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  September 1, 2015 

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The Bulgarian Community in Sydney

The Bulgarian Community and Culture Association "Rodina" is the focal point for Bulgarians and the Bulgarian culture in Sydney and New South Wales.  We organise regular BBQs, dances and social events as well as support the Bulgarian School in Sydney.  Our community includes people with Bulgarian heritage, partners of Bulgarians and people interested in the Bulgarian Culture.  As part of Multi-Cultural Australia we aim to contribute and enrich its diverse culture.  We also provide orientation and help for Bulgarians newly arrived in Sydney and New South Wales.

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Bulgarian News

No 'Bulgarian Roots' of Austrian Smuggling Ring, IntMin Says
Tuesday, 1st September 2015

Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova has ruled out that the organized criminal gang smuggling migrants into Austria could be based in Bulgaria.

The group, which was allegedly linked to the deaths of 71 migrants found in a truck near Hungary's border with Austria, was active "in other countries" except for Bulgaria and is a de facto transnational criminal organization, Bachvarova made clear in an interview with private bTV station on Tuesday.

She did not elaborate.

Bachvarova added that Bulgaria had taken active part in the investigation which was prompted by last week's incident, providing cooperation to Austrian and Hungarian authorities. 

Reports by Der Spiegel magazine revealed on Monday the names of three of the four Bulgarians detained on suspicions of their involvement.  Metodi G.  (29), Tsvetan T.  (32) and Kasim S.  (50) were not lowest-level members of the gang, the weekly said on its website.

Hungary has been seeing over the past weeks the biggest influx of migrants since 2015 began, most of the asylum seekers from Syria or the Middle East reaching its borders via Greece, Macedonia and Serbia to reach EU member Hungary and from there proceed to Germany. 

In the minister's words, however, though migrants passing via Macedonia and Greece do not try to make their way through Bulgaria, "this situation might change."

"Nothing rules out the possibility" that migrants entering Greece try to use Bulgaria as part of their journey to Central Europe, Bachvarova warned.  Most asylum seekers who make it to Greek land opt for Macedonia instead. 

Most people who choose Bulgaria as their entry point into the EU arrive via Turkey, crossing Bulgaria's southeastern border. 



Bulgaria MP to Table Medical Cannabis Legalization Bill
Monday, 31st August 2015

Independent lawmaker Velizar Enchev has announced he is to put forward in September a bill that would allow for cannabis to be used for medical purposes.

He has warned that "thousands of people suffering in Bulgaria" could find a means to alleviate their pain if they are able to use a mouth spray and has underlined that legalizing smoking has never crossed his mind.

In a Monday interview with private bTV station, citing the experience of several EU countries and a number of US states which have approved medical cannabis, he asserted that "everybody opposing this is also opposing their practices."

Earlier, Enchev launched a petition [BG] calling for the move, explaining he wanted to have "people's voice" heard.

Launched in mid-August, the petition has gathered some 3730 signatures (as of Monday, 13:30 EEST).

It followed an exchange of comments between him and Health Minister Petar Moskov on allowing medical cannabis, a step about which Moskov is cautious, fearing it could be easily mixed up with legalization.

Enchev, a former spy, has been known for often going against the opinions of "party" lawmakers, and he quit the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF) coalition just days after being elected Parliament on its ticket. 

In June, Enchev submitted to Parliament an official inquiry to Health Minister Petar Moskov which included the list of diseases whose symptoms which some researchers firmly believe medical cannabis could relieve - including "cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis," and many others. 

"Unfortunately this is a taboo issue in Bulgaria.  What is more, two years ago a person diagnosed with MS in Lovech was brought before court because he planted marijuana after having read in specialized medical publications that cannabis deals successfully with the development of his illness."

Enchev is referring to Marin Kalchev, who was acquitted in March with the judge citing "numerous international studies" which proved the effect of medical cannabis.

But Minister Moskov believes that THC-based mouth sprays (THC is the most active ingredient in cannabis) could bring about "marijuana smoking" which "poses more risks to the human boby than the disease itself."

There have been proposals in the past months by Israeli companies and researchers to cooperate in Bulgaria on medical cannabis.



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About Us

The Bulgarian Cultural and Social Association "Rodina" promotes Bulgarian culture, traditions and language among the Bulgarian community in NSW.  For over 30 years we have been fostering knowledge and understanding about the Bulgarian culture and history by organising social events, forums, exhibitions, performances and other public initiatives.  We seek to strengthen the social, economic, educational and cultural ties between Australia and Bulgaria.  Therefore, maintaining a close relationship with Australian organisations and institutions in Australia is of significant importance to us.  As part of Multi-Cultural Australia we aim to contribute and enrich its diverse culture.  Rodina collaborates and co-operates with other Bulgarian and cultural organisations in Australia.