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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2015-05-28
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28 May 2015, Issue 4241
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9740 subscribers of Novinite.com
151498 articles
590 interviews
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BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
FIFA Issues Statement Regarding Switzerland Arrests


FIFA's spokesperson Walter De Gregorio deemed the unexpected arrests of the organization's officials to be a positive event. read
EU, Switzerland Sign Agreement Ending Bank Secrecy


The agreement signed Wedneday states that information regarding financial accounts will be automatically exchanged between the EU and Switzerland starting 2018. read
Macedonian Opposition Leader Zaev Expects Crisis Will Be Over by End-June


Zoran Zaev, leader of Macedonia’s opposition Social Democrats, expects the political crisis in the country to be resolved by the end of June. read
 
 
MORE TOP NEWS
NATO Chief Urges Russia to Avoid Snap Military Drills

Cabinet Proposes Former Foreign Minister as New Bulgarian Ambassador to Turkey

Macedonia Will Only Join Turkish Stream amid Agreement between Russia, EU on it - Gruevski

Lukoil 'Manipulating Bulgaria Oil, Diesel Fuel Prices' - ex-PM

OMV Interested in Using Bulgarian Pipes to Transport Romanian Gas

Launch of Power Exchange Will Not Lead to 30-40% Price Spike – Watchdog Chair

FIFA Officials Arrested in Zurich Specialized Operation, NYT

Bulgaria Unveils Investment Opportunities to China’s Qingdao City Govt

Bulgaria Ranked 55th Out of 61 Competitive Economies

Preventing Ethnic Tensions in Macedonia Essential to Bulgaria – Еx Foreign Minister

Bulgaria's Garmen Braces for Massive anti-Roma Protest

Bulgarian Customs Seize Estimated BGN 15 M Worth of Smuggled Anabolic Steroids  

Blick.ch: Who Will Stop Scrap Bulgarians?

Bulgarians Made More Business, Holiday Trips Abroad in April

Bulgaria’s Chief of Defence Staff to Attend Annual Balkan Countries CHODs Conference

Bulgarian Government Establishes National Anti-Corruption Council

Bulgarian Socialist Opposition Refuses Heading Constitutional Changes Committee

Bulgaria Customs Head to Manage Kapitan Andreevo Border Crossing

Bulgaria Might Have to Print Local Vote Ballot Papers in Romania

Bulgaria Advertised For Illegal Grizzly Bear Hunting

Danish Prime Minister Calls Early General Election in June

British Queen Announces EU Referendum to Be Held Before End of 2017

EU Commission Proposes Draft 2016 Budget Amounting to EUR 143.5 B

Hip Hop, Neo Soul Diva Lauryn Hill to Perform in Sofia

Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Foundation Donates BGN 2.5 M for Restoration of Trapezitsa Fortress

Festival of the Arts Honors International Children's Day

Macedonia Leaders' 4-Hour Talks End with No Results

Russian Official Declares Mistral Deal Dead

VIEWS ON BG
Blick.ch: Who Will Stop Scrap Bulgarians?


UPS & DOWNS
Bulgaria Wins 'Most Impressive Borrower in CEE' Award

Russia Claims Bulgaria Is Seeking to Partition Macedonia
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TOP NEWS
EU COMMISSION UNVEILS MIGRANT RELOCATION & RESETTLEMENT PLAN

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed measures designed to improve the management of migration, including through relocation and resettlement of a total of 60,000 migrants.

Bulgaria’s combined allocation under the two schemes is 788 people. read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA UNVEILS INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES TO CHINA’S QINGDAO CITY GOVT

A Chinese provincial government delegation is visiting Bulgaria to study investment opportunities offered by the EU member state, the Economy Ministry in Sofia announced on Wednesday.

The delegation comprising local government officials from the city of Qingdao, in Shandong province in eastern China, and representatives of Qingdao Free Trade Zone met with Bulgaria’s Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski. read more


BULGARIA RANKED 55TH OUT OF 61 COMPETITIVE ECONOMIES

In 2015, Bulgaria has been ranked on the 55th spot in terms of competitiveness indicators, thus showing a slight improvement from last year's 56th spot.

