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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-07-25
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25 July 2014, Issue 3984
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
10039 subscribers of Novinite.com
144946 articles
590 interviews
9302 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
President Plevneliev: Parliament to Solve Key Tasks Before Dissolution


President Rosen Plevneliev has asked parties to overcome their differences to resolve three pressing issues before the Parliament is dissolved. read
Resignation 'Will Not Lead to Economic Recovery' - BIA Chairman


The resignation of the government will worsen Bulgaria's economic situation, as political struggles will scare investors away, an industrial union's Chairman believes. read
Missing Air Algerie Passenger Plane with 116 on Board Crashes in Niger


Air Algerie’s missing passenger plane has crashed in the Republic of Niger, according to international media reports based on information of the Algerian TV. read
 
 
NOVINITE INSIDER
Was DPS's Choice to Speed Up Government Resignation a Sacrifice?

Timeline of Oresharski's Cabinet: A Government in Constant Jeopardy

» More

MORE TOP NEWS
Over BGN 1 B Withdrawn From Bulgarian Banks In June

Turkey OKs South Stream Environmental Impact Assessment

Bulgaria's Sunny Beach – Cheapest EU Tourist Destination for Brits

Outgoing FM: Bulgaria Vulnerable to New EU Sanctions against Russia

GERB Leader Boyko Borisov Returns Mandate

Bulgaria Ranks 58th by Human Development Index

Hackers Attack European Central Bank's Website

Bulgarian DPS Party Supports Georgieva's EU Foreign Policy Chief Bid

Ambassador Hensel: Poland Is Keeping Close Watch on Ukraine

Bulgarian Outgoing Ministers React to Cabinet Resignation


UPS & DOWNS
Bulgarian President Turns 1st Sod on Scientific and Tech Park in Sofia

Bulgaria's New Environment Minister 'Has No Degree' from Munich
QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The cabinet is not resigning because of the DPS's press conference on Thursday [July 05, 2014]. That Thursday DPS did something else: it answered to all people who, in the year that passed, didn't tire to play with the phrase "overeating with power", the DPS said to everyone that to be in power is not an end in itself, it's not a cliche. Because it gave a clear sign and proved it with its behavior that we can deprive ourselves of power in the name of ideals. But we are not going to sacrifice our ideals for power. That is why today we have the strength to say that, from now on, regardless of our position in the 43rd National Assembly, we are not going to oppose indisputable national priorities when a consensus exists. How many parties can say that for themselves?"

Lyutvi Mestan, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, commenting on the resignation of Bulgaria's government just before the vote in Parliament.

On July 5, the governing BSP-DPS coalition saw its first rift as Mestan said the cabinet could not have its full term in office.

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TOP NEWS
BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES GOVERNMENT RESIGNATION

Lawmakers overwhelmingly backed Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oreshaski's resignation submitted on Wednesday evening.

With a huge majority of 180-8 (8 abstained), they gave green light to the move submitted by Oresharski on Wednesday afternoon.

Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov had announced the move was included in the agenda, but cast doubt that any other legislation could be voted due to lack of "political will". read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA'S GLOBUL LOSES PROFIT AND REVENUE

Bulgaria's second largest telecom, Globul, owned by the Norwegian giant Telenor posted a drop in profit and revenue in Q2 2014, reports Capital Daily. 

The report of the company managers shows that in the period the operator gained 34 000 new subscribers, compared to Q1, but its revenue decreased by 7.6% year-on-year. 

The main reasons for this were the lower average revenue from a subscriber, weaker mobile phone sales and the decreasing of roaming prices. 

According to the reports, Globul has 4.005 M subscribers. 

The EBITDA profit in Q2 2014 was BGN 61.8 M, compared to BGN 67.2 M year-on-year. 

For H1 2014 the revenues of Globul dropped by 7.5% to BGN 302.9 M year-on-year. read more


FINANCE

OVER BGN 1 B WITHDRAWN FROM BULGARIAN BANKS IN JUNE

Deposits for over BGN 1 B have been withdrawn in June from Bulgarian banks, shows data of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB). 

The data does not show from which banks were withdrawn the deposits, but it can be safely assumed that they were mostly the troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) and the First Investment Bank, which sustained a deliberate attack spreading panic among its depositors. 

