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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-10-01
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1 October 2014, Issue 4042
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9821 subscribers of Novinite.com
146409 articles
590 interviews
9463 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
Energy Watchdog Postpones Decision On Price Hike For Wednesday


Bulgaria's energy watchdog (DKEVR) will decide on the new, higher, electricity prices on Wednesday, reports the Bulgarian National Radio. read
Bulgaria's GERB Far Ahead of BSP in Sova Harris Poll


Six parties are expected to enter the Bulgarian National Assembly after early elections on Sunday, polling agency Sova Harris predicts.read
Lot 2 of Bulgaria’s Struma Motorway To Be Completed in Autumn of 2015


Lot 2 of the Struma motorway will most probably be completed by the autumn of 2015, according to Bulgaria’s caretaker Regional Development Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva. read
 
 
NOVINITE INSIDER
Opinions Clash Ahead of Budget Update Discussion

» More

MORE TOP NEWS
Aurubis to Invest EUR 75 M in Its Copper Plant in Bulgaria's Pirdop

Bulgarian Experts Demand Separate Tourism Ministry

EU Offers Further EUR165 M in Aid to Farmers Hit by Russian Sanctions

Bulgaria Is Most Preferred Outsourcing Destination In Europe

WWF: Global Wildlife Population Dropped by 50% in 40 Years

Unemployment Rates in Bulgaria Remain Stable in August – Eurostat

Children's Museum To Open In Sofia Next Year

Turkish MPs to Decide on Green Light to Syria, Iraq Intervention

Caspian Sea Countries Adopt Cooperation Agreement

Investors Find Unpredictability in Bulgaria More Frustrating than Corruption – AmCham


UPS & DOWNS
Bulgaria Wins Gold at Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship

Japan Volcano Eruption Could Leave Many Dead
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TOP NEWS
BULGARIA SENDS FIREARMS, AMMO TO IRAQI GOVERNMENT

Bulgaria has granted arms and ammunition worth about BGN 6 M to Iraq as part of an international effort to back the Iraqi government in its fight against Islamic State militants.

The grant comprising about 1,800 firearms and some 6 million rounds of ammunition has already been received by Iraq, the Defence Ministry in Sofia said in a statement. read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA IS MOST PREFERRED OUTSOURCING DESTINATION IN EUROPE

Bulgaria is among the most preferred outsourcing destinations in the world and the only European country in the top 10 list of most attractive countries for such activities, done by the analysis company A.T. Kearney.

Bulgaria is at the ninth position among 51 countries in the world and climbs up eight positions in the list since 2011, when the previous survey was done. read more


LOT 2 OF BULGARIA’S STRUMA MOTORWAY TO BE COMPLETED IN AUTUMN OF 2015

Lot 2 of the Struma motorway will most probably be completed by the autumn of 2015, according to Bulgaria’s caretaker Regional Development Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.

Zaharieva inspected Tuesday the 37.5km motorway section from Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad. read more


BULGARIA'S PRODUCER PRICE INDEX POSTS 1% DECREASE IN AUGUST Y/Y

Bulgaria's producer price index saw a decrease by 0.1% in August compared to the previous month, according to the country's National Statistical Institute, NSI.

Domestic market prices dropped in the manufacturing by 0.6% and in the mining and quarrying industry by 0.1%, while in the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply the prices rose by 0.6%. In the manufacturing, compared to the previous month prices dropped in the manufacture of food products and in the manufacture of beverages by 0.5%, while a price increase was reported in the repair and installation of machinery and equipment by 2.1%, and in the manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment by 0.5%. read more


INVESTORS FIND UNPREDICTABILITY IN BULGARIA MORE FRUSTRATING THAN CORRUPTION – AMCHAM

It is no longer corruption but stability which has become a major concern for investors in Bulgaria, according to Valentin Georgiev, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria (AmCham Bulgaria).

