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Commissioner Kuneva Destines Bulgaria's First EU Baby

EU Commissioner Meglena Kuneva and Labour Minister Emilia Maslarova destined all the best to Bulgaria's first and last babies born on the threshold of the New Year.

At a special ceremony on Sunday, commissioner Kuneva wished baby Denitsa Nikolaeva and her parents health and fortune and promised they will make a tour to Brussels to fill in their EU-Bulgaria baby album.

The young lady took her first breath on January 1 in the town of Kyustendil, South-western Bulgaria, just like last year's winner in the contest.

Fifteen minutes earlier, on December 31, 2006 Anguel was born in the small town of Tulovo, central Bulgaria. His destiny-maker, Minister Maslarova wished he is "strong as Stara Planina", wise and smart as the great Bulgarians, who made the country live through more than 13 centuries.

Five babies, three girls and two boys, who were born in the first minutes of 2007, competed in the traditional race, organized by the Bulgarian "9 months" magazine.

The nationwide campaign "Baby of the Year" takes place for the 8th time in a bid to boost birth rates.

Sofia Hardest Hit by Hurricane Winds
Sofia Hardest Hit by Hurricane Winds

Strong southern winds that have been advancing in Bulgaria the whole of Wednesday have left a large number of towns and villages without electricity and caused many damages.

The Disaster and Accidents Ministry reported its special units have received more than 70 signals for damages all over the country.

The most signals were received in the capital Sofia, where civil defence units worked all day to remove fallen branches, trees, roof plates and dangerous billboards from the streets.

The Black Sea port Burgas is closed because of the strong winds, which were on the verge of hurricane in the eastern town Dobrich - 22 m/s. The winds are expected to reach hurricane power, meteorologists said. At some places winds may reach 80 km/h.

More than 150 rescuers participated in the repair works. Luckily the strong wind has not taken any victims yet, except some minor injuries.

Dozen of villages were left in the dark. The wind keeps on tearing off wires and there is little servicemen can do, because circuit-breakers go off automatically when the winds are strong.

In January 2007 temperatures in Bulgaria have reached record high degrees, keeping the mercury around 15-20 degrees, which highest for the last hundred years.
Bulgarian Ex-Prostitutes to Create Haute Couture in Rome
Bulgarian Ex-Prostitutes to Create Haute Couture in Rome

Young Bulgarian women who were placed in Italian rehabilitation structures after being forced to prostitute will join the 2007 Spring/Summer Haute Couture in Rome.

The initiative AltaModa, organized by the Alta Roma fashion association, has been opened to 20 such young women, two of them Bulgarians.

A course titled "Per riprendere il filo" ("To pick up the threads"), will open for the women allowing them to see fashion as not only a tool for conveying style and elegance but also a creative and professional opportunity.

From January 27 to January 30 special events and performances will take place to celebrate not only the grandeur of the garment, in all of its aspects and metamorphoses but also the allure of Haute Couture, as the standard bearer of made in Italy fashion throughout the world.
Bulgaria in 2007
Bulgaria in 2007

By Milena Hristova

Bulgaria in 2007 will in every way be a tale of one event - the accession of the country to the European Union. Despite relentless headlines about shocking hikes and behind-the-scenes political haggling, we expect the spectacle to be mildly reassuring.

It will be all about the repercussions of the highlights in 2006:

1. Bulgaria's leftist President Georgi Parvanov made history on October 29 by becoming the first head of state to be re-elected. The success left the leftists dizzy with happiness, a state, which unfortunately, they are not likely to shake off soon.

2. The presidential elections delivered the last rites to Bulgaria's right-wing. It is not hard to predict that the right-wing parties will be in the middle of nowhere next year, as no magic formulae exist to revive them. It is not unity that will cure them, but the long process of healing - a chance for them to go full steam ahead with any changes they have been planning.

3. Nationalist Ataka party turned into the second-biggest party after the elections. It will certainly not be the last nationalist party to capitalize on anger at crime, corruption, poverty and to tap on the ethnic debate.

4. Bulgaria's three-party coalition government marked one year in office and adopted the country's first EU budget. Parvanov's election victory is widely seen as a guarantee for the survival of the coalition till the end of its term. The odds are that the ministers from the ruling coalition and their leaders will keep on going to great lengths to appear as a happy family during many a weekend meetings in many a Bulgarian resorts.