According to the BNB information, in June most significant withdrawals were made by private citizens – compared to end of May the total sum of household savings dropped by BGN 478.7 M to BGN 38.6 B. 

The deposits of non-financial companies decreased by BGN 334.1 M to a little over BGN 15 B. The financial companies (investment brokers, insurance companies, pension funds, etc.) withdrew BGN 231 M and the deposits dropped to BGN 3.36 B. read more


SOFIA HEATING UTILITY CEO DISMISSED OVER KTB ASSETS

Sofia Municipal Council has discharged Stoyan Tsvetanov, who heads Toplofikatsiya heating utility's branch in the capital.

The decision was taken by a majority of 37 to one, with five abstained.

Tsvetanov has been criticized for having deposited 90% of Toplofikatsiya Sofia's funds, which amount to BGN 80 M (EUR 40 M), at Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) without a proper decision from the Board of Directors.

Up to the beginning of 2014, the utility had about BGN 10 M in the bank (where it has had an account since 2004), and the rest were accumulated over the past months, website Dariknews.bg reports municipal councilors as saying.

Tsvetanov allegedly took the decision in person.

All the assets are now blocked after the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) imposed special supervision on KTB, thus preventing it from carrying out operations with customers' assets.

At the same time about 200 employees of Toplofikatsia defended Tsvetanov's actions by staging a protest in front of Sofia Municipality's building, demanding that he remain in office.

Though admitting he had marked success in managing the utility, GERB councilors (a majority in Sofia) stressed his investment program had been exposed to "risk" by his actions. read more


ENERGY

TURKEY OKS SOUTH STREAM ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Turkey's Ministry of Environment and Urbanization has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the offshore section of the South Stream gas pipeline.

The clearance for the offshore stretch of the gas pipeline crossing the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Turkey was announced by the South Stream Transport company. read more


TOURISM

BULGARIA'S SUNNY BEACH – CHEAPEST EU TOURIST DESTINATION FOR BRITS

Bulgaria and Spain's Costa del Sol are the best holiday destinations for British tourists, the study of British website Post Office Travel Money shows.

According to the survey, British families can get more food, drinks and beach accessories for less money on the beaches of Spain and Bulgaria compared to the rest of the European resorts. read more


POLITICS

OUTGOING FM: BULGARIA VULNERABLE TO NEW EU SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin has rejected accusations of allowing a state of international isolation during his term in office.

Vigenin presented a short report on the achievements at an annual meeting in Sofia with Bulgarian ambassadors. read more


SOFIA MAYOR YORDANKA FANDAKOVA DOES NOT WANT TO BE A MINISTER

Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said she does not want to become a minister in an eventual future GERB government.

“I have many things to do for Sofia,” she told the BNT public broadcaster. “My responsibility to the Sofia residents is clear and I must fulfil my duties.”

According to her, all politicians must draw their conclusions from the events in the past year and take their decisions openly and be able to stand behind them and face the consequences of their actions.

She added she hoped that the upcoming elections in October will be honest and with a high voter turnout. read more


DIPLOMACY

AMBASSADOR HENSEL: POLAND IS KEEPING CLOSE WATCH ON UKRAINE

The crisis in Ukraine has been a cause for concern for the Polish government ever since its onset, according to Leszek Hensel, Ambassador of Poland to Bulgaria.

Hensel's term in office in Bulgaria expires at the end of July. read more


BULGARIA IN EU

BULGARIAN DPS PARTY SUPPORTS GEORGIEVA'S EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF BID

Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish DPS party will most likely support the candidacy of the outgoing EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva for EU's foreign policy chief post.

“While Kristalina Georgieva stands a chance of becoming EU's next foreign policy chief, it is the party's responsibility to support her,” Lyutvi Mestan, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), told reporters Thursday. read more


DOMESTIC

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT TO CALL TALKS AFTER MPS VOTE GOV'T RESIGNATION

Consultations are to be held among parliamentary parties shortly after lawmakers vote on the resignation of Bulgaria's cabinet, the President has announced.

Rosen Plevneliev's press office said future actions of political parties are due to be discussed, with a timetable to be molded comprising the period before early general elections.

Under Bulgaria's Constitution, President Plevneliev is to hand a mandate to a political party to seek a new government.

However, previous consultations in end-June resulted in an agreement that the procedure will be rushed through to open a fast-track road to an interim government in August and a snap poll in October.