In a Tuesday interview for the Bulgarian National Television, he claimed that the first question of companies studying the opportunities for investments in Bulgaria had been related to the level of corruption several years ago, but the focus had shifted onto stability and the availability of highly-qualified employees. read more


WINEMAKERS IN BULGARIA ALLOWED TO ADD SUGAR TO BOOST ALCOHOL LEVEL

Wine producers in Bulgaria will be allowed to add sugar to boost the level of alcohol, according to Krasimir Koev, Director of the Executive Agency on Vine and Wine (EAVW).

The EAVW has authorized the measure in response to a request to local wine producers. read more


BDZ ADDS MORE ITINERARIES TO ONLINE TICKETING SYSTEM

Bulgaria's State Railway Company (BDZ) added six more train routes to the pilot online ticketing system, which was launched in the end of 2013.

Customers can now also buy tickets for rapid and express trains and sleeper cars travelling along the routes Sofia-Blagoevrgad-Sofia, Plovdiv-Varna-Plovdiv and Sofia-Varna-Sofia. read more


ENERGY

ENERGY WATCHDOG POSTPONES DECISION ON PRICE HIKE FOR WEDNESDAY

Bulgaria's energy watchdog (DKEVR) will decide on the new, higher, electricity prices on Wednesday, reports the Bulgarian National Radio.

DKEVR was supposed to make its final decision on the expected price hike on Tuesday, but its meeting was delayed by protests of various organisations and parties and started on Tuesday afternoon. read more


AURUBIS TO INVEST EUR 75 M IN ITS COPPER PLANT IN BULGARIA'S PIRDOP

Germany's leading copper producer Aurubis is planning to invest EUR 75 M in its plan in the town of Pirdop, Aurubis Bulgaria CEO Tim Kurt has announced.

About EUR 25 M of the money is earmarked for 2015, specialized outlets writing about the metal industry quote him as saying.

Another EUR 50 M will be set aside for a renovation program in 2016.

As of end-September 2014, investment into the copper works in the north-western town stand at EUR 44.2 M, according to daily Standart.

The plant in Bulgaria is considered to be among the top in Aurubis' group in terms of both production and mitigation of environmental impact.

Some 90% of the output is successfully sold abroad, Kurt has noted.

He also believes the plant could boost its production in the light of an expected rising demand of copper at a global level, with consumption projected at 26.1 million tons for 2014, 5.5 million tons up from last year.

read more


TOURISM

BULGARIAN EXPERTS DEMAND SEPARATE TOURISM MINISTRY

Experts and representatives of a range of political parties have agreed on the need to establish a separate Tourism Ministry.

Bulgaria’s goals and priorities in the sphere of tourism were discussed at a public discussion at the headquarters of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). read more


DEFENSE

NATO AIR COMBAT DRILL BEGINS IN SLOVAKIA

Alliance forces have started air combat exercises MACE XVI in Slovakia with 14 member states participating, the country's Defense Minister says.

As many as 660 personnel is expected to attend, and two non-NATO countries of the Partnership for Peace
program have also joined, Martina Belkovska was quoted by the Global Post as saying.

The aim is to train methods of overcoming anti-air defences by the use of tactical aircraft in conditions of radio-electronic interference and to practice air combat in fighters.

The full list of vehicles includes Slovakia's MiG-29 fighters, F-16 jets from Belgium, Denmark and Norway, Norwegian DA-20 Falcons, Germany's Learjet 40s, French Rafales, Swedish Gripens, American EA 18Gs, Danish C 130Js and Spanish Typhoons.

read more


BULGARIA IN EU

BULGARIA’S PRESIDENT CALLS FOR FAIR DISTRIBUTION OF IMMIGRATION BURDEN IN EU

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has underscored the need for an integrated European approach to refugee issues at an informal meeting of the Arraiolos Group in Braga, Portugal.

During the meeting, the heads of state of nine EU countries agreed that the EU had to take steps to solve the problems causing refugee waves and at the same time ensure humane treatment of people who had reached their common borders in line with EU and global standards, according to the press office of the Bulgarian President. read more


EU OFFERS FURTHER EUR165 M IN AID TO FARMERS HIT BY RUSSIAN SANCTIONS

The European Commission is providing EUR 165 M under a new scheme to help fruit and vegetable producers hurt by the Russian ban on EU agricultural imports.

