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Bulgaria’s tennis player Grigor Dimitrov has defeated French player Richard Gasquet in the third round of the Australian Open (6:3, 6:2, 6:4).

This is only the second victory for Dimitrov in 7 matches against the Frenchman.

Dimitrov will face Denis Istomin on Monday.

 

Four Turkish snowboarders were rescued on Saturday morning in the Echmishte area over Bansko.

At the end of the day on Friday, they left the ski zone in order to make extreme descents.

In spite of the warnings for possible avalanches and the signs, they skied in the danger zone and got stuck in one of the ravines.

The tourists called the emergency number 112.

The rescue mission started late on Friday night and the tourists were found at about 01:00 hrs, reported BNR.

The life of the tourists is not in danger.

One year and three months after the tragedy in the Colectiv disco in Bucharest which killed 64 people and caused mass protests and the resignation of the former government, the capital of Romania was rocked by a similar incident on Saturday morning but no victims have been reported.

A popular night club burnt up and over 40 people were taken to the hospital, reported Reuters.

There are no victims. One person is in a serious condition. Just a few of the 40 people who were taken to the hospital will remain there for treatment.

Among the injured, there are people with fractures. In a panic, they tried to jump off the second floor of the building in order to save themselves.

The fire started at the Bamboo club at about 03:30 hrs on Saturday.

An armed man opened fire against police vehicles only hours after unknown persons shot at the building of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The shooter threw a hand grenade as well before running off, reported BNR.

No victims or injured people have been reported.

The attack took place in the neighbourhood where Reina club is located. Reina was attacked on New Year’s Eve and 39 people were shot.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the authorities, the attack was carried out by “ultra left activists”.

The attack comes against the background of the extension of the powers of President Recep Erdogan which has caused an escalation of the tension in the country, reported AFP.

The amendments to the Road Traffic Act which provide for new harsher penalties will enter in force on Saturday.

The fines for speeding in a residential area are as follows: when speeding at between 31km/h and 40 km/h the fine is BGN 400, for speeding over 40 km/h, the fine is BGN 600 and for speeding over 50 km/h – BGN 700.

The fines for speeding outside a residential area have been doubled: over 30 km/h – BGN 300, over 40 km/h – BGN 400. Speeding over 50 km/h will be penalised with a fine of BGN 600 plus BGN 50 for every 5 km/h over the established speeding of over 50 km/h.

There are harsher penalties for drivers who have consumed alcohol as well. The fines begin at between 0.5 and o.8 promilles – BGN 500 and suspension of the driver’s license for six months.

Blood alcohol content of over 0.8 promilles will be penalised by suspension of the driver’s license for one year. If the driver refuses to take a breathalyser test or give a blood sample, he/she be penalised with a fine of BGN 5,000 and suspension of the driver’s license for a period of three years.

 One of the most commented upon amendments is the option of penalising the driver via taking off the registration plate of the vehicle. This will happen in cases when the driver is driving without a driver’s license, if the driver has blood alcohol content of over 0.5 promilles, when the driver has been using drugs or refuses to take a breathalyser test or give a blood sample.

Directorate Migration of the Interior Ministry has led out 68 illegally residing foreigners from the territory of Bulgaria since the beginning of 2017, showed the weekly data of the Interior Ministry, reported BGNES.

19 persons were expelled; the rest left the country voluntarily.

For the first three weeks of the year, 112 new migrants were registered. 38 were registered last week.

The drop in the number of migrants is significant, compared to the 482 migrants registered in the first three weeks of 2016.

At the same time, migrants on the territory of Bulgaria continue to attempt to leave the country in the direction of Central and Western Europe. A total of 323 migrants have been detained while trying to leave Bulgaria. 302 were caught at the Bulgarian-Serbian border.

Sixteen people have died and 39 have been injured in an accident in northern Italy with a bus full of Hungarian pupils who were on holiday.

The bus hit a pole and burnt down at the exit of the A4 highway near Verona on Friday night. The driver, who is assumed to be French, is among the dead.

The bus was transporting Hungarian pupils who were coming back from a holiday in France.

16 charred bodies were recovered from the bus. The injured have been taken to a hospital in Verona.