5. The parliament adopted four amendments to the constitution. And fell into the vicious habit of always amending the previous amendment.

6. The star of GERB party brightened the political skyline. Slamming the party as their archenemy, both leftists and rightists see Boyko Borissov as their saviour. The first hope to see him as their coalition partner next year, the others hope to see him unite them.

7. The death sentences of the Bulgarian medics in Libya marred the Christmas holidays in Bulgaria. The trial will be Sofia's first test for Brussels once it enters the European bloc.

8. The year ahead will be a great one for Bulgaria's big business as the EU accession on 1 January 2007 will open up healthy prospects such as ensuring access to the European goods' and services' market and removing barriers before transfers of capital and labour resources.

It will be less good for the small and medium-sized businesses, which will face for the first time fierce competition on the common European market.

For all 2007 will be the start of a new transition period.
The News as It Was: Lifestyle in 2006
The News as It Was: Lifestyle in 2006

Views and Records
UNESCO Church in Sofia Reopens with New Frescoes
4 December 2006, Monday.
The unique Boyana Church, on the outskirts of Sofia, has reopened after thorough restoration work for over 50 years. The hardest work was paid for restoration of the medieval frescoes of the church, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. Painted by an unknown artist and some dating back to 1259, the frescoes stand among one of the most important collections of medieval paintings.

Bryan Adams Fans Ecstatic after Sofia Concert
30 November 2006, Thursday.
For one night only, Sofia was treated to an evening like no other, an evening that sent shock waves throughout the city as Bryan Adams well and truly rocked the city. This was the last concert of Bryan's 2006 European tour, and he certainly didn't disappoint his fans in his two hour long set at Winter Palace of Sports in Sofia.

National Geographic Dedicates Cover Story to Bulgaria's Gold Treasures
18 November 2006, Saturday.
Bulgaria's Tracian gold treasures won the cover picture and cover story of National Geographic magazine for its December issue. The cover story, entitled "Bulgaria's Gold Rush" claimed that for looters, Bulgaria was El Dorado, a vast trove of buried treasure where some graves have harbored gold since at least 4000 B. C. Bulgaria's top archaeologists reacted strongly to the article on Thracian heritage in the magazine, saying it aimed to discredit the country and drive foreigners away.

"Three Elements" of R&B Storm Sofia
12 November 2006, Sunday.
The Bulgarian audience lived through a unique experience with the "three elements" of Earth Wind & Fire. The band emblematic with Al MacKay, virtuoso guitarist and multi-platinum songwriter, performed at Sofia Jazz Peak in November.

Seal's Gigs Moves Sofia
25 October 2006, Wednesday.
British pop soul star Seal brought his melodic tunes to Bulgaria for the first time. The show proved to be a unique one, especially bearing in mind the singer's reputation for making each concert a true spectacle. Seal's concert in Sofia was special, for it managed to bring together two rivalling companies.

Heating Workers Stumble upon Ancient Tombs in Sofia
24 October 2006, Tuesday.
Construction workers, digging for heating pipes, stumbled upon a surprising discovery right before the building of the Agriculture Ministry in Sofia. Two tombs that were most likely connected with the West Serdika necropolis were unearthed in the digs. Thrilled by the discovery, archaeologists explained that the 2-meter-deep tombs were full of human remains, but most had been disturbed. There was just one intact skeleton, experts said.
British Band Duran Duran Rocks Sofia
21 October 2006, Saturday.
The world famous British new wave band Duran Duran held a unique show in Sofia's Winter Palace of Sports. The show started with an hour of delay but when the front man Simon Le Bon finally appeared on stage with the opening words "Good evening, Sofia" fans burst into applauses. The band drove to madness the fans with their hits "Come Undone" "Serious", "Notorious", "Dance into the Fire".

Europe's Hottest Stars Gather Thousands under Sofia Sky
16 October 2006, Monday.
Thousands of Sofia youngsters gathered in October at the city's Batenberg Square to see live some of the hottest stars from all over Europe. Music channel City TV teamed up with mobile operator Mtel in celebrating the TV's first birthday and the launch of the Vodafone Live service. Controversial Nato, Danzel, Sylver and Clea were just some of the stars who shared the stage in the 2-hour long concert that ended with a magnificent fireworks display. Hit Bulgarian rap trio Upsurt, and local favourites Mastilo, Lilana and Lily Yoncheva, also shared the stage with some of hottest international appearances on the air like Akcent, Elize, September and Velvet.

