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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-10-22
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22 October 2014, Issue 4060
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9751 subscribers of Novinite.com
146929 articles
590 interviews
9539 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
Bulgarian Socialists Ready for New Talks with GERB, Mikov Says  


The Socialists will take part on a second round of consultations over forming a government coalition if GERB extended an invitation for meaningful political negotiations, Socialist leader Mihail Mikov said on Tuesday. read
Incoming EU Energy Commissioner Prefers Southern Gas Corridor over South Stream


EU should back the Southern Gas Corridor, a project rivaling the South Stream gas pipeline, as a means to provide security of energy supplies, Slovakia's EU Commissioner designate Maroš Šefčovič has said.read
EU Bank Watchdog Urges Bulgaria to Ensure Instant Access to KTB Deposits


European Banking Authority said Monday Bulgaria should allow immediate access of depositors at Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank, KTB) to their savings.read
 
 
NOVINITE INSIDER
Are GERB's Political Auction Plans Turning Ugly?

» More

MORE TOP NEWS
Bulgarian Court Rejects Kobliakov Extradition Request from Russia

Bulgaria, Romania to Sign Memorandum To Build Two New Bridges Over Danube

Poland's Sikorski Denies Ukraine Partition Comments

Bulgaria's Energy Market 'Needs More Dealers'

EU Commission 'Should Adopt New Approach' to Disasters, Emergency - MEP

Turkey Adopts Tough Measures Against Violation of Public Order

Russia 'Offered Poland Part of Ukraine' - Former FM

UK to Send Spy Drones Over Syria in Broadening of Anti-IS Campaign

Iva Yordanova Resigns as Deputy Head of Agency for Bulgarians Abroad

Russian State Telecom To Launch Counterpart of Skype


UPS & DOWNS
Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Belt Of Bulgar Warrior

Drunk Snow Plough Driver Might Have Caused Crash of Total CEO's Plane
POLL
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TOP NEWS
GERB, REFORMIST BLOC TAKE ‘STEP FORWARD’ IN COALITION TALKS

At a meeting that was not announced in advance, the Reformist bloc and GERB have come one step closer to а coalition agreement, according to a statement of Rumyana Bachvarova from Bulgaria’s biggest party.

Тhe meeting was attended by the leaders of the five main parties in the Reformist bloc and GERB’s leader Boyko Borisov. read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA, ROMANIA TO SIGN MEMORANDUM TO BUILD TWO NEW BRIDGES OVER DANUBE

Bulgaria and Romania will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to implement feasibility studies on the construction of two new bridges over the Danube River, Transport Minister Nikolina Angelkova said, Tuesday.

The facilities will connect Nikopol with Turnu Magurele, and Silistra with Calarasi, Bulgaria's news agency BGNES reports. read more


POLAND'S SIKORSKI DENIES UKRAINE PARTITION COMMENTS

Polish ex-Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has responded to an article in a US magazine where he allegedly says Russia offered Poland to annex five Ukrainian provinces.

Sikorski wrote on Twitter some of his comments had been exaggerated, though he did not specify which ones. read more


FINANCE

EU BANK WATCHDOG URGES BULGARIA TO ENSURE INSTANT ACCESS TO KTB DEPOSITS

European Banking Authority said Monday Bulgaria should allow immediate access of depositors at Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank, KTB) to their savings.

Both the Bulgarian central bank BNB and the Deposits Insurance Fund (DIF) are breaching Article 1(3)(i) and Article 10 of Directive 94/19/EC, the deposit-guarantee law of the European Union, the banking watchdog warned in a statement.

Bulgaria should either completely remove restrictions and ensure depositors' access to their money in both KTB and its daughter Commercial Bank Victoria (formerly Credit Agricole Bulgaria) or should launch the mechanism to make transfers from the DIF, the banking authority (EBA) has demanded in a formal recommendation.

Parliamentary approval would be needed for the latter option, and the first session of Bulgaria's National Assembly is to be held October 27, or next Monday.

