The regime for winter road conditions will be introduced as of November 1, stated Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova at a press conference on the measures adopted by the Road Infrastruture Agency (API) regarding the winter maintenance of republican roads.
According to Pavlova, all companies must be ready with their equipment by November 1. Minister Pavlova explained that API has carried out the necessary coordination meetings.
“We have signed contracts for all municipalities,” stated Pavlova.
According to her, 3,887 machines must be available for winter cleaning.
“At present, these machines are being re-equipped,” commented Pavlova and added that the weather is expected to get worse at the beginning of November.
Traffic police will remove the license plates of cars of drivers caught drunk, on drugs, without a driving license or if they refuse to give a breath sample.
The purpose of this measure is to prevent drivers from using the vehicle again.
The strict sanctions were adopted at second reading by the parliamentary Transport Commission.
“A terminated registration means taking away the license number plates, the registration certificate and erasing the vehicle from the system. During inspections, it will show that the vehicle has no registration,” stated on bTV the chief of the Traffic Police Department (KAT) Boyko Ranovski.
On average, traffic police detain 300 drunk drivers, about 30 drivers on drugs and 600 drivers without a driving license every week.
The Prosecutor General has submitted to Parliament a request for the withdrawal of the immunity of GERB deputy Delyan Dobrev, reported the press centre of the Prosecutor’s Office.
The request is based on evidence collected by the Sofia’s Prosecutor’s Office regarding the crime of premeditated abeyance in Delyan Dobrev’s capacity as Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism.
According to the investigation, the crime has resulted in damages to the National Electric Company (NEK) to the amount of EUR 4,561,697.27.
The Prosecutor’s Office also claims that the crime was premeditated, resulting in significant damages and the case is especially severe.
Delyan Dobrev has announced that he will submit a declaration in Parliament at 16:00 hrs on Monday to the effect that he is giving up his immunity voluntarily.
Three skyscrapers will be built in Sofia over the next few years.
The three buildings will be located on Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd, near Pirogov Hospital and near Paradise Mall.
The three projects are at different levels of implementation. The first one has received a construction license. It will be built near the 126-metre office tower Capital Fort as part of the Sofia Capital City project of the company Fort Knox.
The second one will be the Sky Fort skyscraper. It will be 202 metres high, with 44 floors and a total area of 40,000 sq m.
After its completion, it will be the tallest building in Bulgaria and the 20th highest building in the EU.
An entire lagoon complex called A City Within the City is planned by Turkish company Garanti Koza on an area of ten decares near Pirogov Hospital. The project will include four towers of over 50 floors each at the intersection of Geshov Blvd and Totleben Blvd.
A plane has crashed in Malta. At least five people have died, reported Reuters.
Initially, Times of Malta, citing its sources, said that this was a two-engine plane of the border agency Frontex en route to Libya. This type of plane can transport up to ten people.
Frontex reported later on Twitter that the plane was no sent by the agency.
According to Malta Today, Luxembourg borrowed the plane from the US government and it was en route to Libya on a mission against human trafficking.
The crash occurred at Malta International Airport, about 5 km from the capital Valletta.
The minimum monthly wage (MMW) will be increased from BGN 420 to BGN 460 as of January 1, 2017 but there will be legislative amendments to the method via which MMW is calculated next year, stated Social Minister Zornitsa Rusinova.
Rusinova explained that the ratification of the important convention 131 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is forthcoming. The convention guarantees balancing and predictability of growth of MMW.
In the convention, the method of negotiating MMW is based on economic instruments such as inflation, labour productivity, employment rate, GDP dynamics etc.
40 illegal migrants have been detained near the Detelina village in the Karnobat region – 24 men, women and 16 children from Iraq were hiding in the forest.
Nearby, police discovered a cargo truck and a car used by the group.
The drivers – two men from Sofia – have been arrested.
The migrant traffickers have criminal records.
I do not think that I will resign because I am convinced that Tsetska Tsacheva will score a much better result that the one forecast by sociological surveys, stated PM Boyko Borisov on Nova TV.