Discovery Films Ancient World's Sanctuary at Perperikon
7 September 2006, Thursday.
A team of Discovery Channel commenced filming the royal palace at Perperikon - ancient sanctuary believed to be more respected than Delphi Oracle. The world-popular travel channel has sent its team for the first time in Bulgaria, intrigued by the yet not completely known world of ancient Thracians. The team including a producer and a photographer toured all the sites related to the history and culture of Thracian tribes.

Glenn Hughes Inspires Rock Delirium for 10,000 Bulgarians
22 August 2006, Tuesday.
Bulgarian fans of the old-time rock sound partied in August with Deep Purple legend Glenn Hughes, backed by local stars. The warm-up for the show was entrusted to Bulgaria's landmark Signal and BTR, as well as the Hipodil band. According to reports, 10,000 had gathered at seaside Kavarna's Kaliakra Stadium to enjoy the deafening gig. It was not only a holiday to the audience, but also to Hughes himself, as "the voice of rock" was celebrating his 55th birthday that night.

Bulgarian Mom of 3 Crowned Super Model of the World
15 August 2006, Tuesday.
Bulgarian woman, mother of three, won the title Super model of the world, in the beauty contest Mrs. United Nations that took place in USA in August. Mrs. Bulgaria 2005 Desislava Grubleva, 30, is the first Bulgarian to enter the beauty pageant. As the winner of the contest Grubleva appeared on the cover of American magazine "Super model'' and will be the face of Mrs. United Nations 2007.

12 000 Bulgarians Party with Whitesnake
27 July 2006, Thursday.
Hard rock legend Whitesnake swayed 12,000 at Bulgaria's seaside in July. David Coverdale's company performed at Kavarna's Kaliakra Stadium, in front of over 12,000 fans. Another 2,000 were enjoying the hard sound while comfortably seated at nearby pubs. The crowed was warmed up by B.T.R., one of Bulgaria's most popular rock bands over the last decade.

Thousands Party with Billy Idol in Bulgaria's Kavarna
11 July 2006, Tuesday.
Rock megastar Billy Idol performed at Kavarna's Kaliakra Stadium in front of thousands of fans in July. Before the concert the 50-year-old Brit had a special feast of fish soup, crabs, mussels and pork grill. Well into the era of Elvis, Billy Idol's support band for Kavarna was "Beatles Unlimited", an Austrian band that plays the hits of the Liverpool wonders and has managed to capture even California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ramazzotti Mega Show Sets Sofia on Fire
4 July 2006, Tuesday.
Eros Ramazzotti and his sensual pop made the night for thousands of Bulgarians at Sofia's Locomotiv stadium on July 4, 2006. His close interaction with the audience warmed many a heart, and an especially lucky fan walked away with his hat. Ramazzotti quickly won over the Bulgarians by speaking to them in their own language and appearing with a D&G custom made shirt with the Bulgarian flag and the words "Sofia, thank you" on it.

Depeche Mode Leave 35,000 Bulgarian Fans Breathless
22 June 2006, Thursday.
New wave megastars Depeche Mode left over 35,000 of their Bulgarian fans breathless in a major Sofia gig. Depeche Mode's concert, the most impatiently awaited gig of the year, took place at Locomotive stadium in June in the capital Sofia. Bulgarian band Nova Generatsia (New Generation) warmed up the crowd for the mega starts of Depeche Mode, whose appearance on stage drove the crowd mad.

Bloodhound Gang Craze out Sofia
21 June 2006, Wednesday.
US band Bloodhound Gang visited Sofia for the first time in June, and true to their style gave fans one show to remember. Warm-up band Montreal from Germany, also put on a good show, warming up to the point that all players took off their clothes and played in their boxer shorts.

Bulgarian Ladies Impress 50 Cent
17 June 2006, Saturday.
Millionaire rapper 50 Cent was quick to acknowledge the beauty of Bulgarian women, during his first visit to the country. The US megastar performed in the seaside resort town of Nessebar in June. Before the gig, "Fifty" held a press conference for local journalists. Reporters say he was in an apparent good mood, and said ladies here were "amazingly beautiful."

