian Tourism Minister: BGN 8.4 Billion are the Revenues from Tourism in 2018

In 2018 the revenues from tourism are BGN 8.4 billion, which is 6% more than in the previous year. For the last three years - since 2015, 34% has been the growth of the revenues from international tourism in the country, Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova announced.

She opened in Sofia the Sixth Annual Meeting of the National Tourism Board (NBC) under the motto "2019 - Year of Internal Tourism, Investment and Innovation". In front of the forum, Angelkova reported that for various data, over 9 million foreign tourists who came to Bulgaria in the past year. She stressed that our country aims to develop all its types of tourism, and the goal is to become an established year-round tourist destination.

"Our beautiful facilities will be occupied 365 days a year. But to be able to do all this, a lot of effort is needed, "Angelkova said. She predicts that 2019 will also be dynamic for this sector, and the fight will be "for every tourist".

"The government continues to work to reduce the administrative burden. It is very important to help businesses with reduced administrative procedures. I am proud that the Ministry of Tourism is the first to provide all services electronically in November 2018 in order to save time and resources as much as possible, "said Angelkova. She recalled that there is a change in the regulation on the categorization and re-categorization of accommodation and meals, which are again aimed at reducing the administrative burden and alleviating the business.

The Minister of Tourism noted another important fact - besides the winter and the sea, which are the main types of tourism in our country, Bulgaria is making efforts to develop congress tourism both in Sofia and in the resorts. On May 31, the Ministry of Tourism organized an international investment forum with the participation of many of the big hotel chains and tour operators where it will be proposed to build a congress center in Sunny Beach to host different events.

During the meeting, NBT asked for the tourism advertising budget to be 1% of the revenues generated by the sector annually in the economy of the country.

According to the organization, until now the investments are significantly smaller and this reflects on the competitiveness of our country. "The budget currently set is far from sufficient for the effective implementation of national tourism marketing, disproportionate to revenue, and is significantly lower than that of competing tourist countries," said Polina Karastoyanova, executive director of the NBC.

One of the panels of the conference is devoted to the potential of Sofia to become a center of congress, culture, youth and festival tourism, and in support of this the association will elevate it as the European Capital of Intelligent Tourism for 2020.

BSMEPA, Postbank and Endeavor will Support 10 Bulgarian Companies

Postbank, together with Endeavor's global network, will support ten Bulgarian companies to grow. The "Dare to Scale" campaign helps over 1,000 entrepreneurs in 30 countries.

One of the main long-term strategic goals of ScaleFocus is to help communities grow and develop through sustainable technology solutions. It establish strong partnerships with organizations, which aim to give opportunities to enthusiasts, who have innovative business ideas, yet need assistance with shaping and putting them into action.

Endeavor are dedicated to supporting start-ups and businesses, which are at an early stage of growth. This inevitably led to launching their newest “Dare To Scale” program, which is the first growth program in Bulgaria that targets entrepreneurs and businesses that have already passed the early stages of their development and are at the beginning of their expansion. ScaleFocus is one of the trusted partner, who will assist Endeavor is this noble initiative. The other sponsors of the event are Postbank and BSMEPA.

The 4-month program will give 10 companies the chance to undergo specialized training and interactive sessions, led by successful entrepreneurs and leaders from Endeavor and ScaleFocus. The training focuses on the core areas which are essential for every successful company – Organizational Management, Marketing, Sales, Financial Planning and Capital Raising. Our Chief Technology Officer, Viktor Bilyanski, Chief Digital Officer, Krasimir Kostadinov and Marketing Director, Metodi Amov, are eager to meet the entrepreneurs and give them insights on how to run a successful business.

“Another challenge is ahead of us. I am always excited to take part in such initiatives and share my experience to help others grow and succeed. “Dare to Scale” is an example of a great program, which can serve as an example of how companies from all backgrounds should gather forces to assist others through sharing valuable business insights”, said Metodi Amov, Marketing Director.

According to Petya Dimitrova, Chief Executive Officer of Postbank, the aim is to present both the experience of the financial institution and to provide the necessary funding for the participants in the project.

Dimitrova also pointed out that the bank has already had experience in such projects and has a long-standing role as an intermediary in the Small and Medium Enterprises Initiative. She pointed out that she saw the growth of over 400 companies that took part in the program.

She added that the institution has a range of tools to make a business a success.

