The White House announces new US ambassador to Bulgaria

June 20, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

US President Joe Biden has nominated Kenneth Merten for new ambassador to Bulgaria in place of Herro Mustafa, who has been ambassador to Sofia since 2019. The nomination must be approved by the Senate in Washington. Kenneth Merten has acted as Special Coordinator for Haiti and he was also Ambassador to Croatia from 2012 to 2015 and Ambassador to Haiti from 2009 to 2012. Merton was also an economic adviser at the US Embassy in France. He speaks Haitian Creole, French, German and Spanish languages.

NEW Bulgarian Bible Theological Dictionary

May 20, 2022 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Missions, News

160,000 Pentecostals in Bulgaria Reported by the NEW Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism

April 20, 2022 by  
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New Bulgarian PM pledges U-turn on North Macedonia’s EU ambitions

January 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Bulgaria’s new prime minister has signalled that Sofia will finish its obstruction of North Macedonia’s bid to affix the EU as soon as his new authorities takes workplace within the coming weeks.

Kiril Petkov, who was confirmed as premier by the nation’s parliament on Monday after his social gathering took the most important share of the vote in November’s elections, made the pledge as he reaffirmed Bulgaria’s dedication to Nato and the west. “We’re on the best facet of Nato and EU insurance policies, 100 per cent,” he instructed the Monetary Occasions in an interview earlier than he was confirmed as prime minister.

“We are going to suggest a brand new course of [on North Macedonia], very quick, with a restricted timeframe, simply six months lengthy,” he mentioned.

Sofia wished sure points to stay on the desk, he famous, together with either side pledging to combat hate crime towards the opposite and North Macedonia referring to its historic connection to Bulgaria in its structure. However he indicated compromise was doable. “Let the 2 populations begin speaking about the advantages of working collectively.,” he mentioned. “As soon as we put the upsides on the desk . . . discussions about compromises are a lot simpler to have.”

The prime minister added: “As soon as that is all achieved . . . I consider we will fortunately signal Macedonia into the EU.”

The U-turn comes after Bulgaria final yr vetoed its neighbour’s EU accession talks amid disputes over historical past and identification. Critics on the time accused Bulgaria’s former centre-right chief Boyko Borisov of resorting to nationalism to distract consideration from months of protests towards organised crime and corruption on his watch.

Borisov was ousted in April elections, however failure to agree a coalition led to recent polls in July and once more in November, when Petkov’s centrist We Proceed the Change (PP) social gathering received a few quarter of the vote.

We search an lively and dedicated function for Bulgaria each within the EU and in Nato. We not need to be the dangerous child behind the classroom

Petkov and his coalition companions — the Socialist social gathering, “turbo-folk” pop star Slavi Trifonov’s anti-establishment ITN, and the liberal Democratic Bulgaria — accomplished the primary draft of a coalition settlement final Monday.

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The brand new authorities’s rapid problem can be tackling the nation’s coronavirus disaster. Bulgaria has among the many world’s highest demise charges and lowest vaccination charges.

“We now have to extend vaccinations for certain,” mentioned Petkov, whose social gathering campaigned on a pledge to eradicate corruption and streamline the state. “We are going to put up a ample finances for promotion . . . I’ll invite consultants, go to hospitals and present the scenario. It’s as a lot a well being program as an financial program. We can’t shut Bulgaria once more.”

The incoming prime minister may also face a fancy overseas coverage balancing act at a time when Russia is taking part in an more and more assertive function within the area.

Petkov instructed the FT the brand new authorities would put discussions with North Macedonia on a recent footing. “We are going to use working teams . . . to hash out options on points like joint financial exercise, infrastructure, tradition and historical past,” he mentioned.

North Macedonia, which first known as itself the Republic of Macedonia, emerged out of the previous Yugoslavia and was granted EU candidate standing in 2005. Its software was held up for years by Greek opposition to its unique identify, which Athens complained implied a territorial declare on the Greek area of the identical identify. The difficulty was resolved in 2019 when the qualifier “North” was added.

In the meantime relations between Sofia and Skopje deteriorated, with many Bulgarians rejecting the idea of a separate Macedonian identification and language, and disputes over occasions relationship again to the second world battle.

North Macedonian particular forces participate within the 2021 parade celebrating the nation’s independence. Many Bulgarians reject the idea of a separate Macedonian identification © Robert Atanasovski/AFP by way of Getty Photographs
Nonetheless, Petkov faces a problem in framing his authorities’s North Macedonia coverage. The enigmatic ITN chief Trifonov has cultivated a picture rooted in romantic nationalism — which in Bulgaria encompasses the declare that North Macedonia is ethnically and culturally Bulgarian. His social gathering has nominated the coalition’s overseas minister and power minister.

