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270. Bulgaria offers Russian property investors safe haven -officials

Sofia Echo: 2008-10-11

Bulgaria will continue to be a safe haven for Russian property investors despite the global financial crunch, a panel of Bulgarian officials have said during Sofia-Moscow video conference that is part of a series on the prospects of Russian-Bulgarian cooperation in the field of tourism, organised by Russian news agency RIA Novosti organized at the Hilton hotel in Sofia.

The panel included Deputy Foreign Minister Milen Keremedchiev, the chairperson of the national association for real estate Luchezar Iskrov, the managing partner of Address real estate agency Katya Tsenova and the editor-in-chief of Index Imoti magazine Deyan Todorov.

The bulk of Russian investors are 25 to 45 years old second-home owners along the Black Sea coast, who may or may not open businesses in Bulgaria, the panel participants said. Climate conditions, short distance from permanent residence and agreeable prices in comparison to other EU destinations compel them to build on their coastal activities and seek opportunities in the mainland.

The critical mass buys a vacation house for 100 000 to 200 000 euro. Still more Russian investors buy complete apartments and houses in small and mid-size Bulgarian towns to develop businesses at ski- and medical therapy resorts.

Total foreign investments in Bulgaria in 2007 amounted to 5.7 billion euro, of which 36 percent come from property investment. Russian investments made up for 39 percent of the grand total and 45 percent of the property acquisitions in particular. Statistics for 2008 are as yet unavailable.

Keremedchiev briefed Russian officials on the e-Visa application system, effective March 2008, which enables foreign citizens to apply for Bulgarian visas online.

The most beneficial way to invest in Bulgarian property for a Russian citizen is to enter the country on a one-year business visa, register a firm and acquire property as a legal juridical unit. A three-year business visa follows at the end of the first year, allowing the Russian investor to spend more time developing businesses in Bulgaria as well as the rest the EU.

269. Two Street Fests in Sofia during the Weekend

News BG: 2008-10-10

Autumn is already knocking on our doors, so let's enjoy the last chances for outdoor activities.

Sofia municipality and a variety of sponsors give Sofia citizens such a chance, even two - street fests in front of the National Palace of Culture and in the Zaimov Park, reports programata.bg

The fest in front of NDK is called Dynamix Urbanize Street Art Festival and starts on Friday. All kinds of artists, specialists at street art, break dance, skating, BMX, etc will gather together to perform at one stage. There will be workshops, lead by various foreign guests. Stand Up Comedians, Leepra Deluxe and Panican Whyasker will be some of the bands that will take care for the music side of the fest as well as several DJs. The gift for everybody, living in Sofia, is that the products of the workshops will remain untouched for one week.

The fest in the Zaimov Park is called SofiaCityFest and will be something like a vacation in urban environment. Its domains will be arts, sports and ecology. A music stage, artists' corner, theatre performances, backgammon and chess tournaments, break dances, circus, parkour, martial arts and tennis are only part of the activities, expected to take place.

Miniatures of architecture projects for Sofia's development will also be exhibited.

The festival will urge its guests to take part in the initiative "Give a tree as a gift" and to donate books to the Sofia Library. One of the festival's main attractions will be the chess tournament, whose winner will have to face Berbatov at the final - not Bulgaria's top star in football, but his little cousin Kipriyan. The boy is only 12 but is already an European champion.

268. Stones on Mount Vitosha demolished to make it safe Vitosha Ski

Sofia Echo: 2008-10-09

Vitosha Ski, the company that holds the concession on the ski facilities at Aleko winter resort on Mount Vitosha above Sofia, has said that it did not use blasts to clear out rocks on the slopes of the mountain, as claimed by Bulgarian media outlets and To Sustain The Nature in Bulgaria coalition earlier in October.

The press conference came just two days after the Environment Ministry said that blasts have damaged special types of moraines and Alpine plant species. The ministry assessed the construction of a new ski road as illegal, as state or park authorities had not given their approval for it. The ministry said it had instructed the Sofia Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters (RIEW) to lodge a formal complaint with the Prosecutors Office.

Georgi Bobev, chairperson of Vitosha Ski managing board confirmed the statement of Vitosha Park management, which said the company was only allowed to destroy stones, which were protruding over the existing ski route but without using blasting methods.

