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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-09-18
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18 September 2014, Issue 4031
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9890 subscribers of Novinite.com
146137 articles
590 interviews
9440 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
Gov't Grants BGN 28 M to Municipalities with Assets in KTB


Some BGN 28 M worth of interest-free loans have been allocated to Bulgarian municipalities having accounts at Corporate Commercial Bank, the Finance Ministry said.read
Bulgaria’s Caretaker Govt OKs Financial Corrections of BGN 152 M under OP Environment


Bulgaria’s caretaker government has approved financial corrections worth BGN 152 M under operational program “Environment.read
Serbian Court Places Tsvetan Vasilev Under Recognizance Order


A Serbian court has ordered Tsvetan Vasilev, majority owner of Bulgaria’s troubled Corpbank (KTB), to report to police every day while awaiting a decision on his potential extradition. read
 
 
NOVINITE INSIDER
Tsvetan Vasilev and the Voice of Business

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MORE TOP NEWS
Power Rates in Bulgaria to Go Up by up to 10% as of October - Watchdog

Bulgaria Braces for Possible Disruption in Russian Gas Supplies

Ludogorets Loses 1-2 to Liverpool in Champions League Clash

Bulgaria’s Caretaker Govt Approves Cooperation Schemes under EU Programs

Turkey’s Chief Prosecutor to Arrive in Bulgaria on 3-Day Visit

Bulgaria's Interim PM Appears in Court as Applicant

FT: Vision 2020 Could Be Seen as 'Distancing Bulgaria From Moscow'

EC Threatens Punitive Measures against Bulgaria, Serbia over South Stream

Russia Strikes USD 3.5 B Arms Deals for Deliveries to Egypt

Bulgaria Air to Fly to China, Belarus


UPS & DOWNS
Scuba Diver Finds Oldest Coin in Bulgaria

Two Bulgarians Arrested in Peru for Credit Card Fraud
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TOP NEWS
BULGARIA’S CARETAKER GOVT SUSPENDS INVESTMENT PROGRAM OF SOCIALIST-LED CABINET

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has suspended funding for projects and programs under the government's public investment program "Growth and Sustainable Development” for which no contract was signed by September 17, 2014, including.

The funding of projects which are being implemented will be extended by the end of 2014, according to the government’s press office. read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA’S CARETAKER GOVT OKS FINANCIAL CORRECTIONS OF BGN 152 M UNDER OP ENVIRONMENT

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has approved financial corrections worth BGN 152 M under operational program “Environment.”

In a bid to achieve the unblocking of frozen payments under operational program “Environment”,  Bulgaria’s caretaker government approved the proposal of the European Commission for financial corrections amounting to BGN 152 916 261, according to reports of the BGNES news agency. read more


TOTAL HOURLY LABOR COST POSTS 3.6% INCREASE IN Q2 2014 Y/Y

Preliminary data of the Bulgaria's Statistical Institute for Q2 2014 indicates that the total hourly labor cost has risen by 3.6% compared to the second quarter of 2013.

The total hourly labor cost grew by 6.9% in industry, by 1.1% in services and by 4.0% in construction. read more


BULGARIA AIR TO FLY TO CHINA, BELARUS

Flag carrier Bulgaria Air is the designated Bulgarian airline to fly to China and Belarus, the Council of Ministers has announced after its regular meeting, Wednesday.

The company is obligated to launch the new routes up to six months after the designation date. read more


AMWAY TO INVEST USD 0.5M IN LAUNCHING BULGARIAN BUSINESS

Multi-level marketing company Amway is to invest USD 0.5 M into launching a business in Bulgaria.

Amway is to set foot on the Bulgarian market in June 2014 with an initial investment of USD 0.5 M, according to reports of investor.bg. read more


EU NEW CAR REGISTRATIONS UP BY 2.1% IN AUGUST

New passenger car registrations were up by 5.6% in July and by 2.1% in August, pursuing the upward trend commenced twelve months ago.