Just a few hours after assuming office, the new US President Donald Trump signed a decree against the health reform law known as Obamacare.

Thus, he kept his promise made during the election campaign in November 2016.

The decree is aimed at reducing to a minimum the financial burden of the law before its annulment, announced the White House.

The law stipulated that all Americans have health insurance.

In his first speech as US President, Trump promised to make America rich, proud and safe once again, and return power to the people.

Trump promised to root out Islamic terrorism.

A computer expert considered to be one of the most important hackers in Russia has been detained in Spain.

The 32-year old Stanislav Lisov is wanted in the USA for financial fraud amounting to EUR 5 M, read the announcement of the Spanish Civil Guard.

Spanish authorities stated that the hacker was arrested a week ago at the airport in Barcelona.

Lisov is charged with the creation of malware which gave him access to data about the debit and credit cards of millions of people.

The Turkish Parliament made the way to the holding of a referendum in the spring which will determine whether the powers of the president will be extended.

The draft for amendments to the constitution was approved by deputies at second reading late on Friday night.

The draft was adopted with 339 votes – 9 more than the required majority in order for the constitutional reform to be submitted to a referendum.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his supporters claim that the changes will ensure stability but, according to his critics, the amendments will concentrate too much power in his hands.

Work can be very stressful, especially when the whole week has been very busy and full of challenges. To keep the mood at the office positive and fun, many companies are starting to end the week by having group activities and sharing fun stuff on Fridays. There are plenty of advantages to be gained from engaging employees in fun activities. You can help keep stress levels at the office low, allowing employees to maintain their creativity and motivation.

Friday Fundays can be filled with a wide range of activities. In this post, we are going to take a closer look at some of the things you and the rest of the team can do to end the week. Let’s have a bit of fun, shall we?

Group Dinners

One of the easiest activities you can immediately try is having a group dinner. Once Friday is over, take everyone to a nearby restaurant and treat them for all the hard work they have done over the week. Employees will certainly appreciate the gesture; that sense of appreciation alone is more than enough reason to give this activity a try.

If a dinner is too heavy, you can also take everyone out for drinks or simply hit the local club for tons of fun. There is no limit to what you and your team can do on Friday nights. Some start-ups even take employees on shopping sprees or other engaging activities on Fridays.

The goal here is to unwind and relax, so make sure the spot you choose allows you and the rest of the team to have fun conversations. It is very enjoyable to spend Friday nights just trading war stories, or perhaps some weird encounters with clients or just non work-related stories, while sharing drinks and meals.

Gaming Night!

Another activity you can try is gaming. There are plenty of games that can be played with the rest of the team. It is not uncommon for start-up employees to take Friday night and use it to play network or online games. First-Person Shooting games or MMORPGs are quite popular and they work really well for this purpose.

Multiplayer gaming is actually a great way to build your team. Team members will learn to work together while competing in the game. You can also introduce a prize pool to make the whole experience that much more exciting.

Of course, video games are not the only type of games you can play. You can, for instance, take the whole team and hit an online bingo room like Sun Bingo for a bit of R&R. Online bingo requires no special preparation or skill. The entire team can just have a relaxing time sharing the online bingo experience. Some might even get lucky and hit the prizes offered by the best online bingo rooms today.

Speaking of online gaming nights…

Office Poker Fridays

Poker is a very exciting game to play with a lot of people. It is easy to accommodate up to eight players on a game of Poker. Similar to online bingo, this game is also playable offline and online; the latter is simpler, since you don’t have to have a dealer and the entire gameplay is much faster and more exciting.

Poker nights and some friendly wagers to go along with the games are a great combination for helping employees relax after a stressful week. Naturally, you need to keep the tone of the game friendly and not too competitive, but poker games help employees train their decision-making and analytics skills while having a lot of fun.

Pool or Bowling (or Other Sports)

We can’t really talk about activities for you and your team without talking about sports. Exercise is both good for your body and very relaxing. There are plenty of options to choose from, too; most of them are simple enough to play and will accommodate the entire team without a problem.

A game of basketball, for instance, can be the perfect way to end the week. Employees can form their own teams and different departments can compete with each other for some bragging rights. The same can be said for football and futsal.