Currently, the process of selecting the companies that will be included in the "Dare to Scale" campaign will run until June. After that, the company's mentors will be determined according to what business they are doing.

The requirements for the companies applying for participation are that their turnover for the year 2018 will be over 100,000 euros, will have a maximum of 150 employees and their headquarters will be in Bulgaria.

The main focus of the program is expansion, said Endeavor's executive director Momchil Vasilev. He specified that this project is not about startups but about companies that have already passed the initial stage of development.

According to Vasilev, there are currently money resources in Bulgaria both for starters and for already grown companies.

The founder of the ScaleFocus software - Victor Vasilev - gave an example to his company, which seven years ago started operating with its own savings and without external employees.

ScaleFocus are fully-devoted to supporting such initiatives and regularly act as mentors, sponsors, and supporters of various local initiatives. An example of this is our participation in the opening of the first IT Highschool in Burgas. ScaleFocus opened 2 new offices in 2018 in Burgas and Varna with the primary goal to help the local ICT ecosystem grow.

At present, the company has over 800 employees in Bulgaria and Europe and wants to help the development of other companies.

The Dare to Scale Growth Program will include between 5 and 10 companies, which will continue until September next year. The goal is to have at least two companies per industry.

UN: By 2050, There Will be More Plastic in the Seas Than Fish

According to a UN report, 30% of fish are already poisoned by plastic, and by 2050 there will be more plastic in the seas than fish. 

How many times have we been out of the store with a plastic bag, and later we are loosing it without thinking that it will remain on our planet longer than us?

Protecting marine environments is a growing priority in East Asia. In 2016, the World Economic Forum predicted that there would be more ocean plastic waste than fish by 2050 without effective intervention. The conference adopted resolutions on promoting sustainable development, including cooperation in reducing marine plastic debris, reported asiancorrespondent.com

Marine plastic pollution can threaten the security and development of regional countries and destroys the marine ecosystem by killing sea creatures and polluting the marine environment. Seafood contaminated with microplastics threatens food safety and public health across Asia as many people in the region rely on seafood for their protein intake.

Unsustainable practices in marine-related economic sectors are contributing to the surging amount of plastic debris in regional seas that harm local businesses. Bali and Boracay depend on revenues from tourism. Severe plastic pollution in the coastal areas damages their reputation as popular tourist destinations, while disruption in the marine ecosystem can also intensify competition between states for marine resources.

Gina Galan, 45, collects plastic bottles on the Boracay dumpsite called “materials recovery facility (MRF)” in the Philippine island of Boracay on April 25, 2018. Source: Noel Celis/AFP

China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand accounted for 60 per cent of the plastic waste disposed of in the oceans according to a report by the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment in 2015. Japan ranks second globally at the per capita level.

But some countries are taking action to tackle the challenge. Indonesia has set a target to reduce marine plastic debris by 70 per cent by 2025. The central government imposed a trial of taxing single-use plastic bags in some cities in 2016. In 2017 they pledged US$1 billion to reduce marine plastic debris and other wastes.

In Singapore, the National Parks Board and the International Coastal Cleanup, a non-governmental organisation, started a two-year study in 2017 at nine coastal sites. Conservationists and scientists presented The Blue Plan to the government in October 2018 outlining recommendations on how to monitor and reduce marine plastic waste.

Vietnam and the Philippines are developing a national action plan to deal with the mounting challenge. The Japanese government started the discussion to draft a national strategy with specific goals and targets in August 2018. There are also discussions on strengthening regulations and laws related to the issue, with a bill passed in June 2018 aimed at reducing microplastics.

Indonesia held the Our Ocean Conference in October 2018 where Indonesia, New Zealand and Japan called for regional cooperation in tackling marine plastic waste and invited regional countries to join the initiative. The East Asia Summit (EAS) adopted the Leaders’ Statement on Combating Marine Plastic Debris in November 2018.

Indonesia is pushing for the development of a Regional Plan of Action to be adopted by the EAS in 2019. Thailand — as Chair of ASEAN — sees addressing the issue of marine plastic debris as part of its overall effort to promote sustainability through cooperation and partnership. ASEAN held the Special Ministerial Meeting on Marine Debris in Bangkok in March 2019 to discuss how the region can address the challenge through strengthened cooperation. A regional declaration on combating marine plastic wastes is likely to be presented to ASEAN leaders later this year.

The increasing attention to marine plastic waste reduction is encouraging government commitments and public awareness. But more needs to be done.

