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A Bulgarian girl mourns with her friend in front of the Indigo discotheque in Sofia, where seven teenagers died late Friday evening, December 23, 2001. Bulgaria's government declared Sunday a national day of mourning for the seven kids who died in a stampede at a discotheque in central Sofia. REUTERS/Dimitar Dilkoff
I Live with Pain for Dead Children. Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha lit a candle in front of the altar of the 'Sv. Nedelya' church in the capital city yesterday and prayed for the salvation of the souls of the seven children who died at 'Indigo' club.
A Russian actor dressed in a traditional uniform ignites a fuse of the "Tsar-pushka" (Czar Cannon), which is made of ice, in Moscow December 23, 2001. Russians have started preparations for the forthcoming celebrations of Christmas and New Year. Orthodox holidays are celebrated several days later than in other European countries. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin
Sofia Wept About Killed Kids.
Sofia got desolated on the national day of mourning. At the Blue Cafe, few metres away from the Indigo club, boys and girls started gathering as early as morning. They headed for the discotheque, that buried their mates, in little groups. Children were carrying candles and flowers. Some of them were writing parting words on sheets of their pupils notebooks. "I was with my girlfriends in Indigo on Friday. We were late and lagged behind. We were mad that we would not manage to enter. It saved us," Gergana tells. She is carrying a little soft toy teddy-bear to place it on the death place, as if to offer her apology to the killed. People with bouquets came also to the monument to Patriarch Euthymius, where the teenagers usually meet. They did not conceal the tears in their eyes. A mother and her 15-year-old daughter held lit candles. "I frequented Indigo. I liked their Friday parties. We listened to good music, met friends. But I'm not to set my foot there any more," the girl went on. In many windows, instead of Christmas decorations and flickering coloured lights, lit candles were set. The clubs, traditionally overfilled on Sundays, were empty. "People don't feel like talking and meeting now," commented a waitress in a Sofia coffee shop, while carrying out a lit candle in front of the door.
The world has gone crazy.
Were the Stairs Icy or Our Souls Froze.
For this reason let us feel united in our common compassion and commiseration with seven families smashed by the cruel fate.
Days after the accident I still shudder at the thought of the awful tragedy. My heart is bleeding when I think of a crowd of kids in fancy clothes who came to party on their Christmas vacation and all of a sudden found themselves amidst this horror, kids who left this life, the invaluable human gift, before they even had a chance to enjoy it. I'm also thinking about their parents, trying to imagine (but to no avail) how in these days, on the Christmas eve, the whole world collapsed for them... What has happened, who let it happen, who is to blame? Were the stairs iced or our hearts are frosty and we close our eyes on what is happening with those who cannot even be identified after such catastrophes because they are still too young to have ID cards. There is more to that: what about the homeless under-age inhabitants of the railway stations, the school children whom drug-peddlers stock with stuff almost at classrooms' doors. Must such "events" occur to shake us up and awaken our souls? Such happenings may well force us into irrational and hasty actions... I set to writing this being too excited and, without actually wanting it, would like to elaborate on the subject. I'm thinking about the world where money reigns, where people driven by love of gain mesmerize the kids from the very tender age - when they think themselves very smart but are still silly - and lure them into all kinds of mushrooming discos, left without our control, with all their stupefying rhythms and idiotic, dumb texts. I'm thinking about books and movies that hype up violence and pornography, which to me are deadly poison... I am aware that my SOS message, a weak signal sent to save their souls, will sound to the young as old man's grumbling, they will say that youth has its own demands, like the desire to dance merrily, and yet I can't but ask myself why so little is done to enrich their selves, make them want something else, teach them live with cleverer thoughts and loftier dreams? And who, except the showbiz profiteers at home and abroad, actually gains from this "cultural policy" meant for the young. Maybe the famous Roman expression "Who has the interest?" will let us point our finger not on them only, but on people sitting much higher... I also think that in this particular case concrete measures must follow, though we should start from something more general - a nationwide all-out campaign aimed at social education of the young. The world we are living in, of which we are told that nothing better can be invented, has gone completely crazy. So, such actions to me seem to be necessary, at least in Bulgaria. First of all let the whole nation feel united in our compassion to the seven families smashed by the cruel fate!
Indigo and 4 More Discos in Sofia Closed Down.
Night clubs all over the country are sealed because of safety infringements.
The Indigo discotheque, where 7 kids were killed on Friday, had no regular building lease, Nedko Mladenov, Head of the National Construction Control Directorate, said yesterday. I'm explicit that it will be closed down. A procedure of closing it was already initiated, Mladenov was flat. "We've been checked out many times but never sanctioned," Roussi Dimitrov, press officer of Indigo Club, said yesterday. Four more discos were sealed in Sofia after the yesterday's police checkups, carried all over the country. Because of gross violations of the safety rules, Nicaea, Scream, Favourite and Traffic clubs were closed down. Along with IM representatives, experts from the Fire-Fighting Service and National Control Service Directorate took part.
Gaddafi Met Passy in His Library.
The Colonel was bewildered that Bulgarians could hurt Libyan children.