Alternatively, you can opt for less physical games. A bowling night is a great idea to try, even if you have never played bowling before. In fact, bowling with those who have never played the game is the perfect way to spend an amazing night laughing and having a lot of fun.

These are just some of the activities you can try to turn Friday into Funday. Stick to the activities you and your team truly enjoy and have regular Fundays at the end of the week. The simple fun you share with the rest of the team will quickly turn into an effective way of managing stress and maintaining productivity.

an effective way of managing stress and maintaining productivity.
an effective way of managing stress and maintaining productivity.
an effective way of managing stress and maintaining productivity.
an effective way of managing stress and maintaining productivity.

Annual vignettes entitling drivers to use the roads of the Republican road network will be valid 12 months after the purchase date and not as now until the end of January the following year, decided deputies at second reading of the amendments to the Road Traffic Act.

Another innovation is the addition of three-month stickers for all vehicles, with the exception of trucks weighing more than 12 tonnes and minivans with more than 8 seats, to the existing vignettes valid for a week, a month or a year. These will be useful for people who use their cars on long-distance trips in the summer season only, while during the rest of the year they travel only within their place of residence.

MPs rejected the proposal for the introduction of daily vignettes for cars and motorcycles. These will only be issued for trucks and buses.

The amendments will enter into force on January 1, 2018.

Deputies also adopted a compensatory tax which will be paid by drivers who use the roads without a vignette. The tax will entitle the payees to complete their trips within 24 hours after payment.

The amount of the compensatory tax will be determined by the Council of Ministers depending on the type of the vehicle and it is targeted mainly at drivers transiting Bulgaria. The tax will be paid by drivers entering the country without the necessary vignette and it will be paid at the respective border cross checkpoint.

The introduction of the tax became necessary since drivers fined for travelling without stickers do not pay the penalty en masse.

For Bulgaria drivers, the fine remains unchanged. Depending on the type of vehicle, it varies between BGN 300 and BGN 3,000.

 

Code yellow has been declared for Saturday for all of Bulgaria due to low temperatures.

The code is in force for all 28 regions.

The minimum temperatures will be between minus 15 and minus 10 degrees. The maximum temperatures will be between minus 4 and minus 1 degrees.

Turkey’s Parliament has adopted another four articles of the constitutional reforms package which will extend the powers of President Recep Erdogan, reported Reuters.

Thus, the country is moving ever closer to becoming an authoritarian state.

If the changes are approved at the referendum as well, Erdogan will rule the country until 2029.

The reform will provide the president with the option of issuing decrees, declaring a state of emergency, appointing ministers and high-ranking state employees, as well as disbanding Parliament.

According to opposition parties, these powers will damage the mechanisms of control among the powers in the state.

In Erdogan’s opinion, however, the amendments will ensure the stability of the country and prevent the return of the weak coalition governments of the past.

Seven articles of the reform have yet to be voted and these will most probably be adopted by Parliament.

The reform package will be voted in its entirety on Friday night.

Outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister Hristo Angelichin has been indicted on charges of abuse of office for violating the Public Procurement Act, reported BGNES.

Angelichin is in the Sofia Investigative Service where he is being interrogated.

At the end of last year, the Prosecutor’s Office initiated pre-trial proceedings against employees of the Foreign Ministry for abuse of office. The issue was the purchase of telephone exchanges.

Then, Angelichin commented: “After the Prosecutor’s Office intervened on the basis of internal snitching, from the ministry itself, we stopped buying these exchanges because there is nothing sweeter than the prosecution conducting its inspection, saying that they have discovered nothing and then us continuing.”

Angelichin was of the opinion then that this was an attack on the part of BSP.

 

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete is in Athens where he is holding negotiations with the Greek government on key energy projects.

The interconnector Greece – Bulgaria is among these projects.

The EU Commissioner stated in Athens that the EU views the interconnector for the transit of natural gas from Greece to Bulgaria as a priority. He pointed out that there is, already, a positive assessment of the impact on the environment by the competent bodies in the two countries

The length of the gas link is 140 kilometres on Bulgarian territory and it will reach Stara Zagora.

