Bulgaria Reports Foreign Tourists Growth

3 settimane ago

Bulgaria registered a growth of 7.3% in the number of foreign tourists for the period January-November 2017 compared to the same period a year earlier, National Statistics Instutute said on 29th of December, quoted by the Bulgarian National Television.  For the 11 months of the year, the country was visited by 8,425,620 foreign tourists. The largest number of tourists were from Greece, Romania, Germany, Turkey, Russia and Macedonia.

More than 1,060,000 tourists from Greece visited Bulgaria, which is a growth of over 8% compared to the same period last year. More than 12% is the increase of tourists from Turkey.

Tourists from Romania were 1,054,170.

The tourists from Germany were more than 853,120, which is an increase of over 5%, according to the statistics.

Only in November, the total number of foreign tourists visiting Bulgaria was 399,517.

"The figures are exceptionally good. If we keep this growth rate, we stand a real chance of exceeding 9 million tourists on an annual basis. That would be a record and we will work hard to achieve it, " Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova said as quoted by the press office of the ministry. She added that the Ministry of Tourism will continue its work on transforming Bulgaria into a year-round tourist destination.

"The reported data also gives us the ability and motivation in 2018 to strive to reach the figure of 10 million foreign tourists who would choose our country for holidays or travel," Angelkova said.

More than 6,3 billion BGN are the revenues from international tourism for the 10 months of this year, according to central bank’s data. For the period January - October 2017, the growth was 9.2% compared to the same period last year. For October, the revenues from international tourism and travel amounted to nearly BGN 394 mln. The increase compared to October last year is 6.6%.

Ten People Killed in Iran Unrest on Sunday

3 settimane ago

Ten people were killed during street protests in Iran on Sunday, state television said on Monday, Reuters reported. 

The nationwide protests have drawn in tens of thousands of people and represent the boldest challenge to Iran’s leadership since pro-reform unrest in 2009. Calls for more demonstrations on Monday raise the possibility of prolonged instability.

“In the events of last night, unfortunately, a total of about 10 people were killed in several cities,” state television said while showing footage of damage from the demonstrations. It gave no further details of the deaths.

Unsigned statements posted on social media urged Iranians to demonstrate again in the capital Tehran and 50 other urban centers.

Iran is a major OPEC oil producer and regional power but frustrations have grown at home while the country is deeply involved in Syria and Iraq as part of a battle for influence with rival Saudi Arabia.

Those foreign interventions are also fueling anger in the Islamic Republic because Iranians want their leaders to create jobs instead of engaging in costly proxy wars.

The unrest erupted in the second city of Mashhad against price rises but it swiftly spread and turned into political rallies.

Some called on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and chanted against a government they described as thieves.

Demonstrators say they are angry over corruption and economic hardship in a country where youth unemployment reached 28.8 percent last year.

Protests continued overnight even though President Hassan Rouhani appealed for calm. In remarks carried on state TV, he said Iranians had the right to criticize authorities but also warned of a crackdown.

“The government will show no tolerance for those who damage public properties, violate public order and create unrest in the society,” Rouhani said. Hundreds of people have been arrested but security forces have largely shown restraint.

Iran’s leaders believe they can count on support from many of the generation that took part in the 1979 revolution because of their ideological commitment and the economic gains they have made under the government, analysts say.

500 People Have Gone Through Pirogov Hospital During the Last Day

3 settimane ago

500 people have been treated in the hospital for the last 24 hours. This was said by the Executive Director of the University Hospital "N. I. Pirogov" Prof. Assen Baltov during a briefing in the hospital, a FOCUS News Agency reporter informs.

According to Baltov, the New Year's Day cases are similar compared to previous years. "There was a lot of on-call duty - 500 people in the last 24 hours. Most of them started to come after midnight," commented Prof. Asen Baltov and explained that this was quite unusual. Prof. Baltov explained that since 23 December 2017, around 4500 patients have passed through "Pirogov".

"I am pleased with the work of our colleagues, "Pirogov" takes its place, and I hope we will repair the building too," added the director of "Pirogov". Prof. Baltov retrieved New Year's luck for the hospital: "Relief".

ISIL Nightclub Attack Victims Commemorated on First Anniversary in Istanbul

3 settimane ago

Victims of an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack on a nightclub were commemorated on its first anniversary in Istanbul on Dec. 31, 2017, Hurriyet reported. 

A ceremony was held in front of the Reina nightclub in Ortaköy to commemorate the 39 people killed in the ISIL attack carried out by Uzbek-origin jihadist Abdulkadir Masharipov in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2017, with the participation of high-level officials, the relatives of those killed and citizens.

Consul generals of several countries also were among those who attended the ceremony as most of the victims of the attack were foreign revelers besides Turkish citizens.

A total of 39 people were killed and another 79 were wounded when Masharipov opened fire on the revelers last year.

He was captured on Jan. 16, 2017, 15 days after being on the run, in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district. At least 2,000 police officers took part in raids in 152 different addresses to capture the jihadist.

