Bulgaria

Bulgarian customs seize cocaine disguised as South American wine

Bulgarian customs seize cocaine disguised as South American wine Sofia  - Bulgarian customs officers have discovered more than 700 litres of concentrated cocaine solution camouflaged as a shipment of South American wine, local newspapers reported Saturday.

The 714 litres of liquid cocaine came to the Black Sea port of Varna hidden in 1,020 bottles of the Bolivian Kohlberg wine, in a container sent to Europe from Chile.

The rest of the cargo busted in a joint operation with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency contained real wine, reports said. (dpa)

Change in Bulgaria as opposition thrashes ruling coalition

Change in Bulgaria as opposition thrashes ruling coalitionSofia  - The formerly opposition GERB party of Sofia Mayor Boyko Borisov won by far the most seats in Bulgarian parliamentary elections and fell just a few short of an absolute majority, according to final official results released on Wednesday.

The conservative GERB claimed 116 out of the 240 seats in Sunday's vote, shattering Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev's Socialist Party, which tallied only 40 seats. Borisov is due to step down as the capital's mayor and seek the mandate to form the next cabinet.

Bulgarian police seize 11 kilograms of heroin, arrest five

Bulgarian police seize 11 kilograms of heroin, arrest fiveSofia  - Bulgarian police on Tuesday reported the arrest of five Macedonians and one Bulgarian caught with 111 kilograms of heroin smuggled from Afghanistan.

The smugglers planned to transport the heroin to Macedonia in two cars, but were caught in a coordinated action carried out by Bulgarian, Macedonian and United States investigators, the interior ministry said.

Bulgarian deputy minister arrested for alleged vote-buying

Bulgarian deputy minister arrested for alleged vote-buyingSofia  - A day after general elections in Bulgaria, a deputy minister was arrested Monday over vote buying allegations.

Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations Alexander Filipov was accused of buying votes in exchange for assigning the EU funded projects, Bulgarian state radio reported.

Prime Minister-designate Boyko Borisov have already announced the closure of the entire ministry, which was so far controlled by Turkish minority's Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).

Bulgaria swings right, punishes Socialists for corruption

Bulgaria swings right, punishes Socialists for corruption Sofia  - Sofia Mayor Boyko Borisov's opposition GERB party smashed the corruption-plagued Socialist Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev's coalition in elections Sunday and is set to head the next government.

GERB, founded only three years ago and untested in previous elections in Bulgaria, won 40 per cent of the votes amid a lively turnout. But it will need a coalition partner to reach a majority in the 240-seat parliament, according to preliminary official results announced Monday.

Bulgarians vote for parliament

Bulgarians vote for parliament Sofia  - Voting began Sunday in Bulgarian parliamentary elections, the first the Balkan country has held since joining the European Union in 2007.

Socialist Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev seeks another four-year term in office, but his government, plagued by corruption scandals and the economic downturn, faces an uphill battle against the opposition GERB party of Sofia Mayor Boyko Borisov.

Seven Turkish citizens die in traffic accident in Bulgaria

Seven Turkish citizens die in traffic accident in Bulgaria Sofia  - Seven Turkish citizens, including a 12-year-old child, died on Saturday in a traffic accident near the south-eastern Bulgarian town of Svilengrad, the Interior Ministry reported.

The victims, who were traveling via minibus from Germany to Turkey, crashed into a Serbian-owned bus near the Bulgarian border with Turkey.

The Serbian bus driver was injured in the crash and taken to a nearby hospital. (dpa)

Bulgarians set to vote in first elections since joining the EU

Bulgarians set to vote in first elections since joining the EUSofia  - Some 6.9 million Bulgarian voters are eligible to cast ballots Sunday in the country's first parliamentary poll since it joined the European Union in 2007.

Surveys indicated an uphill struggle for Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev's Socialist Party (BSP) after its popularity dipped owing to corruption scandals and economic hardship, and it is predicted to win only between 17 and 22 per cent of the votes.

EU's biggest euro forgery ring dismantled in Bulgaria, say police

EU's biggest euro forgery ring dismantled in Bulgaria, say policeMadrid  - The European Union's biggest ring for forging euro notes has been dismantled in Bulgaria, Spanish police said Thursday.

Seventeen people were arrested in Bulgaria, where police seized 500,000 euros (700,000 dollars) in fake notes, after a joint investigation between Bulgarian, Spanish and other European police forces.

Three clandestine facilities printed notes of 100, 200 and 500 euros in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. The high-quality notes circulated in several European countries.

Bulgarians vote - resentful over poverty and corruption

Bulgarians vote - resentful over poverty and corruptionSofia  - Bulgarians on Sunday go to their first parliamentary elections since joining the European Union amid resentment and disappointment over expectations which went unfulfilled after a long, hard transition.

Socialist Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev's grand coalition did manage to squeeze Bulgaria into the European Union in 2007, but the country remained plagued by widespread corruption and scandals.

Bulgaria releases Kosovo ex-prime minister Ceku

Bulgaria releases Kosovo ex-prime minister Ceku Sofia - A Bulgarian court on Thursday released former Kosovo prime minister Agim Ceku, who was being held on an international war crimes warrant issued by Serbia.

