Archive for the ‘World news’ Category

There is an Increase of 6.9% of the Receipts From Social Protection Contributions

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Financing of the social protection system in the country is realized either through social security contributions or through direct funding from the state budget. In 2015, the total receipts recorded in ESSPROS for financing the social protection system amounted to 16 956.6 million BGN, from which 8 036.46 million BGN were funds from the state budget, 8 610.5 million BGN were funds from social protection contributions and 309.7 million BGN were classified as other receipts. Compared to previous year, there was an increase of 6.9% of the receipts from social protection contributions and an increase of 6.6% of the general government contributions, according to data of the National Statistical Institute (NSI).

In 2015, Bulgaria spent 15 811.6 Million BGN  for social protection which represented around 17.9% of the gross domestic product for the same year. Compared to the previous year, 2014, the total expenditure on social protection increased by 2.2% and their corresponding share of the gross domestic product fell by 0.6 percentage points.

The ‘Old age’ function with its major component expenditure for pensions had the highest share (44.7%) in total expenditures. The ‘Sickness/Healthcare’ and ‘Family/Children’ functions also had a significant share of total expenditures – 26.8% and 10.9% respectively.



Tobacco Products and Bottled Alcoholic Beverages will be Sold with a New Excise Label

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Tobacco products and bottled alcoholic beverages will be sold with a new excise label from 1 January 2018. In accordance with Art. 64, para. 6 of the Excise Duties and Tax Warehouses Act the new labels have been approved by the Minister of Finance three months before their entry into force and the orders for their approval have been published in the State Newspaper, 77 of 26.09.2017.

The unit prices of the excise stickers are kept, as for tobacco products it is BGN 0.013, and for alcoholic beverages – 0.032 BGN, the Ministry of Finance announced, quoted by

Another new thing about the tobacco labels is the placement of a QR code containing a URL link to the Ministry of Finance’s website. The code is standard and can be read through a smartphone or tablet with any free QR code reader.



Serbs and Croats ‘Will Have to be Allies in Future’

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Vucic also announced his visit to Croatia for November, according to B92. 

Asked what he saw as the main problem in relations between the two countries, he told Vecerni List that he “sees these problems, but does not understand them.” 

“I have to be honest, I see them, but I do not understand them and I think that in the future, Serbs and Croats will increasingly have to be allies, while there will be increasingly fewer people who live in the past of their hostilities,” Vucic said. 

He added that “poison darts” were frequently exchaged between Zagreb and Belgrade, “mostly around Ustashas and Chetniks or the status of national minorities.” 

Asked to “comment on when this would end,” Vucic said, “not any time soon” – but added that he believed the situation would change slowly, and that there would be “less of it than now.” 

The Belgrade-based daily Vecernje Novosti also carried excerpts from the interview, to report that Vucic announced he would travel to Zagreb in early November. 

Asked “why he criticized the proposal of the new Croatian law on defenders” he said that “when Greater Serbia aggression is being referred to – and the result was the expulsion of 250,000 Serbs from their homes (in Croatia), and more Serb than Croats victims in the area – then one forgets that Serbs could pass 500 laws on Jasenovac and other places of suffering.” 

“The question arises where it all leads to. I’m merely pleading with our Croatian friends to walk in our shoes before passing the law, as we do here. I never asked to come to Zagreb, and that somebody had to talk about the kind of genocide has been committed in Jasenovac, or that someone coming to Belgrade had to talk about it. Our shortcoming is that we rarely put ourselves in the other’s position,” said he. 

Asked what he thought about the idea of ??proclaiming “a moratorium on public debates about the past,” Vucic said it was “a wonderful sentence”. 

“I will use it as soon as Tuesday on RTS,” added the Serbian president. 

He believes that Croatia will not hinder Serbia on its European path, but stressed that former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic would impose sanctions “for no reason.” 

“None of that will come to anything, even in Croatia wanted it to. It can cause problems, but it cannot stop our path to the EU. But, to be honest, I believe we will have the support of Croatia along that path,” Vucic said. 

He also said that he “respected Croatian President Kolin Grabar-Kitarovic and considered it important to work on concrete matters and show respect for each other.” 

“It is healing and significantly helps in relations of our countries and nations,” he said. 

Vucic also spoke about the attack that he experienced in Srebrenica several years ago. 

“At one point I thought, when I saw that I was left alone and that nobody from the protocol was near, and that my associates were twenty meters behind me, ‘that’s it, it’s over’. I did not bow my head, I bowed my head before the memorial, in front of the Srebrenica victims, because I only bow my head where I want to, and that was my decision. Later, under stones, shoes, bottles, I did not bow my head for one second,” Vucic said.





Mexico in 3-Day Countdown to Search for Earthquake Survivors

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Rescuers are unlikely to find any more survivors of Mexico’s earthquake still buried in the ruins and will cease operations to find them at the end of Thursday, the emergency services chief said, quoted by Reuters. 