Eight months into the year, demand for new cars amounted to 8,336,159 units, or 6.0% more than in the same period last year, according to the latest data of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. read more


FINANCE

FINANCE MINISTRY MEETS WITH EPIC TO DISCUSS KTB RECOVERY

Interim Finance Minister Rumen Porozhanov has announced his institution is to meet representatives of Vienna-based fund EPIC in the coming days.

After a cabinet session Porozhanov explained his ministry sought to get familiar with prospective intentions to rescue troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank or KTB).

EPIC Financial Consulting, acting for the bank's main shareholders, said in a statement last week it could carry out "a full due diligence process" at the bank, a condition on which KTB's shareholders are ready to draft a recapitalization plan.

A meeting of EPIC with officials of central bank BNB could take place this week. read more


ENERGY

POWER RATES IN BULGARIA TO GO UP BY UP TO 10% AS OF OCTOBER - WATCHDOG

Power prices will go up by up to 10% as of October 1, according to a media statement of Bulgaria’s State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR).

Svetla Todorova, who was appointed DKEVR Chair on September 1, explained Wednesday that there would be no increase in heating rates despite the gas price hike request submitted by state-owned gas supplier Bulgargaz. read more


BULGARIA BRACES FOR POSSIBLE DISRUPTION IN RUSSIAN GAS SUPPLIES

Fearing a price dispute between Moscow and Kiev may lead to disruptions in Russian gas deliveries via Ukraine, Bulgaria is preparing to avert a gas crisis in winter months.

According to Bulgaria’s caretaker deputy premier for economic policy Ekaterina Zaharieva, the Russian gas supplies are highly likely to be affected by tensions between Moscow and Kiev prompted by a dispute over prices. read more


EC THREATENS PUNITIVE MEASURES AGAINST BULGARIA, SERBIA OVER SOUTH STREAM

The European Commission has called on Bulgaria to suspend the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, warning that it may take punitive measures against Sofia and Belgrade over the matter.

Marlene Holzner, Energy Spokesperson of the European Commission, commented on the matter at a press conference in response to a question regarding the plans of the Serbian authorities about the construction of the gas pipeline. read more


TOURISM

BULGARIAN HOTELIERS STAGE PROTEST TO DEMAND SEPARATE TOURISM MINISTRY

Bulgarian hoteliers will stage a protest Wednesday at a section of the Burgas- Sunny Beach near Aheloy to demand a separate ministry of tourism and a solution to a number of other problems.

“Tourism is a fundamental sector of Bulgarian economy,” said Sunny Beach owners' union chairperson Elena Ivanova, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio. read more


DEFENSE

FORMER JOINT FORCES COMMAND CHIEF APPOINTED PRESIDENT'S SECRETARY

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has signed a decree appointing reserve Lt Gen Atanas Samandov as his Defense and Security Secretary, the presidency has announced.

The position had been left vacant since May 2013, when Vasil Marinov (later Deputy Interior Minister in Plamen Oresharski's cabinet) stepped down. read more


NATO CRISIS MANAGEMENT CENTER OPENS IN BULGARIA

President Rosen Plevneliev and a number of ministers from the interim government have attended the opening ceremony of a crisis management centre of the Alliance in Bulgaria's capital Sofia.  

Plevneliev, who opened the new facility in person, said the new Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence (CMDR COE) is important to Bulgaria in the light of the conflicts in Ukraine and the MENA region.

"These crises destabilize the foundations of democracy. The center will work as part of the Competence Centers within the Alliance," the Bulgarian National Radio quoted the head of state as saying.

Plevneliev asserted Bulgaria was "a leading nation" in the CMDR's construction.

"We will always be weak when we are isolated and strong when integrated in the dignified family of democratic states," he added.

The center will explore NATO's capabilities and provide expert analyses to local and central government institutions. Its fields of expertise include capacity building, boosting interoperability and promoting training of commanders and leaders from NATO member states and partners.