“Do not pay attention to the surveys because sociological agencies work for money, so whoever orders them to post such results, they do it,” added Borisov.
Borisov said that he is not sorry in the least about his statement that the government will resign if Tsetska Tsacheva is not first after the first round of elections.
“This is a respectable position – if you are not the first political force, you have no right to govern. I do not think that I will resign because Tsacheva will score a much better result than the other candidates. I know them all perfectly well. Tsacheva is leagues above them,” added Borisov
The French town of Calais was engulfed by violence on Sunday evening after the police clashed with migrants and used tear gas against the crowd before the largest evacuation of refugees in France in decades, reported The Times, cited by Focus agency.
Hundreds of policemen and armoured vehicles were placed at the camp, and a security perimeter was set up to prevent attacks on the part of anarchists, most of whom come from Britain and are prone to resort to violence.
The French government promised to act decisively against the extremists from “Without Borders”, who called on their supporters to confront the police when, on Monday, the evacuation of all residents of the Jungle and the subsequent dismantling of the huge camp began.
The operation will continue at least one week with the participation of 1,250 policemen. There are apprehensions that some migrants will refuse to be placed at French admission centres and will insist on moving to Britain.
There were clashes with the police on Sunday night. The police will use force if there is resistance to leaving the area.
On its part, Belgium has begun to fortify its border in order to prevent the influx of migrants from Calais.
6,400 people, including 1,300 underage residents will be evacuated.
On Sunday night, the tension escalated – about 50 migrants attacked the police with stones and bottles. The police responded with smoke grenades and battons.
Such scenes increase apprehensions that there will be mass riots on Tuesday.
The European Union has set a deadline until Monday evening for Belgium to overcome the resistance of the French-speaking region of Wallonia against the free-trade agreement between the 28 member-states of the EU and Canada (CETA).
The outcome of Monday’s efforts will determine whether Canadian PM Justin Trudeau will arrive in Brussels for the signing of the deal at the summit Canada-EU.
CETA supporters claim that the agreement will result in a 20% increase in trade with EU’s 12th biggest partner. In Wallonia, however, the predominant opinion is that the terms of the agreement are bad for farmers in Europe, and give too much power to global and corporate interests.
Belgium cannot sign the deal without the approval of the five federal regions of the country. The premier of Wallonia, which contributes about 15% of Belgian GDP and has a negligible share in the economy of the EU, has called for the summit meeting on October 27 to be postponed.
“Ultimatums are irreconcilable with democracy,” stated Wallonia's premier Paul Magnette
Police on Saturday detained five Bulgarian nationals near Sliven in the country's east over their alleged involvement in the smuggling of nearly two dozen migrants.
Three cars were stopped by officers for a routine check in the afternoon. Subsequently, twenty-four irregular migrants were found inside the secret compartment of a TIR truck that was officially carrying timber.
The truck transporting migrants was left stranded between the town of Karnobat and the Black Sea city of Burgas, having run out of fuel. It was found by the road soon after the smuggling suspects were arrested.
The Bulgarian government is not commenting on claims heard in a wiretapped conversation of a former judiciary official with a dismissed judge as the latest leaks of so-called Yanevagate were released this week.
The conversation involves former Sofia City Court head Vladimira Yaneva, dismissed judge Rumyana Chenalova, and lawyer Momchil Mondeshki who is allegedly close to Yaneva.
Yaneva is heard telling Mondeshki, a lawyer who has been tried and sentenced for document fraud, that Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Delyan Peevski, a controversial lawmaker and alleged media mogul, "have always acted together", in the sense their interests have always converged.
Their conversation also allegedly exposes delicate relations in the KTB case, linked to the collapse of Bulgaria's fourth-largest lender, which subsequently was among the factors that forced Yaneva out of the office, amidst a probe into her actions ordered by the Supreme Judicial Council.
In a reference to Bulgaria's security apparatus, one of them is heard saying: "The services are not Boyko [Borisov]'s, but Delyan [Peevski]'s." It was Peevski's appointment (later reversed) as head of DANS, the counter-intelligence agency, that sparked nationwide protests against the previous elected government in 2013, paving the way for Borisov's GERB party to sweep back to power next year.