The EBA reportedly demanded from the BNB that it ensure depositors' access to their money in both KTB and its daughter Victoria (formerly Credit Agricole Bulgaria).

Under current legislation in the bloc, or namely the Deposits Guarantee Schemes (DGS) Directive, depositors are to be compensated for up to EUR 100 000 of their assets within 25 business days after access to their accounts has been blocked.

Infringement proceedings were started by the EU Commission against Bulgaria on suspicions of breaching EU law on September 25. A press statement from the EBA issued on the same day revealed the authority was also carrying out an investigation.

Corpbank, Bulgaria's fourth-largest lender, was placed under BNB's special supervision in mid-June after its liquidity was depleted by a run and it had to freeze all operations. read more


ENERGY

INCOMING EU ENERGY COMMISSIONER PREFERS SOUTHERN GAS CORRIDOR OVER SOUTH STREAM

EU should back the Southern Gas Corridor, a project rivaling the South Stream gas pipeline, as a means to provide security of energy supplies, Slovakia's EU Commissioner designate Maroš Šefčovič has said.

Šefčovič , who is tipped to become the EU Commission Vice President for Energy Union, told the jury at the EU Parliament at his hearing on Monday evening that Brussels' decision to halt South Stream was well-grounded.

"We cannot accept such as large-scale project to be implemented on the EU's territory by a company with does not wish to hold on to the legislation," Šefčovič was quoted by public broadcaster BNR as saying.

He also accused Russia of using gas supplies as a weapon and described its behavior as unacceptable.

Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom has refused to accept the implementation of the EU's Third Energy Package with regard to South Stream.

EU rules would allow third-party access to the pipeline, since the pipe owners cannot have a monopoly on gas transportation.

At the same time Moscow insists supplies through South Stream should be made in accordance with the long-term contracts for gas supplies Russia has with a number of member states.

The EU Commission called on Bulgaria, the first member state through which the pipes are to pass, to freeze the project in June, and the government of former Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski chose to agree. read more


BULGARIA'S ENERGY MARKET 'NEEDS MORE DEALERS'

There is a lack of competitors in energy trade on the liberalized energy market, the Bulgarian energy watchdog DKEVR warned Tuesday.

Trade to household consumers is where the biggest insufficiency has been registered, the website Dariknews quoted the regulator's chair Svetla Todorova as saying at a DKEVR meeting.

She stressed the difficulty of opening the energy market in any country, adding Bulgaria was again trailing behind other EU member states in terms of liberalization.

The market is "technically prepared" to undergo this process, but is coming across a number of other difficulties, including the poor state of the balancing market.

Electricity prices are another obstacle in Todorova's view, since "household consumers are not satisfied with their inability to choose a provider, but on the other hand regulated prices produce some stability."

Todorova made clear new energy price hikes were not on DKEVR's agenda, and it was up to the next government to consider whether to make any further moves. 

Early in October DKEVR decided that electricity bills were to go up 9.8 percent, as part of efforts to make for the deficits at the National Electricity Company (NEK).

read more


TOURISM

BULGARIA'S PLOVDIV AMONG LONELY PLANET'S BEST TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 2015

Bulgarian city of Plovdiv has been ranked 6th in a list of the hottest destinations in the world to visit in 2015 which have been announced by travel publisher Lonely Planet.

The company's Best in Travel 2015 defines the regions, cities, countries and best-value destinations to visit next year. read more


BULGARIA IN EU

EU COMMISSION 'SHOULD ADOPT NEW APPROACH' TO DISASTERS, EMERGENCY - MEP

The European Commission needs a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to disaster and emergency response, MEP Iliana Iotova has said.

"Damage of [this year's] floods in Bulgaria is estimated at over EUR 300 M. People from Mizia, from the Black Sea region, from Central Bulgaria are still waiting for the money the EU Commission is to grant them. Out of these EUR 300 M we are to have only 10 M and they will only come through the Solidarity Fund," the Bulgarian National Radio quotes Iotova as saying in Brussels.