The approach to effectively reduce marine plastic debris and microplastics should include restrictions or prohibition on single-use plastic products and improve waste management, legislation, law enforcement, the transformation of consumption and production, financing and the application of technology.A shopper in India gives a bag she carried from home to a fruit seller to put her purchases as authorities enforce a ban on single-use plastics. Source: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

Despite the increasing awareness and commitments, challenges remain. Restricting the use of single-use plastic products is likely to increase business costs and meet resistance from the business community, influencing government policies. For example, the Indonesian government drafted a regulation to tax plastic bags in 2018 but the draft is still being debated by different ministries and the release is likely to be later than expected.

Reducing single-use plastic products and increasing recycling means gradual changes in people’s consumption habits. To seek public understanding and cooperation, raising awareness and providing incentives is necessary in the initial phase. Grassroots groups — both governmental and non-governmental — are on the forefront of facilitating these changes.

The Philippines and Thailand closed down tourist islands in 2018 to tackle coastal and marine pollution. This raised concerns over the livelihoods of the local communities that are dependent on the tourist industry. Incentives and alternatives are needed to ensure understanding and cooperation from locals.

Technological advancements that make degrading plastic less harmful for the environment is also part of the solution. Japan initiated cooperation with ASEAN by providing technological and financial support for the Knowledge Centre on ASEAN Marine Debris. The epistemic community and the private sector have important roles in providing technological expertise and financing schemes. A holistic approach that addresses different dimensions of marine plastic pollution and involves multiple actors is essential for effective solutions to the challenge.


Kim Jong Un to Meet Putin in Russia on Thursday

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will soon visit Russia for a summit with President Vladimir Putin, North Korean state media said on Tuesday, with a Russian newspaper reporting they will meet on Thursday in Vladivostok, reported Reuters. 

The visit is part of Kim’s effort to build foreign support for his economic development plans, analysts said, after the breakdown of a second U.S.-North Korea summit in Vietnam in February meant no relief on sanctions for North Korea.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Tuesday the visit would happen soon, but did not elaborate on a time or location.

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported the visit was scheduled for April 25 in Vladivostok. The newspaper cited two sources close to the process of preparing the visit.

There was no immediate comment on the report from the Kremlin, but spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that Putin and Kim were on track to meet by the end of April.

Kim’s chief aide, Kim Chang Son, was seen in Vladivostok on Sunday, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

Number of Foreign Tourists in Sofia Has Increased By 82% Between 2008 and 2018

Metropolitan Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said during the sixth annual meeting of the National Tourism Board that Sofia is increasingly crowded with tourist groups of foreigners as well as guests from the country.

,,Sofia is changing and becoming more and more attractive for tourists, and for the period 2008 - 2018 the number of nights spent in the capital increases by 36 per cent and the number of foreign tourists - by 82 per cent. The trend is lasting, since 2009 there is a steady growth of foreign tourists in Sofia'', commented the mayor of Sofia.

,,For 2018, the growth of foreign tourists is 4 per cent higher than in 2017, with Germany, Britain, Greece, Italy, Israel and France the countries that generate most visits to the capital'', Fandakova added.

      She informs that about 60 festivals are held annually in Sofia, some of them with a European and world dimension.

,,The capital became the center for holding many international conferences'', Fandakova also pointed out.

She added that changing the infrastructure of the city is one of the major factors for the development of the capital as tourist destinations.

Fire at a School in Plovdiv

Fire has been burning at the Kliment Ohridski Primary School in Plovdiv. The fire broke out early in the morning on Tuesday.

There are no injuries, the fire is controlled. The fire has begun from a student room that has burnt. There are also dameges in the school's toilets, bTV reports.

The fire was blazing at a time when there had been no training sessions. The guards returned the children at the beginning of the school day. Fire has started from the air conditioner in the teacher's room.

The causes of the incident are still in the process of investigation. 

UNWE Announced it is under Threat of Bankruptcy

The University of National and World Economy (UNWE) announced with an open letter to the media that it is threatened with actual insolvency.

The reason lies in promised but unpaid funds amounting to BGN 15 million by the state in the face of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education and Science with which a new corps had to be built.

Its construction started in 2016 after a winning competition for 4.5 million leva European funding under Operational Program "Regions in Growth". The Ministry of Finance promises 7.5 million leva co-financing and the Ministry of Education - also 7.5 million leva, distributed in equal installments for three years. The construction of the new corps, which was due to end in June this year, was halted in 2017 due to lack of funds.

