Press Review

Sofia, November 10 (BTA)

HIGHLIGHTS

"Monitor": The autumn of 2018 may well rank as one of the five driest such seasons in the last 70-80 years, said climatologist Georgi Rachev.  "If it doesn't rain for a couple of weeks (and continued dry weather is forecast), the harvest may be ruined. To say nothing of a snow cover, which is normal for November but is unlikely at least until the 25th," Rachev noted. By contrast, precipitation exceeded the norm by 400 per cent in some parts of the country in June and July, resulting in a bumper crop of 10 million tonnes of wheat, over 3 million tonnes of maize and 2 million tonnes of sunflower, which is unique for the territory of Bulgaria. This country continues to have four distinct seasons and the theory that boundaries between seasons are blurred is wrong, the climatologist argued. Global warming is a fact, and human activity directly influences the climate, Rachev said.

"24 Chassa": Two of the best Bulgarian teachers: Pravda Naidenova and Dobrin Dankov, say in an interview for the daily that children should be taught applied mathematics: to calculate simple things they need in their everyday life, like how much wallpaper they have to get for a room, how to fill in their tax returns, working out interest rates, etc. They suggest the adoption of a system that has been used in Western Europe, the US, Australia and other countries since the late 1980s.

"Troud": A total of 144 children aged between 2 and 16 and nine adults at over 20 kindergartens and schools in eight boroughs of Sofia have been diagnosed with hepatitis A during a check conducted between July 5 and November 5.

"Telegraph": Ralitsa Rousseva, the daughter of the late artist Svetlin Roussev, and Maya Naydenova, a lawyer at an association stewarding his art collection, have clashed bitterly over his legacy. The collection consists of 500-600 paintings and sculptures and several thousand prints and drawings by the likes of Rembrandt, Picasso and Pascin. By law, it is inherited by Roussev's two daughters, but the collection is of national importance. The Culture Ministry reserves judgment for the time being. Roussev's picture "Expectation" fetched 26,644 dollars at a Sotheby's auction in London in 1990 - the highest price ever paid for a Bulgarian work of art abroad. Next come Sultana Souroujon's "Little Sisters" (8,000 dollars less), Bencho Obreshkov (16,000 dollars, Israel, 2010), Dimitar Buyukliiski, Vassil Stoilov, Nikola Tanev, Daniel Dechev and Nikola Mihailov.

POLITICS

Petyo Tsekov writes in an article in "Sega" that "since we started to practise democracy, we have realized that it is not what we imagined it to be. 1. The decisions are not made by those who are more numerous but by the active minority: those who take the trouble to vote. 2. Elections are not a place where we make decisions, we merely delegate powers there. 3. Voting maps out a direction but does not settle any disputes. "There are forms of government in which decisions can be made faster than by the mechanisms of democracy, but we don't want government of this type even though we are close to it," the author notes.

ECONOMY

Financial expert Krassimir Angarski, known as "the father" of Bulgaria's currency board arrangement, says in a two-page interview for "Troud" that the currency board arrangement has not played itself out and can remain in force. He denies that the currency board arrangement impedes economic growth. The adoption of the euro is opposed by people who ran up bad debts over the last 20 years and the central bank is reluctant to become subordinate to the European Central Bank, the expert argues. He does not think that the switch to the euro will push up inflation and dismisses these arguments as untenable and intended to instill fear in the public that the price of goods will be doubled. Replying to a question, Angarski said that the recent arrests of big businessmen, if considered as an attempt to reassess the transition, are fatally overdue. In his opinion, Bulgaria has failed in its transition from socialism to a market economy because the transition was carried out in the most brutal, unfair and quite often criminal way. "After 29 years of never ending reforms, we are the poorest in Europe. The economy, public property and land were literally plundered. Agriculture was irreversibly ruined by the law restituting land in physical boundaries. Most enterprises were bankrupted or privatized at predatory prices or sold for a pittance. The laws on the functioning of the market economy were adopted in a such a way that they do not work in practice. All 16 governments which have succeeded one another since 1990 promised reforms, and all started from scratch, as if nothing had been done before them. Bulgaria is a country of recurring false starts," the former Minister of Economic Development concludes.

* * *

"24 Chassa" has interviewed Ivan Poushkarov, Minister of Industry in the Dimiter Popov Cabinet (1990-1991), who carried out Bulgaria's first privatization sale (of a filling station). He argues that State assets were plundered through privatization, starting in 1992-1993 and continuing in 1996. The worst plundering, or rather giving away of the country's assets, happened under the Government of Ivan Kostov (1997-2001), Poushkarov says.

* * *

"Troud" reports that the Bulgarian Construction Chamber insists that Socialist MPs Elena Yoncheva, Hristo Prodanov, Kroum Zarkov and Georgi Svilenski, who stand behind a demand to the Road Infrastructure Agency for an independent expert examination of Bulgaria's motorways, insinuating that the road construction projects are siphoned off, should resign by November 18. Otherwise, the Chamber threatens to stage civil protests preventing the MPs from entering the National Assembly building. "We, Bulgarian builders, categorically declare that we are not corrupt," the Chamber said.

* * *
 
People aged 55-59, who will retire within a couple of years, have just 3,760.77 leva on their personal accounts for a supplementary pension. More than 625,000 people contribute an average of 102 leva to a voluntary pension fund. Most of them (101,000) are aged over 64. The average age of voluntary fund clients is 51.7 years, compared to 40.4 years for those insured at universal funds, "Troud" reports, citing figures released by the Financial Supervision Commission.

CULTURE

"24 Chassa" carries a page-long interview with Bolshoi Ballet prima Svetlana Zakharova, who says that Bulgaria has a high-class ballet.

* * *

Asked what she thinks about the Istanbul Convention and the recent controversy over violence against women, Bulgarian-born singer-songwriter Ludmilla "Lucy" Diakovska told "Monitor" in a page-long interview that the focus has been shifted absurdly, resulting in more propaganda than in the past. "We have laws which can punish these crimes even without a convention. If they wanted to prove that the Istanbul Convention is unnecessary, they should have simply convicted ten people." Diakovska, who is openly lesbian, says she does not regret coming out.

BTA