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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-10-31
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31 October 2014, Issue 4068
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9722 subscribers of Novinite.com
147122 articles
590 interviews
9561 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
Bulgaria's GERB, RB Ready to Sign Coalition Agreement


Conservative GERB and right-wing Reformist Bloc are ready to strike a coalition agreement after tripartite talks with the Patriotic Front at the National Assembly, leaders say.read
Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State


Sweden on Thursday became the first EU member state in Western Europe to recognise the Palestinian state. read
EU to Unfreeze Payments Under Environment OP in Two Weeks


The European Commission will resume payments to Bulgaria under Operational Programme (OP) Environment within two weeks, a senior government official has said. read
 
 
MORE TOP NEWS
Bulgaria, Austria Back South Stream Project Compliant With EU Law

Bansko Opens Ski Season On December 13

Moscow, Kiev Agree to Renew Gas Flow to Ukraine

Bulgargaz Cuts Gas Supplies to Bulgarian Heating Utilities by 50%

Bulgaria to Use EU Funding to Implement 5 Energy Projects worth over EUR 4 M

France’s Total to Start Drilling at Bulgaria’s Khan Asparuh Block in 2015

NATO Reports 'Unusual' Increase Of Russian Warplanes Over Europe

Turkey’s Q3 Tourism Revenue Rises 11% Y/Y

Bulgarian Citizens Fighting On IS Side, Defence Minister Says

Bulgaria’s Producer Price Index Up 0.2% M/M in Sept 2014

Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor to Request Immunity of 7 MPs, 1 MEP


UPS & DOWNS
Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Belt Of Bulgar Warrior

Drunk Snow Plough Driver Might Have Caused Crash of Total CEO's Plane
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TOP NEWS
BULGARIA'S GERB, RB READY TO SIGN COALITION AGREEMENT

Conservative GERB and right-wing Reformist Bloc are ready to strike a coalition agreement after tripartite talks with the Patriotic Front at the National Assembly, leaders say.

The PF for its part is likely to support the alliance despite remaining out of it, the Bulgarian National Radio quoted GERB's negotiator Rumyana Bachvarova as saying.

A left-wing party, Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV) that splintered off socialists (BSP) this year, might also back the minority coalition, Bachvarova added.

During their two-hour talks in the Parliament building, GERB, RB and PF agreed that the deadline to form a new Bulgarian cabinet should be the end of next week.

Thursday's talks mark a new shift in the RB's position after the right-wing coalition declared a day earlier it would reject a proposal from GERB to take part in a minority coalition. read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA’S PRODUCER PRICE INDEX UP 0.2% M/M IN SEPT 2014

The Producer Price Index on the domestic market increased by 0.2% on the month in September 2014, according to Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute (NSI).

Domestic prices increased in the mining and quarrying industry by 0.8%, in the manufacturing by 0.1% and in the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply by 0.4%. read more


ENERGY

MOSCOW, KIEV AGREE TO RENEW GAS FLOW TO UKRAINE

Russia and Ukraine have agreed on the conditions under which gas supplies from energy giant Gazprom will be conducted in the winter, Russia's Energy Minister says.

A "document package" to elaborate on technical details of the agreement is to be drafted to complement the existing contract between Gazprom and the Ukrainian utility Naftogaz, Alexander Novak said on Thursday after a night of heated talks between officials from the EU, Russia and Ukraine.

Novak added the EU Commission had "fully" agreed with the Russian position on how the gas dispute should be settled, ITAR-TASS reports.

His announcement followed reports that Gazprom and Naftogaz were still at loggerheads over gas supplies after discussing the issue on Wednesday evening.

No solution has so far be found to the financial issue, with Ukraine and Russia still failing to reach common ground on the former's outstanding debt.

Moscow is now expecting that Kiev should transfer by end-2014 USD 3.1 B worth of payments on what it owes for past deliveries and also for undelivered (but envisaged in the contract) volumes.

The final price will be USD 385 per thousand cubic meters.

In June Russia introduced prepayment for gas to Ukraine, freezing supplies and announcing a 80-percent hike (from USD 285 to 485 per 1000 cubic meters).

read more


BULGARIA TO USE EU FUNDING TO IMPLEMENT 5 ENERGY PROJECTS WORTH OVER EUR 4 M

Bulgaria is to implement 5 energy projects worth over EUR 4 M with EU funding.