20,000 Groove with Old Sting Hits in Bulgaria
13 June 2006, Tuesday.
About 20,000 people gathered in Nessebar at Bulgaria's seaside despite the crummy weather to see rock legend Sting live in June. Sting, who looks amazingly well for his 54 years of age, surprised the audience with a medley of old hits. The rock dinosaur did not include any of his latest songs, but generously compensated the fans with favourites from his time with The Police.

Bocelli, Bulgarian Soprano Enchant Sofia
21 May 2006, Sunday.
Angel-voiced Andrea Bocelli and acclaimed Bulgarian soprano Tsvetelina Maldzhanska enchanted Sofia at the National Palace of Culture in May. The 90-minute long show only included opera pieces, to the dismay of those who prefer Bocelli's lighter songs. Nevertheless, the concert proved to be a memorable one for the 3,000 lucky connoisseurs who managed to grab the tickets.

Thousands Flock to See Simply Red's Gig in Sofia
2 September 2006, Saturday.
The legendary Britons performed for their audience some of their greatest hits alongside tracks from their latest album "Simplified". The gig took place at Sofia's Winter Palace of Sports. The tickets for vocalist Mick Hucknal and nine other musicians' concert were sold at EUR 17.
Sofia became the stage of a real wine feast on Wednesday, when ancient songs for the enchanting drink took the audience in the Altera art center on a journey through centuries of wine-praising.

Starting with some of the oldest known songs in praise of wine, the concert ended with wine-tasting.

Ancient music ensemble Saltarello also presented the old traditions of the tafelmusik (music for the dining table). The audience also had a chance to learn more about the religious and erotic metaphors that Renaissance authors used to present wine and food.
Sofia Discos
Fri 26 January 2007 16:23

Sofia Discos

Saturday Cabaret
**Antrez **
19 Vrabcha Str.

DJ Venko
27 January 2007 (sat) 23:00

DJ Salvador
30 January 2007 (tue) 22:00

DJ Exs
31 January 2007 (wed) 22:00

DJ Mix · DJ Venko
26 January 2007 (fri) 22:00

Crazy Night · DJ Exs
28 January 2007 (sun) 22:00

DJ Party
29 January 2007 (mon) 22:00

Retro Party · DJ Keks
1 February 2007 (thu) 23:00

** Back Stage **
100 Vassil Levski Blvd.

Angel Sky
26 January 2007 (fri) 23:00

28 January 2007 (sun) 23:00

Mariana Popova
1 February 2007 (thu) 23:00

Karaoke · Emo (Ahead)
31 January 2007 (wed) 22:00

** Briliantin **
3 Moskovska Str.

Disco Night · DJ Angelo
1 February 2007 (thu) 21:00

Disco Night · DJ Simone
27 January 2007 (sat) 21:00,
30 January 2007 (tue) 21:00,
31 January 2007 (wed) 21:00

Disco Night · DJ Niki
28 January 2007 (sun) 21:00,
1 February 2007 (thu) 21:00

** Cabaret **
12 Hristo Belchev Str.

DJ Chavo
27 January 2007 (sat) 21:00,
28 January 2007 (sun) 21:00,
29 January 2007 (mon) 22:00,
31 January 2007 (wed) 21:00

**My Mojito **
12 Ivan Vazov Str.

DJ Ilko, DJ Lu4o
27 January 2007 (sat) 22:00

DJ Face
28 January 2007 (sun) 22:00,
29 January 2007 (mon) 22:00

DJ Lu4o
30 January 2007 (tue) 22:00

Latino Rock Party · DJ Tinto
31 January 2007 (wed) 22:00

Future Retro & Wave · DJ Face
1 February 2007 (thu) 22:00

Sofia Clubs

Saturday Cabaret
** Gramofon **
6 Budapeshta Str.

Turn On! · DJ Boro, DJ Groovemasta, DJ Onslaught
1 February 2007 (thu) 20:00

** Chervilo **
9 Tzar Osvoboditel Blvd.

Main Room

Jassen Petrov
26 January 2007 (fri) 23:00

DJ Don4o, DJ Ivan
27 January 2007 (sat) 23:00

R'n'b Urban Party · DJ Emotion
1 February 2007 (thu) 23:00

Baby Box

DJ Vesselin (Chervilo)
26 January 2007 (fri) 23:00

DJ Bobo, DJ JK
27 January 2007 (sat) 23:00

Club Nova · DJ Steven (Metropolis)
1 February 2007 (thu) 23:00

** Swingin' Hall **
8 Dragan Tzankov Blvd.

Ani Lozanova
26 January 2007 (fri) 23:00

Dancho Lazarov Band
26 January 2007 (fri) 23:00

27 January 2007 (sat) 23:00

Dirty Purchase and Amalia
27 January 2007 (sat) 23:00

La Muchedumbre
28 January 2007 (sun) 23:00

30 January 2007 (tue) 23:00

31 January 2007 (wed) 23:00

31 January 2007 (wed) 23:00
Bulgarians Not Keen on Learning Foreign Languages - Survey
Bulgarians Not Keen on Learning Foreign Languages - Survey

