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365. Pazardjik Mall construction postponed until 2010

Sofia Echo: 2009-02-03

Litos Ibuilt OOD has delayed construction of the trade complex in the city of Pazardjik by a year, according to town mayor Todor Popov, as quoted by Stroitelstvo Gradut.

The manager of the construction company, Ivo Koloushev, informed him officially by letter that the company would place any further investments on hold in light of the economic crisis and related altered projected costs.

In July 2008, Litos Ibuilt declared that it would invest 6.5 million euro for a new mall in Pazardjik, which was to be completed by the end of 2010.

According to blueprints, the project would encompass a total of 1661 sq m, near the Saint Georgi church in the city centre. The project is a brainchild of Studio 17.5 OOD Sofia, whereas DS build will be entrusted with the foundation construction, with Stroi Control Correct being the consulting company.

The mall will consist of 120 shops, which will be rented out, an entertainment centre, restaurants and boutiques. It will also have an area designated for small children.

The initial investment intentions and the total cost of the project were made by Litos Ibuilt on May 30 2008 when the symbolic first sod was turned. However, construction has not started at all. The only work accomplished so far is the removal of the old tarmac of the former municipal parking lot with a total area of 1661 sq m, for which the company paid in excess of 840 000 leva.

364. Relax in the warm embrace of Sandansky, Southwest Bulgaria

Frog News: 2009-02-02

Sandansky city park features more than 200 exotic flora species. The mineral water in the city flows from a myriad of thermal springs in the region. Sandansky is the warmest Bulgarian city. It is located 220-240 m above sea level, close to the Greek border.

The mineral water helps prevent a variety of illnesses affecting the peripheral nervous system and the respiratory system, insomnia, stress and fatigue. A tribe, the Medi, populated the present-day area of Sandansky from the 5th century B.C. onward. After the Roman Empire moved into the region the settlement was enlarged. Excavations began in 1917. in recent years the city has become a leading center of archaeology in Bulgaria. The cultural heritage unique early Christian architecture, decorative and mosaic art on a European quality level has transformed the city into a noteworthy center of European cultural tourism. The museum of archaeology in the city is located in situ, on the site where the remains of the early Christian Basilica of Bishop John used to be. There are a variety of attractions in the vicinity Melnik, the smallest city and wine capital of the country, the Pyramids of Melnik, Rojen Monastery and the area Rupite, famous for its thermal waters.

363. February starts with St.Trifon day

Frog News: 2009-02-01

The name of this month comes from the Latin "februum", which means "purification". With the idea of treatment is custom Februa, implemented on 5 February in honor of the god of death Februus. Then the ancient Romans organized last year for the holidays. During the solemn rites made sacrifices to buy their sins and is cleaned in anticipation of next year. Februa rethink today is one of the most attractive holidays - St. Valentine, who recorded each year, Catholics and Protestants in the world.

In the Bulgarian folk tradition the second month of the year is called Small Sechko. According to old people, this is not only one of the coldest days of the year when everything is "cut and care. Connected him with the god of death Februus and magical time in which everyone should repent.

362. Madonna to stage concert in Bulgaria in 2009

Sofia Echo: 2009-01-31

After long years of waiting, Madonna will finally have concert in Bulgaria after the singer decided to extend her Sticky&Sweet Tour in Europe, Madonna's website said on January 30 2009.

The launch of this year's part of the tour that started in 2008 will be on July 4 in London. Stops will include appearances in places where Madonna never played before, such as Werchter in Belgium, Marseille in France, Hamburg in Germany, Oslo in Norway, Helsinki in Finland, Tallinn in Estonia, Ljubljana in Slovenia as well as stops in Romania, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria, it has been confirmed by Live Nation, Madonna's website said.

The date and the venue for Bulgaria has not been announced yet but given previous visits of world famous artists such as George Michael, Metallica or Depeche Mode, the choice could be between Vassil Levski national stadium and Lokomotiv Sofia football club stadium, both of which are in Sofia. Ticket prices had not been announced either.

This is a first for me. I've never extended a tour before. I'm excited to be going back on the road, visiting places I've never been and returning to places I love, said Madonna about the new run of dates.

"This new run of dates will further solidify Madonna's position as one of the top selling touring artists of all time," said Arthur Fogel, Live Nation's Chairman of Global Music and CEO of Global Touring/Artist Nation said on Madonna's website.

In 2008, the Sticky & Sweet Tour was seen by about 2.35 million fans in 58 cities. It posted record-breaking ticket sales everywhere, including 650 000 tickets sold in her series of South American dates, 72 000 tickets at Zurich's Dübendorf Airfield - the largest audience ever assembled for a show in Switzerland, 75 000 tickets in London and four sell outs in New York's Madison Square Garden (60 364 tickets).

