site.btaMedia Review: April 25

Media Review: April 25
Media Review: April 25
BTA Photo

No single topic dominates Thursday’s news media.

HIGHLIGHTS 

On its front page, 24 Chasa writes about the motion for the resignation of Parliament Chair Rosen Zhelyazkov included as the first item on the National Assembly agenda at its penultimate session on Thursday ahead of Easter recess and the concurrent snap parliamentary and European elections on June 9. The motion for Zhelyazkov’s resignation was submitted by Continue the Change – Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) on Wednesday and was backed by BSP for Bulgaria MPs. The daily says that the move can be regarded as "a litmus test for a new majority after the elections". Earlier, the Vazrazhdane party also proposed that Zhelyazkov be removed from his post, but their initiative did not garner enough support.

On Thursday, the motion was backed by the votes of 129 MPs of CC-DB, BSP for Bulgaria, Vazrazhdane, and There Is Such a People, and opposed by 103 MPs of GERB-UDF and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF).

24 Chasa gives front-page prominence to a story titled "Saharan Dust Transforms Athens Into Mars". The daily reports that the Greek capital was engulfed by an orange haze as clouds of dust have blown in from the Sahara desert. It is one of the worst such episodes to hit Greece since March 21-22, 2018, when another blaze broke out on Crete, according to officials.

Trud leads on an article headlined “Traffic Police Officers Lie to Motorists About Fines Being Twice as High”. The daily reports of a scam involving traffic police officers, who lie to motorists during roadside checks about many of the fines having doubled or tripled since the beginning of April in accordance with a Council of Ministers decision. Trud recalls that at its last meeting on April 3, former Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov's cabinet adopted a bill amending and supplementing the Road Traffic Act, proposing fines for some offences to be raised by 50%, and to be doubled or tripled for others. The bill has been submitted to the National Assembly but has not yet been considered.

Telegraph’s leading story writes about a rising number of Romanian pickpockets on public transport. The daily adds that Bulgarian pickpockets tend to operate in parks, shopping centres, and large stores. Citing investigators from the General Directorate of the National Police, Telegraph writes that pickpocketing has been on the rise with the Easter holiday in sight. The largest number of pickpocketing cases are recorded in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas. Vulnerable elderly people and children are often the main targets.

Duma’s front-page headline says: “Pertussis Epidemic Looms in Bulgaria”. The daily quotes Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev as saying that a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic is expected to be declared by the end of the week because of the growing number of people infected. There are currently nearly 400 cases reported, and the peak time of infection is expected in May, caretaker Health Minister Galya Kondeva notes. About 70% of the patients are in Sofia, but there are people infected in almost half of the country’s regions.

 

POLITICS

Speaking on the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) morning programme, Central Election Commission Chair Kameliya Neykova talked about possible challenges ahead of the elections on June 9.

On Nova TV’s morning programme, political scientist and ex-MEP Svetoslav Malinov, sociologist Andrey Raychev, and social anthropologist Haralan Aleksandrov discussed whether a stable government can be formed after the snap parliamentary elections in Bulgaria and which parties and coalitions will enter the next parliament, among other topics.

24 Chasa carries an article about Bulgarian MEP Elena Yoncheva’s nomination for another term in the European Parliament that has been put forward by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The topic is also covered by other dailies and Mediapool.bg. In an interview with the Bulgarian National Radio, Yoncheva said that she has been working with the MRF MEPs, who are part of the Renew Europe group in the EP, "on all issues that practically concern Bulgaria", and she is familiar with their stances.

On bTV’s morning programme, Kostadin Paskalev, chairman of the Left coalition, commented on the announcement made by the runner-up in the 2023 Sofia mayoral elections, Vanya Grigorova, that she will be running for the national parliament together with the Bulgarian Solidarity coalition, of which the Left is part. The Left coalition rushed to distance itself from Grigorova. "We were approached by Vanya Grigorova. We did not initiate her participation in the elections. She asked to speak with us," Paskalev said on bTV, adding that they were offered "conditions that were not acceptable" to them. He also commented on Yoncheva’s nomination, saying that "what is happening in MRF is not the will of the voters, but the will of Delyan Peevski. The major problem of the MRF is one of its leaders, Delyan Peevski”.

 

ECONOMY

In an extensive interview with 24 Chasa, economist Krasen Stanchev discusses a statement made by International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva that the 10% flat tax should be replaced with progressive income taxation since the latter "makes it possible for society to share a country's resources more successfully". Stanchev says that “the good thing about frequent elections [in Bulgaria] is that they postpone the IMF proposals concerning flat tax". He adds that "progressive taxation implies that some are more equal than others and incites conflict between different income groups, which is a kind of ‘class conflict’".

