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Sheraton Sofia – new website from Webfactory Bulgaria

Webfactory is proud to announce that it has completed the design and production of the new website for WWW.SHERATONSOFIA.COM, the most famous hotel in Bulgaria. Working with the professional staff of the Sheraton Sofia has been a real pleasure for the hotel website team of Webfactory and the final result shows this.

Website design - twice the quality, half the price

BULGARIA COUNTS ON GOLF DEVELOPMENT, RETAIL RENAISSANCE TO RECOVER

Bulgaria has vowed to bring back the incentives for investors in golf courses, malls, hotels and spa complexes as the country is trying to stay competitive and keep low the unemployment rate.
The incentives will be provided under amendments to the Law for encouraging investments, which will offer a wide range of bonuses for investors in projects that are worth over BGN 100,000 and create at least 200 jobs.
The package includes the issuing of an investor’s certificate, the sale of a land slot at a minimum price, fast services, covering expenses for the installation of electricity and water sewage channels.
Bulgaria is expected to be set for a boom in mall and golf development.
The economic crisis in the past year proved fertile for the malls and discount retailers stepping on Bulgarian soil in recent months and the country is expected to see their boom in 2010.
Retailers, including Carrefour, Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG of Germany and Slovenia’s Mercator Poslovni Sistem d.d., want to shore up flagging sales at home by expanding in Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest member.
The country, which fell behind other former-communist nations in raising living standards, offers better growth prospects than neighbors, whose more- developed markets are becoming saturated, while investors enjoy lower wages and costs.
Golf was considered a sport of the capitalist elite and banned in Eastern Europe under the rule of communist regimes — but in the 20 years since the Berlin Wall has fallen there has been a renaissance of the game in the region.
With rising disposable income and an increasing interest in leisure pursuits, a growing number of courses, more television coverage and availability of EU funds, the future of the industry in Eastern Europe is bright.
Bulgaria is one country where the sport is on the up as it tries to fulfil the increasing domestic demand and attract more tourists to the region..
Bulgaria’s government expects the economy to grow about 1% in 2010 after shrinking 5.1%. That compares with an estimated 0.2% contraction in Hungary, and growth rates of 0.6% in Slovenia and 1.3% in the Czech Republic. Novinite.com

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PUTIN COMMENTS RAISE CONCERN OVER NEW BULGARIA GAS CRISIS

Russia PM Vladimir Putin has stated that the Ukraine might be having problems paying for its gas supplies, leading to concerns of a new gas crisis in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria was one of the countries most affected in the January 2009 crisis, when a payment dispute led to Russia cutting off supplies to the Ukraine including those destined for the rest of Europe.

Putin said late Friday that the European Union had not yet given the Ukraine the money it had promised to help provide stable supplies of Russian gas to Europe. He also blamed Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko for blocking payment, the BBC reported. “It appears we are again having problems with payments for our energy supplies, which is extremely regrettable.

The EU has still not provided Ukraine with the money it has promised for that purpose,” Putin said. He added; “European leaders are referring us to the European Commission, while the European Commission leadership are evading discussing the issue with us.”

In August, the EU and international lending institutions agreed a USD 1.7 B loan deal to help secure European gas supplies.

Source: Novinite

FINANCE MINISTER: BULGARIA’S ENERGY POLICY HAS SERVED RUSSIA

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.

SHOCKING VBOX VIDEO SHOWS BULGARIA OLD PEOPLE’S HOME CRUELTY

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.

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Barroso Calls up Intl Meeting over Fears of New Russia-Ukraine Gas Crisis

Sofia Weekly – The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, declared Friday he feared Europe might face a new Russia-Ukraine natural gas crisis within weeks.

During the second day of the European Council Summit in Brussels, Barroso expressed his concern that the delay of payments for Russian natural gas supplies on part of the Ukraine was likely to lead to a situation like the one in January 2009 when a Russian-Ukrainian dispute led to a cutoff of Russian gas supplies for much of Europe, BGNES reported.

Barroso announced that the European Commission was going to host next week an international meeting of European gas companies, member states, and international financial institutions in order to help rectify the situation by figuring out a way to help the Ukraine pay for the natural gas it receives from Russia as well as to discuss new energy projects.

“We need to protect the European citizens”, the EC President told journalists after the end of the European Council Summit.

The Ukraine is badly affected by the global economic crisis, and had to ask the EU for help with a USD 4,2 B loan in order to be able to pay off its debts to Gazprom.

