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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-12-18
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18 December 2014, Issue 4109
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
10159 subscribers of Novinite.com
148186 articles
590 interviews
9666 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
US, Cuba Move to Normalize Ties


The US and Cuba plan to launch efforts to normalize diplomatic and economic relations following more than half a century of hostility, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday. read
Energy Ministers of Bulgaria, Russia to Discuss South Stream over Phone


Bulgaria and Russia's energy ministers are to discuss South Stream over the telephone on Friday, Bulgarian officials say.read
Bulgaria's Govt Approves Updated Judicial Reform Strategy


Bulgaria's government on Wednesday approved an updated strategy for judicial reform that aims to increase the accountability of judges and make the justice system more transparent and predictable. read
 
 
MORE TOP NEWS
China, Central, Eastern Europe Cooperate on New Transport Network

BG Online Media Companies File Complaint Against Google

EU Ready to Tighten Sanctions Against Russia

Striking Bulgarian Coal Miners End Protest over Delayed Pay

EU Commission to Enquire All Member States on Tax Rulings

Apple Halts Online Sales in Russia Over Ruble Instability

Arrested Bulgarians to Return from Belgrade Thursday

EU Parliament Fails to Agree on Joint Motion on Recognition of Palestine

Jonathan Allen to Become Director of National Security at UK Foreign Office

Bulgaria to Get EUR 10.5 M Disaster Aid from EU

Minimum Wage in Bulgaria Increases to BGN 380 by Mid-2015

Bulgaria, Serbia to Speed Up Work on Gas Interconnection Grid

Bulgaria to Send Delegation to Russia on South Stream – Minister

Russian Companies Still Deliver Pipes for South Stream to Bulgaria – Vedomosti

Bulgaria's DANS Apprehends Three Terrorist Suspects at Border

Government to Discuss New Bank Law


UPS & DOWNS
Bulgaria to Negotiate Easing of Visa Regime for Balkan Tourists

Bulgarian TPP Carries Highest Pollution Cost in Europe
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TOP NEWS
US, CUBA MOVE TO NORMALIZE TIES

The US and Cuba plan to launch efforts to normalize diplomatic and economic relations following more than half a century of hostility, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

The surprise announcement came after a phone call between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro that lasted 45 minutes and followed the release of US prisoner Alan Gross by Cuba and three Cubans jailed in Florida for spying. read more


BUSINESS

RUSSIAN COMPANIES STILL DELIVER PIPES FOR SOUTH STREAM TO BULGARIA – VEDOMOSTI

Pipe companies still deliver pipes for the halted South Stream pipeline project to Bulgaria, reports the Russian business daily Vedomosti.

According to a source in one of the Russian pipe companies, it didn't get any official notification on the termination of the pipeline project and it continues with the fulfilment of the contract. read more


BG ONLINE MEDIA COMPANIES FILE COMPLAINT AGAINST GOOGLE

The Bulgarian online media companies Net Info and V Box filed a complaint with the Competition Protection Commission (CPC) against Google and its video portal YouTube, reports the Capital Daily business daily, quoting the CPC site.

According to Hristo Hristov, executive director of Net Info, the complaint was prompted by the fact that during the election campaign in Bulgaria this year, YouTube was showing ads for various Bulgarian political parties and candidates. read more


FINANCE

GOVERNMENT TO DISCUSS NEW BANK LAW

Bulgaria's Government will discuss on Wednesday a new bank law which will provide better guarantees for the bank deposits, reports the bTV national channel.

The law was drafted by the Finance Ministry and will introduce the EU rules for deposit guarantees. read more


ENERGY

ENERGY MINISTERS OF BULGARIA, RUSSIA TO DISCUSS SOUTH STREAM OVER PHONE

Bulgaria and Russia's energy ministers are to discuss South Stream over the telephone on Friday, Bulgarian officials say.

The phone call has been proposed by Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski and Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, according to Lukarski's Chief of Staff Filip Kirev.

Kirev told Darik Radio a visit to Moscow had been initially scheduled, but Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak had to cancel it due to "urgent" matters.

Russian officials have insisted the South Stream project, which was to carry gas to Europe via Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, is now considered to be over.

Earlier, Russian-language media outlets had reported that Sofia was planning to send a governmental delegation to Moscow for talks over the project. read more


BULGARIA TO SEND DELEGATION TO RUSSIA ON SOUTH STREAM – MINISTER

A Bulgarian delegation will visit Moscow end of this week to discuss the South Stream gas pipeline project, Bulgaria's Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski told journalists in Belgrade.

He is part of the Bulgarian delegation to the economic summit of Central and South Eastern European countries and China in the Serbian capital. read more


BULGARIA, SERBIA TO SPEED UP WORK ON GAS INTERCONNECTION GRID

Sofia and Belgrade will step up efforts to build the interconnector pipeline linking the two gas grids, ministers from the two countries have announced.

A working group will be set up by the end of December to draft a timetable and to elaborate on the project's more specific parameters, Bulgaria's Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski and Serbia's Mining and Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic agreed while meeting in Belgrade on Tuesday.

A Bulgarian delegation is currently in the Serbian capital for the third annual meeting between China and countries from Central and Eastern Europe. Alongside Bozhidar Lukarski it includes Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova.

The memorandum to build the interconnector was signed in 2012, and earlier this month Antic revealed that Belgrade was already preparing tender documents.