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A latest Gallup Worldwide ballot discovered fewer than 10 per cent of Bulgarians help North Macedonia’s EU aspirations outright, and greater than 70 per cent again upholding Bulgaria’s veto on Skopje’s accession talks till the bilateral disagreements are settled.

Petkov mentioned ITN was a constructive companion in coalition talks and that areas of concern mentioned in latest months would stay on the desk. “For instance, within the Macedonian textbooks Bulgaria shouldn’t be known as fascist,” he mentioned, alluding to Macedonian descriptions of Bulgarian troops occupying — or in Bulgaria’s view, liberating and managing — what’s as we speak North Macedonia throughout the Forties.

The prime minister aimed to win either side spherical with sweeteners, together with monetary funding, infrastructure and cultural tasks and a publicity push. “We’re prepared not simply to speak the discuss but in addition put some cash on the desk,” he mentioned.

Sofia may also must tread rigorously at a time of intensifying tensions within the Black Sea area, the place Russia is more and more flexing its muscle tissue following its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Bulgaria wished to finish its dependence on Russian power, Petkov mentioned. The nation obtains practically all its pure fuel from Russia. A pipeline operating by way of Greece to Bulgaria that would carry different provides has been beneath building for over a decade.

Petkov famous Sofia had already signed contracts for provides of Azeri fuel by way of the Greek route and pledged to finish the Bulgarian a part of the work as quickly as doable.

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Petkov mentioned his overseas coverage would deal with averting armed battle “anyplace within the neighbourhood” however that the nation remained anchored within the west.

A remark by his political mentor, President Rumen Radev, throughout an election debate in November — when Radev sparked concern amongst worldwide allies by saying “Crimea is . . . at the moment Russian” — had not signalled a change in Bulgaria’s stance, Petkov argued. The president merely meant to name consideration to the truth on the bottom, he mentioned.

“We’re treating Crimea as a part of Ukraine, there isn’t any doubt about that,” Petkov insisted. “However we need to be sure to make use of all diplomatic means to keep away from army battle.

“We search an lively and dedicated function for Bulgaria each within the EU and in Nato,” he added. “We not need to be the dangerous child behind the classroom.”

BULGARIA has a NEW Government! For Now…

December 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

SOFIA, Bulgaria – After three National Parliament elections held in 2021 alone and three acting temporary cabinets, Bulgaria now has a new government based on a 4-partisan coalition. Will it outlast its first 100 days? ONLY GOD KNOWS!

Bulgaria’s PM Designate Petkov Presents New Government Ahead of Parliament Vote
Bulgarian Prime Minister designate Kiril Petkov presented the composition of his future government to the nation as he seeks to end eight months of political deadlock. Petkov, 41, leader of the newly formed centrist party We Continue the Change (PP), reached an agreement a day earlier with three other left-wing and center-right groups to form a coalition government.

Petkov’s party will hold 10 of the 21 ministerial positions, including prime minister and two deputy prime minister posts. The four-party coalition will control 134 seats in Bulgaria’s 240-seat parliament, which is set to vote on approving the new government on December 13. Petkov, whose party came in first on an anti-graft platform, told media on December 11 that the future government will have “zero tolerance” for corruption and said one of his first priorities will be to reform the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The new coalition is expected to have a majority of 134 lawmakers in the 240-seat parliament. “The agreement is 140 pages and details all policies. It gives the chance for the coalition to be strong and work for a long time,” Petkov told the national BNR radio after the party signed the document with each of its partners separately.

SUPPORTING PARTIES:

  • Bulgarian Socialist Party (socialist democrats)
  • There is Such People (centrist democrats)
  • Democratic Bulgaria (democrats)

Present 227 out of 240 MPs registered in the plenary hall. Instead of presenting Kiril Petkov’s candidacy, the plenary day began with a declaration on behalf of the GERB-SDS group, which will not support the draft cabinet.

“You organized brutal repression in the persecution of political opponents,” Desislava Atanasova said. She accused the president of undermining democracy.

The New Cabinet: “Vazrazhdane” will Not Support the “Petkov” Cabinet

The parliamentary group of “Vazrazhdane” will not support the draft cabinet “Petkov”, because according to its leader Kostadin Kostadinov the policies are a continuation of the GERB government, and the impression was that it the cabinet was created in foreign embassies

The New Cabinet: DPS will Not Support the “Petkov” Government

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) will not support the proposed program, structure and composition of the Council of Ministers, because it has participated in the talks about them. This was announced by DPS leader Mustafa Karadayi. According to him, the Movement will be a constructive opposition and will contribute to solving problems and protecting rights and freedoms.

