Death toll from severe rainstorms that lashed parts of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria increased to 14


Important Takeaways:

  • The death toll from severe rainstorms that lashed parts of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria increased to 14 on Wednesday after rescue teams in the three neighboring countries recovered seven more bodies.
  • Greece’s weather service said a Pilion region village received 75.4 centimeters (nearly 30 inches) of rain late Tuesday, by far the highest level recorded since at least 2006. It noted that the average annual rainfall in the Athens region is around 40 centimeters (15.75 inches).
  • The storm comes on the heels of major summer wildfires that hit Greece over the past few weeks, with some burning for more than two weeks and destroying vast tracts of forest and farmland. More than 20 people were killed in the fires.

Read the original article by clicking here.

Gas exports halted by Russia to Poland and Bulgaria sending fuel prices through the roof

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • ‘Blackmail’: Russia Shuts off Gas to EU States Poland, Bulgaria, Energy Prices Soar on News
  • The Russian government has halted all gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria after, they say, a deadline passed for the nations to pay for gas in Russian rubles rather than western currency.
  • The European Union has called the suspension of gas deliveries “blackmail”
  • The report further noted that this is not the first time Russia has cut Poland off from gas supplies as a punishment, claiming seven suspensions lasting from a few days to six months over the past 18 years. A notable period of such cuts was during the last Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
  • Germany, the largest importer of Russian gas in Europe, has been the most hesitant to back any halting of gas supplies, with some suggesting the German economy could face a major recession if supplies were cut off.

Read the original article by clicking here.

Experts predict there’s more to come after Ukraine

Revelations 6:3-4 “ when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Why Did Vladimir Putin Invade Ukraine?
  • Once he gains control over Ukraine, he will turn his focus to other former Soviet republics, including the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and eventually Bulgaria, Romania and even Poland.
  • “The Eurasian Empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, the strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us.” — Aleksandr Dugin, Russian strategist
  • “Normally wars that take place between states are about conflicts they have between them. Yet this is a war about the existence of one state, which is denied by the aggressor. That’s why the usual concepts of peacemaking — finding a compromise — do not apply. If Ukraine continues to exist as a sovereign state, Putin will have lost. – Ulrich Speck, German geopolitical analyst.

Read the original article by clicking here.

‘Europe is nicer’: migrants head west after Turkey opens border

By Bulent Usta and Ali Kucukgocmen

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Hundreds of migrants in Turkey started arriving on the borders with Greece and Bulgaria on Friday after a senior Turkish official said Ankara would no longer abide by a 2016 EU deal and stop refugees from reaching Europe.

Greece and Bulgaria, both European Union member states, said they were beefing up frontier controls to prevent the migrants crossing illegally. Bulgaria said it was sending 1,000 extra troops to its border with Turkey.

Reuters TV footage showed migrants walking near the Greek border, some carrying plastic bags and small children, while Greek police and border vehicles patrolled on the other side of the fence. Similar scenes unfolded at the Bulgarian border.

On the Aegean coast, Turkish broadcasters showed two dozen people, including women and children, aboard a rubber dinghy boat. They were reportedly bound for the Greek island of Lesbos.

“We heard about (Turkey’s decision) on the television,” said Afghan migrant Sahin Nebizade, 16, one of a group of migrants packed into one of three taxis that were parked on a highway on the outskirts of Istanbul.

“We’ve been living in Istanbul. We want to go to Edirne and then on to Greece,” he said before the taxis headed for the northwestern province of Edirne.

Syrians, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Moroccans were among the migrants heading towards the border crossings with Greece and Bulgaria, about 200 km (125 miles) west of Istanbul, Turkey’s pro-government Demiroren news agency said.

Hamid Muhammed, holding a young girl at the Greek border, told Reuters that Greek police were not letting him enter.

“There are many problems here (in Turkey). We want the Turkish and European governments to open this gate,” he said.


Turkey’s decision to make good on threats long issued by President Tayyip Erdogan to “open the gates” to Europe came after 33 Turkish troops were killed in an air strike by Syrian government forces in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region.

Some one million civilians have been displaced in Syria near Turkey since December as Russian-backed Syrian government forces seized territory from Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, creating the worst humanitarian crisis in the nine-year war.