“Worth up to EUR 165 M, this new scheme provides support to withdraw surplus volumes from the market and comes in addition to the program worth up to EUR 125 M for fruit & vegetables that was announced on August 18, but suspended on September 10 because provisional applications showed that the full budget allocation had already been claimed,” the EC informs. read more


DOMESTIC

DEPUTY PM ZAHARIEVA: 78% OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY BUDGET SPENT IN H1 2014

Bulgaria's Ministry of Regional Development budget lacks some BGN 10-11M needed for the maintenance of roads in the winter season.

If the budget is not updated, the amount will reach BGN 40-50M in the spring, caretaker deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told Bulgarian National Television. Another BGN 80M is needed for road repairs after the floods, she added. read more


EARLY ELECTIONS 2014

BULGARIA'S GERB FAR AHEAD OF BSP IN SOVA HARRIS POLL

Six parties are expected to enter the Bulgarian National Assembly after early elections on Sunday, polling agency Sova Harris predicts.

A survey ordered by the daily Presa shows that conservative Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) will be the clear winner at the vote, with 98 MP seats, 32 seats ahead of the Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP, coming second with 66 seats.

Liberals from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) are expected to get half as many lawmakers (33) and Bulgaria without Censorship will likely have two time less than this (15-16).

The Reformist Bloc, which until recently was considered to have a result close to the threshold of 4-percent support, looks now as certain to enter the Parliament, with the votes of about 200 000 people helping it to jump over the barrier, the pollster says.

Another group to the right of the political spectrum, the Patriotic Front (a VMRO-NFSB coalition) will also make it into the National Assembly with 13 lawmakers, according to Sova Harris.

Far-right Ataka, which was part of the former Parliament, has seen support plummet, with many of its voters drained by the Patriotic Front. The poll's results suggest Ataka will most likely stand below the election threshold.

The figures show that a center-right majority is the most evident option to forge a coalition after the snap vote, Sova Harris believes.

The agency stresses voter turnout has seen a five-percent increase in the last month, with 58% (3.4-3.6 million) of those eligible to vote saying they will cast a ballot. read more


REFORMIST BLOC PROMISES JUSTICE REFORM, BALANCED BUDGET

The Reformist Bloc says is targeting reform of the judiciary to guarantee independence of courts and free the justice system from corruption and political influence.

To ensure success of the justice system reform, the Reformist Bloc says in its programme for October 5 vote, it wants Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor to be elected by Parliament. It also will aim to introduce control of courts, prosecutors and the Supreme Judicial Council by Parliament to make the judiciary more accountable. read more


DPS PLEDGES TO MAINTAIN FINANCIAL STABILITY, IMPROVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

The need for a national consensus on priorities and a government formula which is a natural function of this consensus - these are two of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) political goals.

In the economy sector, DPS will work for a continuity in the area of financial stability, as well as for maintaining low levels of budget deficit, keeping the currency board until Bulgaria's entry to the euro area and preparing to join the EU Banking Union, the party says in its program for October 5 elections. read more


MEDIA CHIEFS DEMAND EQUAL TREATMENT ON ELECTION DAY

Editors-in-chief and directors of more than 10 of the leading pint, electronic and internet media in Bulgaria demanded equal treatment on election day over the announcing of exit poll results.

By law, the announcing of exit poll results on election day, before the closing of all polling stations, is forbidden. Some of the electronic media, however, have found their way around the ban and publish results, concealed as song charts, movie and book rankings and weather forecasts. read more


SOCIETY

UNEMPLOYMENT RATES IN BULGARIA REMAIN STABLE IN AUGUST – EUROSTAT

The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.5% in August 2014, stable compared with July 2014, but down from 12.0% in August 2013, according to Eurostat.

