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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2015-03-07
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7 March 2015, Issue 4173
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9920 subscribers of Novinite.com
149696 articles
590 interviews
9781 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
Bulgarian Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary Resigns


Svetlozar Lazarov has stepped down as Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has confirmed. read
Head of Bulgaria's Security Agency DANS also Steps Down


Vladimir Pisanchev, who heads the Bulgarian counter-intelligence body DANS, has tabled his resignation.read
Bulgaria’s GDP Increased by 1.7% Year-on-Year in 2014


In the fourth quarter of 2014, GDP at current prices amounted to BGN 22 692 million, according to data of Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute. read
 
 
NOVINITE INSIDER
H.E. Pavel Vacek:

» More

MORE TOP NEWS
Bulgaria's ABV Accepts Resignation of Leader Georgi Parvanov

Bulgarian MPs Adopt Amendments to Defence Act at First Reading

National Campaign in Support of Bulgaria's Schengen Accession Launched

Bulgaria Climbs 4 Places in Survey of Most Popular Global Markets for Retailers in 2015

Bulgaria's Justice Minister Demands Dismissal of Suspended Sofia City Court Head

Bulgaria's Border Police Detained 6499 Illegal Immigrants in 2014

IS Militants Bulldozed Iraq's Ancient City of Nimrud

Bulgaria to Take Part in Two Multinational Drills in Ukraine

Greece Repays First Installment Worth EUR 310 M of IMF Loan

Russia's Navalny Freed from Detention


UPS & DOWNS
France's Louvre to Exhibit Treasures of Thracian King Seuthes III

Bulgaria Drops to 106th in World Press Freedom Index
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TOP NEWS
BULGARIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY'S CHIEF SECRETARY RESIGNS

Svetlozar Lazarov has stepped down as Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has confirmed.

First reports came from the Bulgarian National Radio, citing its own sources. read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA’S GDP INCREASED BY 1.7% YEAR-ON-YEAR IN 2014

In the fourth quarter of 2014, GDP at current prices amounted to BGN 22 692 million, according to data of Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute.

In EUR terms GDP reached EUR 11 602 million in total and EUR 1 607 per person. read more


BULGARIA CLIMBS 4 PLACES IN SURVEY OF MOST POPULAR GLOBAL MARKETS FOR RETAILERS IN 2015

Bulgaria ranks 42nd in the latest edition of the How Active are Retailers Globally? survey of global property adviser CBRE.

The survey examines the most popular destinations for global retailers in 2015. read more


AGRICULTURE MINISTRY, TOBACCO PRODUCERS AGREE ON DISTRIBUTION OF BGN 107 M IN TOP-UP PAYMENTS

After nine hours of debates between senior officials of Bulgaria’s Agriculture Ministry and representatives of organizations of producers of different brands of tobacco, agreement was reached on the distribution of a total of BGN 107 M earmarked for top-up payments in the sector.

The two sides agreed on the following method of distribution, according to the press office of the Agriculture Ministry: read more


BANKRUPT FERTILIZER PLANT CHIMCO AD FAILS TO ATTRACT BIDDERS IN SECOND TENDER

No candidates to buy the bankrupt Vratsa-based fertilizer plant Chimco AD, also known as Himko AD, showed up in the second open tender.

The price tag, at BGN 22.8 M, had been reduced by slightly over BGN 6 M from the previous tender held in 2014, according to reports of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency. read more


60K LTD STRIKE GOLD IN LAS VEGAS!

60K scooped 4 awards including a Gold for Best Contact Centre, 2 Silver and a Bronze at the ninth annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, which were unveiled on Friday 27th February at a gala ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada attended by more than 520 executives from around the world.

Stevie is recognized as the world's top customer service and sales awards, and organizes several of the world’s leading business award shows, including the prestigious International Business Awards. read more


BULGARIAN FAST FOOD CHAIN ALADIN FOODS SETS FOOT IN ROMANIA

A Bulgarian fast food chain, Aladin Foods, is setting foot in Romania, according to its owner, Khaled Kharfan.