The UNWE states that they have signaled yet at the end of 2017, but there is no answer from the institutions.

On April 16, 2019, the project contractor invited the UNWE to voluntarily implement the ongoing project obligations. The University says that bills can be seized, which will lead to the suspension of scholarships and grants to students and PhD students, the salaries of teachers and employees.

UNWE insists on providing the necessary additional funds to implement the project at the amount of BGN 10.3 million.

Housing Prices in Sofia Froze, Growth of New Construction Purchases

Housing prices in Sofia have frozen. According to information from Bulgarian Properties during the first three months, the average price in the capital is € 1,080 sq. M, compared to € 1,085 sq. M in the last quarter of 2018.

"This is a slight retreat against the 2018 values, but should be interpreted as a retention of levels, as it is mainly due to a change in the characteristics of the purchased properties, the large share of new construction and the redirection of interest to areas with lower prices, "the agency said.

For the first quarter the average final purchase price of the dwellings in Sofia is € 90,960 at around € 91,550 on average for 2018

Price rises peaked at the end of 2017 and early 2018, and in the spring of last year we saw that buyers stepped back and took a wait-and-see position. This led to a dampening of price rises and the year ended with growth below expectations - only 4% on an annual basis, pointing out.

The agency predicts that 2019 will bring long-awaited market equilibrium through a balance between supply and demand while maintaining stable property prices.

Bulgarian Properties also reported an increase in sales. Some days ago, the Registry Agency recorded 5,641 real estate sales for the three months since the end of the year at 5,631 for the same period in 2018, which is only 10 transactions per year.

Bulgarian Properties, which specializes in sales of new-build properties, claim that the real volume is far greater - and is growing significantly.

The data of the Registry Agency does not include the purchased new-built dwellings, which will be entered as sales upon their completion. According to Bulgarian Properties, "in previous periods, new construction accounted for 60-70% of the deals, and now it reaches 90%."

New building permits issued in Sofia increased by 26% in 2018 on an annual basis. It is the increased supply of new construction that brought balance to the market and softened prices as it managed to meet the increased demand they felt from there.

Half of the purchased apartments are two-bedroom apartments and 42% are two-bedroom apartments. Unlike in previous quarters, in early 2019 we have seen a significant increase in the share of purchased three-room apartments at the expense of a reduction in the two-storey property, which previously reached 65% of the total volume of transactions.

"We attribute this to the activity of families who are looking for a new home for their own use, stimulated by the available supply, as well as by the possibilities of buying with credit even in new-build buildings", say Bulgarian Properties.

The average area of ??the purchased dwellings is 89 sq.m. - a growth of about 10 sq.m. compared to the last months of 2018, precisely because of the increased share of three-room apartments.

"Within the framework of our expectations, the growth in property prices in Sofia has subsided and we are entering a period of retention at stable levels with slight fluctuations - a plateau in which we will stay in the next 1-2 years", commented Polina Stoykova, executive director of Bulgarian Properties .

PM Borisov: Bulgarian GDP will Rise by at least 10-20% with the Construction of Hemus Highway

The construction of a new 134 km of the Hemus highway in the section between Boisa and the road I-5 Ruse - Veliko Tarnovo starts.

"We have heard all the nonsense about Hemus - there are no projects, no one has ever thought of making Hemus." I am convinced that with the construction of Hemus, the country's GDP will rise by at least 10-20%. I can bet that, "Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said in a review of the progress in the construction of the section between Yablanica and Boaza.

"I have checked the progress of the construction of the section between Yablanitsa and Boisa of Hemus, which is close to 10 km." Construction started at the end of March and was funded by the national budget. Realistically it would be ready in the autumn, about half a year earlier than planned, "Borisov wrote in his personal Facebook profile.
 "We will go to Pleven by the end of 2022. Then we will do the other projects to tie Targovishte where Pleven will come out," said Prime Minister Borisov.

"Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov secured the payments. Petya Avramova acts with the engineering projects for the next lots, "he added. "After a year and a half you ride a highway, and forget the labor of the hundreds of workers who are here. I recommend you to see them. I am inviting you to see how the next two lots are also acting, "the Prime Minister commented.

Will Bansko Suffer After Decision is made to Limit Nightlife?


