Bulgaria premier sick in hospital after resigning due to protests

Updated 28 February 2013
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Bulgaria premier sick in hospital after resigning due to protests

SOFIA: Outgoing Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov has been hospitalized with high blood pressure, officials said yesterday, adding to a sense of political limbo before an interim government is appointed to take the country to early elections.
Borisov resigned last week after two weeks of sometimes violent protests by tens of thousands accusing the government of being a “Mafia” due to rampant corruption and its failure to improve living standards in the European Union's poorest state. Demonstrators angry at high electricity prices attacked power company offices and three people set themselves on fire.
Hospital officials said yesterday Borisov was admitted with hypertension earlier this week, but should be discharged later in the day. A cabinet meeting due yesterday was postponed due the prime minister's absence.
Borisov's departure has failed to fully calm voters in a country where the average monthly wage is 400 euros ($ 520) and pensions less than half that. Demonstrations have continued on a smaller scale though large protests are planned for the weekend.
Other parties have declined to try to form a new government, meaning Borisov remains in office until an interim government is appointed, probably next week, which will take Bulgaria to elections expected in May. Borisov's GERB party is now running neck-and-neck with the opposition socialists and neither is expected to win a majority.
“We need some new faces that have the energy and desire to revive the current parties,” said Konstantin Haralampiev, 47, an entrepreneur in Sofia.
Borisov, a former bodyguard to communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, has maintained tight fiscal discipline, bringing the budget gap down to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product, important to maintain a currency peg to the euro.


King Salman declared ‘Islamic World’s Personality of the Year’

Updated 2 min 9 sec ago
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King Salman declared ‘Islamic World’s Personality of the Year’

  • Religious leaders demand an independent Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital
  • UNSC should take notice of Houthi missile attacks on Saudi cities

LAHORE: A group of religious scholars in Pakistan have declared King Salman the “Islamic World’s Personality of the Year 2017,” in recognition of his services to the Muslim world, especially to Palestine.

The scholars gathered in Lahore to participate in the International Paigham-e-Islam Conference (Message of Islam Conference) organized on Monday by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC).

The event was chaired by PUC President Maulana Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi and attended by Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs Secretary Talal Al-Aqeel as chief guest. 

The Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf Saeed Ahmad Al-Maliki, was also in attendance.

The participants of the conference expressed deep appreciation for the role played by King Salman in uniting the Muslim Ummah and raising his voice for its rights at every international forum.

King Salman’s Islamic World’s Personality of the Year Award was received on his behalf by the Saudi ambassador.

During the course of the conference, the participants fully endorsed the decision of the 29th Arab League Summit and rejected US decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem. They unanimously declared that the US decision was not acceptable to anyone among the Muslim countries.

“The only solution to the issue is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that has its capital in Jerusalem. No other solution can bring peace to the region,” said the resolution adopted by the conference.

The participants also noted that Muslims of the world were facing significant challenges due to the menace of extremism, terrorism and sectarianism.

Many of them stated that the enemies of Islam were benefiting from these differences that had fragmented Muslim communities all over the world. They also noted that after destroying Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, such elements were also planning to turn on, and destablize, Saudi Arabia.

The conference participants expressed their concern over missile attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Houthis, saying no Muslim would tolerate an attack on Islam’s holiest cities and that the UN Security Council should take note of those who were supporting the Houthis.

“No one can afford the destabilization of Saudi Arabia, and Iran should not support the Houthis. The world should take notice of excesses committed by Houthis,” Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, president of the PUC, said while addressing the gathering. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Saudi ambassador thanked the conference for declaring King Salman the Islamic World’s Personality of the Year.

“The Saudi government is always ready to serve the people of Pakistan. The two countries are tied by the bonds of friendship and Saudi Arabia values Pakistan's feelings for the Kingdom,” he said.

The conference also lauded the Pakistan Army for providing training facilities to Saudi forces.

“The Pakistan Army, being the force of a nuclear country, has the responsibility of ensuring the safety of all Muslim countries. It should fully cooperate with the Saudi armed forces by providing them consultation and training to meet the challenges of terrorism from external forces,” another resolution passed by the conference read.