Turkey already hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees and says it cannot handle any more. The EU said on Friday it had received no official word from Ankara that it had suspended the 2016 deal, whereby Brussels sends billions of euros in aid in return for Turkey stemming the migrant flow to Europe.

The scenes at the borders on Friday will revive memories of the 2015 migrant crisis, when more than a million people, mostly from the Middle East and Asia, trekked from Turkey across the Balkans towards western Europe, igniting furious rows between EU governments and fuelling support for far-right parties.

Syrians boarding buses for the border in Istanbul’s Fatih district complained of economic difficulties in Turkey and said they hoped to build a better life in Europe.

“There is no work here. Turkey is not nice at all, Europe is nicer,” said Muhammed Abdullah, 25, adding that he wanted to go to Germany.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Gareth Jones)

UK police discover 39 bodies in truck, arrest driver

UK police discover 39 bodies in truck, arrest driver
By Hannah McKay

GRAYS, England (Reuters) – British police found the bodies of 39 people inside a truck believed to have come from Bulgaria at an industrial estate near London on Wednesday, and said they had arrested the driver on suspicion of murder.

The discovery of the bodies – 38 adults and one teenager – was made in the early hours after emergency services were alerted to people in a truck container on a gritty industrial site in Grays, about 20 miles (32 km) east of central London.

The truck was thought to have entered Britain at Holyhead, a North Wales port that is a major entry point for traffic from Ireland, on Saturday and to have originally started its journey in Bulgaria, police said. The driver of the truck, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, was in custody.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was appalled by the news and was receiving regular updates about the investigation.

“We know that this trade is going on – all such traders in human beings should be hunted down and brought to justice,” he said.

All those in the container were pronounced dead at the scene after the emergency services were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park, not far from docks on the River Thames.

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said had been in contact with the British authorities over the incident.

“At present, it has not yet been confirmed whether the truck has a Bulgarian registration,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said. “There is also no indication of the nationality of the human bodies found in the truck. British police have warned that the identification of the bodies will take a long time.”


Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Irish authorities would carry out any investigations necessary if it was established that the truck had passed through Ireland.

Police officers in forensic suits were inspecting a large white container on a red truck next to warehouses at the site. Police had sealed off the surrounding area of the estate with large green barriers as they carried out their investigation.

“At this stage, we have not identified where the victims are from or their identities and we anticipate this could be a lengthy process,” Essex Police Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills told reporters. “This is an absolute tragedy.”

Mills said finding out who the victims were was their top priority, while a key line of inquiry was determining the truck’s route from Bulgaria to Ireland and then onto Britain.

Nearby businesses said they had been unable to gain access to their units on the site due to the large police cordon.

“The police came in the night – they have closed the whole area,” said a worker at a nearby cafe, who declined to give his name.

For years, illegal immigrants have attempted to reach Britain stowed away in the back of trucks, often seeking to reach the United Kingdom from the European mainland.

In Britain’s biggest illegal immigrant tragedy in 2000, customs officials found the bodies of 58 Chinese people crammed into a tomato truck at the southern port of Dover.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said the latest deaths were an unbelievable human tragedy that needed answers.

“Can we just think for a moment of what it must have been like for those 39 people, obviously in a desperate and dangerous situation, for their lives to end, suffocated to death in a container,” he said.

(Writing by Michael Holden; Additional reporting by William Schomberg and Kate Holton in London and Angel Krasimirov in Sofia; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Alex Richardson)

Bulgarian policemen demand salary increase, new uniforms

Bulgarian police officers, firefighters and other Interior Ministry employees take part in a demonstration in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

By Angel Krasimirov

SOFIA (Reuters) – Thousands of Bulgarian policemen, firefighters and other interior ministry workers gathered in the capital Sofia on Wednesday to demand higher wages, better working conditions and new uniforms.

It is the first major display of anger in the European Union’s poorest state against the two-month old centrist coalition government led by the center-right GERB party which won a snap parliamentary election in March.

The Balkan country is still struggling to root out endemic corruption and organized crime, and observers say local police, prosecutors and judicial system are in urgent need of reform.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has said it will honor Sofia’s commitments to the EU to work to boost incomes in line with productivity.

