Bulgaria squanders millions as EU corruption clampdown continues

BulgariaBrussels - Bulgaria has missed the chance to claim 220 million euros (280 million dollars) in European Union funds because of ongoing corruption problems, the first time an EU state has ever suffered such a loss, officials in Brussels said Tuesday.

The EU's executive, the European Commission, has decided that Bulgaria's authorities still cannot be trusted with the money, and it is therefore "too late" for the country to award the funds to contractors before a November 30 deadline, commission enlargement spokeswoman Krisztina Nagy told journalists.

Corruption-plagued Bulgaria convicts two officials for graft

Sofia, BulgariaSofia - A Sofia court late Monday sentenced two officials from the Bulgarian road agency for corruption, providing a legal epilogue to one of the scandals which deprived the poorest European Union member state of development funds in 2008.

The court sentenced Lybomir Lilev, the man who was in charge of distributing EU funds, and his subordinate Ivan Vladimirov for demanding a bribe to implement a project.

Bulgarian premier re-elected as head of Socialist party

Sofia  - Bulgarian Premier Sergei Stanishev has been re- elected as chairman of the governing Socialist party, the country's election commission said Sunday.

The commission said that Stanishev won 809 votes from among the 853 delegates at the party's congress, confirming him to another term as head of Bulgaria's oldest and largest political party.

Stanishev, 42, has headed the Socialist party since 2001. He proclaimed his goal of leading the party to victory again in national and Europan parliament elections in 2009.

Bulgaria must start convicting corrupt officials, EU warns

BulgariaSofia  - The chief executive of the European Union's anti- fraud watchdog OLAF warned Bulgaria Thursday that it must begin convicting corrupt officials, or risk losing the battle against organized crime.

OLAF director Franz-Hermann Bruener met Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev, Deputy Premier in Charge of EU Funds Management Meglena Kuneva and other officials and press to review the results in probes into embezzlement of development aid sent by Brussels.

Serbia thump Bulgaria as Wales win in Denmark

Hamburg  - Serbia demolished Bulgaria 6-1 in an international friendly in Belgrade Wednesday and could even afford the luxury of missing two penalties as Savo Milosevic bade farewell to the national side.

Serbia's Milosevic netted twice and missed two early spot kicks in his 102nd and final appearance for his country before being substituted by Dragan Mrdja. Milan Jovanovic also scored a brace while Blagoy Georgiev got on the scoresheet for the disappointing Bulgarians.

Craig Bellamy scored the only goal of the game to give Wales a 1-0 victory away to Denmark in Copenhagen, firing in a low shot from 20 metres after 77 minutes.

Bulgaria seizes 70-kilo heroin shipment

Bulgaria seizes 70-kilo heroin shipmentSofia - Bulgarian police seized a 70-kilo shipment of heroin and arrested a German national carrying it, the authorities in Sofia said Monday.

The man with two packets of the drug in a bunker of his car was arrested in Ruse, a town with the only bridge linking Bulgaria with Romania across the Danube.

Bulgaria straddles the key routes of international trafficking in narcotics, chemicals for drug-production and people. It incinerated 19 tons of various drugs over the past eight years.