Tuesday marks one week since the 7.1 magnitude quake struck around lunchtime, killing 331 people, damaging 11,000 homes and leading to a outpouring of civilian volunteers to aid and comfort the victims.

Luis Felipe Puente, coordinator of Mexico’s Civil Protection agency, told Reuters that rescuers would continue hand-picking through the debris at four sites until Thursday.

“I can say that at this time it would be unlikely to find someone alive,” Puente said, considering that specially trained dogs have yet to pick up the scent of survivors.

Forty-three people were still missing, including 40 who may have been trapped beneath a collapsed office building in the Roma district of Mexico City, Puente said. One person was believed missing at each of three other sites in the capital.

At the office building, relatives protested overnight, increasingly angry with the slow progress recovering their loved ones and an alleged lack of information.

Asked how much longer search and rescue operations would continue, the official responded, “As of today (Monday), we have agreed to another 72 hours.”

The week began with signs that Mexico was resuming its routine as the streets filled with traffic and more than 44,000 schools in six states reopened.

But in the capital city, only 676 of the more than 8,000 public and private schools resumed classes.

The quake, coming exactly 32 years after a 1985 earthquake killed some 10,000 people, delivered a massive psychological blow that specialists say will take time to overcome.

“The children are in crisis and don’t want to talk. Some kids didn’t even remember their own names,” said Enriqueta Ortuno, 57, a psychotherapist who has been working with victims in the hard-hit Xochimilco district.

Much of the nation’s attention was focused on a fallen school in Mexico City where 19 children and seven adults died. Later on Tuesday, the top official in the municipality where the school was located was due to reveal documents related to the its construction.

That school was one of many buildings that prosecutors will investigate, Puente said. Roughly 10 percent of damaged buildings were constructed after strict building codes were enacted in the wake of the 1985 earthquake.

“The Mexico City mayor and the national government have already ordered judicial investigations to determine who was responsible for new construction that did not meet the requirements,” Puente said from Civil Protection headquarters, where a roomful of technicians monitored seismic activity and tropical storms on an array of screens.

In Mexico City, 187 people died in 38 buildings that collapsed. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said thousands of families who lost their homes in uninhabitable buildings would be offered 3,000 ($170) pesos monthly in temporary rent assistance.

Rescuers pulled 69 people from quake-damaged properties, of whom 37 were still in the hospital as of Monday, 11 of them in grave condition, Puente said.

Demolitions of buildings that are beyond repair could begin as soon as Tuesday, he said.

 Responders from 18 countries came to Mexico to help, but with the search for survivors down to four sites most of them had gone home, with Americans and Israelis among the few to remain, Puente said. The Japanese contingent left on Monday.

International aid was now focused on humanitarian needs, Puente said, with China providing large numbers of beds, tents and kitchen and bathroom fixtures for temporary shelters for the homeless.

But the biggest contributions came from Mexicans themselves, who responded with so much food, supplies and volunteer work that officials had difficulty moving largesse from wealthy and accessible neighborhoods to the most needy.

Puente recognized some “deficiencies” in coordinating relief efforts, but overall, he said, “The government today is an international benchmark.”


New European Copyright Reforms in the Digital Single Market – Is There a Threat to Quality Journalism?

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Dimitar Dimitrov, Director of European Policies at Wikimedia and a Bulgarian political scientist, shared his fears that a new copyright law reform would hamper quality journalism in Europe.

He and other professionals in the digital industry, such as Karl Ryan, a public relations and government manager at Google, comment on the change in behavior of users who need to receive information from a variety of media sources and, of course, rely on their credibility, which in turn leads to popularity among fake news distributors.

The growing spread of fake news is one of the leading motives for introducing additional copyrights for news sites. The new law will require a license to be issued to anyone who partially redistributes news content. Such content is understood to mean any text that has a direct link to the article that is added when sharing articles on sites and social networks.

“Nowadays, references to the internet often contain the name of the article. According to the proposal in this reform even if we share a reference, we should ask for permission from the publishers – Dimitar Dimitrov says. This new related right for press releases would also make it practically impossible to compile annotated bibliographies containing news articles, we use Wikipedia to point sources and guide readers where they can get more information. “

One of the goals of this new law is to make social networks pay a certain amount to the publishers they are tied to. Failure to pay even for the brief paragraphs used to inform readers about what is behind the link will be defined as a copyright infringement.

The adherents of this new norm claim that it will help preserve valuable journalism and strengthen its stance against fake news. However, this new plan may not be fully supported. Experience with similar laws in Germany and Spain clearly shows that many of the media will not be able to pay this new fee. Others would make a business decision not to do so. As a result, this new barrier would put real news in unequal position with competition, and there may also be a risk of stifling innovation in the media sector just when they are most needed.