Special Guest for Sticky & Sweet 2009, Paul Oakenfold has long been one of the most important - if not the most important - name in modern club culture. He has remixed The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dog, Muse New Order, The Cure, Massive Attack and even Elvis Presley and produced The Happy Mondays.

361. The X Files apartment blocks vanish in Varna

Sofia Echo: 2009-01-30

The new digital map of Varna has surpassed all previous errors of its kind observed in Bulgaria to date. Entire apartment blocks, constituting whole boroughs, have magically disappeared from the mapping process.

There were such cases before, but this is about buildings built after 2007, Krasimira Bozhkova, the head of the Varna mapping agency, told Sega daily. She says that the responsibility ultimately lies with Varna municipality which is entrusted with registering all new construction in the area, and which had postponed the timely submission of the appropriate documentation pertaining to the buildings in question.

The new mapping is already active in four regions of the city and hundreds of citizens, primarily from the borough of Primorski, have been queuing before the agency responsible for the registration debacle. Their properties can be submitted and registered properly for the appropriate payment of course. They also have to submit an appraisal form, documentation of proof of ownership, parcel grids, home disclosure forms and house sketches, etc. The company responsible for the properties' accreditation must fulfill its task within a year. However, for citizens of some boroughs Mladost, Asparuhovo and Vladislavovo, this period expires in May 2009.

Such problems have been observed elsewhere in the country in Sandanski eight floors from a 10-storey building mysteriously disappeared, and there have been similar problems in Sofia as well.

The scheme to digitalise the mapping of the entire country in a single database is, some may argue, fundamentally flawed from the onset. There is an ongoing campaign suggesting that another 100 million euro is required to accomplish this feat. The Agency for Registry's boss, Daniela Miteva, says that 100 million is needed if the project is to be feasible within the next three to five years. Alternatively, it will be ready within 20-30 years". Seven years ago Bulgaria received 33 million euro from the World Bank for this sort of register, which is to be unveiled this month. However, the real estate data uploaded within that registry comprises a very small part of the project. Real estate archives in Bulgaria exist going back 100 years, and Miteva believes that in order for the entire information to be scanned and processed, 100 million euro and 100 employees are urgently needed.

360. Extrapack builds a second base in Veliko Turnovo

Sofia Echo: 2009-01-29

Extrapack OOD has invested 25 million euro in a second large production base in Veliko Turnovo, on the motorway at the entrance from Sofia, approximately five km west from the first factory.

The facility will embrace a total area of 16 500 sq m. The project was conceived by chief architect Plamen Tsanev. The company in charge of construction is Technobuild, while Dike 2000 is the consulting firm operating alongside Technobuild during the construction process.

Extrapack is the first Bulgarian company to produce bio-dissolving bags. Its rapid expansion in the business meant that they needed to increase the capacity of their operation, thus the construction of the second factory in their home city of Veliko Turnovo, reports Stroitelstvo Gradut.

Apart from production line facilities, the complex will also accommodate an administrative building, two storeys of office buildings, auxiliary and logistical support facilities for material and personnel, and a restaurant. A substation of 110 kilovolts will also be built, along with a pool with a cooling system designed to facilitate the machinery and equipment of the base, as well as a small recycle and treatment station incorporated within the main factory.

In parallel with the new installation, the first factory, which has a total area of 14 000 sq m, will also be fully operational. Extrapack was founded in 1995. According to Milen Tsenkov, the company's executive manager, Extrapack aims to expand its line of products and become more efficient and competitive, but they will not change their line of business. The company's main objective is to use the revenue to re-invest in the training of qualified personnel as well as state of the art modern technology. The second factory will augment the potential of the company and help it develop for the next 10 to 15 years, Tsenkov told Stroitelstvo Gradut.

Approximately a third of new equipment for the new factory will be installed in the summer of 2009. There are currently 500 employees at Extrapack, but with the new operation, another 160 jobs will be created.

359. Japanese Prince to open a museum of Thracian culture in Bulgaria

News BG: 2009-01-28

Japanese prince Akishino will open the new museum of Thracian culture in the east Rhodope Mountains near the Aleksandrovska tomb in the town of Haskovo, The Standart learnt.

The museum will be finished in May 2009. The second son of Japan emperor Akihito and his wife Michiko will visit Bulgaria in May. Japan granted about $3,5 million for the establishing of the museum.