Administrative procedures preventing the timely allocation of aid to those affected should also be reviewed, Iotova has added, reminding even the EUR 10 M that will not reach Bulgarians before mid-2015.

She believes that, given the insufficiency of the EU's Solidarity Fund, other tools should also be used.

This year Bulgaria and Southeast Europe as a whole were hit by deadly floods that took tens of lives and left hundreds of buildings damaged or completely destroyed.





" read more


DOMESTIC

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS READY FOR NEW TALKS WITH GERB, MIKOV SAYS  

The Socialists will take part on a second round of consultations over forming a government coalition if GERB extended an invitation for meaningful political negotiations, Socialist leader Mihail Mikov said on Tuesday.

He, however, stopped short of indicating whether the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is ready to make concessions and render support to GERB. read more


IVA YORDANOVA RESIGNS AS DEPUTY HEAD OF AGENCY FOR BULGARIANS ABROAD

Iva Yordanova has resigned as Deputy Head of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad (SABA), Tuesday.

In an open letter to the media, Yordanova said that she resigned because that is what decent people do. read more


SOCIETY

BULGARIAN DOCTORS, TEACHERS SUFFER HIGHEST LEVELS OF WORK RELATED STRESS

Doctors and teachers have the most stressful jobs in Bulgaria, according to a national survey of the General Labor Inspectorate conducted last year.

Journalists complete the top three most stressful professions in the country. read more


ENVIRONMENT

ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY WARNS OF HEAVY DOWNPOURS THROUGHOUT BULGARIA

Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water has warned of heavy rains throughout the country at the end of the week.

The forecast is for a rainy Wednesday in the Western and Southern Bulgarian regions, according to the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. read more


LONDON HEATHROW CANCELS 10% OF FLIGHTS OVER HURRICANE GONZALO

London Heathrow airport has cut about 10% of incoming and outgoing flights with the 20 biggest carriers on Tuesday as the tail-end of hurricane Conzalo slammed into Britain.

Heathrow said the cancellations were precautionary and were prompted by the need to increase spacing between aircraft landing and taking off as winds of up to 112 km/h were expected to sweep the runways. read more


CULTURE

JAPANESE DRUMMERS YAMATO TO PERFORM IN SOFIA AGAIN

The Japanese drummers Yamato will present in Bulgaria their new spectacle ROJYOH - On the Road on October 28 in Hall 1 of Sofia's National Palace of Culture (NDK).

The show is part of their 2013-14 YAMATO 20th Anniversary Tour. In the 20 years of their history they performed in 55 countries across the world. read more


ARCHAEOLOGY

ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNEARTH BRONZE BELT OF BULGAR WARRIOR

Archaeologists excavating a fortress near Bulgaria's north eastern town of Dobrich unearthed bronze elements from a belt of a Bulgar warrior, reports the Standart daily.

Archaeologist Boyan Totev told journalists that this is the first such find by archaeologists in Bulgaria. Parts of another belt has been found by treasure hunters, again near Dobrich. read more


OBITUARIES

FASHION DESIGNER OSCAR DE LA RENTA DEAD AT 82

Oscar de la Renta, one of the most sought-after fashion designers of the last half century, died on Monday at the age of 82.

The New York Times said de la Renta died of complications from cancer. read more


INCIDENTS

DRUNK SNOW PLOUGH DRIVER MIGHT HAVE CAUSED CRASH OF TOTAL CEO'S PLANE

At least five people are dead after a private jet crashed at Moscow's Vnukovo airport also claiming the life of French oil company Total's CEO Christophe de Margerie.

The plane collided with a snow-clearing machine as it was taking off, leaving the driver, three crew members and a passenger, who was De Margerie, dead, the BBC quotes the airport's spokesperson Elena Krylova as saying.