Europe needs measures to increase the visibility of quality, reliable information and promote innovation in the news and digitization. A vote on the proposed copyright reform in the digital single market is on 28 September.


First Results of the Referendum on Independence of Kurdistan

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

More than 90 percent of voters said they supported the independence of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, the first results reported by the election commission in Erbil late last night, reported world agencies. 

The voter turnout was over 72%, the commission added. The final results of the referendum are expected within three days.

After the vote, the Kurds celebrated late in the night on the streets of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where car horns were heard, and Kurdish flags were waved.


4,500 BGN Fine for the Swedish Tourist Who Kicked a Hotel Maid in Sunny Beach

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

The Swedish Ralph Sungberg was foundy guilty by the Regional Court in Nessebar for kicking a maid in a hotel in Bulgaria’s seaside resort Sunny Beach. However, Sungberg is exempt from criminal liability and has been fined BGN 4,500. He will also pay the costs of the case, which are about 600 BGN.

On entering the court on 26th of September, Ralph was hiding hisr face and did not want to answer questions from journalists. His lawyer reminded that he had no previous criminal record, had not been convicted, and would therefore insist the court to impose an administrative penalty – a fine.

In the courtroom Ralph Sunderberg said he regretted what he had done and would never hit any person again. He added that he was confused and thought his laptop was stolen and was under the influence of alcohol. Radost Boshnakova, a public prosecutor, explained that the reson for the case being considered under this procedure was that Ralph had no previous criminal record.


Source: The Bulgarian National Television 




Subway Traffic in the Capital was Temporarily Suspended due to a Technical Problem

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

The traffic was temporarily suspended in a section of the first metro line in Sofia, around 3 pm, reported bTV. 

The metro trains did not move in the stretch from “Vasil Levski” stadium to the Airport and to the Business Park.

The reason was a technical problem of one of the trains, which is in the test period, announced from Sofia Municipality.

Metro traffic was quickly restored at 3:15 pm.


No New Funding of Rehabilitation of Compartment Buildings in 2018

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

For one year – in 2018, the release of new funds under the National Rehabilitation Program will be halted. This was announced by the Minister of Regional Development Nikolay Nankov, BNR reported.

Nankov explained that the implementation of unfinished projects under the rehabilitation program will continue next year, and eventually new funding from the state budget for the program will be requested in 2019.

“We will see what will be the circumstances of the financial year of the Ministry of Finance, but in 2018 and 2019 we will hardly end with the buildings that are currently approved and signed with the Bulgarian Development Bank, and we could hardly have a political decision in 2018 and not only by my GERB party colleagues, and by the coalition partners so that we know for sure what exactly will be in included in Budget 2018. I mentioned we have at least 700 more buildings, “he said.


China Vows to Rebuild and Strengthen Trade Ties with Bulgaria

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Premier Zhu Rongji yesterday vowed to rebuild and strengthen trade ties with Bulgaria, an ex-communist ally which is now, like China, rapidly transforming its economy to embrace the West.

In the first trip to Sofia by a Chinese government leader since the collapse of communism in Europe in 1989, Mr Zhu announced another US$10 million (HK$77.8 million) in credit and measures to boost trade ties between the two countries.

He explained why he had chosen Bulgaria, an impoverished Balkan country, to begin a European tour which will take him to six countries over two weeks. ‘Our economic co-operation has a long tradition,’ he said, noting that Bulgaria was the second country to recognise the People’s Republic of China, in 1949. ‘Despite the cooling of relations between China and the USSR, we have always had friendly relations with Bulgaria.’ He recalled that China’s trade relations with Bulgaria had slumped since the collapse of communism in Europe a decade ago and in the subsequent years, when Bulgaria’s economic faltered seriously.

‘Now the Bulgarian economy is reviving and our trade links are increasing,’ said Mr Zhu, adding: ‘I am optimistic about the future of economic co-operation between the two countries.’ The Chinese Premier, who arrived in Sofia on Tuesday and is spending two days in Bulgaria before heading for Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium, where he will wind up his trip on July 11 after holding talks with European Union leaders.

Mr Zhu proposed to Prime Minister Ivan Kostov the creation of a joint fund to help Bulgarian and Chinese businessmen travel between the two countries. He also announced the doubling of US$10 million credit pledged to Bulgaria during a visit to China last year by Foreign Minister Nadejda Mikhailova.

Yesterday, Mr Zhu also presided over the signing of five economic and cultural co-operation agreements with Bulgaria. The accords concern transport and infrastructure projects, employment, the environment, education and health.

Mr Zhu and Mr Kostov also struck a deal to create a joint venture to make electronic products in Bulgaria, with Sofia importing parts from China and then assembling and selling them, including to neighbouring countries.


Source: South China Morning Post