Interior Minister Valentin Radev, however, said wages of the ministry’s employees would remain unchanged this year.

“I hope that we will be able to increase the wages of the policemen in 2018, I do not know why they want it now and immediately,” Radev said.

Police trade unions demanded an immediate pay rise of 15 to 20 percent and said they plan more protests in the coming months. They also asked for increased funding to replace outdated equipment and buy new uniforms.

“The prestige and attractiveness of the profession have declined very seriously because of the low wages,” said Valentin Popov, chairman of the police officers’ trade unions.

“The starting (monthly) salary of a policeman and a fire-fighter is only 662 levs ($383) before taxes. The minimum and the average wage in the country rose by more than 50 percent in the last eight or nine years while the salaries in the interior ministry rose by only 15 percent in the same period,” he said.

Banners carried by firefighters read: “Helmet – 1990, outfit – 2002 – second hand.”

Bulgaria’s average monthly salary was just above 1,000 levs in the first quarter of the year, the statistics office data showed.

“The government’s attitude toward us is inhuman and humiliating,” a demonstrator told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “If things remain like this, I’ll quit.”

Police officers in the Balkan country are not permitted to strike, take a second job or join a political party, but they are exempted from paying social security contributions.

Voter frustration, especially with rampant corruption and organized crime, erupted in months of protests in 2013 and 2014 and the country has had seven governments in the past four years.

(Editing by Radu Marinas and Toby Chopra)

In Greece, refugee women and children live in limbo

Faten 25, (L) from Syria, sits at the edge of the beach beside her sister-in-law near their tent outside the Souda refugees camp in Chios Island, Greece, June 10, 2017. "It's taking too long. This slowness to reunite families scares me," Faten said. "We have nothing to do all day long, we just sit by the tent which I share with my sister-in-law, a friend and her daughter."

y Zohra Bensemra

CHIOS, Greece (Reuters) – Thousands of refugee woman and children are living in limbo in Greece, waiting for the day they will be reunited with their families in other European countries.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says nearly 75,000 refugees and migrants stranded in Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Western Balkans are at risk of “psychological distress” caused by existing in a prolonged state of transit.

About 60,000 refugees and migrants, mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, have been stuck in Greece for over a year after border closures in the Balkans halted the onward journey many planned to take to central and western Europe.

More than a quarter are children and over half the new arrivals have been women and children, according to U.N. data. Men were the first family members to flee to Europe in previous years, leaving others to follow.

“Despair is haunting me at the moment,” said Soha, a 23-year-old Syrian who lives in a tent on the island of Chios with two her two-year-old daughter and other Syrian women.

In the camp, next to the ruins of an ancient castle, overcrowded tents are pitched on the edge of the pebbled shore, and rats roam among the garbage. Women say they are too scared to leave their tents at night, fearing harassment.

Like other women, Soha declined to give her last name or be identified in photographs, fearing it could affect her application to join her husband in Germany.

Family reunification can take between 10 months and two years, UNICEF says, making life particularly hard those left behind.

The uncertainty caused “significant psychological distress and anxiety for children and their families, setting them back for years to come”, UNICEF Regional Director Afshan Khan said.

A one-year-old girl smiles as she sits with her mother, Ibtissam, 22, at the Souda Refugee Camp in Chios island, Greece, June 10, 2017. "I was one month pregnant with my daughter and my son was one year old when my husband migrated to Germany." Ibtissam, who is from Raqqa said. "I feel devastated, at the moment I can’t apply for family reunification because I have to wait until my husband gets his asylum document.... I feel depressed but I have to keep holding on for my children."

A one-year-old girl smiles as she sits with her mother, Ibtissam, 22, at the Souda Refugee Camp in Chios island, Greece, June 10, 2017. “I was one month pregnant with my daughter and my son was one year old when my husband migrated to Germany.” Ibtissam, who is from Raqqa said. “I feel devastated, at the moment I can’t apply for family reunification because I have to wait until my husband gets his asylum document…. I feel depressed but I have to keep holding on for my children.” REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

“I spend most of the day alone,” said Farhiya, a 23-year-old Somali who lives in a volunteer-run camp on Lesbos island.