CYBER MONDAY: NEW KINDLE books from Cup & Cross

November 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News

CYBER MONDAY 2021: Several of our best sellers now on Kindle for quick and easy read. Stay tune for our new titles in 2020…

Bibliata.com celebrates 25 years in online ministry by reading through the whole New Testament in one day

September 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

One of our first ministry websites, Bibliata.com just celebrated 25 years of ministry online. It began in the fall of 1996 with the sole purpose to reach Bulgarians online with the Bible. We began the Bibliata.com anniversary celebration with an out loud reading through the whole Bulgarian Bible on September 16 involving many churches and Christian communities in Bulgaria and abroad.

After 25 years with several million annual views and visitors, it has become the standard for the Bulgarian Bible online. Through the years, virtually all Bulgarian Bible versions as well as many others in foreign and original tongues were published. Audio Bible, Video Bible, extensive Bible commentary, a national sermon archive, multiple device apps and Bible study platforms are only a few of the projects completed. Additionally, a new Bulgarian translation in the works since 2007 is close to its publication date for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. But this is not all…

The story of the Bulgarian Bible online is centered not only in products and projects, but in the very people we work with to create a community of believers, who pray, talk, grow and live together in the footsteps of the Savior. And this is worth much more than just 25 years of work and perseverance…

NEW Istanbul canal to link Black and Marmara Seas

May 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News

To the west of Istanbul, between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, lie diverse landscapes of forest, farms, marshes and ancient settlements. Following a curving line from north to south would connect you through the Terkos Lake, Sazlıdere stream and reservoir and Küçükçekmece lagoon, important water sources for migratory birds – not to mention the city’s residents.

This line, however, is also the path of Kanal İstanbul, a $12.6bn(£9.7bn) mega-infrastructure plan described by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as his “crazy project” when he first mentioned the idea in 2011.

Kanal İstanbul, approved by the environment ministry last month, would be a 45km (28 mile) shipping canal joining the Black Sea to the Marmara, running parallel to the Bosphorus strait, which already cuts through the centre of Istanbul. The government says the canal is needed to reduce water traffic through the city.

Critics – who include the mayor of Istanbul – warn of a great environmental cost, including the potential ecological destruction of the Marmara Sea. There is a delicate ecological balance between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, currently connected by the Bosphorus strait.

Because the Black Sea is 50cm higher than the Marmara, both the level and salinity density would change if the two were connected by the canal. Not only that, the flow of cellular organisms into the Marmara would eat up extra oxygen.

BULGARIA with a NEW Caretaker Cabinet until July

May 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

World Wires on Bulgaria: Caretaker Cabinet Will Have to Tackle Pandemic, Ensure Fair Elections

Bulgaria‘s President Rumen Radev called a snap parliamentary election on Tuesday for July 11 and appointed Stefan Yanev, his close security and defense adviser, as caretaker prime minister until a new government is formed.

The European Union’s poorest member state is heading to the polls again three months after an inconclusive election in April resulted in a fragmented parliament that failed to produce a government.

Yanev, 61, who was a deputy premier and defense minister in the first caretaker government Radev appointed in 2017, will be tasked to manage the coronavirus pandemic and ensure a fair election, the president said in a statement, confirming an earlier report by Reuters.

President Radev is a harsh critic of long-serving prime minister Boyko Borissov.

Yanev’s government will also have to decide whether or not to submit a national plan to Brussels on how Sofia plans to use more than 6 billion euros from the EU’s coronavirus Recovery Fund.

In charge of the country’s finances will be Assen Vassilev, 43, a graduate of Harvard University, who served as caretaker economy and energy minister in 2013. Vassilev was part of the team that prepared Radev’s proposals for projects to be financed with EU recovery funds.

Borissov’s incumbent center-right GERB party again emerged as the largest party after the April vote, but it had lost seats due to popular anger against entrenched corruption and was shunned by other parties for a coalition government.

After Borissov failed to form an administration, so too did attempts by a new anti-elite party led by TV host Slavi Trifonov, and by the third largest party, the Socialists.

Analysts say the fresh election in July is likely to produce another fragmented parliament that could complicate the formation of a government. A recent opinion poll showed Borissov’s GERB and Trifonov’s ITN (There is Such a People) party running neck-and-neck.

New EU Vaccination Certificates Create Risk

April 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Missionaries without COVID vaccine at a high risk of travel ban

Vaccination Certificates Create Risk of Two-Tier Society, Indirect Discrimination

Covid-status certificates being considered by ministers to help open up society could amount to unlawful indirect discrimination, the government’s independent equalities watchdog has advised.

As ministers decide whether the documents should be introduced as passports to certain events later this year, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has told the Cabinet Office they risk creating a “two-tier society”.