Investigators suggest the driver of the snow plough was drunk. read more


SPORTS

GARANTI KOZA WTA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS STARTS IN SOFIA ON OCT. 28

The 2014 Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions starts in Sofia's Arena Armeec on October 28 and ends on November 2.

In this year's edition of the tournament will play Tsvetana Pironkova, Alize Cornet, Flavia Pennetta, Andrea Petkovic, Carla Suarez Navarro, Ekaterina Makarova, Dominika Cibulkova and Samantha Stosur read more


CRIME

BULGARIAN COURT REJECTS KOBLIAKOV EXTRADITION REQUEST FROM RUSSIA

Sofia City Court has refused to allow the extradition of businessman and activist Nikolai Kobliakov to Russia.

Magistrates announced Kobliakov, whom Russian authorities have indicted over his alleged involvement in a EUR 1.2 M fraud, could be put in an aggravated situation if he returned to Russia due to his political convictions, the website News.bg reported.

They added explanations provided from Russian officials about his alleged criminal activity were not sufficient for them to hand him over to Moscow, since it was not clear "what kind of an offense" he was accused of.

Kobliakov is often described by his colleagues and himself as an activist and dissident persecuted by Moscow due to his criticism for President Vladimir Putin's policies.

The Russian-French citizen, who had earlier requested political asylum in Bulgaria can now remain here avoiding legal persecution. He has maintained he is in the country to do business, building homes for elderly people.

Tuesday's ruling can be appealed before the Sofia Court of Appeals.

However, it is unclear whether the prosecution will seek such a step after it made an unexpected turn in its statement just hours before the court ruling was announced.

Prosecutors surprisingly announced Tuesday morning they would not demand the extradition of Kobliakov anymore, adding Russia was not a state governed by the rule of law and could not ensure a fair trial. read more


BULGARIAN CUSTOMS APPREHEND 5 M FAKE RUSSIAN EXCISE LABELS

Bulgarian customs officers at the Lesovo border crossing with Turkey apprehended almost 5 M fake Russian excise labels for tobacco products and 470 vials with adrenaline, said the Customs Agency.

The goods were found in a van with Moldovan plates, entering Bulgaria from Turkey. The driver, a Moldovan citizen, and the three passengers in the car told the customs officers they had nothing to declare, but the van was searched nevertheless. read more


CHIEF OF POLICE IN BULGARIA'S SMOLYAN REMOVED FROM OFFICE

Evgeni Vasilev, Chief of Police in Bulgaria's town of Smolyan has been removed from office, Darik news website reports.

Disciplinary proceeding has been opened against Vasilev, and there is an ongoing inspection conducted in the District Police Directorate, deputy caretaker minister and former chief of police in Smolyan Kiril Hadzhihristev confirmed. read more


OSCAR PISTORIUS GETS 5 YEARS IN JAIL FOR KILLING HIS GIRLFRIEND

The South African Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

In September the athlete was found guilty of culpable homicide, but was acquitted of murder after shooting Steenkamp four times through a toilet cubicle door at his home on Saint Valentine's Day in 2013. read more


BULGARIA COURT TO SIT ON 'PUTIN OPPONENT' EXTRADITION

Sofia City Court is to hold a sitting Tuesday on the extradition of businessman and activist Nikolai Kobliakov to Russia.

The final ruling was adjourned in September after the court decided to require information from Russian authorities as to which version of the Russian Criminal Code was used to indict Kobliakov.

According to the Russian prosecution, Kobliakov, a Russian-French citizen, was involved in a fraud for EUR 1.2 M. Human rights organizations, however, claim he is being prosecuted for political reasons.

The extradition request is based on an article from the 1996 Criminal Code, while the indictment contains an excerpt from legislation dating March 07, 2011, Bulgarian magistrates say.

It is therefore "impossible" to tell which was the law in force at the time when Kobliakov was indicted, the website Dnevnik.bg quotes judge Desislav Lyubomirov as saying.