Comments in Greek media point out that the intersystem link is targeted at reducing dependence on Russian gas and guaranteeing supplies.

The EU Energy Commissioner discussed with Greek Energy Minister Stathakis the floating platform for liquefied gas to Alexandroupolis which may also supply fuel to the two countries if the need arises.

The EU Commissioner also met Greek PM Tsipras and the main topic of the conversation was the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which will supply Europe with Azeri gas.

This is a project of extreme importance to Europe and deliveries are planned to begin in 2020.

The UNESCO-listed Bulgarian custom Surva and the biggest Roma holiday Vasilitsa will be presented at the ethnographic Museum in Sofia on January 21 at 11:00 hrs.

The two holidays which are held at the same time – January 13 and 14 will be presented in the yard of the museum as part of the campaign “Learn About Traditions In Order To Love Your People!”

Belgium’s state Secretary for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken has specified that not all returns of migrants to Bulgaria have been cancelled, reported local media.

Francken commented on the three decisions of the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) according to which three underage and unaccompanied Afghanis must “under no circumstances” be returned to Bulgaria.

The judicial institution is of the opinion that their asylum applications will not be reviewed fairly in Bulgaria.

The judge has added that the conditions for the admission of migrants in Bulgaria are unsatisfactory.

The State Secretary has explained that this judicial ruling is based on the conditions in Bulgarian refugee centres in 2015. Francken has added that neither the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, nor the Council of Europe have called for a moratorium on the return of migrants to Bulgaria.

 

Doctors in Germany will soon be able to prescribe cannabis to alleviate the suffering of patients after deputies in the lower chamber of Parliament adopted unanimously a law legalising marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The use of the plant for pleasure, however, remains illegal.

Cannabis may be prescribed to people suffering from chronic pain, loss of appetite and fatigue caused by chemotherapy.

At the moment, patients must have a special permission in order to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. A total of about 1,000 people in the country have received such permission.

The law will enter into force in March and health insurers will be obliged to cover expenses for marijuana.

Fifty of the laid off Bobov dol miners blocked the passage of trucks transporting coal to the mine at 10:00 hrs on Friday for a second day in a row, reported BGNES.

There were about 50 people at the blockade at 10:30 hrs but more people keep arriving.

On Thursday, about 100 people blocked the entry and exit of trucks transporting raw materials for the mine.

Negotiations with the head of Coal Extraction – Bobov dol Haralampi Zlatanov failed – miners did not accept the proposal for a rescheduled payment of their remuneration.

According to the miners, the sums amount to six gross salaries plus food coupons and unused paid leave.

Traffic of all vehicles along the Trakia highway in the direction of Burgas in the section of the hub Zimnitsa - Burgas has been restored.

Drivers must pay attention and stick to the speed limit of 80 km/h, warned the Road Infrastructure Agency.

Traffic of all vehicles through the Obzor pass has been restored as well.

Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office has started an investigation against senior employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced the state prosecution.

The prosecution is investigating the employees for abeyance and abuse of office over a contract for airplane tickets. The contract also includes hotel stays and medical insurance for travelling abroad. According to the investigators, instead of announcing a public procurement order, a contract was signed with a firm which serviced the Agriculture Ministry as well.

The damages to the Foreign Ministry are estimated at BGN 148,000. Employees at the ministry did not take advantage of the discounts and vouchers despite the fact that these were on offer.

The investigation must be completed within two months.

There is heavy traffic at the Bulgarian – Romanian border and a 6-km queue at border cross checkpoint Danube Bridge – Vidin.

The queue of trucks at Danube Bridge – Ruse is 7 kilometres long, reported the press centre of General Directorate Border Police.

Traffic is intense at the Bulgarian – Turkish border. The queue at border cross checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo is 3 kilometres long.

Traffic at the border cross checkpoints at the borders with Serbia, Macedonia and Greece is normal in winter conditions.

The 45th President of the USA Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will be sworn in in Washington on Friday.

The ceremony will take place at noon local time and will be followed by the traditional parade and a ball in the White House in the evening.

This year, the calendar of events before the ceremony was rather modest and the explanation of Donald Trump’s team was that he wanted a “working atmosphere” and not grandiosity.









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