The watchdog also said employers should not be allowed to hire workers on a “no jab, no job” policy until all young people had been offered a vaccine, and that plans to make them mandatory for care workers helping older people may not be lawful

According to a submission seen by the Guardian, the EHRC said Covid-status certificates could be a “proportionate” way of easing restrictions, given the toll lockdown has taken on people’s wellbeing and livelihoods.

But it said they risked further excluding groups among whom vaccine take-up is lower – including migrants, those from minority ethnic backgrounds and poorer socio-economic groups – from access to essential services and employment.

“There is a risk of unlawful discrimination if decisions taken in this process disadvantage people with protected characteristics who have not received, or are not able to receive, the vaccine, unless they can be shown to be justified,” it said. “Any mandatory requirement for vaccination or the implementation of Covid-status certification may amount to indirect discrimination, unless the requirement can be objectively justified.”

The warnings emerged as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, gave the clearest indication yet that care workers would be required to have a vaccination or be refused deployment in care homes.

Launching a five-week consultation on the proposal, the government said the initiative could later be extended to the wider health and social care workforce. “Due to the importance of this issue, we intend to change the law quickly,” it added.

Despite care workers being in the highest priority category for jabs, Hancock said only around half of care homes in England had enough people vaccinated. Government scientific advisers believe 80% of staff and 90% of residents need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against outbreaks of the virus.

Senior government figures had for months denied that any form of “vaccine passport” for domestic or international use would be introduced as the rollout of jabs got under way in the winter. But at the end of February, Boris Johnson announced a review would be launched into the idea to explore the complex ethical issues behind it. He touted the documents – that would be used to prove someone’s vaccine, test or antibody status – as a possible requirement to enter a pub or a theatre.


Since then, an interim report from the Cabinet Office review has ruled out the documents ever being necessary on public transport or in essential shops – though the government has declined to provide any definition of these. It has expanded access to testing in England this week, by offering everyone two lateral flow tests a week – a measure it would argue means the certificates would not just be available to those who have been vaccinated.

Johnson faces the prospect of a significant Tory rebellion if he pushes ahead with introducing the certificates and calls for a vote in parliament, with 41 Conservative backbenchers vowing to oppose them. Labour has previously vowed to vote against “vaccine passports” but has been less clear about its stance on a wider certificate scheme used to show someone’s vaccine, test or antibody status. It says it is still waiting for the government to formally present a firm proposal.

Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women and equalities secretary, said: “We share the EHRC’s concerns and hope the government will take note.”

Responding to the government’s call for evidence on Covid-status certificates, the EHRC said that if they were introduced, it should only be for a limited time and subject to regular review, along with “strict parliamentary scrutiny”.

Care home operators are divided over mandatory jabs. Barchester, one of the largest private operators, has already said it will make vaccines a condition of work, starting as soon as 23 April. Its chief executive, Pete Calveley, said: “It is a professional duty for care home staff to accept the vaccine unless there is a medical reason they should not.”

Other operators fear it will drive away staff in an already depleted workforce and that it is unreasonable to only make vaccines compulsory for care workers and not NHS staff.

The government has previously acknowledged the legal difficulty of mandatory vaccines. In February, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said: “Taking a vaccine is not mandatory and it would be discriminatory to force somebody to take one.” Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, has also said he believes making vaccines mandatory for existing staff is likely to require testing in the courts.

Employment lawyers said on Tuesday that the rule could breach the Human Rights Act and amount to indirect discrimination, if refusal was related to religious belief for example, and it was likely to be tested in the upper courts.

“There would have to be a very strong justification that mandating vaccines really does put a dent in the Covid case numbers,” said Ryan Bradshaw, an employment and discrimination lawyer at Leigh Day.

The government wants to make vaccination of carers part of the “fundamental standard” of providing safe care, enshrined in the Social Care Act. Care homes which fail to show their staff are vaccinated could, in the most serious cases, have their registration to operate cancelled.

Unison, a trade union representing health workers, described the plan as “the wrong approach” and called for persuasion – rather than coercion – of care workers, many of whom have cited fears, albeit so far unfounded, that the vaccine could affect pregnancies. Others have cited religious concerns, while practical issues of not being on shift when GPs arrived to deliver doses have also been highlighted.

With the vaccine programme in England now being extended to those in their late 40s and the government not promising to offer all those over the age of 18 a jab until the end of July, the EHRC said employers should not be able to discriminate when looking to hire only those who had been vaccinated. It advised: “The implementation of any policy would need to reflect the status of the vaccine rollout programme and ensure that it does not discriminate against younger people, who are unlikely to be vaccinated until later in the process.”

A government spokesperson said: “Covid-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure. We are fully considering equality and ethical concerns as part of our ongoing review.”

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