For a local economy to succeed, it needs to embrace a wide range of opportunities. In a society where the majority of the population work during the day, a thriving nightlife gives them the chance to relax, unwind, and spend their hard-earned cash. And at a holiday resort like Bansko, where much of the tourism is seasonal, the late night entertainment can generate enough revenue to balance out the slow times.

However, the town of Bansko has just taken the controversial decision to prohibit the building of new night-time entertainment. There are currently 20 such establishments in the area and the local government feel that these are adequate to cater to the needs to the tourists. They have also placed an embargo on the building of more hotels for the same reason. While this might seem like good news for the bars and clubs already operating – a lack of competition should protect their profits – growth is often necessary to keep up with an expanding customer base: ensuring that the supply meets the demand.

So for a town that relies heavily on rapidly-growing tourism for its economy, this might seem like a catastrophic decision. Last season, Bankso saw a 15% increase in the number of visitors compared to the previous year. During the day, the ski lifts and drags which serve the many slopes are used by upwards of 25,000 people every hour. But when they close, the tourists remain, which is where the nightlife takes over. Bars and clubs of all colours have sprung up in the hotels, as well as in the town centre. There are casual places to lounge around with friends, enjoying a drink après-ski, and neon palaces to dance into the early hours, accompanied by thudding beats and flashing lights.

However Bansko’s nightlife has come under fire recently, for the kind of entertainment offered, and the types of people it is beginning to attract. For a long time, the resorts have been favourites for families seeking a place to relax together, and there have been suggestions that they will be put off coming to somewhere garnering a reputation for drunken, all-night parties. Understandably difficult to cater to two such diametrically opposed groups, those in charge have been forced to make a difficult choice. However their decision will have been aided in part by the fact that Bansko is not just a holiday resort: The town is also home to nearly 13,000 permanent residents and the town’s mayor, Georgi Ikonomov, is keen to stress that his verdict to limit development is key in ensuring peace and quiet for them.

What seems most curious though, is the inclusion of casinos on the list of banned buildings. Nightclubs, bars, strip clubs and lap-dancing clubs can all conjure up unwholesome images – especially in a country with 24hr drinking laws and legalised prostitution – but many people associate casinos with a more glamorous clientele. The worldwide gambling industry is booming at the moment and casinos are a popular place to socialise and relax. The very nature of their activities require their customers to keep their wits about them, so although the bars are open, very few people take their drinking to extremes. They also provide employment for a variety of staff, from bartenders to chefs, security to blackjack dealers, stimulating the economy from both sides. And although many also stay open for 24hrs, they are considerably less noisy than bars and nightclubs, and far less likely to be filled with drunken and loutish customers.

Yet Bansko isn’t the only place where casinos are getting a bad deal. In Liverpool, a large industrial city in the United Kingdom, a new casino/hotel proposal has been submitted which would develop an iconic city centre building that had been left empty. However, the plans have been met with disapproval from the locals for a similar reason to those in Bansko– they feel there are already enough gambling venues nearby for people to choose from. But since when has having a choice of entertainment establishments really caused a problem?

We are in an age where everything is always readily available, most of the times thanks to the internet. The rich abundance of online casino games in the United Kingdom means that gamblers can access hundreds of versions of their favourite table game or online slot from their phone, tablet or computer. The remote gambling sector now accounts for over a third of the total gambling revenue in the UK, raking in over £5 billion last year. Yet land-based casinos have not seen a drop in clientele to match the increase in online gamblers. The figures here seem to show that an increase in choice, simply equates and increase in revenue. And that’s never been bad for any economy.

Online gambling is also legal in Bulgaria, meaning that any tourists who choose to bet from their hotel rooms are still contributing to the local economy. While it may not have the same social benefits, perhaps increasing the online traffic, through advertising and incentives, will keep the gambling industry stimulated and continue to provide alternative evening entertainment for the tourists. For those parents who need to find something to do while their tired children sleep, the ability to gamble together without leaving their rooms might well prove a welcome option.

Wanting to develop a resort that caters to a wide variety of clientele is obviously a solid business model. And needing to respect the wishes of the town’s permanent residents is hugely important, especially as many of them are the business owners or members of the work force. But with 20 established night-time venues already open year-round, with no restrictions on operating hours and some of the cheapest alcohol prices on the continent, it seems that merely preventing more of the same from being built might not be the quick and easy answer that the mayor of Bansko is looking for.


Colossal Beverly Hills Mansion Just Sold for $35 Million to Bulgarian?

A huge estate at Beverly Hills was sold for $ 34,640,000 yesterday, which is the biggest deal for the year with residential property in the city, Variety reported.

