Archive for October, 2009


Bulgarians lead some of the less happy lives on the planet, according to a survey conducted by the Universities of Rotterdam and Granada, EFE reported.
The survey shows that the citizens of Bulgaria are only in the middle range of the list of countries where people lead a happy life.
The Spanish enjoy an average of 58,8 years of happy life, placing the country among the top of the list of 148 countries that includes more that 95% of the world’s population.
According to the world data on happiness, the country where one lives happy for longest is Costa Rica with 66,7 years, followed by Spain and Denmark with 66,4 and 65 years of happiness.
Zimbabwe is the country whose people have only 12,5 years of happiness, as well as Tanzania with 14,4 years. Afghanistan has 19,0 years.
Spain beats its neighbors France and Portugal, but is behind when compared to some Latin American countries such as Mexico, where life is happy for all 59,5 years.
In comparison, Bulgaria’s happy life years total 34,1, lower than most of its neighbors. Greece is 51,0, Turkey 41,0, Romania 40,0 and Serbia 40,5 years. Moldova comes out below Bulgaria, with 33,2 years.
Bulgaria scores only 4,4 out of 10 points for overall satisfaction with life; and life expectancy is shown as 72,7 years, low for European countries.


The mother of the 11-year-old Roma girl, who gave birth last week, had been present at her wedding, Darik radio reports.
The mother previously misled the authorities telling them she was in Spain when her daughter gave birth in Bulgaria’s southern city of Sliven, immediately after the wedding, probably over fears she could face legal charges.
On Tuesday, the Roma from the Sliven “Nadezhda” district staged a protest rally in front of the hospital where the young mother, Korteza, is listed with her newborn daughter, shouting demands for the two to be released under their care.
The Prosecutor in Sliven ordered a probe in the case against the father, 19-year-old Zhelyazko, over having sexual intercourse with a minor. Zhelyazko, the girl’s mother Rayna, and her mother-in-law have all been called for questioning.
In the meantime, Rayna signed a declaration she would take care of the mother and the baby while Roma explained their traditions call for the bride to be a virgin and how Korteza became pregnant immediately after her sexual contact with Zhelyazko.


The world financial crisis that engulfed Bulgaria at the end of 2008 has already had an effect on the hygiene habits of Bulgarians, who are washing their teeth and bathing less frequently.
The Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) makes this conclusion in a sector analysis, published on Wednesday, on the condition of the Bulgarian cosmetic industry for the second quarter of 2009,.
The analysis draws attention to the fact that the cosmetic and perfume companies surveyed throughout Bulgaria, sold 42,6% less shampoo and 2,3 times less toothpaste on the local market.
This could be interpreted as the Bulgarian consumer turning to foreign products, were it not for an additional clarification to the statistics, showing that the import of cosmetic and perfume products had also fallen by 18% in the April-June period.
People have also started saving on clothing. According to the BIA, the import of tailored goods in the second quarter of 2009 decreased by 28,1%, while Bulgarian producers sold only 2.9% of their output to the local market.
As a whole, Bulgarian tailoring sector exports shrank by 19%, year on year, in the second quarter of 2009, while the cosmetic industry showed growth of almost 14% for the same period.
This has resulted in a decrease of more that BGN 43 M in the clothing sector incomes in the second quarter of this year, when compared to the same period in 2008.
Whereas the exports of cosmetic enterprises, on the other hand, showed continued growth this year, with an increase of 13.9% in the second quarter and 10,1% in the first six months of 2009, but sales on the Bulgarian market dropped.
Scented oils showed production growth multiplied by 3,1 times and sales in Bulgaria increased by a factor of 2,8 in the first half of 2009. Imports during that period went up by 3,7%, while exports registered a drop of 40,3%, the Bulgarian Industrial Association stated.


October 21, 2009 1 comment

Bulgaria has continued its free fall in the WorldPress Freedom Index 2009 released Tuesday by Reporters without Borders.

Bulgaria’s press freedom has continued to worsen as it occupies 68th place in the 2009 ranking.

After being 48th in 2005, Bulgaria had its best ranking in 2006 when it was 35th. Ever since its press freedom has declined tremendously – 51st in 2007, 59th in 2008, and 68th in 2009.

Countries such as Togo, Tanzania, Malawi, Liberia, Botswana, Lebanon, and Haiti are ranked before Bulgaria. Bulgaria’s neighbors Romania and Serbia are ranked 50th and 62nd respectively.

For the third consecutive year the last three spots in the Press Freedom Index are occupied by Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Eritrea (173rd, 174th, 175th). Iran is 172nd. The first three spots in the 2009 index belong to Denmark, Finland, and Ireland.

Reporters without Borders has pointed out the decline of press freedom in Europe including in established democracies such as France and Italy.

The USA has climbed up 20 positions to reach 20th place largely as a result of the election of Barack Obama, who is a lot less war-like towards the media than his predecessor was.


