Friday was dominated by the news of the sad demise of a Bulgarian alpinist, Atanas Skatov, on his descent from an unsuccessful attempt to climb the K2 peak in the Himalayas. Skatov obviously lost his grip on a very challenging part of the peak.
In Covid-19 news, Bulgaria continues to register rising case numbers for a fifth consecutive day. The number of fatalities also started growing for the first time in over six weeks, with 54 new deaths registered by 5 February.
On the positive side, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov told Parliament that the locations where people will get immunized against the virus will be posted on Google Maps and a special app for iOS and Android devices dedicated to vaccinations will be launched soon.
With nationalist parties deciding to run for elections individually, GERB may have fewer coalition options
The VMRO nationalist fraction, one of the two minor parties in government, announced on Friday it will run independently in the 4 April elections, causing potential problems for the ruling GERB party. By declining to participate in a coalition of nationalist parties, as in 2017, VMRO lowers its chances of entering parliament significantly. This will make it very hard for GERB to put together a working post-election coalition, even if it wins the elections.
Bulgarian lawyer takes Prosecutor-General and a member of the ruling coalition to ECHR for hate-speech
Two cases of alleged discriminatory hate speech by Bulgarian officials have been taken to the European Court of Human Rights by lawyer Alexander Kashumov, as reported by the daily Sega. ECHR will have to decide whether Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev's words that "This is how all defendants do, this is also how all gypsies do," in a TV interview from 2019 are tantamount to a discriminatory, anti-Roma statement. Two Bulgarian courts acquitted Mr. Geshev.
Additionally, the case of NFSB nationalist party leader Valeri Simeonov who said in 2014 that "parts of the Roma ethnicity" in Bulgaria have become "arrogant, ferocious anthropoids" and added that Roma women had the "instincts of stray bitches" will also be examined by the ECHR. Bulgarian courts cleared him of charges of discrimination.
Earlier this week, ECHR ruled against Bulgaria in connection with a 2013 statement by ex-GERB lieutenant and Internal Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov that breached the right of presumed innocence of a defendant in an armed robbery case.
German Umarex air-guns producer opens a facility in Gabrovo
One of Europe's leading manufacturers and suppliers of airguns, pistols, rifles, teargas and airsoft guns, Umarex is opening up a factory in the Central Bulgarian city of Gabrovo. The 3 million euro investment will see the creation of a workshop for metal and wooden weapon parts and will initially employ 30 people, the company told Capital Weekly. This is the second weapons manufacturer to open a store in the old Bulgarian industrial center that is currently enjoying an economic revival. German high-end rifle manufacturer Blaser has operated in the city for 30 years and employs 200 people.