Bulgaria News (Novinite)

Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) Real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news - economic, political and cultural, foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and world news.

  • Tension at Protest in Bulgaria: A Young Boy Hung a Banner "For Sale" on the Columns of the Party House
    on July 14, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    For several hours now, thousands of people have been chanting "Resignation" on the sixth day of anti-government protest in Bulgaria. The square echoes with the shouts of thousands of people. The protest passed peacefully and without provocation, until a young boy climbed the columns of the Party House and hung a banner that read "For Sale!" while the crowd of thousands applaused him. Tensions rose after police approached him, but a live chain guarded the boy and shouted "Every day will be like this, until victory!" Demonstrators threw bottles at the former Party House and smashed the windows on the right door. There is a thick cordon of police officers with helmets and shields around the building. Protesters chant "Janissaries" and "Mafia" Seconds after 10:30 p.m., the boy and his poster were taken down by police, and police prepared to defend the Party House from protesters. An ambulance arrived at the scene!   Народът срещу мафията, ден 6

  • Greece Can Still Test People on Borders Despite Declarations and Negative COVID-19 Tests
    on July 14, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    As of July 14th, Greek authorities have reinstated the system for filing declarations for tourists wishing to enter the country. Starting on July 15, the document must be accompanied by a negative test for Covid -19. The authenticity of the test, which must be translated into English, will be verified. In case of a fictitious document, the European legislation for forgery of a public certificate is applied, lawyers say. The certificate does not cancel the right of the Greek authorities to selectively test people entering the country. Tourists from all over Europe enter through the Kulata-Promachonas border crossing and that is why depending on their place of residence in recent weeks, some of them are tested for coronavirus./BNR.bg

  • Britain to Double Tuition Fees and Lose 120,000 EU Students After Brexit
    on July 14, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    United Kingdom universities could suffer a 25% drop in international students as a result of the government decision to end home student status for them in England, according to a new survey. Some 84% of prospective European Union (EU) students say they will ‘definitely not’ study in the UK if the decision means their tuition fees will be doubled. In addition, 56% of prospective students say they will be affected by the removal of access to student loans, which was also announced. The Netherlands and Germany could benefit as the most popular alternative destinations if UK fees become unaffordable. The survey followed the 23 June decision by the UK government to end home fee status for EU, other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals following Brexit. The change applies to students commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 and means they may no longer be charged the same tuition rates as domestic students.Loss of 120,000 students The findings of the survey carried out by study choice platform Study.eu could mean a loss of 120,000 students based on recent enrolments, equivalent to 25% of all non-UK students. The finding echoes a warning from the Higher Education Policy Institute last week that without making financial support available, the switch from home student status risks causing a steep decline in EU students studying at UK universities. Gerrit Bruno Blöss, CEO of Study.eu, commenting on the survey findings, said: “This is a lose-lose situation for everyone. It is unfortunate that the political process leads to such negative consequences for students and universities. We hope that some other solution can be found that would promote student mobility between the UK and the EU. “Beyond the already shocking numbers, British universities have to consider potential domino effects. Less diverse campuses might overall be less appealing to international students, regardless of fees charged.” UK and EU nationals currently pay tuition fees of up to £9,250 (€10,200 or US$11,500) per year for an undergraduate degree. The fees for international students vary from between £10,000 (€11,000) and £38,000 (€41,900) depending on the university and the degree. According to Study.eu, this would effectively mean an average fee increase of around 99%. Current international tuition fees for most university courses are set between 75% and 125% higher than home or EU fees. The organisation noted that even currently, with parity between fees for home and EU students, UK universities are already the “most expensive in Europe”. While EU citizens can find tuition-fee-free or substantially cheaper options in many countries across Europe, many continue to flock to the UK for its high reputation. However, with EU students charged higher amounts in the UK, it is expected that outbound British students will also be faced with higher tuition fees in countries like the Netherlands, Sweden or Finland. The survey asked students to rate how likely they would be to continue with their plans to study in the UK if fees were to rise by 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% or more; the latter serving as a proxy for the average fee premium charged from international students. At a 100% increase, 84% said they would “definitely not study in the UK”; only 1% said they would be unaffected by such fees, while 15% said they would be “less” or “much less likely” to study in the United Kingdom. At a 50% fee increase, still 61% said they would “definitely not” study in the UK, while 38% called it “less” or “much less likely”. According to Study.eu, in recent years, continental European universities have been increasing the number of English-taught courses, and more so since the Brexit referendum in 2016. UK potentially too expensive Some 49% of surveyed students said that, with the UK potentially becoming too expensive, they would consider studying in the Netherlands, long a frontrunner for university internationalisation, according to Study.eu. Other popular alternatives include the mostly tuition-fee-free Germany (36% of respondents), France (19%), Ireland (16%) and Sweden (14%). Higher-fee destinations such as the United States, Canada or Australia were only seen by few as alternatives. Universities in the UK largely rely for revenue on tuition fees charged from international students. The potential loss of earnings from EU students will follow an already critical situation, with the coronavirus pandemic seriously impeding international recruitment. Many universities will be forced to react in the coming months and years, Study.eu said. “We will see a range of reactions,” Blöss said. “Most universities have been overhauling their marketing and recruitment campaigns for a while. After all, the announcement did not come unexpectedly.” He said universities may shift focus to more affluent origin countries. “At the same time, some are planning to open satellite campuses in continental Europe, to offer degree programmes in transnational education settings. A few institutions are also evaluating potential legal loopholes to charge different fees.” The survey was conducted from 23 to 28 June 2020 among 2,505 respondents who are nationals of the EU and indicated plans to study in the UK to obtain a bachelor or masters degree, in a sample representative of nationalities and study levels of EU students in the UK as of 2018-19. Blöss said: “Britain’s universities have a lot to offer, but they are facing strong competition on the continent. If they want to continue to attract students from the EU, they will need to communicate their excellent value proposition and make it clear that EU students are still welcome.”/ universityworldnews.com