In Kharfan’s words, as cited by the Bulgarian Economy magazine, the expansion program starts in Bucharest, with three other towns to follow, including the border town of Giurgiu. read more


TOURISM

OVER 700 000 GERMANS VISITED BULGARIA FOR TOURISM PURPOSES IN 2014 - MINISTER

Speaking at the ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin), Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova noted that nearly 1 million Germans had visited Bulgaria in 2014, with over 700 000 of them traveling to the country for tourism.

The Bulgarian delegation taking part in the world's largest tourism trade fair also includes Deputy Tourism Minister Nadya Marinova and Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Germany Radi Naydenov, according to the government's press office, as cited by money.bg. read more


DIPLOMACY

BULGARIA ATTRACTIVE FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS, GERMAN FM STEINMEIER SAYS

Bulgaria is an attractive place for foreign companies, but corruption and lack of legal security drives investors back, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said.

In an interview with the website Dnevnik.bg ahead of his March 10 visit, he urges Sofia to update the investment climate and boost judicial reform.

"Around 5000 German companies are already active in Bulgaria. In the future they could be more, because Bulgaria is actually an attractive place offering interesting conditions to foreign companies," in Steinmeier's words.

Mass demonstrations of 2013 show "Bulgarians are dissatisfied with the insufficient progress" in the judiciary reform, he also believes.

Asked about last year's German media reports on Berlin's fears of Russian influence in Southeast Europe, he has stressed "Bulgaria is strongly integrated in the EU" and that "a stable Bulgaria benefits all European partners... At the same time, however, Russia is the EU's biggest neighbor... and it is in our interest to restore the trust."

Steinmeier has defended Bulgarian workers' right to mobility throughout the EU, reminding they do not act as "immigrants from third countries" contrary to claims of the anti-immigration PEGIDA movement.

Commenting on the increased influx of asylum seekers Bulgaria and the EU in general are facing, he opines that this challenge could only be handled "through common solidarity and responsibility. This means all EU member states should participate in the reception of refugees. But we have not yet achieved that - five EU countries, Germany among them, but also the much smaller Sweden, have carried out over the last years three-fourths all asylum procedures in the EU."

read more


DEFENSE

MIGS REPAIR 'TOO EXPENSIVE' - BULGARIA DEFMIN

Repair works on the MiG fighter jets that are currently part of Bulgaria's aircraft fleet are quite expensive to repair, Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev asserted Friday answering to a question in Parliament.

Asked by an MP about the necessity for Bulgaria to acquire a new type of fighter, Nenchev said that, according to Defense Ministry figures, maintenance of the existing aircraft will take some BGN 1.6 B by 2029.

In the words of Petar Slavov, a lawmaker from the Reformist Bloc (RB), an entire squadron of 16 "little-used or even new" devices meeting NATO requirements could be purchased, and their maintenance would be cheaper.

But Nenchev warned that the MiGs would have to undergo maintenance during a "transitional period", even though the acquisition of new fighter jets could enter the capabilities development program of the Bulgarian Armed Forces by 2020 if an investment project prepared by the Defense Ministry is approved by the government.

Nenchev at the same time confirmed the airworthiness of most MiG-29s and MiG-21s was questionable and this could jeopardize Bulgaria's ability to carry out its air-policing obligations under NATO's air defense program.

Bulgaria has delayed for years a final decision to acquire new fighter jets, with three options (and, reportedly, a prospective fourth) being on the table. read more


BULGARIA TO TAKE PART IN TWO MULTINATIONAL DRILLS IN UKRAINE

The Bulgarian Armed Forces are due to take part in the Rapid Trident and Saber Guardian military exercises due in July in Ukraine, the Defense Ministry has said.

Neither of the drills is officially related to the Ukraine crisis, since they are held on an annual basis.