The EU unemployment rate was 10.1% in August 2014, the lowest value since February 2012. The rate was down from 10.2% in July 2014, and from 10.8% in August 2013. read more


BULGARIA'S FOREIGN MINISTRY TURNS DOWN DONATION OF PACIFIC ISLAND

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected a proposal to acquire an island drifting across the Pacific Ocean.

It has described the 30 000 km territory, which is roughly the size of Belgium, as "movable property" and "an artificial floating object".

The ministry is referring to an idea of a Bulgarian businessman, with the initials V.B., who has the floating island in the Pacific within the assets of his Panama-based company Van Meppel, Inc.

In a letter to the President and to the Foreign Ministry, he proposed that the piece of land, which emerged out of the sea following a volcanic eruption two years ago, become Bulgarian territory.

Government officials say that, under article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law ofthe Sea, an island "is a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide."

Cold lava cannot be declared part of Bulgaria's territory, they note as quoted by Standart.

The anonymous millionaire, who has wished to have his name concealed out of security grounds, is already dubbed by some "the Bulgarian Richard Branson".

His initials match with those of the famous businessman and arts patron Vasil Bozhkov, but his personal PR official Borislav Petrov has denied Bozhkov could be behind the mysterious offer. read more


ENVIRONMENT

WWF: GLOBAL WILDLIFE POPULATION DROPPED BY 50% IN 40 YEARS

The Living Planet Index, which measures trends in thousands of vertebrate species populations, shows a decline of 52% between 1970 and 2010, according to the latest edition of WWF's Living Planet Report.

In other words, the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, about half the size it was 40 years ago. read more


CULTURE

CHILDREN'S MUSEUM TO OPEN IN SOFIA NEXT YEAR

A children's science museum, called Muzeiko, will open in Sofia next year, reports Nova TV.

Muzeiko will be aimed at children aged 5 and 12 years and will be the first children's museum in Bulgaria and the largest in Eastern Europe. read more


INCIDENTS

TURKISH TRUCK DRIVERS COMPLAIN FROM SYRIAN IMMIGRANTS

The Turkish international truck drivers complain from the Syrian immigrants trying to board their trucks at the Turkish-Bulgarian border, reports the BTA wire service.

According to reports, there is an increasing number of cases when the immigrants secretly board the trucks waiting at the border crossings with Bulgaria, particularly at the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint where the lines are long due to the reconstruction work on the Bulgarian side. read more


SPORTS

REAL MADRID ARRIVES IN SOFIA

The Spanish football team Real Madrid arrived in Sofia on Tuesday afternoon for its match against Bulgaria's Ludogorets in the Champions League.

The team was welcomed by many fans and had a practice at the Vasil Levski national stadium where the two teams will play on Wednesday evening. read more


CRIME

BGN 8M DRAINED BY CREDIT CARD SKIMMERS IN 2013

A total of BGN 7,93M was stolen in Bulgaria last year as a result of credit card frauds, namely skimming, according to data provided by financial analysts, cited by 24 Chasa Daily.

The number of bank cards in 2013 was 8,259,629, or an average of one card per person. read more


SMILES

LIFE TOLD IN CHEMICAL ELEMENTS

What did the chemist say when he found two isotopes in helium?
HeHe.

What weapon can you make with potassium, nickel, and iron?
A KNiFe. read more


EU

SPAIN'S TOP COURT HALTS CATALAN INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

The Constitutional Court of Spain has stopped the referendum on independence the province of Catalonia is planning to hold November 9.

Twelve magistrates made their ruling unanimously, during a session that lasted just about an hour, daily El Pais reports.

Their decision nullifies resolutions of Catalonia's Parliament which set the referendum date earlier in mid-September.

The referendum is now suspended for five months, with judges to decide within this period whether the ruling should be permanently enforced or revoked.

On Monday the Spanish government made an official request that the top court declare the poll illegitimate.

Catalan President Artur Mas earlier vowed the self-government institution, the Generalitat, would hold the referendum despite resistance from Madrid.

After the ruling Mas rebuked the court over the "supersonic speed" at which it managed to convene, just six hours after the government's official request.