The data has been released by the Yearbook of World Competitiveness, administered by the Swiss International Institute for Management Development (IMD). read more


ENERGY

LAUNCH OF POWER EXCHANGE WILL NOT LEAD TO 30-40% PRICE SPIKE – WATCHDOG CHAIR

It is unrealistic to suggest that electricity prices will increase by 30-40% after the launch of the power exchange, according to Ivan Ivanov, Chair of Bulgaria’s Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (KEVR).

Ivanov, as cited by private TV station bTV, told journalists Wednesday that although there were people who probably wanted such price spikes, the trading platform would remove any concerns about this. read more


OMV INTERESTED IN USING BULGARIAN PIPES TO TRANSPORT ROMANIAN GAS

Austrian OMV has asked Bulgarian state-owned gas transmission operator Bulgartransgaz about opportunities to transport natural gas from Romania via Bulgarian gas pipelines, according to Georgi Gegov, CEO of Bulgartransgaz.

Gegov, as cited by Pressa daily, said at an energy conference on Tuesday that the inquiry had been made by Reinhard Mitschek, Senior Vice President for gas logistics at OMV. read more


MACEDONIA WILL ONLY JOIN TURKISH STREAM AMID AGREEMENT BETWEEN RUSSIA, EU ON IT - GRUEVSKI

Macedonia will join the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project when the European Commission and Russia reach agreement on the scheme, according to Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

In an interview for local news portal Pres 24 he says that Macedonia is a country that makes decisions of strategic importance on the basis of its Euro-Atlantic orientation. read more


LUKOIL 'MANIPULATING BULGARIA OIL, DIESEL FUEL PRICES' - EX-PM

Lukoil Bulgaria is responsible for "artificial" prices of petrol in the country, a research team led by former PM Ivan Kostov has claimed.

There are good reasons to believe the Urals crude oil is imported in Bulgaria at  much higher prices than normal, to the detriment of both households and businesses, Kostov's researchers say in a report [BG] published by the Risk Management Lab, a think-tank based at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia.

Kostov, who served as Prime Minister between 1997 and 2001, is still thought to hold certain influence over the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB), one of the parties in the right-wing coalition Reformist Bloc which is the junior partner in the government.

The cabinet for its part has been subscribed for analyses prepared by the Risk Management Lab for months.

Lukoil does not provide customs officers with invoices showing the price at which it bought crude, showing instead figures with stock prices for Brent (which for its part is 2.41% more expensive).

Transport expenses paid by the oil giant to bring the crude into Bulgaria have also been written up, the think-tank believes.

All this results in an overall difference of 13.27% in real prices of the crude bought in Russia and those it reported in Bulgaria, the study claims.

Between 2006 and 2014, Lukoil thereby inflated its declared expenses by BGN 763.5 M on a yearly basis, or BGN 6.8717 B for the entire period.

Lukoil is yet to comment on the allegations. read more


TOURISM

BULGARIANS MADE MORE BUSINESS, HOLIDAY TRIPS ABROAD IN APRIL

According to the latest figures of the National Statistical Institute (NSI), which were released on Wednesday, Bulgarians made more business trips and holiday travels abroad in April.

Bulgarians completed 369 000 trips abroad in April, which represented an increase of 14.2 % compared to the same month in 2014. read more


POLITICS

PREVENTING ETHNIC TENSIONS IN MACEDONIA ESSENTIAL TO BULGARIA – ЕX FOREIGN MINISTER

Former Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin has argued that it is essential for Bulgaria that the conflict in Macedonia does not escalate into ethnic tensions.

“The opposition in Macedonia believes that if elections are prepared by the same government in the same way, then the results will be the same. It is essential to us that the tensions there do not escalate into ethnic tensions. We must live with the awareness that the fates of people are decided by themselves,” Vigenin said in a Wednesday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio. read more


DIPLOMACY

CABINET PROPOSES FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER AS NEW BULGARIAN AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY

The government proposed the former Foreign Minister Nadezhda Neynsky to be appointed as the Bulgarian ambassador to Turkey.