It is not yet clear now many troops will be sent to Ukraine, according to ministry officials quoted by Trud newspaper.

Sofia also deployed troops in Ukraine last year for the Rapid Trident exercise which was carried out near Yavoriv, some 60 km of Lviv which is near the Ukraine-Poland border. It included 1300 people from 15 countries, 200 of them from the US. read more


BULGARIAN MPS ADOPT AMENDMENTS TO DEFENCE ACT AT FIRST READING

The Bulgarian Parliament approved on Friday the amendments to the Defence and Armed Forces Act at first reading.

The amendments provide opportunities for Bulgarian servicemen and civilians to serve in international organisations operating on Bulgarian territory, Darik radio reports. read more


IHS JANE: PAKISTAN JET FIGHTERS DEAL 'POLITICALLY DIFFICULT' FOR BULGARIA

Bulgaria's efforts to achieve full interoperability with NATO partners pose an obstacle to a proposition likely to be made by Pakistan under which Sofia could acquire JF-17 fighters, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.

The report emerged earlier this week in Bulgarian media outlets. Bulgaria is currently seeking to overhaul its aircraft fleet by replacing its outdated MiGs and Sukhois, and according to the information Pakistan wished to join the current shortlist including old F-16, second-hand Eurofighter jets, and new Gripens.

But the influential defense magazine notes Bulgaria's "status as a NATO member would not" make Pakistan Aeronautical Complex/Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (PAC/CAC)'s JF-17 Thunder aircraft a suitable candidate.

The JF-17s are jointly produced by China and Pakistan and have "yet to secure" their first international customer, IHS Jane notes.

They are not "NATO-compatible" it adds, citing the example of Turkey's attempt at acquiring a Chinese missile defense system in 2013 (and the Alliance's subsequent outcry) to point out it would be "extremely difficult for Sofia" to carry out such a deal.

"Being a new and enthusiastic member of NATO, Bulgaria will be loath to place itself in a similar position, and for this reason primarily it would seem that a JF-17 buy is not likely to happen," the analysis concludes. read more


FINLAND SHOULDN'T RULE OUT NATO MEMBERSHIP, PM SAYS

Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has argued the next government in Helsinki should bear in mind the option to seek NATO membership.

Upon taking office last year after the resignation of Jyrki Katainen, Stubb had ruled out any prospect that his cabinet might take such a step, even though some media reports suggested otherwise.

Meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, the PM added: “I do not see Finnish NATO membership in the near future.”

Having a large border with Russia, Finland has been neutral since the World War Two and has been  willing to join neither the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nor the Warsaw Pact.

But in 2014 increased activities of Russia in the Baltic Sea region gave incentives to a renewed public debate as to whether Helsinki should aspire for NATO membership.

In an opinion poll quoted by YLE broadcaster's English-language version, 57% of respondents are against Finland joining NATO, while 27% support the move.

The survey published by prominent daily Helsingin Sanomat however adds an increased number of people now perceive Russia as a growing threat, with 21 percent completely agreeing and 40% agreeing "somewhat".

read more


BULGARIA IN EU

BULGARIA TO SEEK FUNDING UNDER JUNCKER PLAN FOR STARA ZAGORA AIRPORT UPGRADE

Bulgaria’s Economy Ministry has proposed three new projects to be included on the list of projects seeking funding under the Investment Plan of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Responding to a question of socialist MP Georgi Bozhinov, Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski said in Parliament that one of the projects involved the conversion of the Stara Zagora Airport into an international aviation and cargo hub providing a connection between Europe and Asia. read more


NATIONAL CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF BULGARIA'S SCHENGEN ACCESSION LAUNCHED

Deputy PM Meglena Kuneva, Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov and Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov joined efforts Thursday in the opening of Bulgaria in Schengen. It's Time! campaign.