Moscow is also to answer whether it has granted amnesty for the alleged wrongdoing the defendant is accused of.

Koblyakov has been in Bulgaria since early in August, when authorities detained him as he was entering the country at the Sofia Airport.

He remained in custody for 72 hours and was first imposed house arrest in September, but was released on a recognizance orderread more


WORLD

UK TO SEND SPY DRONES OVER SYRIA IN BROADENING OF ANTI-IS CAMPAIGN

The UK on Tuesday said it is sending Reaper spy drones to fly intelligence-gathering missions over Syria in an extension of British operations against Islamic State (IS) militants.

Rivet Joint electronic surveillance aircraft will also be used in the missions, which are expected to start ‘very shortly’ read more


SOUTHEAST EUROPE

TURKEY ADOPTS TOUGH MEASURES AGAINST VIOLATION OF PUBLIC ORDER

Protesters covering their faces in Turkey will be arrested, and using Molotov cocktails will be considered equal to bombing, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has announced.

"For every burned or damaged car I will send 10 armored vehicles with tear gas and water cannons against the vandals," local media quoted Davutoglu as saying Tuesday.

The new measures come after the total death toll of Kurdish protests reached 36 as one of the injured during the clashes died on Monday.

Kurds rallying in the streets of many towns in Eastern Anatolia have insisted Turkey is not doing enough to stop the offensive of the Sunni extremist group Islamic State (IS), putting emphasis on its refusal to help Kurds in the fight for the town of Kobane in Syria's north.

Ankara on the other hand maintains Kurds who have tried for weeks to drive IS away from the town are terrorists like the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The US however urged Turkey to help Kurdish fighters, adding they are not terrorists under US law.

Turkey is also facing the challenge posed by the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have recently arrived to the country.

Over 200 000 refugees from Kobane have flocked to Turkey in the past weeks, putting the number of Syrians who fled there to escape the 3.5-year-long civil war to about 1.6 million people.

The government's proposals are to be included in a draft bill on internal security which will also boost police's powers to tackle unrest. read more


RUSSIA

RUSSIAN STATE TELECOM TO LAUNCH COUNTERPART OF SKYPE

The Russian State Telecom Rostelecom is planning to launch a Russian mobile application, more or less analogous to Skype and Viber, reports ITAR-TASS.

According to the public tender announcement, quoted by the wire service, the company has set aside RUB 72.8 M. read more


UKRAINE

RUSSIA 'OFFERED POLAND PART OF UKRAINE' - FORMER FM

Russia has sought to involve Poland in the partition of Ukraine, former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told a US media outlet.

"This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, [soon to be President of the European Council] when he visited Moscow. He went on to say Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lwow is a Polish city and why don’t we just sort it out together," Politico magazine quotes him as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has however dismissed claims of Sikorski as "sheer red herring".

Warsaw was allegedly offered five provinces of Western Ukraine, but refused. “We made it very, very clear to them– we wanted nothing to do with this,” says Sikorski.

Russia had also run "calculations on what provinces would be profitable to grab," Sikorski claims, explaining Poland had eyed Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa regions.

A potential seizure of the Crimean peninsula was viewed at that time as "a way of blackmailing [ousted President] Viktor Yanukovych," and Putin used it to prevent the Association Agreement with Europe from being signed, he also argues.

Poland's former top diplomat further outlines potential land grabs by Russia in what Moscow describes as "Novorossiya", adding it might face tough challenge from the Ukrainian people.

Sikorski was on the spearhead of the EU's initial response to the Ukraine crisis when violence reached its peak in February 2014.

read more


OPINIONS

ARE GERB'S POLITICAL AUCTION PLANS TURNING UGLY?

Speculation about where the next Bulgarian government is forged is now over.

It's not in conservative GERB leader Boyko Borisov's home in Bankya, on the outskirts of the capital Sofia, but in GERB's headquarters, and Tuesday delivered the best of proofs. read more



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