The EU funding will go to the design studies for the construction of the Bulgaria-Turkey gas grid interconnection, the construction of the Yadenitsa hydropower plant, and transmission lines from the Maritsa East 1 thermal power plant to different parts of the country. read more


BULGARGAZ CUTS GAS SUPPLIES TO BULGARIAN HEATING UTILITIES BY 50%

State-owned gas supplier Bulgargaz has sent letters to all heating utilities to inform about supply cuts necessitated by the reduction in gas deliveries received via the pipeline through Ukraine.

Valentin Terziyski, head or the chamber of energy sector workers at the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), explained in a Thursday interview for the Bulgarian National Television that the decrease would amount to 50% of the quantities requested by the heating utilities. read more


EU INVESTS EUR 647 M IN KEY ENERGY PROJECTS

EU Member States agreed Wednesday to allocate EUR 647 M to support priority infrastructure projects.

The bulk of the support goes to gas projects in the Baltic region as well as in Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe, according to a media statement of the European Commission. read more


FRANCE’S TOTAL TO START DRILLING AT BULGARIA’S KHAN ASPARUH BLOCK IN 2015

France’s Total will start hydrocarbon drilling at the Bulgarian Black Sea block Khan Asparuh in the second half of 2015, according to Paul Sexton, Exploration Manager at Total E&P Bulgaria.

Sexton, as cited by the BGNES news agency, presented the progress of the exploration activities, saying that the company had wrapped up 3D studies and the data was yet to be analyzed. read more


TOURISM

BANSKO OPENS SKI SEASON ON DECEMBER 13

Bulgaria's ski resort Bansko is ready for the ski season and officially opens it on December 13, said the town mayor Georgi Ikonomov, quoted by the Focus agency.

“We are working on the water treatment system and hopefully will manage to asphalt the streets before the tourists arrive,” the mayor said. read more


POLITICS

BULGARIAN CITIZENS FIGHTING ON IS SIDE, DEFENCE MINISTER SAYS

Bulgaria's caretaker Defence Minister Velizar Shalamanov admitted there are Bulgarian citizens fighting on the side of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation, reports Mediapool.bg.

“We have information from our allies that there are Bulgarian citizens fighting for the IS,” Shalamanov said. “This is very alarming.” read more


DIPLOMACY

BULGARIA, AUSTRIA BACK SOUTH STREAM PROJECT COMPLIANT WITH EU LAW

Bulgaria and Austria both believe Europe needs energy diversification and support a South Stream gas pipeline project that would comply with EU law, their presidents said on Thursday.

Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev said at a joint news conference after talks with visiting Austrian head of state Heinz Fischer that the building of interconnection gas links with Bulgaria’s neighbours is of paramount importance in view of Sofia’s goal to reduce the country’s almost total dependence on Russian gas supplies. read more


BULGARIA IN EU

EU TO UNFREEZE PAYMENTS UNDER ENVIRONMENT OP IN TWO WEEKS

The European Commission will resume payments to Bulgaria under Operational Programme (OP) Environment within two weeks, a senior government official has said.

According to caretaker Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU funds Iliyana Tsanova the news was communicated by Regional Policy CommissionerJohannes Hahn, capital.bg reported on Wednesday. read more


PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN SOFIA CHEAPEST IN EU CAPITALS

The public transport in Sofia is the cheapest, compared to the other EU capitals, shows a Belgian survey, quoted by the BTA wire service.

Most expensive is the transport in Copenhagen – a 24-hour card costs EUR 17. Next is Stockholm – EUR 12. read more


DOMESTIC

EPP GROUP CHAIRMAN: BULGARIA NOT READY FOR GRAND COALITION

Joseph Daul, who heads the European People's Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament, has urged Bulgarian politicians to form a government after uniting around certain priorities.

In an interview with Bulgarian daily 24 Chasa Daul also called on the Reformist Bloc to take a final decision on its participation in the Bulgarian government to prevent instability "that could go on for months."

"Winter is coming, there is a banking problem. These are problems that need to be solved. And responsible people are needed to take these decisions".

Daul said he was optimistic about the current government negotiations after holding talks with various political leaders at the National Assembly, but added it was too early for Bulgaria to have a coalition between socialists and conservatives in the executive.

The EPP Group's Chair reiterated what he told journalists on Wednesday, hours after his joint statement with GERB leader Boyko Borisov in Parliament, insisting his visit to Bulgaria was not related to the consultations.

He explained it had been planned beforehand and the initial idea was to show support for GERB and its political family in the last day of the election campaign before the snap vote on October 5.