The government representatives were present at the opening event at the Archeology Museum in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, BTA news agency reported. read more


SAVE SOFIA NGO ALARMS BRUSSELS ON POOR RENOVATION WORKS FUNDED BY EU

The non-governmental organization Save Sofia has sent a signal to Brussels on account of low quality renovation works in Bulgaria's capital. The project was executed in the Sofia municipality with EU funds.

The reconstruction procedure along Bulgaria Blvd's railway cost approximately BGN 7 M no VAT included. read more


DOMESTIC

HEAD OF BULGARIA'S SECURITY AGENCY DANS ALSO STEPS DOWN

Vladimir Pisanchev, who heads the Bulgarian counter-intelligence body DANS, has tabled his resignation.

This comes hours after on the Chief Secretary of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry, Svetlozar Lazarov, stepped down and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said he would accept the move.

Officials have neither confirmed nor denied the information about Pisanchev, but Borisov told reporters on Friday he was awaiting the security chief at his cabinet later during the day.

On Thursday, a day after ex-Interior Minister Vuchkov also stepped down over the PM and his other ministers' reluctance to replace both Lazarov and Pisanchev, Borisov demanded that the two quit. read more


BULGARIA'S ABV ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF LEADER GEORGI PARVANOV

Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV), one of the parties supporting the coalition government, approved the resignation of its leader, former Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov.

This was announced by Parvanov himself, following a three-hour meeting of the national council of the party on Friday. read more


BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CONCLUDES MONTH OF POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS WITH PM

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov discussed on Friday the priorities of the government and the readiness of the executive to implement key reforms in 2015.

This completed the month of political consultations, which had been initiated by Plevneliev, the presidential press service reports. read more


OVER 1,000 OLD CARS ROTTING IN SOFIA

Close to 1,000 old cars that are no longer suitable for driving, are rotting on the streets of Sofia. This contributes to the already heavy traffic in the capital.

All cars that don't have up-to-date registration plates and that have not undergone technical inspections over the past two years are considered to be no longer used. read more


SOCIETY

BULGARIA'S JUSTICE MINISTER DEMANDS DISMISSAL OF SUSPENDED SOFIA CITY COURT HEAD

Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov stated Friday that he demands that the temporarily suspended Chair of the Sofia City Court, Vladimira Yaneva be officially fired.

Ivanov introduced a second proposal for a disciplinary action against Yaneva. read more


INCIDENTS

HARRISON FORD SUFFERS INJURY AFTER PLANE CRASH WITH VINTAGE VEHICLE

The 72-year old actor was piloting the single-engine aircraft Thursday. The vehicle made a crash landing at a golf course in California.

Ford had severe cuts on the head and was transported to a nearby hospital immediately after the accident, NBC News reported. read more


SPORTS

FORMER BULGARIAN CAPTAIN STILIYAN PETROV RETURNS TO ASTON VILLA

Former captain of the Bulgarian national football team Stiliyan Petrov returned to his last professional football club Aston Villa after accepting an invitation from manager Tim Sherwood.

Sherwood had invited Petrov to join his backroom team to serve as an inspiration for Aston Villa's battle to stay in the Premier League, the Telegraph reports. read more


BULGARIA LOST FIRST MATCH AGAINST LATVIA IN DAVIS CUP

Bulgaria lost its first match against Latvia in Group II Europe/Africa Zone of the Davis Cup on Friday.

Aleksandar Lazov lost to Martins Podzus with 3:6, 5:7, 5:7 in a match that lasted slightly over two hours and a half, daily Dnevnik reports. read more


CRIME

BULGARIA'S BORDER POLICE DETAINED 6499 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN 2014

Border Police detained 6499 illegal immigrants, citizens of third countries, as they attempted to cross into Bulgaria in 2014, which represents a decrease of 44 % compared to 2013.

This became clear after the General Directorate Border Police presented an account of its activity throughout the past year at the Interior Ministry on Friday. read more


WORLD

IS MILITANTS BULLDOZED IRAQ'S ANCIENT CITY OF NIMRUD

Islamic State militants started bulldozing historic artefacts Thursday, located in the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, today's Iraq.

