To keep you posted on latest developments in Bulgaria, here is up-to-date news reported by Sofia News Agency.

1/4 of the Purchases of Properties in Sofia are For Investment Purposes

Nearly one-seventh of the population of Sofia is actively interested in the property market. 7.8% of people intend to get involved in it within two years.

A quarter of the market purchases will be made for investment, according to a study by the Antre agency, among 1625 users.

This fact should also lead to a possible increase in the number of rental properties offered in the future. 44% of investors are looking for a one-bedroom apartment in the regions Mladost, Iztok, Lozenets, Vitosha and Center. At the same time, a fifth of consumers have made an investment, they would like to get out of their investment after the first year.

The survey also shows that 40% of consumers with an interest in the property market are waiting for a moment to get involved. One of the main reasons is the discrepancy in expectations about price levels. This is visible from the active buyer's budgets to those of the pending customers. The first group is ready to divide by about 20,000 euros more than the second one, ranging from 50,000 to 110,000 euros and from 30,000 to 90,000 euros respectively. For buyers of a home for private use, the Geo Milev, Mladost, East, Gotse Delchev and Dianabad districts are most attractive.

In the coming years, the secondary market sellers are expected to be active mainly in properties in the districts of Druzhba, Mladost and the central regions of Sofia.

Rental rents are expected to be in the range of 300-400 euros for housing up to 80 sq.m.

The projections are to keep the dynamics of the market at least by 2020, even achieving a growth of about 15% if the trend of population growth, drop in unemployment, employment growth and retention of loan interest rates are maintained, data show .

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9 People were Injured in a Minibus and Tram Accident in Sofia

At 7:30 am a minibus and a tram hit each other at the intersection of the metropolitan boulevards "Nikola Petkov" and "Tsar Boris III", BNT reported referring to the Ministry of Interior. According to initial data, 9 people have been injured, confirmed by "Police in the world and in our country".

Two of the victims were men aged 40 and 49 and were taken to the MMA for examination, the press center of the hospital reported. The other 7 are in Pirogov and are also being examined. The traffic in the area of the junction is temporarily hampered and regulated by a patrol.

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Ivaylo Moskovski: By the End of the Year the Debts of BDZ must be Repaid

The World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development analyzes for the concession of Sofia Airport are expected to close by a month.

This was announced by the Minister of Transport in front of BNT.

According to Ivaylo Moskovski after the analyzes, the concession procedure for the Sofia Airport will be restarted. By the end of the year, most of BDZ's debts are expected to be repaid, Ivaylo Moskovski added.

"Such a company can not have any obligations. But for the most part, the company's overdue obligations will be paid. At the same time, we also start the procedure for delivering new rolling stock. Preliminary studies made by colleagues at three universities showed a level of rolling stock to be purchased as a first step. They are distributed - regional, intercity, suburban trains, "Ivaylo Moskovski said.

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The Cheapest Holiday Destination for 2018? Bulgaria.

The cheapest holiday destination for 2018? According to the Post Office’s annual survey of on-the-ground costs, it’s offbeat Bulgaria.

After comparing prices in 42 destinations, for typical travel purchases such as drinks in local bars and restaurant meals, the Black Sea resort of Sunny Beach supplanted the Algarve as the top option for budget breaks.

The total cost of the items came to just under 38, on average, in the Bulgarian summer favourite, around 5 less than its nearest rival, Tokyo. The Algarve, where the bill came to a little over 44, slipped to third overall, while Prague and Cape Town completed the top five.

Propping up the table was Singapore, where the items were found to cost almost 154, on average, followed by Dubai, Oman, Barbados and Rio de Janeiro.

The Post Office’s Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, released every January, doesn’t take into account hotel and flight prices – and, of course, it is possible to find costly meals in Bulgaria and budget ones in Singapore. But it does offer some guidance to where British travellers will find their pound stretching furthest.

At a Glance/The cheapest and costliest destinations for 2018

DestinationCost of eight essential holiday purchases*
Bulgaria (Sunny Beach) 37.92
Japan (Tokyo) 43.14
Portugal (Algarve) 44.25
Czech Republic (Prague) 53.40
South Africa (Cape Town) 54.95
Spain (Costa del Sol) 55.20
Turkey (Marmaris) 55.65
Cyprus (Paphos) 57.72
Hungary (Budapest) 65.39
Vietnam (Hoi An) 65.85
Indonesia (Bali) 66.61
Kenya (Mombasa) 66.77
Dominican Republic (Punta Cana) 67.46
USA (Orlando) 71.82
Sri Lanka (Colombo) 72.12
Malaysia (Penang) 76.21
Greece (Corfu) 77.83
Malta (Sliema) 78.46
Mexico (Cancun) 80.70
Costa Rica (Tamarindo) 81.48
Thailand (Phuket) 86.27
Italy (Sorrento) 91.47
USA (New York) 95.88
Mauritius (Grand Baie) 96.03
St Lucia (Rodney Bay) 99.61
South Korea (Seoul) 103.11
New Zealand (Auckland) 104.80
Jamaica (Montego Bay) 105.53
France (Nice) 106.45
Canada (Vancouver) 106.46
Peru (Lima) 109.81
Tobago 111.54
Antigua (Jolly Beach) 114.18
Australia (Darwin) 120.30
China (Beijing) 126.38
Chile (Santiago) 137.28
Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) 138.59
Barbados (St Lawrence Gap) 139.29
Oman (Muscat) 141
Dubai (Jumeirah) 141.23
Singapore (China Town) 153.72

