site.btaMedia Review: March 1

Media Review: March 1
Media Review: March 1
BTA Photo

HEADLINES

Duma’s frontpage is themed with the Bulgarian flag and the daily greets Bulgarians on the country’s traditional festival marking the onset of spring Baba Marta (Granny Marta). The top headline is on parliamentary proposals made by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) for Bulgaria group and a highlight is BSP leader Korneliya Ninova saying that Bulgaria should not be involved in any war. The frontpage topic in Trud is about former gambling mogul and oligarch Vassil Bojkov’s new political project. 24 Chasa leads with a headline reading that “one million Bulgarians work for BGN 1,000”, quoting data from a report of the Economic and Social Council. Telegraph’s top story is about flower and banana imports from Ecuador, with the headline: “Roses for March 8 come together with bananas”.

The morning programmes of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), bTV, and Nova TV feature discussions on the political disputes between parliamentary parties. The Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) also has an interview with political scientist Ruzha Smilova.

The tops story in Capital Weekly is on the case of the murder of Martin “the Notary” Bozhanov. Mediapool,bg also has an analysis on the topic with the headline: “Ad hoc parliamentary committee has reached Aleksey Petrov and Boyko Borissov”. BNR has an interview on the topic with Anti-corruption Fund senior legal expert and former deputy justice and interior minister Andrey Yankulov.

ECONOMY

BNT reported on Friday morning that the airport in Burgas is closed for repairs from March 7 to March 30. This caused a wave of discontent on the part of the tourism industry, as the first flights with tourists for this summer season were expected during that time. Some of those employed in the industry are also demanding for the airport operator's concession to be revoked. The mayors from South-Eastern Bulgaria are demanding year-round flights from Burgas Airport.

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Trud writes on its frontpage that vehicles running on gasoline will be exempt from taxes. The story highlights that due to EU regulations fuel prices, especially gasoline and diesel, are appreciating.

A headline on the frontpage of Duma reads that fuel prices are rising “ominously”.

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Telegraph's frontpage story elaborates that both bananas and roses are imported from Equador and that traders import them in common containers because its cheaper. The daily also writes that the average price of a rose for March 8 will be BGN 7. 

POLITICS

Dnevnik.bg quotes Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) co-leader Dzhevdet Chakarov in an interview for bTV, who repeatedly said he will not comment, when asked about MRF co-leader Delyan Peevski. The two were elected MRF co-leaders on February 24 at the party’s eleventh national conference, following MRF founder and Honorary Chair Ahmed Dogan’s suggestion that the party's top leadership should be shared between Peevski and Chakarov. There is a new collective beginning in the MRF in the face of the new co-chairmen, he said. He pointed out that he and Peevski will work as a team. Of honorary chairman Ahmed Dogan, Chakarov said that they see each other as often as necessary and consult him on political and organizational issues. He did not want to comment on the sanctions imposed on Peevski for corruption under the global Magnitsky Act and did not answer about his party's development after being on the list of those sanctioned. "If you have any questions on the subject, ask Peevski. I know that he has undertaken all the necessary procedures regarding the Magnitsky case. I have nothing more to say," Chakarov said.

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Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) Prof. Hristo Daskalov, former executive director of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency told BNT that the Kapitan Andreevo State Laboratory control, officially launched on Thursday, is the final of the so-called food inspections, which are carried out both at the border checkpoints and in the country for food imports. Daskalov noted that the will of the State to regain control of Kaptain Andreevo is political.

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The main headline in Trud reads that Vassil Bojkov is going against the mafia in Bulgaria with his newly founded national movement entitled “Centre”. The daily writes that the movement was registered on February 20, a day later the businessman announced that he had chosen to present his project on February 29. In order for Bozhkov to leave the address where he is under house arrest, the Sofia City Prosecution Office had issued a special permit for the hours from 10 am to 6 pm. The reason for the exception was that the right of association is a fundamental civil right.

HEALTHCARE

24 Chasa has a frontpage headline quoting research saying that many processed foods are more dangerous than tobacco smoking. The research, published in the British Medical Journal, shows that the consumption of ultra-processed foods increases the risk of 32 health complications among which cancer, heart and lung problems, and mental disorders. Apart from the story, the daily has eleven pages dedicated to healthcare. Topics include gender differences in brain function, an interview with otoneurologist Georgi Angov, vaccines, and the role of the appendix.

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Speaking on BNT's morning talk show, Deputy Health Minister Ilko Getov said that there is a three-month supply of insulin in warehouses in Bulgaria. There is a shortage in the pharmacy network and wholesalers. The main problem for insulin shortage in pharmacies is the distribution channels, Getov explained.