Greece and Poland have also contributed to the project, which was reportedly on the brink of failing, since Brussels sources suggested it could be denied accreditation.

The event was also attended by Defense Minister Velizar Shalamanov, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, Environment Minister Svetlana Zhekova and Chief of Defense Vice-Admiral Rumen Nikolov.

read more


FT: VISION 2020 COULD BE SEEN AS 'DISTANCING BULGARIA FROM MOSCOW'

Bulgaria must boost defense spending in response to Russia's invasion in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East, caretaker Defense Minister Velizar Shalamanov told the Financial Times' beyondbrics blog.

Shalamanov argued Bulgaria is currently "in an new security situation", since "the Russian invasion in East Ukraine is bringing instability to the whole Black Sea region and the whole of Europe."

Commenting on the working paper Vision: Bulgaria in NATO and in European Defense 2020, a document which embroiled Shalamanov and Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki in a dispute, FT says it "can be seen both as a direct response to Russian action and an act distancing Bulgaria from Moscow".

It warns, however, that it is not clear whether the policies in Vision 2020 will be implemented, quoting former Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev as saying only one of the seven parties with chances to make it into Parliament after the October 5 snap poll supported the original text, which was later modified, with the most robust statements dropped from the new version.

The article notes that the caretaker government has reaffirmed Bulgaria's Atlanticism, "with Shalamanov at the forefront".

It also argues the former Bulgarian government "fell partly due to its continued support for Gazprom's South Stream".

The text says Bulgaria "has often been overlooked" in terms of its strategic importance as a country situated in the Balkans and on the Black Sea.

Even though the Vision should not be perceived as a clear sign of a change in Bulgaria's ties to Russia, the document has "at least put defense back on the agenda," beyondbrics concludes. read more


BULGARIA IN EU

BULGARIA’S CARETAKER GOVT APPROVES COOPERATION SCHEMES UNDER EU PROGRAMS

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has adopted a decision on cross-border cooperation under three programs in the 2014-2020 programming period.

The three programs, INTERACT III, the Danube Transnational Program 2014-2020 and the Balkan-Mediterranean Program, are to be approved by the European Commission, according to reports of econ.bg. read more


BULGARIA REAFFIRMS WILLINGNESS TO HELP KIEV BUILD CLOSER TIES WITH EU

Bulgaria on Wednesday welcomed the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement which it expects will help Kiev build strong political and economic ties with the bloc.

Sofia also expects the accord ratified simultaneously by the European Parliament and Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday will “contribute to the strengthening of reforms and the rule of law and lead to the overall modernization of the country”. read more


DOMESTIC

GOV'T GRANTS BGN 28 M TO MUNICIPALITIES WITH ASSETS IN KTB

Some BGN 28 M worth of interest-free loans have been allocated to Bulgarian municipalities having accounts at Corporate Commercial Bank, the Finance Ministry said.

In a statement released Tuesday, the institution announced that, as of September 17, 2014, five municipalities have been granted funding, while five others are still pending a decision.

The extra money have been distributed among local authorities as follows: BGN 7.7 M to Belitsa, BGN 11 M to Burgas, BGN 2.8 M to Aytos, BGN 4.5 M to Sozopol, BGN 2 M to Rakovski.

The boost the other five municipalities (Sliven, Gotse Delchev, Sungurlare, Simitli and Kazanlak) could receive is currently estimated at BGN 10 M.

Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank or KTB) has been under special supervision since a bank run prompted it to request the move on June 20, and therefore municipalities which have deposited their money there cannot make any payments. read more


TURKEY’S CHIEF PROSECUTOR TO ARRIVE IN BULGARIA ON 3-DAY VISIT

A Turkish delegation headed by the country’s Chief Prosecutor, Hasan Erbil, is to arrive in Bulgaria on an official three-day visit at the invitation of Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov.

The delegation includes Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu and other prosecutors. read more


BULGARIA'S CARETAKER GOVT ALLOCATES BGN 8М FOR SOFIA METRO LINE EXTENSION

Bulgaria’s caretaker government will allocate BGN 8 M for the completion of the last metro station of the extension of the second metro line in Sofia,Wednesday.