Bulgarians and Swedes are the least enthusiastic about learning a second foreign language across the EU, an Italian foundation survey shows.

Only 27% of their population is interested in speaking and learning more than one foreign language, says the foundation, part of the Polytechnic Institute in Milan.

As a whole, the number of EU residents speaking at least one foreign language raised by 11% from the previous survey conducted by the foundation in 2001 to reach 56% in 2006.

The survey's results come as a surprise as Bulgarian children have classes in two foreign languages even in primary school.
The Roma who found religion
The Roma who found religion

Views and Records
The lives of Roma (gypsies) are often portrayed as being full of poverty and discrimination. However, for some in the Bulgarian town of Lom, religion and hard work are helping them build new, prosperous lives.

The good pastor, Iliya (Elijah) Georgiev was not at his church when we arrived in Humata, a suburb of Lom.

We found him in a brown shirt, pouring the concrete foundations of a new outhouse for his animals, beside his home.

A short, wiry man, he shouted his greetings as he worked, as a cousin slung him bucket after bucket. Handshakes could come later, when the precious grey liquid had set.

Music and mirth rose from Humata, whose name means something like mud, the silt or sediment of a river.

A bloodshot sun sank at Iliya's shoulder as he worked, painting his world a deep orange.

The settlement is built on a ridge, and behind the houses, a cliff falls suddenly onto a green plain below, dotted with brown horses.

And finally a river, which flows into another river. The Danube.

But something was different here from so many gypsy neighbourhoods I have visited. Everyone was busy.

These people are Pentecostalists - a church movement which has spread like wildfire among the gypsies of Eastern Europe in particular - a form of religion which fits better with their own mythology, than the strict rituals of Orthodox or Catholic.

It is also giving a people much derided as work shy, a protestant work ethic.

"I stole, I drank, I was lazy," Iliya told us later, with a twinkle in his eye, playing the caricature of a gypsy villain, on a stage of his own carpentry.

"And then I got a life-threatening illness. And I started to pray."

That was 10 years ago.

With God's help, he said, his whole neighbourhood practises Christianity now.

Together they have built a church, rebuilt their own homes, and found an energy and purpose in their lives which seems, to a stranger at least, almost miraculous.

Sixteen people, young and old, squeezed into a living room. A babe in arms. Wide-eyed children. Toothless ladies, shy girls and middle-aged men.

"Does anyone have a problem?" asked a young man in a denim jacket.

One girl said her mother was working in Italy, and had a heart complaint.

A man said he was deep in debt. A woman said her cousin was pregnant: "Could we pray for a safe delivery?"

We sat in a circle. The prayers came thick and fast, between a chant and a mumble, rising and falling like waves.

"Now I'm going to tell you a story," said the prayer leader.

"A man was driving a bus down a steep hill. There was a cliff on one side, a ravine on the other.

"Suddenly, a child ran out into the middle of the road. In the split second that followed, he had to make an appalling choice.

"To kill the child, or all his passengers." The man paused for a moment. His audience froze.

I felt angry. Why was he telling this story in front of children?

"He drove straight into the child," the man continued.

"There was blood all over the windscreen. The passengers ran forward, remonstrating with him.

"'You should have killed us instead,' they shouted. 'How could you kill an innocent child?'

"Then there was a deep silence." On the bus and in the room.

"Then the driver spoke. 'That child was my own son,' he said, 'and his name was Jesus.'"

Earlier the same day, we sat with Nikolai Kirilov and other local gypsy leaders, in a restaurant beside the Danube. They all spoke English.

The river stretched before us like an ancient, pungent, grey-green lion, the barges on its coat just scratches.

"Ten years ago, when we started our association with Roma Lom, only 5% of the gypsy children finished high school. Now it's 75%." The numbers come thick and fast here too, like prayers that have been answered.