Madrid and the Generalitat have recently been embroiled in a legal battle about the referendum, with Barcelona accusing the central government of not respecting Catalonia's right to self-determination. read more


SOUTHEAST EUROPE

TURKISH MPS TO DECIDE ON GREEN LIGHT TO SYRIA, IRAQ INTERVENTION

Parliament in Turkey is expected to discuss and vote on an authorization to send troops against Islamic State (IS) fighters.

Speaker Cemil Cicek explained Monday the government sought approval from the legislature before the Eid al-Adha holiday starting this weekend, Cihan news agency reports him as saying.

Ankara demands that a motion pass last year to allow intervention of troops abroad be renewed so that Turkey could stop the IS offensive increasingly targeting its borders.

The text comprises Syria and Iraq and both countries will be included in the new version, but Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has said the content will be different.

Late on Monday at least 14 Turkish tanks were deployed to the hills overlooking the border with Syria after IS shelling into Turkish territory, with the attack targeting a refugee camp.

No-one was hurt after the insurgents fired at the camp, but earlier three people were wounded after a similar incident when shells hit a house on the border on September 28, Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Turkey is now also facing a humanitarian challenger as 150 000 Syrian Kurds flocked to the country just in days fearing persecution from advancing Sunni extremists.

IS presently controls large swaths of land in both Syria and Iraq and has virtually obliterated parts of the common border in the territories it calls is "Caliphate".

read more


EU-IMF TROIKA RETURS TO GREECE FOR FINAL AUDIT

Experts of the so-called "Troika" of international lenders are set to visit Greece for what could turn into the country's early exit from the bailout program.

The officials are also to discuss the 2015 Greek budget with Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis.

For several days, authorities have claimed Athens could end austerity before the projected period, which is until 2016, with EUR 12.3 B remaining to be transferred to Greece within that time.

Prime Minister Andonis Samaras announced over the weekend that his country would definitely not need a new bailout package.

After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who praised Greece's austerity efforts, he added cooperation with the "Troika" could be over earlier than expected.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed last week Greece's record in addressing the debt crisis.

Greece, which registered this year a current-account surplus for the first time since statistics on its balance began in 1948.

The projections for next year are at 2.3-2.5 percent of GDP, with a surplus of 3% described by the government as the most likely solution, according to daily Kathimerini's English-language website.

The debt-ridden country saw its economy contracted by between a fourth and a third over the past years while pushing to tackle its financial crises through an exhaustive austerity program drastically cutting civil-sector wages and benefits, firing thousands of civil servants and slashing spending in a number of sectors.

It was able to secure EUR 240 M worth of loans from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) in return.

However, the debt-ridden country's obligations are still standing at 175% of GDP.
 
The left-wing coalition SYRIZA dismissed Samaras' claims Greece could soon put an end to austerity, saying in a statement there were no indicators that the visit on Tuesday would change conditions set to the country. read more


INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

CASPIAN SEA COUNTRIES ADOPT COOPERATION AGREEMENT

The five countries with a Caspian Sea coastline signed Monday their first document on cooperation in the region.

Presidents of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan also agreed that no armed forces of third countries should sail into the sea, Russian agency ITAR-TASS reports.

The countries are now entitled to extract bio-resources up to 25 nautical miles (46.3 km) off their coasts.

Despite some expectations, however, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan failed to agree in the Russian city of Astrakhan on the project to construct a Trans-Caspian pipeline allowing direct supplies from Turkmenistan to Europe for the first time.

Caspian Sea countries have been at odds about the basin's status and their respective spheres of economic activity there for nearly two decades.

read more


OPINIONS

OPINIONS CLASH AHEAD OF BUDGET UPDATE DISCUSSION

The 2014 budget update drafted by the caretaker government has stirred a lot of controversy ahead of its discussion with representatives of employers and trade unions.

While deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva has opined that the caretaker cabinet has to act fast and prepare a budget revision ahead of October 5 vote to keep functioning key sectors of the economy and avoid freezing of some social payments, employers claim that the increase in budget deficit and government debt have been ill-considered. read more



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