Another BGN 5.6M will be allocated for the construction of a sports complex in the city of Plovdiv, the government press office informed. read more


SOCIETY

SERBIAN COURT PLACES TSVETAN VASILEV UNDER RECOGNIZANCE ORDER

A Serbian court has ordered Tsvetan Vasilev, majority owner of Bulgaria’s troubled Corpbank (KTB), to report to police every day while awaiting a decision on his potential extradition.

According to Sofia-based 24 Chasa daily, the restriction measure was imposed after Vasilev was interrrogated at Serbia’s Supreme Court in Belgrade late on Tuesday. read more


FRESH THREATS DIRECTED AT KTB'S VASILEV, HIS LAWYER SAYS

Fresh threats have been levelled against Tsvetan Vasilev, majority owner of Bulgaria’s troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), his lawyer Konstantin Simeonov said on Wednesday.

“He has received signals about an existing order for his elimination,” Simeonov told Sofia-based Nova TV, making clear such threats had been directed at Vasilev from the very beginning of the KTB crisis but there were also more recent ones. He didn’t elaborate. read more


BULGARIA'S CAPITAL CELEBRATES ST. SOFIA DAY

Bulgaria's capital celebrates Wednesday St. Sofia Day - the date when the Orthodox world pays homage to the Holy Martyrs Sofia and her three daughters Faith, Hope and Love.

At 11.30, the flag of the capital will be hoisted at an official ceremony and a liturgy will be held in front of the St. Sofia church. The ceremony will be attended by President Rosen Plevneliev, caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki and Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. read more


TWO MILLION BULGARIANS COMPLAIN OF EXCESSIVE NOISE EXPOSURE

Two million Bulgarians are exposed to dangerously loud noise day and night in the big cities.

A total of 73.4% of the residents of Plovdiv and 72.2% of Sofia residents complain of excessive noise in the early hours of the day. read more


ENVIRONMENT

BULGARIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY WARNS OF POSSIBLE FLASH FLOODS

The Ministry of Environment has warned of expected rise of river water levels mainly in western and central Bulgaria on Wednesday.

Local flash floods due to intensive rainfalls are also possible. read more


SPORTS

LUDOGORETS LOSES 1-2 TO LIVERPOOL IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CLASH

Liverpool kicked off their return to UEFA Champions League after beating Bulgaria’s Ludogorets 2-1 on Tuesday night.

It was far from plain sailing for the hosts at Anfield, as the Bulgarian champions proved worthy opponents in their first ever Champions League appearance. read more


CRIME

BULGARIA'S INTERIM PM APPEARS IN COURT AS APPLICANT

In an unprecedented move, caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki has appeared before the Supreme Administrative Court over his litigation against former Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov.

Bliznashki lodged his complaint against Mikov after the latter turned down a proposal for a referendum on election rules submitted by an Initiative Committee.

The committee, headed by the Prime Minister himself, tabled a petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures at the time of the former socialist-liberal government.

However, the trial was adjourned after lawyer Yonko Grozev, who represents the committee, requested that the first sitting be held when the next Parliament, the 43rd National Assembly, has been set up.

Mikov declined to give the Initiative Committee time to correct flaws in their petition, which called for a national poll on three issues: the introduction of a majority system, mandatory voting and e-voting.

Bliznashki attended the courtroom with eleven of the fifteen committee members, including caretaker Deputy Culture Minister Viktor Stoyanov.

Mikov himself, who lost his status of a Parliament Speaker after the Parliament was dissolved on August 6, did not appear.

Lawyer Grozev insisted the lack of a proper defendant was the main problem of the case and reminded Mikov's competences would be passed to his successor in the next National Assembly.

Some law experts say the claim filed by interim PM Bliznashki, a Constitutional Law lecturer, is unacceptable.