Until the year 2000, only five gypsies from the town had ever finished university. Now more than 40 have.

"Everything depends on education," says Nikolai, "if kids don't get good marks at school, they can't play in the football team."

There are 32,000 people in Lom, about half of them Roma. Four neighbourhoods, three gypsy sub-groups, three different dialects of the Romany language. And lots of mixed marriages.

"It's important that we teach Romany culture and language" he says. "But even more important that we teach Bulgarian. That will be more useful to them.'

After an hour of conversation, I remark that he has not uttered the words discrimination, segregation or prejudice, the normal narrative of the Roma activist.

He shrugs. "Those words have been devalued by overuse," he says. So we talk about politics.

Is he not afraid of Bulgaria's new, ultra-nationalist party Ataka, which blames all Bulgaria's ills on gypsies and Turks?

"My nightmare is that we create a crazy ethnic party of our own. Then the conflict would really start," is his answer.
Bulgarian Orphans Compete At Olympic Fest
Bulgarian Orphans Compete At Olympic Fest

Orphans from homes in five cities took part in a Saturday fest, held as part of the International Olympic Day's marking in Bulgaria.

The children, aged from 12 to 16, participated in competitions in track-and-field athletics.

The contestants' starting points were the school sport centre in Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv, the Youth park in Russe, the public gardens in Shumen, "Hristo Botev" Stedium in Gabrovo and the Municipality building in the seaside city of Varna.

The initiative aimed at adhering the orphans to the Olympic values and ideas.

Orphans from homes in five cities took part in a Saturday fest, held as part of the International Olympic Day's marking in Bulgaria.

The children, aged from 12 to 16, participated in competitions in track-and-field athletics.

The contestants' starting points were the school sport centre in Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv, the Youth park in Russe, the public gardens in Shumen, "Hristo Botev" Stedium in Gabrovo and the Municipality building in the seaside city of Varna.

The initiative aimed at adhering the orphans to the Olympic values and ideas.
France, Spain, Bulgaria Favourites for British Retirees
France, Spain, Bulgaria Favourites for British Retirees

Traditional holiday hotspots such as France and Spain remain British retirees favourite overseas property destinations, although the popularity of emerging tourist markets like Bulgaria is quickly gaining pace, BuyAssociation has revealed.

Britons tend to retire to countries which already have a strong market for tourism and holiday homes, while sunny spots across the channel are favoured due to their warm weather, the online property advice provider explained.

Paul Collins, overseas property editor for BuyAssociation, said Spain, France and Portugal were still very much the leading countries in terms of retirement destinations, followed by Cyprus and Italy.

However he added that improvements in infrastructure in emerging markets had helped to raise their popularity among retirees.

"We're starting to see places like Bulgaria again, as that market starts to emerge and things like healthcare and transport links improve, then people start to see that as a viable option," Mr Collins explained.

"It may be another five or ten years before we see it as a really serious retirement destination but it's something that's out there and people are thinking about it.

"When you retire you want a slightly slower pace of life, and to be able to enjoy that extra time that you've got. And for a lot of people the [warm] weather is not only more relaxing, it helps with the aching bones as well," he added.
Jazzing it up in Bansko
Jazzing it up in Bansko

Views and Records
by Amanda Billige, Ab Property Marketing

Jazz represents a merging of different people and cultures. The phenomenon spread across America and Europe merging with traditional music creating the basis for blues and ragtime from which jazz evolved. And now, the music genre that originated in the plantation fields of deep southern America, is a form of music celebrated globally. Bansko in Bulgaria is no exception; the town celebrates its culture and people with jazz at the annual International Jazz Festival held at the beginning of August (7th - 15th).
Danish Teenager Dies in Bulgaria\\\' Sea Resort after Booze Orgy
Danish Teenager Dies in Bulgaria' Sea Resort after Booze Orgy

A night of shameless boozing has claimed the life of an eighteen-year-old Dane in Bulgaria's Sunny Beach resort, on the southern Black Sea coast.

Peter Alink, together with a group of friends of his, toured five pubs in the resort with the intention to just have a taste of the famously delicious Bulgarian wine, local Trud daily reported.

The innocent plan, however, turned into a booze orgy laced with industrial quantities of the lethal combination of vodka, beer and tequila.

Cheap drink, bargain flights and cut-price hotels are giving foreigners licence to save their money and lose their inhibitions in Bulgaria.