"Yesterday [on Thursday], the topic was discussed at a meeting of the parliamentary Committee on Health. It was decided to urgently launch an electronic tracking system to monitor the availability of insulin in the country. This will be done by September. Legislative changes are also envisaged to address the problems in the sector. Discussions with wholesalers and pharmaceutical companies start as early as next week," Getov said.

In October 2023, there were 12 insulin shortage alerts, after which the Health Ministry ordered the ban of insulin exports abroad. Thus, in January 2024, those alerts were reduced to 3, and in February - to only 2, Getov emphasized, adding that there are companies that have been fined BGN 150,000 each for illegally exporting insulin out of Bulgaria despite the ban in place.

MURDER OF MARTIN “THE NOTARY” BOZHANOV

Martin “The Notary” Bozhanov was shot dead in a gated complex in a Sofia suburb on the evening of January 31. Accounts of his business by victims and witnesses portray him as a large-scale fixer of people's problems with the judiciary. He has been implicated in building a network of connections with prosecutors and judges whom he allegedly bribed, threatened, blackmailed or otherwise pressured to treat his "clients" favourably. Pretrial proceedings have been initiated.

Capital Weekly’s top story entitled “The network of the Notary” highlights that “the revelations after the Notary's murder showed the whole chain: politicians, magistrates, common criminals”, and that the case shows how the prosecution service covers up investigations into corruption. Capital makes the analogy that the Bulgarian Prosecution Service is the Middle Earth from the Lord of the Rings in the sense that it is a place where the worlds below and above meet, in this case politicians are above and criminals below. The story features an interview with Supreme Cassation Court President Galina Zaharova. She says that the job of the prosecution service is now shadowed by doubts. According to her the results from the work of the parliamentary ad hoc committee on the case will not be as expected – “the clearing of the system”. Zaharova noted that under the Constitution, the committee could not investigate, find fault, or issue directions for criminal or disciplinary proceedings or pronounce sentences.

The story by Mediapool.bg focuses on the most recent work of the ad hoc committee from Thursday evening. The media writes that the name of businessman and former head of the special services Alexey Petrov, who was shot dead in the summer of 2023, had become a main topic of the meeting, shedding light on the activities of Bozhanov. MPs heard Ivayla Bakalova and Vesselin Denkov, who first told the Anti-Corruption Fund investigative organisation about Notary's activities three years ago. Mediapool.bg also highlights that surprising information was given by CC-DB MP Ivaylo Mirchev, who said that the Notary was probably in secret cooperation with the Third District Police Station in Sofia. The MPs decided to ask the Interior Ministry whether this information was correct.

Former deputy justice and interior minister Andrey Yankulov told BNR that “much of the time yesterday [Thursday] was devoted to ruling out any involvement of the former prime minister [Boyko Borissov] in the case by MPs on the committee," the former prosecutor noted. He said the focus was being diluted. According to Yankulov, there is no interest in the full unraveling of the case, and there is no proper system of control and counterweights on how functions are carried out in pre-trial proceedings

ENVIRONMENT

In a bTV interview, Environment and Water Minister Julian Popov said that he cannot say whether there are drifting mines in the Black Sea at the moment, but that one of his Ministry’s tasks is to monitor them. Popov, who was part of the official Bulgarian delegation in Ukraine. He explained that the war in Ukraine is a security issue across Europe and it has many dimensions. Popov’s participation in the delegation was related to Bulgaria, together with Germany and Finland, being a co-leader of ecological restoration and maintaining ecological security in Ukraine. Popov clarified that Bulgaria’s commitments are at the expert, political and coordination level. He stressed that the environmental damage due to the war is enormous, not only national, but also international.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

In a Nova TV interview investigative journalist Christo Grozev, who was part of the team of the documentary film Navalny, said of the late Russian opposition leader that he was learning every second and wanted to be informed on everything. "When Alexei Navalny left for Russia and when, after maybe 6 months of communication with him, he was locked up and thrown into prison, I missed that person. Because I had never met such an optimist, a person who was interested in every topic, who went into minute detail on subjects he first heard of. He wanted to know everything, foresee everything, help everyone",” Grozev said. Navalny was a person who could talk to anyone without being afraid to express his position and be politically incorrect. For him, freedom of speech was, perhaps, the greatest absolute good that humanity should strive for, Grozev stressed.

/YV/

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By 12:55 on 18.04.2024 Today`s news

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