*Items are a coffee from a local cafe, a beer, a soft drink and a glass of wine from a local bar, a large bottle of mineral water, suncream and insect repellent from a local supermarket, and a three-course evening meal, including wine, at a local restaurant. Source: Post Office.

Overall, the picture is fairly positive for UK travellers in 2018 – compared with last year, at least. Sterling has strengthened against 70 per cent of the Post Office’s 40 best selling foreign currencies since January 2017, when it was still in the post-referendum doldrums, helping to decrease holiday costs in many destinations.

The biggest falls were found in long-haul locations such as Dubai, where prices are down 36 per cent, and New Zealand (down 27 per cent). The Caribbean is offering far better value too, with a drop in prices reported in St Lucia, Antigua (both down 31 per cent), Jamaica (down 27 per cent) and the Dominican Republic (down 26 per cent).

Hoi An in Vietnam (down 21 per cent) and Cape Town (down 16 per cent) are among the other places where the pound is going further in 2018.

While eight of the 10 cheapest destinations are found in Europe, budget travellers might consider steering clear of Italy, 23rd overall, and France, 30th overall. China, Chile and Australia also appear towards the lower end of the ranking.

Why go to Sunny Beach?

A fair question. Besides low prices, what can one expect from the Bulgarian Riviera? Is it worth the potential savings?

“It’s cheap and cheerful, with some fairly rough-and-ready communist-era concrete constructions,” said Telegraph Travel’s Adrian Bridge, following a visit to the resort of Varna, just north of Sunny Beach. “But there are some nice cafs and restaurants. We drank a couple of beers (1.30 for the two) and ordered fish fresh from the Black Sea. Over a shopska salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta-style cheese), I was introduced to the pleasures of rakia, a fruit-based schnapps.”

Varna’s other attractions include the beautiful Sea Gardens, modelled on the Baroque palace gardens of Schnbrunn and Belvedere in Vienna, the lavish Cathedral of the Assumption, an open-air theatre, an aquarium, a planetarium, a “bizarre” little naval museum, a well-preserved old town, and, of course, the sea itself: “I took a dip and experienced the strange sweetness of the Black Sea,” recalled Bridge. “It has barely any salt.”

He adds: “It’s still a working port and in addition to a sea of cranes I spot cargo ships. It lends the beach itself a certain hardness that may not appeal to all holidaymakers (most of whom anywa... more

The Prosecutor's Office is Investigating the Admission of Foreign Students at Medical University Sofia

The specialized prosecutor's office is investigating the activities of an organized criminal group that has committed documentary crimes related to the admission of foreign students at the Medical University in Sofia. This was announced by the Press Office of the Fiscal Agency of Appeal Specialized Prosecutor's Office.

Yesterday, searches and seizures of documentation were carried out on the territory of Sofia, which was analyzed, witnesses were questioned. The CCBOP and SANS participated in the action. According to unofficial information on Friday, citizens of non-EU countries have been pro forma in order to start work in other spheres afterwards. Their purpose was to apply for citizenship without spending a day at the university. On its website, the university has announced that the annual fee for non-EU citizens is 7,000 euros if the training is in Bulgarian and 8,000 in English.

The former Rector of the University Vanyo Mitev was accused of the illegal admission of foreign students. The scheme was set in the audit of the Ministry of Education in 2016. Mitev was subsequently accused of deliberately allowing his subordinate chief secretary at Alexey Alekseev to commit an offense in office by allowing 146 foreigners from EU countries to be enrolled to follow medicine without having complied with statutory written competition examinations in biology and chemistry. According to the Prosecutor's Office, these students paid much less for training and the university was penalized by BGN 1.1 million.

Alekseev is also accused of an unprofitable deal with an intermediary to attract foreign students to outsiders. After the revelations in the audit of the Ministry of Education at the end of 2016 about violations of the mandate of the former Rector Prof. Vanyo Mitev, circles close to him initiated the replacement of the then rector Vihara Milanova, who took a course to overcome the vicious practices of previous years.