The buyer's identity, as usual, is masked and has not yet been officially confirmed. But according to the magazine there are some traces - first, it seems obvious that the buyer is a foreigner; the second is that the mansion was acquired by a legal person connected with Hristo Yordanov Hristov; thirdly, this is either the prominent arms dealer from Bulgaria or someone else with the same name.

Variety describes the property's history with an area of ??9 acres (3.64 decares).

The 1325-square-meter building and seven bedrooms were completed in 2014 with former Israeli owners and associates. It was initially estimated to be $ 55 million, "so Hristov - or who actually bought this colossus - has made a good deal, but of course it depends on the point of view," concludes Variety.

Police Operation Against Drug Dealers in the Sofia District of Strelbishte

Specialized police action in the streets of Strelbishte.

According to NOVA, it is against drug distribution.

Three people have been detained so far, the MoI confirmed. They were captured at a time of drug trafficking.

Bulgarian State-owned Company Starts the Construction of a Section of "Hemus" Highway

Today, the first sod of a section of the Hemus motorway between the Boaza junction and the connection with the I-5 Rousse - Veliko Tarnovo road will be made, the Road Infrastructure Agency announced.

For the construction of a total of 134.14 km of the highway, the government has provided from the budget BGN 1.12 bn. The route, which will be built by the state-owned company "Automobilesti" EAD, is divided into 6 sections.

- Division 1 is 15.26 km long. It starts from Boise and is near the intersection with road ???-307 Lukovit - Ugyrchin (km 87 + 800 to km 103 + 060), including the Dermantsi junction. The connection to the existing republican network will be realized through two road junctions - n. "Boise" newspaper at 88 kms and p. Dermantsi at the 98th km.

- Division 2 is 19.2 km. It is at the end of the Dermantsi junction - at intersection with road ???-307 Lukovit - Ugyrchin, to the connection with the road ???-3005 Raduene - Katunets, including the Kalenik road junction (from km 103 + 060 to km 122 + 260 ).

- Division 3 is 17.08 km. It will start from the end of the Kalenik road junction at the intersection with road ???-3005 Radovene - Katunetz to the connection with the road ??-35 Pleven - Lovech, Pleven (km 122 + 260 to km 139 + 340).

- Division 4 is 26.8 km. It is from the end of p. "Pleven" road intersection with road II-35 Pleven - Lovech to road III-301 Letnitsa - Lovech, including "Letnitsa" road junction (from km 139 + 340 to km 166 + 144.09).

- Section 5 is 23.2 km. It is from the end of the road "Letnitsa" at the intersection with the road III-301 to the road III-303 Butovo - Pavlikeni, including the road junction (from km 166 + 144,09 to km 189 + 344).

- Division 6 is 32.6 km. It starts at the end of the road junction of road III-303 Pavlikeni - Levski to I-5 Rousse - Veliko Turnovo road, including the junction (from km 189 + 344 to km 222 + 000).

The construction of the first three sections is planned to begin this year. This year the technical design of sections 4, 5 and 6 will also be carried out. The aim is the overall construction of the Hemus Motorway in the section from Boise to the intersection with I-5 road Rousse - Veliko Turnovo to finish by 2023

Prior to the symbolic start of the new route, the progress in the construction of the section between Yablanitsa and Boaz of Hemus, which is nearly 10 km, will be verified. Its construction began at the end of March 2018 and is also funded by national funds. Work is progressing, and it is totally realistic to be ready in the autumn, about half a year earlier than predicted, the announcement says. By contract, the segment must be completed in March 2020.

Considerable Clouds Today in Bulgaria, Rain in Some Places

Today, considerable cloudiness expected, with rain in some places, mostly in the west part, meteorologist Krasimir Stoev of the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) told Focus News Agency. A light to moderate wind from the east-southeast will continue to blow. Maximum temperatures between 15°C and 20°C. The atmospheric pressure will rise and will be higher than the April average.
Considerable clouds along the Black Sea coast as well, but rain is not expected. Light to moderate eastern wind. Maximum temperatures: 13-16°C. 
Clouds in the mountains with spells of rain mainly in the massifs of Western Bulgaria, light snow over 1,800 m. A moderate southern wind will turn its direction in the afternoon and will start blowing from the southwest in the highest parts and will increase. Maximum temperature at 1,200 m about 9°C, and at 2,000 m about 2°C.

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