While the attack case includes 57 suspects, of whom 56 are under arrest, Masharipov faces 40 aggravated life sentences over “attempting to abolish the constitutional order,” “intentionally killing 39 people,” “intentionally attempting to kill 79 people,” “being a member of a terrorist organization,” and “buying and possessing arms,” in addition to up to 2,397 years in jail.

During the ceremony organized by the Beşiktaş Municipality, pictures of those killed covered in Turkish flags were placed in front of the door of the now-closed Reina nightclub.

Canada Consul General Ulric Shannon, Egypt Consul General Nermeen Afifi Metwally and Palestine Consul General Abdalkarim Al-khatib were among the high-level attendants of the ceremony, in addition to Austria Consulate Assistant Felix Bigl, Levon Zekiyan of the Apostolic Administrator of the Armenian Archeparchy of Istanbul, Ortaköy Synagogue Chief Rabbi Rav Naftali Haleva and Father Pasios, who attended the commemoration on behalf of the Greek Patriarchate.

After wreaths were laid in front of Reina’s entrance, Muslim, Christian and Jewish clerics made prayers of the three different religions.

Speaking during the ceremony, Tarık Arık, who lost his brother in the attack, said a Muslim can’t kill another Muslim, while adding that ISIL “doesn’t have anything to do with religion or Islam.”

“I want to shout, but I can’t do anything other than speak here. We’re very sad. It’s wrong for a human being to do this to another. People can drink alcohol and have fun. What’s that to you? How can you pay for this in the afterworld? No. A Muslim doesn’t even hurt an ant,” Arık said.

Among those who laid wreaths were one of Reina’s partners, Ali Ünal, and Beşiktaş Mayor Murat Hazinedar.

“I once again condemn this terror attack. The 39 people killed in the attack are very dear to us no matter what their religions are or where they are from. Here, people who chose our country to celebrate the new year and who were guests of Beşiktaş, were killed,” Hazinedar said.

After the attack that shocked Turkey in the early hours of 2017, Reina was demolished on May 22, 2017.

Turkey Pushes For Normalizing Relations with Germany

3 settimane ago

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Turkish government was encouraging the judiciary to speed up an indictment against German journalist Deniz Yucel on Monday, Deutsche Welle reported. 

Yucel, a correspondent for German newspaper Die Welt, has been in pre-trial detention for more than 10 months without any formal charges. His detention has soured already tense ties between the two countries.

Yucel was arrested in February on accusations of sedition and disseminating propaganda affiliated with terror groups. 

"I am also not very happy that the indictment is still not there. But we can only encourage the judiciary to speed up the process. We have done that already," Cavusoglu said in an interview with the German dpa news agency.

The foreign minister noted that Yucel did not have government-issued press accreditations when working.

"The accusations against Deniz Yucel are very serious," Cavusoglu said.

He said if the European Court of Human Rights were to order Yucel be released from pre-trial detention, he would expect the independent Turkish judiciary to comply.

Cavusoglu said he expected relations with Germany to improve in 2018. He said Turkey had a "good dialogue" with Germany and that his German counterpart, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, was a "personal friend."

"I think both sides are ready to normalize the relations. So I am expecting a much better year in 2018," he said. "From our side, we don't see any crisis. Turkey has no problem with Germany. But Germany has a problem with Turkey, and Germany does not miss an opportunity to attack Turkey."

Some 50,000 people have been jailed in Turkey since the failed 2016 coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

There are currently about a dozen German nationals in Turkish detention, which has caused diplomatic relations between the two countries to worsen considerably.

Meanwhile, Turkey wants Germany to extradite a number of people it says are connected to the coup attempt and the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Cavusoglu lamented an "Erdogan-bashing trend" abroad and said Germany should treat Turkey as an equal partner.

Read more: Turkey's Erdogan says he wants better relations with EU, Germany

He said he had no regrets about saying Germany had exhibited Nazi-like behavior after Germany banned rallies by Erdogan and ministers ahead of a referendum in Turkey.

"What happened those days reminded us of what was happening during the Nazi time," he said on Monday. "Maybe it didn't even happen during the Nazi time. I don't think the Nazi regime stopped any visits or meetings like those."

As a part of the normalizing of relations, Cavusoglu called on German tourists to visit Turkey despite political tensions.

Turkey issued a travel warning for Germany, after Germany issued one for Turkey.

"I had to reciprocate this travel warning. Not because I like it, but because it was the expectation from my citizens," Cavusoglu said. "Germany should understand this: If Germany moves one step towards us, Turkey will move two steps towards Germany."

Cavusoglu emphasized that Turkey was "a safe country" and that "the Turks traditionally consider the Germans as good friends."

He continued: "We can have differences or even problems between the states or governments, but that should not affect the relationship between our people."

The number of Germans visiting Turkey plummeted over the past two years. In the first 10 months of 2015, 5.1 million Germans visited Turkey. During the same time period in 2017, only 3.3 million Germans visited.

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