Bobev quoted an extract from the Vitosha Park management plan for 2005/14, articles 64 and 66, saying that based on the plan the company had sent letters to RIEW and the parks directorate to co-ordinate the activities on clearing rocks under the mountain peak Maluk Vezhen, where the problem started.

Vitosha Ski executive director Kostadin Kostadinov said that since the company has been operating in the nature park, it had sent 110 letters to various institutions and received positive answers to only two or three of them. He said that the company did not destroy moraines but volcanic rocks, which time and weather had rubbled into pieces of 15 to 50 tons.

The company's managers argued that the ultimate goal was the safety of tourists skiing on Mount Vitosha. Bobev said that the company did not plan further demolitions.

267. Bulgaria Received Two awards at a Science Conference in Prague

News BG: 2008-10-08

Bulgaria was awarded at the international science conference titled "The Role of the Czech Intellectuals in Bulgaria's Public Life after the Liberation".

The conference was held in Prague.

Lectures were given by 20 scientists from Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. In the gallery of Bulgaria Culture Centre were opened two exhibitions - of old maps and of the history of archaeology in Bulgaria.

One of the conference's main goals was to pay a tribute to the significant group of Czech intellectuals who came to Bulgaria after its liberation to aid the creation of new state administration and domestic industry, explained the director of Bulgarian Culture Centre in Prague Boyan Panchev.

One of Bulgaria's first ministers of culture was prof. Konstantin Irechek, the creators of archaeology were the brother Vatslav and Hermengild Shkorpil, the founders of the modern brewery industry- the brothers Proshek, the founder of the Art Academy - Ivan Markvichka, etc.

All these people found their second home in Bulgaria.

Awards were given to Vatio Rakovski post-mortem for his contribution to the good name of the Czech Republic in Bulgaria and the tenth anniversary award at the name of Vatslav Havel was given to a woman for the first time - the lector in France Julia Krasteva.

266. EU Funding For The Development of Strandja

News BG: 2008-10-07

The preparation of a pilot project for local development of Strandja natural park gathered in Tsarevo municipality, Bulgaria the expert mission of foreign and local representatives, informs Expert.bg.

Tatjana Rener from Slovenia, Terry O'Reagon from Ireland, experts from the Council of Europe and Peter Miladinov head of unit in the Ministry of culture are visiting in order to work on a long-term strategy for the development of Strandja including the development of the culture of the reason.

The project is under the regional program of the Council of Europe for cultural and natural heritage of Southeast Europe and will be funded by the European funds. Three Bulgarian municipalities are included in the project Tsarevo, Malko Tarnovo and Sredetz. They are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding.

Our aim is to look at documents, plans, strategies, to talk with the people from different fields and with the lay people. In the conversations which will be under the form of interviews, we will be interested in the vision of the people for the future of their territory. The idea of the project, which we currently work on, is to unite the three territories. The project is very important because the Council of Europe is behind it, claimed Peter Miladinov who is also coordinator of the project.

265. RWE Is The Strategic Investor For NPP "Belene"

News BG: 2008-10-06

The German energy concern RWE is the strategic investor under the project for a second nuclear power plant in Bulgaria - Belene. This announced the minister of economy and energy Peter Dimitrov.

The giant has received more points than the Belgian company Electrabel on the set by the state 10 criteria. However, there is still possibility RWE to participate together with its rival Electrabel. This will be made clear in the following days, pointed out Dimitrov.

The investor gets 49% of the future power plant with RWE claiming participation wit 1.275 billion euro own resources.

The total value of the project is approximately 4 billion euro with the rest of the money having to be paid by the National electric company (NEC), which will be owner of 51% of NPP Belene.

264. 'Rich Daddy' resort for Bulgaria

Wise Property: 2008-10-04

It's so bad that you'll probably be in line to get on a waiting list for its first night of operation. Rich Daddy Resort and Spa has entered the Bulgarian stage, designing to be the nec plus ultra of luxury living complexes on the Black Sea coast. In the style of a 19th-century British mansion library-come-Costa del Sol beach-front bar.

The 189-apartment facility, which will cover 9300 sq m in the area of Krotirya, near Pomorie, is a 16 million leva project of the Russian investor Gudvin OOD, headquartered in Pomorie and managed by Nataliya Lebedeva, real estate weekly Stroitelstvo Gradut reported in its September 29 2008 edition. Bourgas-based construction firm Midiya AD was selected via tender to build the six-sectioned complex.