Other recordings have so far claimed to unveil complicated relations between the executive and the judiciary.
These have also sparked a row between Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov and Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS) head Lozan Panov, both seen as belonging to different sides in a battle over how the judicial reform in Bulgaria should be carried out.
Tsatsarov, who occupies one of the most powerful offices under Bulgarian law, often clashes with Panov, former Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov and other officials, claiming attacks and criticism on him are politically motivated.
The conflict is often transposed to the Supreme Judicial Council, a decisionmaking body often referred to as "the government of the judiciary".
Several lawmakers in Bulgaria are demanding that the Defense Minister comment on reports that the criteria for the acquisition of new multirole fighter aircraft have been altered.
Recent reports have suggested the tender procedure now seeks to acquire "aircraft" instead of "multirole" aircraft and the matter has to be looked into, Miho Mihov, a retired general who heads the Defense Committee with Parliament, has told the Bulgarian National Radio.
Earlier, Defense News and Bulgarian daily Sega reported than amendments to the tender specifications had paved the way for used F-16 fighter jets to be acquired, after the issue of overhauling Bulgaria's outdated military aircraft fleet had been on the agenda for years.
Offers pitched by Eurofighter and Saab had often been mentioned as an alternative to buying the used F-16s, which, however, would turn out less costly.
There are fifteen offers from nine countries submitted to the Defense Ministry so far, Mihov has said.
Under requirements approved by Bulgaria's Parliament, the aircraft on demand must have at least half of its exploitation capacity to remain at least 20 to 25 years in service of the Bulgarian Air Force.
However, reports suggest that, under new tender criteria, the amount of weighed points allocated to the different offers according to the aircraft's service life has been reduced.
In Mihov's words, a company may have "lobbied" for the change of criteria.
"The fate of the Bulgarian Air Force will not be good in perspective if we indeed begin adjusting mathematical models to the interests of lobbyist circles."
Reportedly, the set of criteria were changed after the departure of Maj Gen Rumen Radev as commander of the Air Force in August.
Radev is now running for President, being endorsed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). He has been among the strongest voices in support of buying new fighter jets.
Afghanistan's opium production has risen sharply this year in comparison to last, according to an executive summary of the country's official opium survey released Sunday.
Opium production in the war-ravaged nation is up by 43 per cent, to 4,800 metric tons this year, according to a press release from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The area under opium poppy cultivation also increased, to 201,000 hectares in 2016, a rise of 10 per cent compared to 2015, the statement said.
A rise in opium yields as well as a drop in eradication of 91 per cent were responsible for the large boom in production, the UNODC said.
During the latest eradication campaign, eight lives were lost and seven people were injured, the UNODC said. In 2015, five lives were lost and 18 people were injured in total.
As Afghan forces fight an ever-increasing insurgency across the country, there is rising insecurity and a lack of access to the poppy fields for eradication teams.
Helmand remained the country's main opium-producing province in 2016, accounting for nearly half of the national total.
Many of the districts in the embattled province in southern Afghanistan are controlled by the Taliban, making it nearly impossible for any eradication efforts to be carried out there.
Experts are worried about the Taliban's increasing reach in Helmand, where the insurgents can fill their war chest with proceeds from the billion-dollar opium industry.
There are more than 35 000 people in detention in Turkey more than three months after this year's attempted coup, says Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, noting that a further 4,000 remain under investigation.
He also said there have been probes into a total of 82,000 people since July. His comments were from a Saturday speech in the western city of Afyonkarahisar broadcast by NTV on Sunday.
The attempted coup claimed more than 200 lives before it was beaten back. On the ground, it wad led by elements of Turkish armed forces, but Turkey's government insists it was masterminded by Fethullah Gülen, a cleric living in America.
Gülen has denied the charges, but Turkey is seeking his extradition. Gülen was once a close ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but the two have been at odds for years.
A state of emergency initiated after the coup has been extended through mid January. Erdoğan has used that to purge the civil service of 50 000 employees alleged to have helped the coup or expressed sympathy for Gülen.
