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What's Happening in Bulgaria

After her award winning documentary, the maker, Kate Blewett, came back to Bulgaria to witness changes in the plight of the young people from Mogilino orphanage. The BBC website reports in full on her original film 'Bulgaria's Abandoned Children' and covers her return to the country. After her first film, Unicef was made responsible by the Bulgarian government, for finding placements for all the children of the institute. Her latest follow-up documentary was recently broadcast on BBC Four.

 

The BBC site goes on to add that when Kate Blewett returned this year she says she "witnessed the miraculous improvements that can happen in badly-damaged children when decent care is finally given to them". If you would like to read the full report, visit the BBC website directly 'New Lives for Bulgaria's Abandoned Children'


The Gloucestershire Gazette has a hearwarming story on Bulgarian orphans, but this time about a Brit from Thornbury who has spent twelve months helping. Mr Greatbach who is unemployed has been assisting young Bulgarians at Stob who are in an orphanage there. He is also an artist and spent much of his time brightening up the halls of the orphanage with drawings of fairytale characters for the kids.


A recent interesting report for expats and those considering moving to Bulgaria looks at "Replacing GB with BG", and can be found on the internet site of the Association of Bulgarian Chevening Scholars. The site gives a summy of the findings and the full report can be downloaded as a pdf file. The survey is not quite up to date, covering late summer 2007 but does give a good insight into Brits living in Bulgaria. The main results suggest that their is no aggression to foreigners from locals, although they did note that some Bulgarians don't care for the behaviour of some of the Britons.

An interesting note is that it threw out the old myth that it is only the poor and pensioners who have bought property and live in Bulgaria, remarking how many people of an active age come to the country along with their children. Also, other positive indications came through -  the Brits don't remain in enclosed enclaves of their own compatriots, such as has happened in France and Spain but rather show a keen interest in the local culture and even learning enough of the language to mix in with neighbours and watch Bulgarian tv. Spain was seen as a 'fish and chips' country and too commercial. Bulgaria was perceived as good value for money and the best quality of all is 'the Bulgarians'!

To read more of the survey and download the pdf, visit the Association of Bulgarian Chevening Scholars at www.bg-chevening.org/node/11



Whilst Bulgaria has produced a bumper grape crop this year due to excellent climatic conditions, the grape producers are gloomy. Grape production went up from just over 369 thousand tons last year to 400 thousand this year but wine sales have slumped meaning that wineries aren't buying the volume they were. Small grape producers are being particularly hard hit as the larger wineries are producing more of their own grapes. Having invested in planting vineyards, these are now coming to the time to start bearing fruit. The National Vine and Wine Organisation reported that this year the wineries are likely to cut half of their volume of grapes bought from small growers and believe that over the coming years these wineries will be able to cover their entire production with their own grapes.

Property tax (council tax) is due to go up in Bulgaria. The government agreed for the tax to be raised from 0.2% to 0.25% of the property value. Whether this will result in actual higher taxes will be up to the individual council to decide as it is they who set the rate at which the percentage is applied.

The Buy Association lists five top countries to beat the euro for those buying property. Bulgaria is listed in the top five, not having adopted the euro currency. The site says that for those not looking for buy to let and making money from rental income that there are "some absolute gargains on resales of newly-completed projects" but advises Bulgarian property buyers to ensure they will get all of the amenities they think are being offered. It goes on to add "you could land a property for a very reasonable price". The other countries included are Hungary, Czech Republic, Turkey and Croatia.

It's pretty unbelievable but Peterboroughtoday has an article on a spate of thefts of wheelie bins, advising people in the area to "lock up their bins". Apparently the black market in the bins is on the rise, with thieves stealing them and selling them on to desperate householders cheaper than the price the council charges. Of the 2,500 bins stolen in Peterborough during a 12 month period, apparently two were found in Bulgaria! It's wheelie bad.