Jihadists from the terrorist organization started demolishing the site founded in 13th c BC, as stated by Iraqi officials, the BBC reported. read more


TENSIONS RISE AS PALESTINE SUSPENDS SECURITY COOPERATION WITH ISRAEL

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) decided on Thursday to suspend security cooperation with Israel, which is part of 1993 peace accords.

This move was retaliatory measure against Israel's decision to suspend the transfer of taxes to Palestinians after their application to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), the BBC reports. read more


SOUTHEAST EUROPE

GREECE REPAYS FIRST INSTALLMENT WORTH EUR 310 M OF IMF LOAN

Greece repaid on Friday the first installment worth EUR 310 M of the IMF loan, which is due until the end of March.

In total, Greece has to repay EUR 1.5 B to IMF during the next two weeks, daily Kathimerini reports. read more


BALKANS REMAIN PARALYZED BY STORMS AND STRONG WINDS

The Reya Cyclone has taken over the Balkans causing prolific snowfalls, strong winds and low temperatures in a number of regions.

Code red has been issued for Adriatic countries and the Eastern parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina on account of the imminent dangerous storms that have the potential to cause severe damages. read more


RUSSIA

RUSSIA'S NAVALNY FREED FROM DETENTION

Opposition leader and prominent blogger Alexey Navalny has been released from his 15-day custody in Moscow, his press secretary says.

Navalny was sentenced to a fortnight of administrative detention over multiple actions promoting a demonstation.

He had earlier demanded to be allowed to attend the funeral of Boris Nemtsov, the oppositioner who was shot dead near the Kremlin last Friday, but was denied the right to do so.

The rally he had sought to organize was the March 1 "anti-crisis" protest which actually turned into a morning march after Nemtsov's death.

Meanwhile the TIME magazine has included Navalny in its list of the world's top 30 most influential Internet users around the world."

The opposition leader has fallen into the same category with US President Barack Obama, singers Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, writer J. K. Rowling and model Kim Kardashian. read more


NEMTSOV'S GIRLFRIEND 'RECEIVED DEATH THREATS'

Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya, who was accompanying Russian oppositioner Boris Nemtsov when he was murdered, claims to have received death threats, prosecutors say.

Duritskaya, a key witness in a murder investigation against Nemtsov, lodged a claim with the country's chief prosecutor's office on Thursday, March 05 and is currently under police protection.

She returned to Kiev on March 02 to look after her mother, but promised to provide assistance to investigators in Russia who are looking into the murder.

Moscow authorities' probe has not yet yielded concrete results or at least none have been made public.

Some Russian opposition forces have accused the Kremlin of being behind the killing, but President Putin argues the "vile" murder was a "provocation".

read more


PUTIN SLASHES RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT SALARIES BY 10%

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Friday thus reducing government salaries by 10%.

According to the document, salaries of the PM, Prosecutor General, Head of the Investigative Committee, MPs and Kremlin officials will all be slashed, ITAR Tass reported. read more


UK'S HAMMOND STATES EU READINESS FOR NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has stated Thursday that sanctions against Russia can only be lifted in case the Minsk agreement is upheld.

He arrived in Kiev for an official visit and met with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, President Petro Poroshenko, and PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk. read more


DIPLOMATIC CHANNEL

H.E. PAVEL VACEK:

http://www.mzv.cz/sofia/bg/x2002_05_16_2/poslanik/index.html

Mr Vacek, earlier this month Bulgaria's Energy Minister announced inspections were due at all electricity distribution companies, days after the competition watchdog accused CEZ of abuse of dominant position. Experts from the ministry have also discovered irregularities at Energo-PRO, another Czech company, including double invoices. How does the Czech Republic look at these developments? Do you think the companies are being mistreated? read more



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