Foreign Minister Solomon Passy met Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi on Saturday night. The latter received him in his residence in Tripoli. The two talked in the spacious and stylish library of Gaddafi. He congratulated Passy upon his birthday and sent his best regards to President Petar Stoyanov, President-Elect Georgi Parvanov and PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is familiar with Bulgaria and work of Bulgarians in Libya and is bewildered that Bulgarians were able to do such a thing, Passy elaborated after the meeting. The two talked about former economic relations between the two countries and about the hope Bulgaria and Libya to renew them. At all his meetings in Libya, Minister Passy was positive that Bulgaria seeks reviving the relations with the Jamahiriya and that the interest of the Bulgarian cabinet in Libya is not connected with the trial only. It was the hosts that raised the issue of the trial first, Passy said.
Bus-Killer Cut into 2 Cisterns.
Three of the passengers died on the spot, the lives of another 20 are in danger.
Early in the morning yesterday the road to Bourgas turned into a slaughterhouse. Three people were killed in the severe car accident near Karnobat. A passenger bus 'Junker' entered the counter-lane at a speed of more than 120 km/h and collided head-on with a gas cistern with Sofia license plate. The crash made the two heavy vehicles turn over to their sides. Seconds after the collision a 15-ton truck carrying gasoline crashed into them. The second cistern turned over, too. And a 'Volswagen' crashed in it. Driver of the bus Stoycho T. and driver of the gasoline cistern Stoyko Stoykov died on the spot. Second driver of the bus Ivan Nedelchev died in the intensive care ward. To the initial conclusions of the investigators, icy roads and fogs are the reason for the fatal accident.
Second Car Accident Stained Road with Blood.
A second severe car accident took place yesterday in the morning near Karnobat, the Regional Police Department in Bourgas announced. The traffic accident is near the place of the first crash and happened approxoimately at the same time. A 'Moskvich' and a truck had a head-on collision. Grozdanka B. and Borislav B. from Sliven and their 27-year old son Deyan were badl injured. The three of them are hospitalized in Yambol and their life is in danger, sources from the Regional Police Department in Bourgas announced. The mother and the son are in coma, the father is conscious. To the policemen the reason for the accident is the same again - icy road section and fogs.
Two Children Wounded near Svishtov.
Two people were killed and another three were wounded in fatal car accidents near Svishtov, sources from the Regional Police Department in Veliko Tarnovo announced. On the main road Rousse-Pleven near Svishtov a 'Volvo' truck pulled over for a small repair. A little bit after that the 'Volswagen' moving behind it, crashed into the trailer. Driver Ivelin Shapkadzhiev died on the spot. His wife Margarita Slavova and their 12-year old daughter Lilyana are hospitalized in the Pleven clinic and their life is in danger. 15-year old son Rousi is hospitalized too, but his life is not threatened.
Parents: This music corrupts.
Teenagers Like Them, because They Feel Rappers' Riot Like Their Own.
These are the means of expression of the urban environment. It's high-time that this language is included in art, too, the performers say.
Until recently 'black boys', who pronounce recitatives of following one after the other four-letter words, appeared only on MTV. For several years already Bulgaria has author's rap and hip-hop music. Among the first creators of 'black sound' in Bulgaria are Misho Shamara (the Slap), Itzo Hazarta (the Gambler), 'Gumeny Glavy' ('Rubber Heads') 'Apsurd' ("Absurd'), 'Igrachite' (the 'Players'). They say that they find their motifs in everyday life. 'My songs are not obscene, my mother is proud of them', the man born in Varna, called Misho Shamara, says. In contrast to his mother most of the parents disagree with this opinion. 'This music should be forbidden', long-suffering parents say. And there's a good reason for that. Who will be the father who'll be pleased to hear his little girl say about Misho Shamara 'I would fuck him here on the curb'. And while surrounded by several almost naked strip-teasers Misho is crying from the stage 'Guantanamera, hold my water-meter', embarrassed parents nervously smoke and wait in front of the hall doors to take their children home. And the children are fascinated by the obscene charm of the rap music. Heated 10 and 12-year old girls toss blouses and brassieres towards a stage, often hidden behind a curtain of marijuana smoke. And why not when the refrain by the 'Apsurd' band is known to everyone: 'Non-stop, non-stop cannabis, non-stop marijuana in my hip-pocket'. These children, grown and educated by their quite busy parents, find in the face rap-singers people who think in a similar way and rise against everything. 'We don't live in the Middle Ages, we live in a normal country. Why everybody in American films talks freely and swears. These are the means of expression of the urban environment. It's high time that this language enters art', Misho Shamara replies at the accusation of the obscene language he uses in his songs. And synthesizes his philosophy in his piece 'My'. 'With wide jeans and kerchief on the head, my, with money in my pocket I'm in my car again, my, I'm a bum, my, I'm not a hero...'
May God bring courage to the Bulgarians.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
I Carry the Pain for the Death of the Children in My Soul. There is a lot of speculation about cabinet reshuffles, claims prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Before his departure for Madrid yesterday, premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha invited journalists to a cup of coffee in the VIP hall at Sofia airport. He admitted that his mood wasn't festive and that he hadn't bought gifts for the family. The premier will stay in Madrid till January 3 2002.