Under the state of emergency, people may be detained without charges for 30 days instead of four and be denied contact to their attorney for five.
More than 15,000 Greeks have registered new companies in Bulgaria's tax offices in the first quarter of 2016, the Global Times, a Chinese business edition, has said.
It quotes data from the Greek Embassy in Sofia and a report published by Greek daily Vima ("Tribune").
On average, a dozen accounts opened in Bulgaria on a daily basis, the Chinese Times says, citing Vima.
As many as 13 500 companies were registered in Bulgaria in 2015, while in 2013 it was only 9000, according to embassy data.
However, in an interview with Novinite earlier this year, Greece's former ambassador said as many as 2000 Greek companies had moved to Bulgaria in 2015, resulting in a total number of 14 400.
"Despite warnings from the Greek Finance Ministry that tax evaders will face strict penalties should audits reveal inaccuracies, several small and medium-sized Greek enterprises have turned to the neighboring country to avoid the "tax avalanche" of recent years in Greece, representatives of the Greek market said," according to the Global Times.
Tax on corporate profits in Greece stands at 29 percent, while in Bulgaria it is 10 percent.
"After the latest round of pension reforms and taxation changes introduced this year, self-employed Greeks are allegedly currently asked to pay up to 80 percent of their monthly reported income for taxes and increased contributions to social security funds, according to their unions and accountants."
Last week, the head of a fund for self-employed professionals, came under fire in Greece last week for his comment about paying social security contributions in Bulgaria.
The Global Times' report is available here.
There are as many as twenty-one presidential pairs running the forthcoming elections in Bulgaria, all competing to take over the office of President. While a head of state does not enjoy too many powers, but virtually serving as a broker between institutions and a key stakeholder in shaping the country's agenda and vision, being able to call consultations, veto bills, and make key appointments.
Novinite has so far given detailed information only about six of the candidates - those either considered front-runners or being somewhat linked to the governing coalition (Tsetska Tsacheva, Rumen Radev, Krasimir Karakachanov, Ivaylo Kalfin, Traycho Traykov, Tatyana Doncheva). We have also adhered to data from the first poll published in October which gave an edge to those candidates.
Going down the list, the apparent "losers" should not be underestimated, though, as many of them are either being suspected as puppets of other parties that will "drain" votes in the first round or - what is worse - have openly indicated they will not be voting for themselves. Others have a background that could easily raise eyebrows. Another group had their names entangled in a scam with the so-called "media packages" handed out to them for their campaign, even though the election watchdog of Bulgaria denies the affair took place.
In the third part of our series about the non-traditional presidential candidates, the list is completed with several candidates who have never stood out for too high political ambitions or active positions in the national public space.
Rumen Galabinov, an economist, and lawyer Veska Voleva (his running mate) were the first presidential pair to submit its documents. The two have kept a low profile over the years and are now calling for Bulgaria's tighter allegiance to NATO and the EU, a more active effort toward judicial reforms, and a crackdown on corruption. Additionally, a debate is needed in Parliament on a number of economic issues, and it is the President's job to trigger it, Galabinov believes. He and Voleva are running as independents. Voleva has defended a number of clients suing lending institutions and, in a recent interview, has said any candidate other than that of GERB, the main ruling party, is worth endorsing in the runoff vote.
Plamen Paskov, a Bulgarian entrepreneur who studied Veterinary Medicine and nowadays runs a business that involves software used in the same field, is running as an independent candidate. His Russian-registered company (Russian clinics being his main clients) are one of the two things he is known for, the second one being his unsuccessful bid to run for Mayor of the town of Dimitrovgra last year. Backed by nationalist Ataka party, he garnered just 1.55% of the vote. Svetozar Saev, his running mate, is also an entrepreneur and an activist backing the application of the Modern Monetary Theory. Paskov is often sought by Russian media outlets as a political commentator on affairs in Bulgaria, Russia, and the United States.