  • Fuel Crisis in Venezuela
    on July 14, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Long queues at gas stations around the country underscore Venezuela's continuing fuel shortages, despite Iran stepping in to help its Latin American ally with a major fuel shipment last month. "Iranian petrol is an illusion that has lasted a month," driver Nestor Hernandez told AFP in Maracaibo, the country's second-largest city. He said he still had to queue for hours at petrol stations in the city that once was Venezuela's booming oil capital, where long lines, sleepless nights and anxiety have now become the norm for those seeking fuel. Despite enormous reserves, oil-producing Venezuela is experiencing a serious fuel shortage, exacerbated by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. "The gasoline never arrived," says Pedro Perales, a resident of Puerto Ordaz in the eastern state of Bolivar, which borders Brazil. He said he spent two days straight, including the night, in his car waiting his turn to fill up with gas. Even then, he could only get half a tank, the quota per vehicle. Up until 2018, Venezuela was sending 500,000 barrels per day to the United States alone, and received in return 120,000 bpd of light oil, diluents and fuel-producing supplies. Sanctions, however, have forced Venezuela -- which used to refine enough oil for its own needs -- to turn to allies such as Iran to alleviate a desperate gasoline shortage. Tehran duly sent five tankers in May, laden with 1.5 million barrels of fuel, additives, spare parts and other materials.The situation improved initially at gas stations with dollarized prices in several regions, but it did not take long for kilometer-long (half a mile-long) queues to form again. The exception is Caracas: service stations in the capital are functioning normally again after running dry in March, during the first weeks of the coronavirus lockdown. - Price hike - The socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro increased fuel prices on June 1. In a country where fuel has been practically free, a liter of high-octane gasoline rose to 50 cents, though subsidies have been maintained within strict consumption and registration limits. The country is almost entirely dependent on oil exports for revenues, but production has fallen to roughly a quarter of its 2008 level as Venezuela enters its sixth year in recession. Maduro's government blames the loss in production on US sanctions, including those levied against the state oil company PDVSA, but many analysts say the regime has failed to invest in or maintain infrastructure. Venezuela's oil production, which reached 3.2 million barrels a day 12 years ago, is collapsing. Analysts expect the monthly report of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), due on Tuesday, to reflect a further drop after Venezuelan output fell below 600,000 bpd last month. Its refining system has disintegrated along with production. With capacity to process 1.3 mpd, it was barely ticking over at 12 percent of its potential in the first quarter of 2020, according to industry sources. - 'A death foretold' - Ezio Angelini, head of the Maracaibo Chamber of Commerce, said what's happening at the gas stations in his city "is the chronicle of a death foretold." "We are going back to the queues," said Angelini. "We knew this would happen, because Venezuela is not producing gasoline or is producing very little." The United States -- which maintains sanctions against Venezuela and its oil in an attempt to displace Maduro -- has challenged Iran's shipments, but Caracas and Tehran have said that they will continue. The US Justice Department issued a warrant on July 2 to seize the cargoes of four tankers on their way to Venezuela, tying the shipments to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, which Washington calls a terror group. Sustaining gasoline imports will be complicated, says economist Jose Manuel Puente, a professor at the Public Policy Center at the Institute of Higher Studies in Administration. "There is no cash flow," he told AFP, because of the drop in vital oil exports, and at the same time, the pressure for sanctions will increase./AFP

  • Ryanair Flight Made an Emergency Landing After a Bomb Scare
    on July 14, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    A Ryanair flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a note warning explosives were on board was found in the toilets. RAF Typhoon fighter jets were sent to intercept the aircraft travelling from Krakow to Dublin after the alert was raised on Monday evening. After landing safely on the runway at London Stansted Airport, police oversaw the evacuation of the plane in an isolated area. Essex Police described the incident only as a “security alert” and said officers were still investigating. However Ryanair said that the diversion of the Boeing 737-800 was prompted by the discovery of “a note in one of the toilets claiming that there were explosives on board”. “The captain followed procedure by alerting the UK authorities and diverted to the nearest airport where the plane landed normally, but was taxied to a remote stand where passengers disembarked safely,” a spokesperson for the airline said. “The aircraft and passengers are being checked by the UK police who will decide when they may travel onwards to Dublin on a spare aircraft. “Passengers in Dublin waiting to depart to Krakow are being transferred to a spare aircraft to minimise any delay to their flight. “Ryanair apologises sincerely for the delay and inconvenience caused to those affected by this diversion”. The Ministry of Defence confirmed that two Typhoons were dispatched from RAF Coningsby to “inspect” a Ryanair passenger flight. ”It was all escorted escorted safely and there were no issues after that point,” a spokesperson added. Essex Police said in a statement at 9pm: “We have now safely brought off all the passengers from the plane. The plane remains in an isolated area at Stansted and our enquiries are ongoing.”/independent.co.uk

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