The tomb was discovered by the late archaeologist Dr Georgi Kitov in 2002 by the village of Aleksandrovo near the town of Haskovo. The project for establishing a museum started in 2003, told The Standart professor Nikolay Ovcharov. The museum will provide detailed information on all Thracian monuments situated in the east Rhodopes - Perperikon, Tatul, The Womb cave and Gluhite Kamani (Mute Stones) Sanctuary by the town of Lyubimets. The museum complex will include a replica of Alexandrovska Tomb, professor Ovcharov explained. Nikolay Ovcharov and Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov, who is on an official visit to Japan, will open in Tokyo an exhibition of Thracian treasures tomorrow.

"The idea of the exposition is to show Bulgaria's treasures and to promote them in such way that more and more Japanese to prefer Bulgaria as tourists destination," commented professor Ovcharov.

During his meeting with Japanese PM Taro Aso Bulgaria's president Parvanov extended gratitude for the positive development of the cultural relations between the two countries and emphasized on the need of intensifying the development of that sphere.

"Japan has always supported Bulgaria during the transition period. It is one of the biggest donors to our country," said Parvanov during his meeting with PM Aso.

Bulgaria's Head of State raised the issue of tourism once again at his meeting with the chairmen of the Upper and Lower House of Japanese Parliament. During the talks was noted the need of popularizing the Bulgarian tourist centers.

358. Scary monsters at the mummers' carnival "Surva '09" in Pernik

News BG: 2009-01-27

The 18 edition of the International Mummers' Festival "Surva 2009" took place in Pernik during the weekend.

Around 2000 participants and 40 groups marched on Pernik's main street, demonstrating typical Bulgarian customs and contesting for the best costume and mask.

The record for the biggest mask is for the group from the village of Gabrov Dol - seven metres. The oldest participant in the festival is also from that village - the 86-year-old Nestor Nestorov.

The foreign groups were given a special stage, where they could dance, sing and perform in a typically Bulgarian manner.

Mummers' carnivals are extremely spectacular and distinctive for Bulgaria. The participants dance in the streets making as loud noises with their bells, as possible, pretending to scare and drive the evil forces out of the place. The uglier are the masks and the louder are the bells - the greater will be the chance of completely driving the evils away...

It is more than obvious that this tradition follows a pre-Christian tradition (like most of the carnivals).

Read more about the mummers at http://www.homes4ubulgaria.com/bulgaria/topics/mummers.php

357. Emir Kusturica Emir Kusturica & No Smoking Orchestra in Kavarna

News BG: 2009-01-26

Emir Kusturica & No Smoking Orchestra will open the summer season in Kavarna on June 1.

The cult Serbian director of "Black Cat, White Cat", now the bass player of the band, tours Europe and enjoys the acclaim of Western audiences.

The "No Smoking band" (Zabranjeno Pusenje in their original Serbo-Croatian language) was born in Sarajevo in 1980 and soon became the most significant musical expression of "New Primitivism", a cultural resistance movement created in the transition years of post-Tito Yugoslavia.

They were one of the most popular musical acts of the 1980s in Yugoslavia, selling hundreds of thousands of records.

Under the name "Emir Kusturica & No Smoking Orchestra" they released four albums. In 1998 the "No Smoking Orchestra" composed the music for Emir Kusturica's film "Black Cat, White Cat", which won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival the same year.

The Bulgarian band, based in the Netherlands, The Pomorians was recently invited to join the No Smoking Orchestra for a concert in France.

The concert will start at 8.30 p.m. at the town's square and as usual, it will be for free.

356. Real estate in Bulgaria decreases in price

News BG: 2009-01-24

Real estate in Bulgaria has decreased in price in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the third quarter, data by the National Statistics Institute published today shows.

The index of market prices of real estate in Bulgaria for the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the third quarter of 2008 is 95.9%.

The index of market prices of real estate for 2008 compared to 2007 is 124.9%, i.e. real estate in Bulgaria has increased in price on average by one fourth in the past year.

In the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the third quarter a decrease is registered in the prices in 23 municipal cities, as the most significant is in Veliko Tarnovo - by 11.7%, Pleven - 11.6%, Targovishte - by 11.2%, Pernik - 10.3% and others.

An increase of prices has been reported in the cities: Kyustendil - by 1.6%, Silistra - by 2,5%, Vratza - by 3.2% and Montana - by 3.7%.

The average price of real estate in the capital is 2373.83 levs/square meter, followed by Varna - 2101.17 levs/square meter and Burgas - 1791.50 levs/square meter.

In the period from October to December, real estate in Varna has increased on average by 1.3%, in Burgas it has increased in price by 2.1%, in Plovdiv it has dropped in price by 2.1%, in Sofia real estate is down by 0.7% compared to the third quarter of the year.

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