Diana Dimitrova, also an indepenent candidate, was a member of Novoto Vreme, a party founded by several public figures back in the mid-2000s. She studied English Language and teaches it nowadays, having worked for the universty of Veliko Tarnovo and schools in the towns of Vidin and Smolyan. Her running mate, Gabriel Gerasimov, is an entrepreneur who tried to make it into Parliament in 2014. He was formerly affiliated to the State Security.
Gospodin Tonev is a former lawmaker (1997-1998) and was a member of the Union for Democratic Forces (UDF)'s leadership for much of the 2000s. He now shares Christian Democrat views and gives lectures on the issue of a "social market economy". His running mate, Andrey Andreev, is a musicologist who heads the Philharmonic Orchestra of Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city, and several other institutions. He was also a lawmaker in a Great National Assembly in the 1990s and became one of the few MPs who than refused to sign the new constitution.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has said it was he who asked the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party to endorse him.
Oresharski, whose tenure is associated with nationwide protests and the collapse of Bulgaria's fourth-largest lender, is running has an independent in the November 06 presidential elections.
DPS, the party of controversial lawmaker and alleged media mogul Delyan Peevski, earlier this week said it was endorsing him as the Prime Minister Bulgaria needed. Peevski was proposed by Oresharski's government as head of the national counter-intelligence agency, DANS, in the summer of 2013, triggering tens ot thousands of Bulgarians to call on the cabinet to step down.
Oresharski has told bTV's morning program that he himself called the DPS's leader, Mustafa Karadaya, saying support for him had no strings attached.
He has denied holding any talks with Karadaya on possible funding by the DPS, but has made it clear he would agree if the party lent a hand in his campaign.
Twice as many migrants left accommodation centers in Bulgaria last week compared to the previous two weeks, authorities say.
An upward trend in the number of migrants abandoning the centers was also registered earlier in October.
The number of detentions of migrants within Bulgaria's territory also decreased between October 10 and October 16, their usual numbers being by the hundreds on a weekly basis.
As many as twenty-three people were detained on the Bulgarian-Romanian border over that period. The figure includes the seven Turkish nationals silently handed over to TUrkey.
No refugee status was handed to protection seekers over the same period, Interior Ministry data, quoted by news website Dnevnik.bg, shows.
This comes amid reports that the number of detained migrants steeply rose in the first week of October.
Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova earlier issued a document that triggers "level 2" alert over an expected inflow of migrants.
Former Serbian footballer Ljubomir (Ljupko) Petrović has stepped down as coach of Levski football club in Bulgaria, citing humiliating attitude to him among the management and questioning the funding handed out to players.
A list of nine reasons made familiar to reporters included work "under huge tension", a campaign led against him within the senior executives in the club, a practice of not allowing him to select and approve players hired by the team and improper bonuses for the players that keeps them ill-motivated.
The coach's importance at Levski is completely dvoid of value, Petrović has argued.
The 69-year-old former professional football player, however, has added that he is lucky to have Levski as the last team in his career.
Like most other big professional footbal teams in Bulgaria, Levski has undergone a financial crisis over the past few years, changing ownership and striving to pay its debt.
Petrović took over as Levski's coach earlier this year.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has passed a decision that the CCTV cameras will be switched off in stations where voting is to take place in the presidential elections.
To this end, all devices will be on off mode and will have their lens covered to this end between 07:00 and 20:00 (or 21:00 if voting time is extended) on November 06.
The decision will also be applied if a runoff vote is held.
It comes more than six months after lawmakers adopted the installation of cameras in polling stations to fight electoral fraud.
Voting in Bulgaria is often conducted amid suspicions of violations during or after ballots are cast, with last year's vote count in Sofia prompting a scandal.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has declined Turkey’s offer to participate in the battle against the terrorist group Islamic State in Mosul, reported Reuters.
“I know that Turkey wants to participate and we thank them, but this is something that Iraqis can deal with,” stated al-Abadi after his meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in Baghdad on Saturday.
“If we need help, we will ask for it - from Turkey or other countries in the region,” underlined the PM.
A total of 44 ship wrecks have been explored by experts of the Centre for Submarine Archaeology in Sozopol in 2016.