The decision was taken at the regular meeting of the Council of Ministers, which took place on Wednesday, the government's press service informs. read more


DEFENSE

BULGARIA’S CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF TO ATTEND ANNUAL BALKAN COUNTRIES CHODS CONFERENCE

Vice Admiral Rumen Nikolov, Chief of Defence Staff of Bulgaria, will participate in the Annual Meeting of the Chiefs of Defence/General Staffs of the Balkan Countries on May 27-28 in Budva, Montenegro.

Apart from the Chiefs of Defence of the nine founders of the initiative for enhancing military cooperation on the Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, and Montenegro), the conference will also be attended by the Deputy Chairman of NATO's Military Committee, Mark Schissler, Allied Joint Force Command Naples commander, U.S. Navy Adm. Mark Ferguson III, and the Chiefs of Defence of Croatia and Slovenia. read more


DOMESTIC

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHES NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION COUNCIL

The Bulgarian government announced on Wednesday the establishment of a National council on anti-corruption policies with advisory, coordinating and control functions to the Ministerial Council.

The council will be responsible for the development and implementation of policies on preventing and countering corruption, the government's press service informs. read more


BULGARIAN SOCIALIST OPPOSITION REFUSES HEADING CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES COMMITTEE

The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) refused to head the parliamentary committee on constitutional amendments.


Earlier on Wednesday, the main ruling party GERB proposed to BSP to head the committee, which will be established after the constitutional amendments were tabled to parliament on Tuesday. read more


BULGARIA CUSTOMS HEAD TO MANAGE KAPITAN ANDREEVO BORDER CROSSING

Customs agency head Vanyo Tanov will personally be in charge of organization at the Kapital Andreevo border crossing point  at Bulgaria's border with Turkey.

The measure is in force as of Wednesday at 10:00 EEST, the Bulgarian National Television has said.

This follows a meeting between Tanov and the ministers of finance and transport, Vladislav Goranov and Ivaylo Moskovski, with truck drivers complaining of long queues at the crossing.

Drivers transporting goods across the border claim that slow procedures at the crossing result in delays and losses of EUR 150 on a daily basis.

The move by Tanov, which is now described as "provisional", also comes just hours after a report by French daily Le Monde which reads that a number of "candidates for jihad" use Kapitan Andreevo to make their way out of the EU. read more


BULGARIA MIGHT HAVE TO PRINT LOCAL VOTE BALLOT PAPERS IN ROMANIA

Bulgaria is facing a shortage of ballots for this autumn's local vote to be held across the country, officials have warned.

The printing house with the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) and the others licensed to print ballots will not be able to provide enough papers for the elections, and only 8-9 million will be available.

Bulgaria has a population of roughly 7 million, but will need much more under electoral law, and also due to the fact that voters will have to pick municipal councilors as well.

As a result, an MP from junior coalition partner Reformist Bloc told private national bTV station on Tuesday that the government would also look into options to print the additional number of ballots needed in neighboring Romania.

Other parties, including the socialist opposition BSP, however, raised fears this might violate electoral law or harm national security.

Maya Manolova, a socialist lawmaker and ex-Deputy Parliament Speakers, told journalists that the ruling axis might be seeking to justify future amendments to the Election Code. Electoral legislation was last changed by the previous elected government of socialist BSP and liberal DPS, with Manolova being the driving force behind the legislation.

Other scenarios include granting other print houses in Bulgaria the permit to print ballot papers or new changes to the code that would allow print houses with no permits to do the same.

Manolova for her part supports some of the measures as a last resort, even though they would hurt "national pride". She slammed at the governing GERB party of PM Boyko Borisov for failing to settle the matter earlier in 2015, not just months before the vote.

It was Manolova who played a major role in the so-called Kostinbrod affair, with Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov, socialists and a private TV station revealing an alleged plan of GERB to print some 350 000 "illegal ballots" to manipulate election results. This is what imposed restrictions on granting licenses to print houses to control potential cases of vote rigging.

read more


SOCIETY

BULGARIA'S GARMEN BRACES FOR MASSIVE ANTI-ROMA PROTEST

Security has been stepped up in the village of Garmen, southwestern Bulgaria, ahead of a protest against illegal buildings and settlers in a Roma neighborhood.