Ceku was arrested Tuesday after entering Bulgaria from Macedonia. Serbia then asked Bulgaria to extradite the former Kosovo premier, but the Bulgarian court ruled for him to be released.

Sofia News Agency reported that Ceku's lawyers presented documents, signed by current Kosovan premier Hashim Tachi, stating that Ceku is a member of Kosovo diplomatic team and thus has diplomatic immunity.

Bulgaria hands first sentence to embezzlers of EU funds

Bulgaria hands first sentence to embezzlers of EU fundsSofia - A Bulgarian court Thursday handed the first verdict for fraud involving European Union funds which has cost the Balkan country hundreds of millions of dollars in suspended and scrapped aid.

The court in Plovdiv sentenced businessman Marin Dipchev to three years in prison for embezzling 612,000 leva (440,000 dollars) of EU agricultural development aid. He was also ordered to return the money.

Archaeologists uncover intact Thracian settlement in Bulgaria

Archaeologists uncover intact Thracian settlement in BulgariaSofia (Bulgaria), June 24 : A team of archaeologists has uncovered an intact Thracian settlement close to the southeast town of Nova Zagora in Bulgaria.

According to a report in novinite. com, the team comprised of Konstantin Gospodinov and Veselin Ignatov from the city of Burgas, who hope that their finding would be the first Thracian settlement to be uncovered in its entirety.

The settlement is located along the Blatnitsa River. It had a moat around it, and include large buildings rising above the ground, news. dir. bg reported.

Bulgarian prosecutors request 3-day detention for Ceku

Bulgaria confirms its first case of swine flu Sofia - Bulgarian prosecutors requested a 3-day detention for Kosovo's former premier Agim Ceku, arrested on a Serbian Interpol warrant, the interior ministry in Sofia confirmed Wednesday.

Ceku, the prime minister of Kosovo between 2006 and 2008, was arrested Tuesday on the Bulgarian border. The authorities said they want the extended detention to consult further action with Interpol, local media reported.

Bulgaria arrests former Kosovo premier Ceku on Serbian warrant

Bulgaria arrests former Kosovo premier Ceku on Serbian warrant Pristina - Kosovo's former prime minister Agim Ceku was arrested for the third time on a Serbian Interpol warrant Tuesday, this time in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, a spokesman said in Pristina.

"He has been arrested and will be released in two or three hours, said the spokesman for Ceku's opposition Social Democratic Party, Gazim Kasapolli.

Ceku was presumably being held on an international warrant issued in 2002 by Serbia. He had already been arrested on the same warrant in Slovenia and Hungary in

In Bulgaria, a run for parliament is a hop from prison

Bulgaria, a run for parliament is a hop from prisonSofia  - Several people with criminal indictments have joined the race in Bulgaria's first parliamentary election since it joined the European Union, scheduled for July 5. In doing so, they have conspicuously staved off their rendezvous with justice.

A candidate for a legislative seat must have the same conditions as his rival, the law says. So, those being processed are released from prison and trials are interrupted.

Bulgaria police arrest lawyers in suspected baby-trafficking ring

Bulgaria police arrest lawyers in suspected baby-trafficking ring Sofia - Bulgarian authorities have made a series of arrests in a swoop on a suspected baby-trafficking ring, local newspapers reported Thursday.

The gang are believed to have "purchased" new-born babies from poverty-stricken mothers in Bulgaria, and then sold them on, either to couples in Bulgaria or in neighbouring Greece.

Two lawyers and their assistants were arrested in a raid on the suspected trafficking of 16 babies, the reports said.

Thousands of Bulgarians protest at public-sector wage freeze

Thousands of Bulgarians protest at public-sector wage freezeSofia - Several thousand demonstrators rallied Tuesday outside Bulgarian government buildings in central Sofia protesting Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev's economic policies.

The protest was called over the government's decision last week to freeze civil servant wages because of the deteriorating economy.

Demonstrators also said they want a ban on protests in front of the government buildings revoked and more money for health and education.

Archaeologists discover previously unknown Roman settlement in Bulgaria

Archaeologists discover previously unknown Roman settlement in BulgariaSofia (Bulgaria), June 16 : Archaeologists have discovered a previously unknown settlement from the Roman Era in the Mentesheto area near the town of Varna on Bulgaria's northern Black Sea coast.

According to a report in BalkanTravellers. com, the discovery was made by archaeologists Aleksadar Michev and Teodor Rokov, who were exploring a stone structure reminiscent of a `dolmen' - a typical Thracian tomb from the Early Iron Age.

Bulgaria's right-wing opposition wins EU vote

Bulgaria's right-wing opposition wins EU voteSofia  - Bulgaria's right-wing opposition GERB party won most of the votes in Sunday's European Parliament elections, defeating the ruling Socialists, according to results released by the country's Electoral Commission Monday.

With more than 90 per cent of the vote counted, results showed GERB took around 24 per cent of the vote, while the Socialist Socialist Party of Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev won around 18 per cent.

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