- Mr premier, on the day of national mourning we'd like to ask you to extend a message to the Bulgarians.
- You know, I'm sparing of words, I'm not fond of pompous phrases. Today (editor's note - yesterday) in the 'Sv.Nedelya' church I prayed for the dead children, but naturally, most of all for their parents, because they are going through a real horror. I prayed that God give them courage at this moment. I think that all of us should start thinking of the future of the children and youth, of culture, the role of the family. Let the memory of those innocent victims leave something positive in us, mobilize us and help us look at these things in a different way. Legal measures should be taken. However, they will be expedient only if they are not adopted in a rush. Then they won't be well thought over.
- Many tragic events happened in recent days. You are a religious man, are we Bulgarians this sinful?
- Don't say it. Don't interpret events in this way. A religious man doesn't accept things like this. I don't think that it would be right if some of them pay for the others. If there is an accident, what does it mean?
- Don't you think that your departure on the mourning day could be interpreted wrongly. In your view, is it normal for you to leave Bulgaria precisely now?
- I'm surprized by the question. Because everyone is aware of what he has in his soul. Is being in the church till midnight this important? To me what counts more is what I feel in my soul. Does a day of mourning mean that one should stay here? Working at home doesn't mean that I think less for the people here.
- Traditionally, the end of the year is a time of recapitulation. What is your assessment of the first six months of your rule, which is particularly complicated now?
- It has been complicated from the very first day and will, for sure, be like this till the last one. Besides the year hasn't completed as yet, today is only December 23. There is a lot of work to be done. I don't have the habit of assessing my own activity.
- What would you like 2002 to be?
- As everyone I'd like it to be better, we wish each other this, don't we? There is a lot of work and many efforts ahead of us. I hope 2002 will be a year in which everyone will work, and there won't be people to look from aside and criticize only. People should work together, because everything depends on us. Nothing will fall from the skies.
- What is your assessment of the activity of your cabinet?
- I can't give any assessments, things will be felt. When people work, there can't but be results.
- Will there be any reshuffle in your team? Similar claims were published in the media?
- I think there are no cabinets in the world of which there hasn't been talk of reshuffles as early as the first month after their formation. There are similar speculations here, too.
- Any pain you'll remember this year for? Or a success?
- I don't have the time for pain. And the victories? One shouldn't embelish his deeds but work and look at the results. I believe that all of us will feel the results of our activity.
- Did you manage to buy gifts for your family?
- No, because I either come out of 'Vrana, or of the Council of Ministers.
- What do you wish yourself for 2002?
- To hold out.
I Dream That Santa Claus Give Me My Passport Back.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Alexander Bozhkov
Sofiyanski's party has a future ahead, all the aparatchiks joined Bakardzhiev, says the director of the Economic Development Center Alexander Bozhkov.
- Mr Bozhkov how does a man who has been prohibited from travelling abroad and who learns from the media how the prosecution will treat him feel like?
- Bad. This month I had appointments with the IMF, WB, representatives of big American corporations and of the US government in connection with a number of programs which can be realized in Bulgaria. They are currently pending. We conditionally postponed them for this January.
-The bails increased with every successive accusation. Is Alexander Bozhkov the most dangerous man in the state?
- I know I'm not dangerous to the state. He who thinks me to be dangerous obviously has the power to turn it into cash resources. It's good that I've got friends to help me. To date I have deposited 35,000 levs. Only because I wouldn't like to make someone happy leading me in handcuffs to prison, and then appeal it in court and be released. Definitely however, I don't have any resources any longer. I hope that this type of fun won't continue.
-As a former chief negotiator, did you anticipate the decision on Bulgaria in Laeken?
-No, and I'm greatly embarrassed. Those vague messages of the new ruling authorities have left the impression that there is some panic in Bulgaria. And the country is lagging behind because of the panic itself. We have lost 2007 as a landmark.
-Is the lagging behind reparable?
- Yes. There is no lagging behind in the very process of the negotiations. Maggie Kouneva works as a professional. The bad thing is that we already have the decision from Laeken which we shall fight.
- Is there any future ahead for the parties of Evgenii Bakardzhiev, Stefan Sofiyanski, Bogomil Bonev?
- No. Stefan Sofiyanski's Union of Free Democrats might have a future. I'm a bit embarrassed about the organizational structure of the party. One day it will have to compile parliamentary tickets. And with the liberalism contained in his ideas, it will be difficult to prevent local careerists from joining the party and spoiling his smiling face.
- Didn't Sofiyanski invite you to join his union?
- Stefan and I are friends. I don't want to be an obstacle until I haven't cleaned myself of everything. As for Bakardzhiev's party, my opinion is more different. I think it is some asylum for aparatchiks which won't have any future in store. Apart from apparatus, a party also needs an electorate. I wish success to Evgenii too.
- What present do you want from Santa Claus?
- The thing I would like the most is to have my passport back, but obviously Santa Claus won't bring it to me. I feel as if without legs and hands. I have ways to help Bulgaria. I also have the big international contacts and the confidence of a big part of the international economic and political community. And I don't boast, it is a fact.