Anti-riot police have been deployed around the Kremikovtsi neighborhood to preserve the order as locals have held rallies every evening in the past few days, calling for an end for lawlessness there.

There was also a demonstration on Tuesday, but it ended peacefully with about a hundred participants blocking the road between the villages of Marchevo and Garmen.

Tensions grew high over the weekend as a fight broke on Saturday between Bulgarians and members of the Roma community.

Protesters, who maintain that the 124 buildings would be demolished and the Roma community should leave, earlier set out an ultimatum to local authorities, vowing to hold a large protest on June 2 unless their demands are heard.



Garmen has a population of about 1846 according to a 2015 census. Members of the ethnic Bulgarian majority claim to have been victims of robbery and assaults committed by Roma people.

The minority for its part says it is being discriminated against.

But Bulgaria's Regional Development Ministry urges for the buildings to be removed and insists local authorities should find another way to give shelter to inhabitants.

On Wednesday Bulgarian wire service BGNES revealed that the Roma neighborhood was build in the mid-2000s under an EU operational program managed by the State Fund Agriculture.



read more


ENVIRONMENT

BULGARIA ADVERTISED FOR ILLEGAL GRIZZLY BEAR HUNTING

Bulgarian Tourism Ministry has been advertising hunting of Grizzly bears and American deer, as well as salmon fishing, as announced by the NGO Balkani Wildlife Society, the Bulgarian National Radio reported.

At the Green Days Festival held in Sofia over the past weekend, Bulgaria had been advertised through brochures featuring information on hunting and fishing across the country. read more


CULTURE

HIP HOP, NEO SOUL DIVA LAURYN HILL TO PERFORM IN SOFIA

The long awaited concert of hip hop and neo soul star Ms Lauryn Hill will take place in Sofia's Arena Armeets on July 15.

Sofia will be a part of the neo soul queen's new series of concerts across the world after a long break. read more


AZERBAIJAN’S HEYDAR ALIYEV FOUNDATION DONATES BGN 2.5 M FOR RESTORATION OF TRAPEZITSA FORTRESS

Bulgaria has signed an agreement with a delegation of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation on a donation for restoration works at the Trapezitsa Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo.

The fund donated BGN 2.5 M for the restoration and conservation of the fortress so that it could welcome visitors in the following tourist season. read more


FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS HONORS INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S DAY

The Festival of the Arts in Sofia will be hosted by the Radisson Blu Grand Hotel in Sofia on May 30 and 31. It is set on bringing joy and entertainment to children on their holiday.

They will get the chance of participating in various artistic activities, including workshops for jewelry making, home decoration, ceramics, sweets and paintings. read more


CRIME

BULGARIAN CUSTOMS SEIZE ESTIMATED BGN 15 M WORTH OF SMUGGLED ANABOLIC STEROIDS  

Customs officials at Bulgaria’s Danube Bridge 2 checkpoint in Vidin, at the border with Romania, have seized nearly 15,000 vials marked as containing anabolic steroids being smuggled in a Slovak-registered van.

The vehicle carried packages of dog food to Slovakia, according to the cargo manifest. The starting point of the trip was not disclosed. read more


VIEWS ON BG

BLICK.CH: WHO WILL STOP SCRAP BULGARIANS?

Click here to read the story:
www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=168821


WORLD

NATO CHIEF URGES RUSSIA TO AVOID SNAP MILITARY DRILLS

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has urged Russia to avoid holding snap military drills.

Russia on Monday launched snap exercises to test the combat readiness of air defence and air force units in its Central Military District.Some 12,000 personnel and 250 aircraft are taking part in the four-day exercises which coincide with an earlier announced military drill of NATO forces over the Arctic that also started on Monday. Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov has said that Moscow notified the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) about its drills. read more


FIFA ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING SWITZERLAND ARRESTS

FIFA's spokesperson Walter De Gregorio deemed the unexpected arrests of the organization's officials to be a positive event.