“The other refugees don’t speak English and I don’t speak Arabic. It’s hard to live alone,” she said. Farhiya applied to join her husband in Austria seven months ago while still pregnant, but has not heard back, she said.

In Athens, 36-year-old Khalissa, who fled Syria with her three young children, spends her days in a drop-in center run by a UNICEF partner, a brief respite from her problems.

She colors in hearts representing her feelings about the past, present and future. The past is blue for sadness, the present brown for fear and the future, in which she hopes to reunite with her husband after two years, yellow for happiness.

Ultimately, she longs to go home.

“If Syria becomes as before the war, I will return home,” she said. “We must return home.”

(Writing by Karolina Tagaris, editing by Ed Osmond)

Erdogan says Bulgaria’s pressure on Turks ‘unacceptable’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, March 19, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan slammed Bulgaria on Thursday for “putting pressure” on expatriate Turks living there ahead of a parliamentary election amid rising tension between the two neighbors.

Bulgaria votes in parliamentary elections on Sunday. Last week, its caretaker government summoned Turkey’s envoy to Sofia and also recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations.

Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdzhikov said this was to “prevent any attempts by Turkey to influence an election”.

Bulgaria also expelled a Turkish citizen and banned two others from entering the country, after reports a Turkish minister had campaigned for the DOST party that represents Bulgarian Turks, the country’s largest ethnic minority.

“I am calling on Bulgaria. I am calling to our kin and brothers there … It seriously upsets us to see and hear that pressure is being exerted there,” Erdogan said at a conference in Ankara.

Bulgaria’s ethnic Turks are estimated to total more than half a million in a total population of 7.2 million. More than 400,000 Bulgarian nationals live in Turkey, most of them Bulgarian Turks descended from Ottoman-era Turkish settlers in the Balkans.

“On the one hand you say democracy, on the other you are putting pressure on Turks. This is unacceptable. On the one hand you talk of the EU legal acquis, on the other you do the exact opposite. This cannot be,” Erdogan said, using the European Union’s term for its body of existing laws.

Bulgaria called Sunday’s early parliamentary elections after former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov resigned in November following his party’s loss in presidential polls.

Erdogan’s comments come on the heels of an escalating row between Turkey and its European allies over the barring of campaigning among Turkish expatriates in Germany and the Netherlands to drum up support for a referendum in April that would increase his powers.

Erdogan has angered the Germans and Dutch after repeatedly accusing his them of “Nazi methods” over the bans, leading to a sharp deterioration in ties with the European Union, which Turkey still officially aspires to join.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Tom Heneghan)

Bulgaria Places Troops on Turkish Border

Bulgaria announced they are sending their military to secure the border with Turkey as migrants continue to flood into the nation.

“There is a change in the situation in the past few days and it is hard to predict where the refugee wave will head…so we are standing ready,” Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev told public BNR radio.

Nenchev said up to 1,000 troops could end up along the border.

The chief secretary to the interior ministry told reporters that around 660 migrants tried to illegally cross the nation’s border but turned back after they discovered it was heavily guarded.

Bulgaria is not the only nation bordering Turkey facing migrant problems.

Greece is blocking migrants at their border with Turkey, resulting in protests from the migrants who depend to be allowed to cross.  Many are refusing the food given out by a Turkish agency and say they will conduct a hunger strike until they get their desires.

“We are not going back,” Ahmed El Latif told the AP. “Either we all die here or we will go to Greece.”

Russia Admits Military Experts in Syria

The Russian government stopped denying they have troops in Syria.

The statement comes one day after the United States asked nations like Bulgaria and Greece to close their airspace to Russian military transports. Bulgaria agreed to the U.S. request but Greece did not publicly respond to the request.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed “advisors” are assisting with deliveries of Russian arms.  The Russian government is claiming the mission of the forces is just to assist the Syrian army in fighting militants.

However, U.S. officials say that Russian transports are also arriving with passenger flights that contain Russian troops putting together a forward base in Syria.

“Any effort to bolster the Assad regime would potentially be destabilizing,” the U.S. State Department said.

Russia has long considered Syrian President Bashir al-Assad a close ally.