Bulgaria’s energy policy has so far followed the “anything Russia wants” principle, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said.
During a meeting with local businessmen in the southern city of Smolyan Thursday night, Djankov pointed out Bulgaria’s energy policy under the previous government had been guided by a small group of party functionaries connected with pro-Russian interests.
The Finance Minister believes the idea to build the Belene Nuclear Power Plant has been launched without any economic analysis. In his words, a thorough analysis would show Bulgaria does not need the Belene plant.
“Even if this project is economically sound, it is unclear how it will be funded especially during the present crisis. The idea to construct such an enormous facility in order to export electricity is not serious. Even if it is built, there is not enough demand for electricity, especially abroad,” Djankov said as quoted by BTA.
“In my view, the Belene idea has been connected with attempts to steal as much money as possible while claiming that this project is under way,” said Djankov.
He also stated that if someone wanted to build the Belene NPP, the Bulgarian government would regulate the process but it would not participate with any guarantees as the previous government intended to do.


If you are Proud to be Bulgarian, you should add that you are proud to be a non-marginalised Bulgarian. The elderly, handicapped, Roma and anyone else who do not fit into the ‘Perfect Bulgaria’ awaits a ‘proudless’ life.

I believe that we can not keep blaming our governments because they will never get any better. Individual responsibility through personal actions, NGO’s and private initiatives are the only way forward at the moment. Too many nice cars and zero civil responsibility…

A shocking video of ill patients in a home for mentally retarded old people in Batak, Bulgaria has been uploaded on Vbox.

The video was filmed in a sick room of the home and two old people are seen to be visibly in a terrible condition with one of them literally skin and bones. The authors of the Vbox clip, uploaded under the name “Forgotten by God”, even warn viewers that it should not be watched by children or people with a heart condition.

The clip ends with a note that both Tuberculosis and other mysterious deaths have been hidden from the authorities by the home’s director.

The director of the home, Dora Papanova, stated that the video footage is at least two years old and was made by a former nurse. She added that the reality of the situation at the home does not resemble the footage.Papanova said the reality of social institution does not meet what is seen from the clips.

The Bulgarian authorities have stated that they will investigate and the Mayor of Batak, Peter Paunov, will hold a press conference on the issue on Wednesday.

Saxe-Coburg ‘quickly selling off forests’ – media report

While Bulgaria is considering court action to recover some of the forests given to Simeon Saxe-Coburg, the country’s former monarch and former prime minister, he has started to sell of them off quickly, Bulgarian-language daily Sega alleged on October 10 2009.

Saxe-Coburg got the forests through the country’s post-communist restitution process, but the state forestry agency said on October 2 that he had been given more than was due to him and the state would go to court to get it back.

According to Sega, it had established by checking the property registry that of the total 1654ha of forests owned by Saxe-Coburg in 2007/08, close to 137ha had been sold.

The three larges-scale transactions were concluded with an off-shore company on December 30 2008, the Sega report said.

Before the state forestry agency’s announcement in October, critics of Saxe-Coburg had long alleged that the awards of forests to him were not lawful.

As The Sofia Echo reported earlier, Saxe-Coburg, in an interview published by Israeli Maariv newspaper on October 5 2009, referred to criticism that his motivation to return to Bulgaria in 2001 to enter politics — in that year, the former exile won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections and became prime minister — was so that he could have had former crown property handed to him.

Saxe-Coburg was briefly boy king of Bulgaria after the death of his father, Boris III, but was dethroned and exiled through a referendum, conducted by Bulgaria’s post-World War 2 communist regime, on abolishing the monarchy. Saxe-Coburg spent most of the ensuing years as an exile in Madrid.

In 2003, during Saxe-Coburg’s term as prime minister, Parliament decided to return the assets of the former royal family, seized by the Communist regime in 1946.

It was later alleged that during the restitution, about 452ha of forests near the town of Samokov were transferred to the former royal family with no legal basis for doing so.

“Can I pack this real estate in a suitcase and take it back to Madrid?” the report quoted him as saying.

“Was this real estate the property of the people during the past 50 years? Those in power had them and after that, these properties were left without care, and I ask what should have I done: to spend money on them and their maintenance, or to leave them without proper care. No one in Bulgaria who had the right to restitution refused it, no matter who you are” he told Maariv.

“When in 1998 the constitutional court said that I, as a Bulgarian citizen, had a right to restitution, no one said anything against it. When we donated 90 hectares to Sofia city hall, no one said ‘wait this is not yours to give’ and everything was great.
“But from the moment I became prime minister they started searching for such things,” Saxe-Coburg said.

Bulgarian Parliament Confirms EUR 1 Capital for Starting Business

The required capital to register a limited liability company has been lowered to the symbolic BGN 2 or EUR 1 by the Bulgarian Parliament.

The MPs approved the change in Bulgaria’s Commercial Law Friday at the second and final reading of the amendments in the Trade Act, lowering the required registration amount from BGN 5 000 to BGN 2.

The proposal had received the preliminary approval of the new cabinet in August and was promised by the now ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party before the July general elections.

On his part, Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, included the measure in the the anti-crisis packet as a way to encourage local business.