"This for FIFA is good," De Gregorio said in a news conference following the scandalous arrests, as quoted by the Business Insider."It’s not good in terms of image, it’s not good in terms of reputation, but in terms of cleaning up, everything we did in the last four years, this is good." read more


FIFA OFFICIALS ARRESTED IN ZURICH SPECIALIZED OPERATION, NYT

Several top officials of FIFA were arrested early morning Wednesday in Zurich on account of corruption accusations.

Swiss authorities conducted a specialize doperation and arrested more than ten officials, the New York Times reported. read more


EU

BRITISH QUEEN ANNOUNCES EU REFERENDUM TO BE HELD BEFORE END OF 2017

British Queen Elizabeth II announced on Wednesday that the planned referendum on the UK's continued membership to the EU will take place before the end of 2017.

The referendum is one of the points on the government programme of the Conservatives, who were reelected to power with an overall majority after the general elections on May 7. read more


DANISH PRIME MINISTER CALLS EARLY GENERAL ELECTION IN JUNE

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt called on Wednesday an early general election to take place on June 18.

It is expected that her centre-left coalition will face a formidable challenge from the opposition, the BBC reports. read more


EU, SWITZERLAND SIGN AGREEMENT ENDING BANK SECRECY

The agreement signed Wedneday states that information regarding financial accounts will be automatically exchanged between the EU and Switzerland starting 2018.

This step has largely been considered a major breakthrough in the fight against money laundering and tax evasion, as rpeorted by Financial daily. read more


EU COMMISSION PROPOSES DRAFT 2016 BUDGET AMOUNTING TO EUR 143.5 B

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday a draft EU budget for 2016, amounting to EUR 143.5 B.

The budget is aimed to support the recovering European economy and help improve lives in Europe and beyond, the Commission's press service reports. read more


SOUTHEAST EUROPE

MACEDONIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ZAEV EXPECTS CRISIS WILL BE OVER BY END-JUNE

Zoran Zaev, leader of Macedonia’s opposition Social Democrats, expects the political crisis in the country to be resolved by the end of June.

Speaking to reporters in the tent city set up by the opposition in front of the government headquarters in Skopje to press their demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Zaev said that the European Council of Ministers has decided that the crisis needs to be resolved by the end of June. read more


MACEDONIA LEADERS' 4-HOUR TALKS END WITH NO RESULTS

A third meeting of Macedonian political leaders has failed to produce any tangible results, local media outlets say.

Heads of four parties held another round of talks in the country's capital Skopje amid a political crisis, with socialist opposition leader Zoran Zaev demanding the government's resignation in a wiretapping scandal.

Earlier in May an attack in the northwestern town of Kumanovo claimed the lives of eight police officers.

It was preceded by massive street protests demanding conservative PM Nikola Gruevski's resignation.

At the meeting Gruevski gave no indications whatsoever he would step down, according to MIA.

Chairmen of the four parties - VMRO-DPMNE of Gruevski, SDSM of Zoran Zaev, DUI of Ali Ahmeti and DPA of Menduh Thaci - agreed to hold another round of talks early next week.

As with previous meeting in Skopje, this one was held under the brokerage of the EU and the US' respective representatives in the Macedonian capital, Aivo Orav and Jess Baily.

Last week Gruevski and Zaev met in Strasbourg to seek solutions, with EU officials acting as mediators, in a conversation that lasted for about ten hours. Though the two discussed the outcome of the meeting during their talks with Ahmeti and Thaci, they failed to explain what concrete issues had been touched. Meanwhile reports emerged that an option to form an interim government headed again by Gruevski had been on the table in Strasbourg.

But despite international efforts, the opposition is determined to pursue goal to "expose" government wrongdoing, with Zaev saying he is to produce new recordings on Thursday to show cases of the cabinet's interference in other branches of power and attempts to exert influence on media outlet, Utrinski vesnik reports. read more


RUSSIA

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL DECLARES MISTRAL DEAL DEAD

Russia has given up on its EUR 1.2 B deal with France for the procurement of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, a senior Russian government official has said.

"Russia won’t take them, it’s an accomplished fact," Russian newswires quoted Oleg Bochkaryov, deputy head of the Military Industrial Commission, as saying on Tuesday. The commission is the government body in charge of overseeing Russia’s defence industry. read more



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