Similar projects have been under way aiming to connect Bulgaria to Romania and Greece, but have suffered delays for various reasons.

A link with Turkey is also expected to secure part of Bulgaria's gas flow in the mid-term, enabling access to the prospective Southern Gas Corridor which is to supply Europe via Turkey and Greece. read more


MINIMUM WAGE IN BULGARIA INCREASES TO BGN 380 BY MID-2015

The Bulgarian government approved the two-step increase of the minimum wage in 2015 at its meeting on Wednesday.

In the beginning of 2015 the minimum wage is set to rise to BGN 360, which will be followed by a further increase to BGN 380 on July 1 next year. read more


DIPLOMACY

JONATHAN ALLEN TO BECOME DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL SECURITY AT UK FOREIGN OFFICE

His Excellency Jonathan Allen, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Bulgaria, who is to leave the country in January 2015, will assume the position Director for National Security at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

It is expected that his successor Emma Hopkins will assume the position in May 2015, as she is currently undergoing an intensive Bulgarian language training. read more


BULGARIA IN EU

BULGARIA TO GET EUR 10.5 M DISASTER AID FROM EU

Bulgaria would get from the EU EUR 10.5 M aid to deal with the aftermath of the natural disasters that occurred this year, reports the bTV national channel.

The decision is due to be voted by the European Parliament on Wednesday and will be part of the EUR 126 M package for the EU member states that suffered from various natural disasters this year. read more


DOMESTIC

BULGARIA'S GOVT APPROVES UPDATED JUDICIAL REFORM STRATEGY

Bulgaria's government on Wednesday approved an updated strategy for judicial reform that aims to increase the accountability of judges and make the justice system more transparent and predictable.

The updated strategy which comprises an action plan for the next seven years was passed to members of parliament for deliberations. It was approved amidst heightened debate over deficiencies in the system for random allocation of cases to judges that has often been suspected of allowing exerting political or economic pressure on the judiciary. read more


STRIKING BULGARIAN COAL MINERS END PROTEST OVER DELAYED PAY

Striking Bulgarian coal miners at the Cherno More mine have ended their protest on Wednesday afternoon after receiving assurance they will get their delayed salaries.

Thirty-three miners at the mine located near the Black Sea city of Burgas on Wednesday morning decided to go on strike and remained in the pit after their night shift was over, demanding to receive their pay for the past two months. read more


INCIDENTS

SOFIA WOMAN FINDS HAND GRENADE AT HER DOOR

Police have sealed off the region around an apartment block in Mladost district in Sofia, Bulgaria, after a hand grenade was found in the building, officials say.

The block has already been evacuated, according to Focus News Agency.

A resident of the building claims to have come across the grenade in front of her door. read more


CRIME

BULGARIA'S DANS APPREHENDS THREE TERRORIST SUSPECTS AT BORDER

Bulgaria's National Security Agency (DANS) apprehended three foreign citizens, wanted in Spain for terrorist activities, reports the BNT public channel.

The two Moroccans and a Brazilian were arrested at the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing with Turkey as they were trying to cross into Turkey en route to Syria. read more


WORLD

EU READY TO TIGHTEN SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

The European Union (EU) has readiness to tighten sanctions against Russia, by extending its ban on investments in the Crimea.

The new measures will be directed towards limiting Russian explorations for natural oil and gas in the Black Sea, The Moscow Times reports. read more


CHINA, CENTRAL, EASTERN EUROPE COOPERATE ON NEW TRANSPORT NETWORK

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang met with his counterparts from central and eastern Europe on Tuesday, reaffirming his country's plans to construct a new transport network which is to bring Chinese exports into Europe.

Li together with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and their Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban are to sign on Wednesday an agreement on the construction until 2017 of a high-speed bullet train link between Budapest and Belgrade. read more


EU

EU COMMISSION TO ENQUIRE ALL MEMBER STATES ON TAX RULINGS

The European Commission has decided to ask all member states to provide information about their tax rulings to ensure compliance with the EU’s state aid rules.

"We need a full picture of the tax rulings practices in the EU to identify if and where competition in the Single Market is being distorted through selective tax advantages,” EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said in a statement on Wednesday. read more


EU PARLIAMENT FAILS TO AGREE ON JOINT MOTION ON RECOGNITION OF PALESTINE

The Members of European Parliament (MEPs) failed on Tuesday to agree on a joint motion calling on EU member states to recognise the state of Palestine.

Instead they managed to reach a compromise on a resolution that peace talks should continue, EurActiv reports. read more


SOUTHEAST EUROPE

ARRESTED BULGARIANS TO RETURN FROM BELGRADE THURSDAY

The seven Bulgarians who were arrested in Belgrade on Monday evening over their alleged plans to protest against the human rights violations in China, would return on Thursday, the spokesperson of Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry Betina Zhoteva told the BNT public broadcaster.

The followers of the Falun Dafa spiritual movement, outlawed in China, have travelled to Belgrade to meet with other adherents of the movement in the Serbian capital, but were arrested by the police upon arrival over suspicions of “posing threat to the national security”. read more


RUSSIA

APPLE HALTS ONLINE SALES IN RUSSIA OVER RUBLE INSTABILITY

The technological giant Apple has temporarily suspended online sales in Russia, because of the instability of the ruble, reports Bloomberg.

"Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing," Alan Hely, spokesperson of Apple told Bloomberg in an e-mail on Tuesday. “We apologise to customers for any inconvenience.” read more



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