Press Review

Sofia, December 2 (BTA)

MAIN STORIES

"24 Chassa" leads with a story about businessman Nikolay Banev and his wife Evgenia, who were arrested in France at the end of October after the Bulgarian prosecution service charged them with tax offences and money laundering. The article focuses on the Banevs' hard time getting used to the living conditions behind bars, such as having a shower only twice a week and having to wear the same clothes every day. The newspaper recalls that they are used to a luxurious lifestyle.

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"Telegraf" writes in its front-page story that a total of 654 Bulgarians are among the citizens of the first space nation - Asgardia. The virtual country was established two years ago and is listed as a kingdom. It has an anthem, a flag and its own cryptocurrency - the Solar and the Lunar. It has over 280,000 residents, despite the fact its territory consists of a small satellite launched into space a year ago. Russian scientist and businessman of Azerbaijani origin, Igor Ashurbeyli, is the space nation's head and founder. Former UNESCO director general Irina Bokova was part of a scandal involving Asgardia. While at the helm of UNESCO, she had signed an agreement with the virtual space nation to launch a special medal awarded by UNESCO for contributions to space science, accompanied by a monetary prize of 260,000 euro, provided by Ashurbeyli. This act is can be interpreted as UNESCO recognizing Asgardia, which is not recognized by any real country. This is why UNESCO's current head Audrey Azoulay has unilaterally terminated the agreement with Asgardia last month.

ECONOMY

"Capital Daily" reports that on November 29 the Electricity System Operator signed a contract with the Brikel coal-fuelled power plant linked to controversial businessman Hristo Kovachki to join the spinning reserve between December 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019. The agreement is for 40 MW of availability for 2,903 hours during which the power plant is not going to work but will be on standby for activation if necessary. Brikel will get 1.3 million leva for that. Brikel was the only candidate at a procedure held last week and offered 0.03 leva below the maximum admissible 11 leva/MWh. The paper points out that Kovachki remains one of two favourites for the spinning reserve (the other one is the Varna coal-fuelled power plant of Movement for Rights and Freedoms honorary chairman Ahmed Dogan) even though in January 2017 when electricity consumption peaked, two of his power plants failed to start running. He was fined for that, but still made a profit from his contract with the spinning reserve. The story says further that the four power plants connected with Kovachki, which have contracts with the spinning reserve, will make a total of 26.7 million leva this winter.

SOCIETY

"Standart" writes on its website that the Global Nutrition Report classifies this country as experiencing two forms of malnutrition - overweight and anaemia. According to the report's nutrition country profile for Bulgaria, the percentage of obese children has more than doubled in 15 years. Overweight boys between 5 and 19 account for 33.6 per cent of all, compared to 20 per cent in 2000, while 23 per cent of girls in this age group are overweight, compared to 14 per cent in 2000. The share of obese boys has increased from 5.8 per cent to 13.6 per cent in 15 years. Obesity among girls has increased from 3.4 per cent to 7.8 per cent during that time.
These increases are significant among adults as well - 68.9 per cent of males are overweight, compared to 58.2 per cent in 2000. The share of overweight adult women is 54.4 per cent, compared to 49.1 per cent in 2000. Obesity among women has increased by close to 10 percentage points, reaching 25.5 per cent, while among men it has gone up by 5 percentage points to 24.3 per cent.

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"Telegraf" and "24 Chassa" cover the news of a new ordinance on public order in Sofia, which became effective on December 1. Noisy home repairs and renovations will now require permission from the neighbors. Noise levels have to be kept low between the hours of 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm and between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am during weekdays. Construction works also must abide by these rules. Collecting donations on the street is now banned, except for campaigns of the Bulgarian Red Cross or non-for-profit legal entities. Fines will be issued to people washing car windows at traffic lights, as well as the drivers who pay them. BTA