In the subsequent "coup", which was also the subject of judicial battles, the university was headed by Prof. Victor Zlatkov and the governing bodies were mastered by people close to Vanyo Mitev. According to acquaintances after the change of office at the higher school, the vicious policy of admitting foreign students has continued.

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Agency for Road Infrastructure: The Roads are Clean

The road surfaces are wet, partially snow-covered and icy but treated, the Road Infrastructure Agency reported.

Reduced visibility due to fog has up to 50 m in the areas of Hemus, Tran and 100 m in the districts of Silistra, Razgrad and the districts of Blagoevgrad and Dobrinishte, Apriltsi - district Lovech, Bogdanovo and Radnevo in Stara Zagora region.

This morning temperatures are in the range of - 10 ° to + 3 °. The weather over the country is mostly cloudy. Low to moderate winds in the regions of Targovishte, Razgrad, Plovdiv, Sofia, Smolyan and Shumen.

Later in the day it will rain again. In the northwestern and mountainous regions snow will fall and in the rest of the country - rain. The wind will be orientated from the southeast to moderate. Minimum temperatures will be between minus 4 and 1 degrees, maximum 2 - 7 degrees. During the night, the rainfall will increase, the more significant will be in the Pre-Balkan and the Rhodope region. There will be more cold air.

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Over BGN 41 Million Granted for Repairs in Sofia

More than BGN 41 million will be provided for repairs in Sofia under the Operational Program "Regions in Growth" for a total project worth more than BGN 46 million. Two key areas in the capital will be modernized. One is the so-called Golden Sofia - the space between "Georgi S. Rakovski" Str., "Moskovska" Street, "Vasil Levski" Square and others. The second zone covers Graf Ignatiev Street with adjacent squares. These places will be connected in a common system with identical urban design.

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Merkel in Sofia: I Welcome Borissov's Initiative for EC-Turkey Meeting

"We expect a lot from the Bulgarian Presidency. It is well prepared by the Bulgarian government. The motto "United we stand strong" is what we all need in the European Union." This was announced by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

"Bulgaria can do a lot for its good neighborly relations. We talked about good neighborly relations and, in particular, we touched upon the theme of the EU-Western Balkans summit. We can rely on the rule in Bulgaria, we fully share the goals of the Bulgarian Presidency, "Merkel said. "We see the prospect of accession of the countries of the Western Balkans.

This accession must be based on the fulfillment of criteria, "the chancellor is categorical. She stressed that we need to facilitate the connectivity process, enable people to connect with roads and railways. During the talks, Turkey was touched on. "We thank Bulgaria for how it keeps our common border, especially the Bulgarian-Turkish border," Merkel said. "I welcome the initiative of Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov together with the President of the European Commission to meet with the President of Turkey and to talk openly on all issues," said the Federal Chancellor.

"We have been discussing for a long time the question of Bulgaria's accession to Schengen. We see what efforts Bulgaria is making and supporting. I can not say a specific date for the country's accession to Schengen, "Merkel said. She welcomed the idea of building a gas hub in Varna to diversify natural gas supplies to Europe.

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The Kindergartens in Varna Offer Free Training in all Kinds of Sports

Varna Municipality continues its program of initial education of children in all sports. Training in the first months is free, BNT reported. One of the most popular sports is swimming. In many kindergartens, swimming pools have been built so that children can be taught.

At the Kalina Malina Kindergarten children aged 4 to 7 learn to swim for the fifth year. The training is twice a week and takes place in the new hull with a pool. All requirements for swimming lessons are met. Samples are taken regularly and the water is examined. There is a coach and a rescuer. The maintenance of the pool is borne by the municipality, explains Petranka Nikolova, head of the garden.

A few days ago, in Sofia, an initiative committee of the Sofia School of Sports had submitted a petition to the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova against the intent of the 153th Neofit Rilski School to take over the swimming pool in the school, which is private. Parents also gathered signatures against the plans to take the pool under the leadership of the school that plans to open a swimming class.

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New Influenza Virus was Detected in Bulgaria

A new influenza virus was detected in Bulgaria. Yesterday, the National Reference Laboratory at the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases has demonstrated in four samples from the Sliven region a new strain of group B virus - "Victoria". Of the 300 samples tested, there were 100 positive results, indicating an epidemic spread. 84% are from group B, which is surprising - most of them are from the Yamagata strain. The 12 strains are group "A". This was announced by Professor Todor Kantardzhiev, Director of the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, before the Bulgarian National Television.

There is a complication in group B that affects the central nervous system. Prof. Kantardjiev urged hospital directors to be ready in the neurological wards to accept such cases.