The data was presented at the round table Cultural Heritage of Black Sea Strandzha As Perceived By Researchers, which is taking place in Ahtopol.
The research was carried out by special state-of-the-art research ship under an international project.
Juan Martin del Potro defeated Bulgaria’s top tennis player Grigor Dimitrov at the ATP tournament in Stockholm.
The Argentinian reached the final after battling past Dimitrov (6:4, 7:5).
So far, Dimitrov has not managed a win against the Argentinian player.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has warned the European Union not to forget that Turkey has alternatives to the bloc.
Relations between the EU and Turkey have been strained lately. “Turkey has alternatives to Europe – being too modest may destroy love relationships,” stated the PM at a party conference of the ruling Justice and Development Party, without specifying what Turkey’s alternatives are.
The process of accession of turkey to the EU started in the 1960’s but official negotiations began in 2005. A mere 16 out of 35 chapters of the negotiations have been opened so far.
In March, the two parties signed an agreement on limiting the migrant flow to Europe with the help of Turkey. Turkey undertook the obligation to admit migrants returned from Greece. In exchange, Turkey was promised an acceleration of the accession process, visa-regime liberalisation and EUR 6 B.
The abolition of visas for Turkish citizens cannot be implemented due to the refusal of Ankara to change one of its key laws on terrorism – a demand made repeatedly by Brussels.
Relations became additionally strained this summer after the unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey, after which the government undertook a mass purge of the administration, the police, educational and legal systems.
The EU criticised Turkey about the way it dealt with the organisers of the coup.
In response, Turkey attacked Brussels on the issue of the EU not showing enough support for Turkey at the time of the coup.
The procedure for the purchase of 15 new railway locomotives will begin by the end of 2016, announced on BNR Bulgarian Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski.
The minister participated in the entertainment trip by train commemorating the 150th anniversary of the opening of the first railway in Bulgaria – Varna-Russe.
The train uses a steam engine and boasts a passenger carriage that belonged to Tsar Boris III, also known as the Korona (Crown) Express.
The train is travelling along the route Varna-Russe. At each stop mayors organise brief celebrations. The trip will end in Russe with a commemorative programme.
The National Health Insurance Fund (NZOK) owes over BGN 95 M to European health insurance funds for Bulgarian citizens treated in European Union member-states.
This has been included in the draft budget of NZOK for 2017. The document also makes it clear that Bulgaria has stopped the payments to foreign health funds.
Interest on the debt will accrue for the remaining two months of 2016. Another BGN 91 M will be needed for 2017 which means that Bulgaria owes a total amount of BGN 185 M for the treatment of Bulgarian citizens in Europe.
The amount allocated by the budget for this type of expenditures for 2017 is BGN 62 M, or merely one-third of the funds needed.
According to representatives of patients’ organisations, this will limit the access of Bulgarian citizens to health treatment abroad.
NZOK usually permits treatment abroad for patients with severe or rare illnesses that cannot be treated in Bulgaria.
France’s Interior Ministry has announced that the closure of the camp in Calais and the transfer of migrants will start on Monday.
Illegal migrants have been given 72 hours to leave the camp voluntarily.
Announcements to that effect were posted in 9 languages in the camp, known as the “Jungle”.
Within half a year, the tent camp has turned into a huge encampment. According to various estimates, there are between 6,400 and 8,100 migrants living there. Most of them are from Sudan, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
In search of a better life, the migrants attempt to reach the UK via the railway tunnel under the English Channel. Most of these attempts have a tragic end.
Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova has issued an order activating level 2 in terms of danger on the Bulgarian-Turkish border under the National Plan for Action in Emergency Situations.
The order was signed several days ago.
Level 2 means “the preparation of conditions if level 3 – the mass influx of refugees – occurs”.
“One of the measures at this level of danger is the creation of conditions for the non-problematic placement of refugees at temporary sites – caravans, so that they can be checked without violating the procedure, because we cannot ignore this danger,” explained Bachvarova in Parliament on Friday.
There will be three camps. These will be located at the southern border and will be of the no-entry type.