Bliznashki for his part maintains he appeared before court as a citizen, even though it was the National Service for Protection (NSO) that preserved order in the courtroom due to his presence their, instead of the judiciary security personnel.

read more


WORLD

TURKISH FOOD EXPORTERS SEEK CUTS IN RUSSIAN CUSTOMS DUTIES

Turkish food exporters are seeking cuts in Russian import duties to boost their share of the vast Russian market where Western food imports have been banned.

According to Zechariah Mete, chairman of Turkey’s association of grocery products exporters, they are not seeking preferential treatment by Moscow. read more


RUSSIA STRIKES USD 3.5 B ARMS DEALS FOR DELIVERIES TO EGYPT

Russia and Egypt have reached a preliminary deal on USD 3.5 B worth of weapons, with anti-missile equipment and pieces of artillery to be sold to Cairo, Moscow official say.

Alexander Fomin, head of Russia's Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, announced the deal while on an international arms trade fair in South Africa, Interfax news agency reports.

Fomin did not elaborate on the deals any further.

Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi visited Russia, the world's second-largest arms exporter, in February this year, prompting reports large-scale deliveries of arms had been agreed.

Russian defense equipment manufacturer Rosoboronexport's CEO Anatoly Isaykin, who was also at the arms fair, announced his company was unperturbed by the Western sanctions hitting Russia's arms industry, with outstanding deals valued at USD 38.7 B.

read more


OPINIONS

TSVETAN VASILEV AND THE VOICE OF BUSINESS

I don't know what it means to "surrender" without having been in hiding, but the past 24 hours have created this precedent as well. For two weeks it has been openly said that the banker Tsvetan is in neighboring Serbia, his lawyer tells all the TV stations how and where he met him and... all of a sudden it turned out he "heroically" surrendered to police. Stuff and nonsense, as they said in my neighborhood in Sofia when one's time was being wasted with verbosity.

This has not been the single precedent over the past months, though. Tsvetan Vasilev, a banker with impeccable business reputation, a person who had been financing anything from sport to culture, from industry to trade and whom journalists queued to meet for an interview, promptly rolls in on the headlines almost like Bulgaria's arch-rascal. And it might be for the first time that I will see the dictum of Warren Buffett, the one saying It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it, failing to fulfill itself.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Vasilev visited the police not to "turn himself in", but quite the opposite - to show he is not worried by a single violation and, if anyone thinks there has been one, to provide full assistance to him. A move only a strong businessman could make, and also one that I can't think of anyone to have lately made it. I am not sure this is not precisely what a dozen of people will have to face at the Bulgarian National Bank, this "holy place" of business which managed to bring so much disappointment and allowed for trust in it to plummet so quickly. It seems to be that even a freshman in Economics is now capable of taking the simple decision that Corporate Commercial Bank has to be restored to health, put back on its feet, naturally, with direct assistance from its shareholders, so that it could gradually start paying off to depositors. This is why Tsvetan Vasilev is now needed by the Bulgarian business, and precisely in Bulgaria, to work for the bank's recovery. The rescue of KTB, repairing Bulgaria's image is currently, and undoubtedly, the most important issue in the country.

This will be the strongest signal to Europe that the state is looking after its citizens, especially after the reports that over half a million people have been affected by the bank's closure... If the BNB keeps on protracting the matter this way, the bank will naturally keep on losing. This cannot but have a pernicious impact on the entire business field in Bulgaria - in many companies there are employees who deposited money at the bank, their money is there, even that of tens of state entities are blocked at KTB and it is as though the state did not understand where the carelessness it is displaying even about its own firms could lead.

Therefore, no business organization in Bulgaria enjoying support from trade unions falls short of demanding a simple and clear thing - let Vasilev do his work, let investors to propose a plan to restructure and recover KTB. This is the only way we could bring back the little trust that has remained on behalf of foreign investors and show that the state, whatever this means now, has heard the most important voice speaking in its support - the voice of Bulgarian business.

read more



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