 

TOURISM

Telegraph quotes United Business Clubs Association President Vesselin Halachev as saying that a shortage of 30,000 workers in the tourism sector is registered ahead of the summer season. The biggest demand is for hotel housekeepers, waiters, and kitchen staff. Halachev notes that some businesses may go bankrupt because of the labour shortage.

Veselin Nalbantov, Deputy Chair of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, also discussed the topic of labour shortage in a BNR interview. He said that qualified personnel tend to leave to work abroad because of the higher wages. Nalbantov noted that foreign workers should be introduced, giving Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and India as examples of countries that can provide a workforce for the sector.

 

HEALTH

Trud has an extensive interview with pulmonologist and pediatrician Nataliya Gabrovska, who answers common questions about symptoms, diagnosis, risk, and prevention for pertussis. The highly contagious respiratory infection became a hot topic in Bulgaria after news of two infants infected with pertussis having died in April.

Interviewed on the Bulgarian National Radio, National Asociation of General Practitioners in Bulgaria President Lyubomir Kirov said that "a pertussis pandemic is out of the question".

Commenting on the topic on BNT's morning programme, pediatric pulmonologist Snezhina Lazova also allayed public concerns. In her words, pertussis is not an enigma, a disease that "we are encountering for the first time. Pediatricians know it well; there have always been cases of pertussis, mainly in infants, but with a much lower incidence. This increase in diagnosed cases is also due to the very rapid diagnostics improved with the introduction of PCR tests".

***

Telegraph writes that some 100 people are fined annually for refusing compulsory vaccination for their children. Dr. Kremena Parmakova, head of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Department at the Health Ministry, says that the BGN 50 initial fine should be increased in order to act as a deterrent. In the same story, Trud quotes Bulgarian Society for Innovative Medicine Director Valeri Tzekov as saying that the Human Papillomavirus vaccination programme could be halted because of the low interest in getting the jab. According to Tzekov, more than 1,000 women of childbearing age die every year because they were not vaccinated.

 

EDUCATION

In a two-page interview with Telepgraph, Yanka Takeva, head of the Bulgarian Union of Teachers, discusses well-being and a positive school environment for teachers and non-teaching educational staff after a national conference on this topic was organized by her organization on Wednesday. Takeva notes that Bulgaria has the best school environment in the Balkans, and there has been an increased interest in the pedagogy courses in Bulgarian universities in recent years. That being said, the interviewee points out that young teachers tend to leave the system when they are faced with poor discipline in the classroom and mistreatment on the part of parents. Takeva says that more efforts should be put into education improvement in the Targovishte Region where there is a high number of children from at-risk backgrounds. Sofia, Plovdiv, and Smolyan are among the regions that can serve as positive examples when it comes to education quality.

Duma cites the results from a national survey conducted by the Podkrepa Education Trade Union on the teaching profession’s social status and the factors that attract or drive teachers away from educational institutions. The daily points out that 90.7 % of the 4,150 respondents believe that the increase in their salaries does not match teachers’ increasing responsibilities.

Trud also has a story on this topic.

 

THE REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

24 Chasa writes about the presidential elections in the Republic of North Macedonia, which took place on Wednesday. Citing the results of a poll conducted by a local NGO, the daily notes that Social Democratic Union of Macedonia candidate Stevo Pendarovski, who is running for a second presidential term, and VMRO-DPMNE’s candidate Gordana Siljanovska will face off in the May 8 runoff. The topic is covered by other dailies as well. Telegraph reports that the election campaign was “marked by anti-Bulgarian rhetoric”.

The BNT morning programme held a discussion on the elections with journalist and long-time correspondent from Skopje Kostadin Filipov.

 

CULTURE

24 Chasa quotes Laura Cumming, the Observer's art critic named critic of the year at the Press Awards 2024, as saying in an article published in The Guardian that Bulgaria’s "The Neighbours" is among the top 10 must-see projects at the 60th Venice Biennale. "The greatest revelation was a remote pavilion on the water’s edge opposite Giudecca, where artists and historians have found a way to bring forth a hidden chapter of Bulgaria’s past,” Cumming wrote. “What you hear is the testimony of the last survivors of a communist forced labour camp on a Bulgarian island that only closed in 1989,” she adds, and goes on to describe the project created by Krasimira Butseva, Lilia Topouzova, and Julian Chehirian as "the most delicate and elegiac expression of a terrible history".

***

Telegraph has a story about Bulgarian actor Julian Kostov, who has been cast in Season 3 of the HBO series "The White Lotus". Kostov has also appeared in the series "Alex Rider", "Berlin Station", "Temple", "A Discovery of Witches", and Christopher Menaul’s drama "Another Mother’s Son", to name a few. The daily writes that Kostov has also tried his hand at directing, with his $4,000 short film "Red Market" expected to be released soon.

/IV/

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By 10:51 on 18.05.2024 Today`s news

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