Doctors in Sunny Beach say they find it hard to handle the emergency cases involving foreigners as it is not only teenagers, but also elderly people, who spend the night drinking heavily in the numerous pubs of what was once an up-market resort.

It has become a common site to see a dozen of unconscious bodies sprawling on the streets of the resort in the early morning hours, they add.
Relatives of IRA Chief Slab Murphy Register Firms in Bulgaria
Relatives of IRA Chief Slab Murphy Register Firms in Bulgaria

Relatives of Thomas "Slab" Muprhy, the Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA, have registered two firms in Bulgaria in January, a journalistic enquiry of the 24 hours daily revealed.

The two men, sharing the Muprhy family name are Steven and Eiden, who are believed to be Slab's brother's sons.

Steven and Eiden have registered the firms "A M" and "B D" on January 24 in Bulgaria at the same address, 8 Mara Gidik Street. In addition to the same family name and the same address registration, the two provided the same address in Ireland - a farm in the village of Ballybinaby, Hackballs Cross in the County Louth.

This is the same place where Slab Murphy lives.

Many Irish citizens have come to Bulgaria and registered their own firms in order to purchase real estate, since the country joined the European Union in January.

Murphy was involved with the South Armagh Brigade of the IRA before becoming Chief of Staff of the IRA Army Council. An ex-correspondent for the Daily Telegraph has named him as planning the Warrenpoint Ambush of 1979, in which 18 British soldiers were killed, and was also allegedly implicated in the Mullaghmore bombing the same day.

Accused by the Sunday Times of directing an IRA bombing campaign in Britain, in 1987 Murphy unsuccessfully sued the paper for libel in Dublin.

In October 2005, officers of the British Assets Recovery Agency and the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau carried out raids on a number of businesses in Manchester and Dundalk. It has been extensively reported in the media that the investigation is aimed at damaging the suspected multi-million pound empire of Murphy, who according to the BBC's Underworld Rich List, has accumulated up to GBP 40 M through smuggling oil, cigarettes, grain and pigs; as well as through silent or partial ownership in legitimate businesses, and in property.
Bulgaria Announces Last 2007, First 2008 Babies' Names
Bulgaria Announces Last 2007, First 2008 Babies' Names

Organizers of the nationwide campaign "Baby of the Year" announced Thursday the names of the first and last children born on the threshold of the New Year.

The first 2008 new-born girl is called Spasimira. She took her first breath a minute after midnight on January 1 in the town of Pazardzhik.

Half an hour earlier, on December 31, 2007, Yanislava was born in the seaside city of Varna.

At a special ceremony to be held in Sofia's Central Military Club on January 27, Bulgaria's Culture Minister Stefan Danailov will bless baby Spasimira. Destiny-maker of the young lady Yanislava will be the EU Consumers Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva.

The two babies will receive a lot of presents as well as the golden medallions that are symbols of the campaign.

A total of 78,592 babies were born during the last year, 4,097 more than those, who took first breath in 2006.

Those 299, who cried out in the last 2007 and first 2008 minutes, competed in the traditional race, organized by the Bulgarian "9 months" magazine.

The nationwide campaign "Baby of the Year" takes place for the 9th time in a bid to boost birth rates.
Kavarna in Bulgaria Celebrates New Year's Eve with Heavy Metal
Kavarna in Bulgaria Celebrates New Year's Eve with Heavy Metal

The town of Kavarna on Bulgaria's Black Sea will celebrate New Year's Eve with a heavy metal concert, as has become traditional in recent years, featuring Bulgarian rock band BTR, US power metal band Holyhell and British heavy metal band Saxon.

Manowar vocalist Eric Adams and bassist Joey DeMaio, who also produces Holyhell, will also take part in the New Year's Eve concert. The musicians arrived in Bulgaria on Saturday together with Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden vocalist.

Kavarna is the location of the annual Kaliakra Rock Fest, which featured Manowar as the headliner band in 2007. The festival and the rock concerts on New Year's Eve have made the town a popular holiday location for rockers from Bulgaria and neighbouring countries.

The three-hour-long concert on Monday, broadcast on cable channel BBT, will end with Eric Adams singing the Bulgarian anthem, which he performed during the band's concert in June, as well.

After the concert, the celebrations will continue with a feast, paid for by the city hall, including ten lambs and more than 500 litres of wine.

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