Over 80% of Russian natural gas supplies for EU and other European states are transited through the Ukraine.

American Vonn extends Super-G streak, World Cup lead

Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colo., won her fourth consecutive super-giant-slalom race Sunday and promised to chase more trophies on the women’s World Cup circuit after a successful stop in Bansko, Bulgaria.

“There is no conservative skiing for me,” the 24-year-old Vonn said. “I have to be really aggressive — that’s my strategy.”

After three races in Bulgaria, the defending overall World Cup champion widened her lead in the standings to 391 points over second-place Maria Riesch of Germany. Vonn also moved into contention for the Super-G season trophy a day after clinching the downhill title, joining Picabo Street as the only Americans to win back-to-back downhill titles.

Vonn won the Super-G in 1 minute, 14.49 seconds, sweeping aside concerns caused by an injured thumb and a bruising fall in training three days earlier. Fabienne Suter of Switzerland was second, 0.58 seconds behind.

“I think all my disciplines are better this year,” Vonn said. “Super-G has been the best season in my life, above and beyond what I expected this year.”

Vonn has been competing with her right thumb in a splint since she required surgery after slicing a tendon on a champagne bottle while celebrating after winning a gold medal at the world championships in Val d’Isere, France, last month.

“It’s definitely very painful when I’m starting and also in slalom,” she said. “I think it also affects my balance. I was able to win today. I’m happy that it’s not holding me back too much.”

Lizeroux triumphs: Julien Lizeroux of France won a men’s World Cup slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, for his second victory of the season.

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia finished 11th and retained a narrow lead in the overall standings. Kostelic has 837 points, two more than Benjamin Raich of Austria.

Americans excel at nordic worlds: The United States entered the nordic world championships in Liberec, Czech Republic, in the usual fashion, with modest goals. One medal might have been perceived as a success.

But the Americans collected six medals, including four golds. In the 35 previous world championships since 1925, the U.S. won a total of three medals — a gold, a silver and a bronze. The U.S. gold medalists this year were two-time winner Todd Lodwick, Lindsey Van and Bill Demong.

“It’s absolutely incredible to have six world-championships medals. I’m speechless,” said Lodwick, who is from Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Bobsled

Holcomb is golden: Steven Holcomb took “The Night Train” to the top of the podium at the world championships in Lake Placid, N.Y., lifting the weight of a 50-year drought from the U.S. men’s team.

Holcomb was the class of the field on all four runs of the four-man competition at Mount Van Hoevenberg and piloted the black USA-1 sled to the gold medal. It was the first triumph for the United States in four-man at the world championships since Arthur Tyler won in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1959.

“I can’t believe, finally, after 50 years we got it done,” Holcomb said. “We were definitely the team to beat today. It all came together.”

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/othersports/2008800721_digs02.html

“Baba Marta” brings spring to Bulgaria

All Bulgarians celebrated Sunday a centuries-old tradition — exchanging “martenitsas,” which are red-and-white interwoven strings, on the day of Baba Marta and the shining sun spelled nice, and warm weather ahead, local press reported.

    Eagerly followed on March 1 every single year, the tradition of giving your friends “martenitsas” brings health and happiness during the year and is a reminder that spring is near.

    Baba Marta (Grandma March) is a feisty lady who always seems to be grudging at her two brothers, and the sun only comes out when she smiles. As folklore often goes, there are different versions of the Baba Marta tale. One says that on that day she does her pre-spring cleaning and shakes her mattress for the last time before the next winter — all the feathers that come out of it pour on Earth like snow — the last snow of the year.

    The “martenitsa” tradition is thought to have been inspired by Bulgaria’s first Khan Asparuh, who sent a white string to his wife to tell her he survived a battle.

    People are supposed to take off their “martenitsas” when they see the first signs that spring has already come — a blooming tree, a stork, or a sparrow.

    When the “martenitsa” is taken off some tie it to a tree – one that they’d like to be especially fruitful. Others place it under a rock and based on what they find there the next morning guess what kind of a year this one would be.

    The “martenitsa” now comes in all shapes and sizes — from Guiness-worth giant building packages to two tiny simple strings gently placed on a newborn’s arm. Children usually compete who will get the most and often walk around more ornate than a Christmas tree. However, it always bears the same meaning — a lucky charm against the evil spirits of the world, a token for health and a sign of appreciation.