Midiya is owned and operated by Dimitar Yankiev, one of the 10 finalists in the 2008 Manager of the Year contest, organised by the Bulgarian magazine Manager.

The project was officially presented at BALPEX in spring 2008; Olga Koultishteva is head architect.

Because a Rich Daddy will accept nothing but the best, members of the resort, though technically residents, will be treated with all the pampering of guests at a hotel. Property for the complex has been selected to complement its atmosphere of intimacy and luxe: the slight sloping of the terrain will allow breaking up of the facilities, thus making the lump of a five-star Neoclassical hotel and spa facility seem less oppressive.

In any case, upon waking up in the morning, the first thing that guests will see is water (given that all of the 189 apartments have views of the sea) and other such moneyed clientèle (given that only guests of the hotel and spa will be allowed access to the facility).

And activities. Rich Daddy Resort and Spa is to have inside and outside pools (we're wondering if they'll be Neoclassical as well), a park, playground, mini market, bars and three restaurants none of which will serve cuisine à la French Revolution, but one of which will be a Mongolian barbeque, a first for Bulgaria. And a wine bar, a spa centre, a mud bath, a fitness centre and healthcare facilities.

We'll not go into the type of clientèle that papa sugar aims to attract, save to note that they're the type who see their names in the news every now and again.

263. 180 Million Levs from the Budget Surplus for Health Care

News BG: 2008-10-03

180 million levs from the budget surplus will be allocated to health care. This was announced by Health Care Minister Evgeni Zhelev at the cabinet's session today.

From the entire sum, 100 million will be allotted to the Health Bank.

The other 80 million will be distributed in several major directions. Among them, 15 million go for the auto park of Emergency Help.

According to preliminary calculations 160 new automobiles will be purchased with this money. With the 100 ambulances, which will be given on October 8 to hospitals and which were purchased with funds from the World Bank, maximum mobility of the emergency centers will be provided.

The other use of the money from the budget surplus will be the purchase of therapeutic equipment - hemodialysis machines for two centers in Sofia, one center in Plovdiv and one in Stara Zagora. This will probably also take place in Varna and Pleven as well.

262. EP Deputies: The Next EC Report Will Be Hopeful

News BG: 2008-10-02

We hope that the EC report this fall will contain hopeful data, the difficulties will be overcome and Bulgaria will start to receive money from structure and cohesion funds many times bigger than the per-accession funds.

This was announced by the Chair of the Commission for regional development in the European parliament Herardo Galeot?, who is on a visit in Gorna Oryahovitza.

His delegation visited the Day center for children and adults with disabilities and a purification station for waste water. The two objects are financed with money from the PHARE and ISPA programmes. We must continue defiantly and uncompromisingly the fight against corruption, Galeote added. He announced that the EU will give 1 billion Euro to Bulgaria each year up to 2013.

Our desire is that Bulgaria manages to acquire these money so that it can use them for the economic development of the country and social prosperity of Bulgarians, Galeote said. The visit of his delegation continues in Varna.

261. Last two regional 112 emergency number centres open

Sofia Echo: 2008-10-01

The Ministry of Emergency Situations said on September 30 that the last two remaining regional centres for the Europe-wide emergency number 112 had gone into operation.

With the two centres in Varna and Kurdjali operational, the country had met European Union requirements regarding the country-wide introduction of the general European emergency number, a ministry spokesperson told The Sofia Echo.

The Emergency Situation Ministry said that the idea to introduce the universal emergency number in Bulgaria was launched in 2000. It was a part of Bulgaria's Accession treaty to the EU under the Telecommunications and Information Technologies chapter.

The hotline had to be operational when Bulgaria joined the EU on January 1 2007, but has been repeatedly delayed, prompting the European Commission to launch infringement procedures against Bulgaria on the issue.

In a September 18 decision, the European Commission granted Bulgaria a further three months to introduce the emergency phone number, uniting calls for natural disasters, catastrophes, wrecks, terrorist attacks and emergency medical aid.

Calls to number 112 are currently handled by six regional centres in Sofia, Montana, Bourgas, Rousse, Varna and Kurdjali.

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