Areas with increased data on diseases - Sofia, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Sliven and Bourgas. There must be carefully monitored the instructions of the Center for infectious and parasitic diseases, the expert also said. According to him, the vigorous beginning of the flu should be carefully monitored, not to underestimate the symptoms and seek medical attention.

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In 60 Schools in the Country the Classes are Stopped

The classes in 60 schools in the country are stopped. The reasons are bad weather, poor traffic conditions, faults in the heating system, disrupted power supply or high number of sick students due to the flu, reported the Ministry of Education and Science.

It is expected tomorrow the number of schools to be forced to increase, as a flu epidemic was announced in Pazardzhik on Thursday and the children will not be in school from 19 to 23 January. Flu holidays is announced for the children from 40 schools in the Pernik district for 18 and 19 January. Due to poor weather and poor traffic conditions in 3 schools in Sliven district, the classes are suspended on January 18th. They are in several villages in the municipality of Tvarditsa. In Smolyan District two educational institutions - in the villages of Momchilovtsi and Smilyan are closed due to the bad weather. Because of the lack of electricity, the classes were stopped at a school in the Razgrad district, one in the Sofia region, two in the Stara Zagora region. There are more closed schools in Plovdiv, Dobrich and Pazardjik, and the reasons are the bad weather and the impassable roads.

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Fifth Protest in Defense of Pirin Block "Orlov Bridge" in the Capital

Thousands gathered for the fifth consecutive protest in defense of the Pirin Nature Park in Sofia tonight. The protest procession went from Nezavisimost Square to the Council of Ministers building and continued to Orlov Bridge.

People chanted: "Resignation!" and "Mafia". The motto of the campaign is "Protect Pirin". With shouts: "Pirin is in trouble, save it now!" protesters insisted on reconsidering the decision of the Council of Ministers of December 28, which effectively allowed for new construction on the territory of 48% of the National Park.

Protestors once again insisted on the resignation of Minister of Environment Neno Dimov. The third point in the protesters' demands is for the state to say "Who holds" Yulen ", the concessionaire of the Bansko ski area, officially owned by an unemployed Cypriot citizen, with the exclamation of" Who holds Yulen? "Who is paid - he holds Yulen.", added News.bg.

Protests against the government decision are being held in another 30 cities in the country, as well as in eight European cities. They come a day after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov was attacked in the European Parliament that the protection of Pirin National Park is over and on the day when the Prime Minister announced at the cabinet meeting that " there is no greener than the current government" .

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Leader of ATAKA: I am Not Sure if I will Support the Upcoming Mistrust Vote

Is there a disagreement with the ruling coalition? Or rather in one of its constituent parts. The leader of the Political Party ATAKA  and of the parliamentary group of the United Patriots Volen Siderov may not vote in favor of the government of the upcoming mistrust vote, submitted two days ago by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). This is what he said to iNews, as well as to Alfa TV. "I'm still not sure how I will vote during the vote. It is very possible to support it. For me there are a lot of  cases of corruption in Bulgaria, and  this government should think about whether it should go on like this, "Siderov pointed out.

He stressed, however, that he spoke only as leader of his political party. Siderov noted that  life of Bulgarian citizens is not improving. That is why the ruling government should also consider whether to continue a policy that does not lead to the results that Siderov believes should be achieved.

The attack of the Ataka leader comes after it became clear that the regional ministry is trying to transfer the management of the wall of the dam ''Beli Iskar''  to Sofia district governor Ilian Todorov, who is also from ATAKA. The facility needs urgent repair for milions, which the District Government does not have. A dam with a wall in such a state is extremely dangerous for humans. ''We have witnessed not two or three tragedies because of torn walls of dams in Bulgaria'', he further said.

"I will not leave the games of some GERB ministers or some lobbyist circles. I would like to ask them why they are transferring a dam to a district administration with an annual budget of BGN 1 million, in case that only the emergency repair of the wall costs BGN 80 million. In this way, they aim to put Ilian Todorov on, make him guilty and wash their hands with him. Minister Nikolay Nankov, Minister Nino Dimov and Deputy Minister Denitsa Nikolova, who signed the order for the transfer of the dam, will have to answer our questions until the case has been clarified. We care about the lives of people, "Siderov said.

"It does not matter that we are coalition partners with GERB. Coalition partners must be respected. In this case we not only have no respect, but we have a literal mockery with the district governor Ilian Todorov simply because he is from our political party. I turn to Prime Minister Borisov and to the chairman of the GERB parliamentary group Tsvetan Tsvetanov that we will not leave this to continue like  that. On Thursday, when the vote of no confidence in the government is in plenary, I do not know how to vote. I do not know if this government deserves confidence in the way it behaves towards those who hold it in power'', Siderov angry noted.

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