His trip was however postponed due to the tragedy at the Gorni Lom munitions plant and the day of national mourning that followed.

"I told Boyko [Borisov] I would come when we set a date. And when we did, I had no idea about such a coincidence in time [with government negiotiations]. I am not here to apply any kind of pressure at all," Daul told Bulgarian weekly Capital.

Just after Daul's talks with Borisov and other leaders on Wednesday, Borisov surprisingly said he utterly rejected any prospects of shaking hands with the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF) as a possible partner in government.

GERB's leader explained the PF's declaration during Parliament's opening session on Monday was unacceptable due to its incompatibility with "Euro-Atlantic" values.

Daul has also been explicit over the past hours that the EPP is strongly against any participation of the PF in Bulgaria's cabinet.

read more


BAKALOV 'READY TO REMAIN INTMIN' IN BULGARIA'S NEXT CABINET

Caretaker Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov said on Thursday he was ready to retain the post in the next government, but "on certain conditions".

After attending in Parliament a hearing before MPs on migration, he told reporters he would place demands for reform if he is offered a ministerial seat in the cabinet.

"The demands are in relation to the implementation of certain reforms... certain positions. (...) Let's not fool ourselves - [we need] depoliticization of the entire system. For me this is one of the serious mistakes that have been made for so much time."

Bakalov added the Interior Minister needs 1200 additional employees to operate smoothly.

Bulgarian politicians are still to form a government and to reach an agreement which parties are to enter the cabinet.

Earlier Bakalov told lawmakers the refugee tide was not up in the past few months, but, on the contrary, the number of those leaving the country was on the rise. read more


BULGARIA’S INTERIOR HAS FOCUSED ON FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING- CARETAKER MINISTER

The efforts of Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry have been aimed at countering human trafficking since the beginning of August, according to caretaker Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov.

Speaking Thursday in Parliament, he informed that 472 people had been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking since the beginning of 2014, with 218 of the total detained in August and September. read more


CULTURE

PHOTO FROM BULGARIANS' 2013 PROTESTS FEATURED IN HOLLYWOOD FILM

Stefan Stefanov's photo of a crying girl holding a policeman from last year's anti-government protests in Bulgaria was selected for the Hollywood production.

“The Giver”, starring Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and Jeff Bridges is an anti-utopia telling the story of a society devoid of emotions. The sequence featuring Stefanov's photo is illustrating the history of humanity and includes the “tank man” photo from Tiananmen Square, skydiving footage, photos from other protests across the world. read more


CRIME

BULGARIA'S CHIEF PROSECUTOR TO REQUEST IMMUNITY OF 7 MPS, 1 MEP

Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov is to submit early in November demands that seven lawmakers who were sworn in this week be stripped of immunity.

Tsatsarov added Thursday he would also request the immunity of a MEP, the Bulgarian daily Sega reports.

The Chief prosecutors stopped short of giving names, provoking much speculation as to who the lawmakers are.

Different sources suggest former Interior Minister and conservative GERB's key official Tsvetan Tsvetanov and ultra-nationalist Ataka's leader Volen Siderov, who have recently faced trials on various charges.

However, then cannot be prosecuted anymore after being elected to Parliament.

Another possible target will be former socialist party chief and current head of the Party of European Socialists (PES), Sergey Stanishev.

Tsatsarov himself gave fuel to these suggestions by saying, "I think [the names of two] lawmakers are known for certain."

Investigations against lawmakers concern various criminal offenses, he also explained. read more


WORLD

NATO REPORTS 'UNUSUAL' INCREASE OF RUSSIAN WARPLANES OVER EUROPE

NATO headquarters said on Wednesday the alliance had tracked and intercepted four groups of Russian warplanes "conducting significant military manoeuvres" in European airspace over the past two days, reports AFP.

The planes, which included strategic bombers, fighters and tanker aircraft, were detected over the Baltic Sea, North Sea/Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea on Tuesday and Wednesday. read more


TURKEY’S Q3 TOURISM REVENUE RISES 11% Y/Y

Turkey’s tourism revenue increased 11% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2014, reaching USD 12.85B, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Thursday.

Foreign visitors contributed 81.8% of total tourism revenue, while the remainder was obtained from Turkish citizens living abroad. read more


EU

SWEDEN RECOGNIZES PALESTINIAN STATE

Sweden on Thursday became the first EU member state in Western Europe to recognise the Palestinian state.

While the Palestinians welcomed Stockholm’s move, Israel summoned its ambassador to Sweden for consultations to express its disappointment. read more



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