Plamen Oresharski's government submitted a request to stand down on Wednesday, July 23. read more


PRESIDENT PLEVNELIEV: PARLIAMENT TO SOLVE KEY TASKS BEFORE DISSOLUTION

President Rosen Plevneliev has asked parties to overcome their differences to resolve three pressing issues before the Parliament is dissolved.

Speaking Thursday after consultations with the parties represented in Parliament, which were organized after the approval of the resignation of the socialist-led government, Plevneliev listed three key tasks for the current 42nd National Assembly. read more


GERB LEADER BOYKO BORISOV RETURNS MANDATE

Boyko Borisov, leader of the opposition party GERB, returned the mandate for forming a new Bulgarian government to Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev. 

On Friday Plevneliev will give the mandate to the second largest group in Parliament – the Bulgarian Socialist Party. Next on the list is the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). 

According to procedure, after a government resignation, the President has to give mandate for the formation of a new government within the current parliament to all parties present in it, before disbanding the National Assembly, appointing a date for early elections and setting up a caretaker government. read more


OUTGOING PM PLAMEN ORESHARSKI: I HAVE NO REGRETS

Outgoing Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said he was not sorry that he became a prime minister.

He told the Darik national radio that he never expected it to be an easy job, but turned out to be “a little harder than expected”. 

“I am thankful that we had the opportunity to work in people's interest,” he said. “The development of the relations between two parliamentary groups who supported the government after the European elections in may was momentous for the resignation.”

Oresharski said he always stood behind his decisions, so he is firmly behind his nomination of Kristalina Georgieva for EU foreign policy chief. He, however, said it was too early to tell why he nominated the controversial MP Delyan Peevski for head of Bulgaria's national security agency DANS – a move that sparked public outrage and protests demanding the government resignation. read more


RESIGNATION 'WILL NOT LEAD TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY' - BIA CHAIRMAN

The resignation of the government will worsen Bulgaria's economic situation, as political struggles will scare investors away, an industrial union's Chairman believes.

His comments came after the Bulgarian Parliament approved a cabinet request to step down on Thursday.

Dark times await the Bulgarian economy despite the resignation of the government, with lack of transparency about the financial-economic situation in the country ongoing since May, a statement by the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) Chairman Bozhidar Danev reads.

"On top of everything come the problems with [Corporate Commercial Bank] KTB. That means that this sector of the economy will be blocked.", Danev is quoted by Focus News Agency as commenting.

He describes the affair as "the last straw for syndicates and employers that shattered the behavior toward the political elite that during the last few months has shown a complete lack of interest in the condition of the economy and the development of society."

Danev cited as an appropriate indicator for this behavior the fact that the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), the government and all political party leaders announced that on July 21 KTB will open.

"Not only didn't that happen but also there was no-one who had the courtesy to state the reasons why the bank is still closed".

In Danev's view, unless there is a stable government with a market attitude toward the Bulgarian economy, nothing good awaits the country. read more


BULGARIAN OUTGOING MINISTERS REACT TO CABINET RESIGNATION

Most of Bulgaria's outgoing ministers have assessed their work in office as "positive" and have voiced warnings the next government would face a number of issues.

Economy Minister Dragomir Stoynev commended the government for having created 40 000 jobs in 2014's first three months. read more


GOV'T 'WORKED IN MOST DIFFICULT ENVIRONMENT IN RECENT HISTORY' - PM

Bulgaria's Prime Minister in resignation Plamen Oresharski made a statement in Parliament briefly before lawmakers approved his move to step down.

A year ago I was facing a tough task: to head a government that did not enjoy wide support. We worked in the most complicated environment in our political history. We were led by the people's interest despite resistance we met everyday.

Oresharski pointed that all business indicators had marked significant improvement since the government was sworn in, with some of them going above the levels of pre-crisis 2008.

He hailed the government for having dealt with some of the biggest challenges such as the "refugee influx" of last autumn, with EU partners "praising" Sofia for its actions.

Issues within "difficult" sectors like healthcare and education, however, were left unaddressed, as "no time" remained to tackle them, Oresharski argued.

Blaming the strained relations between parliamentary groups that had supported the cabinet had led to the resignation, he also added the step had to be delayed to ensure stability in the country in a difficult moment.

After the procedure in Parliament, he reiterated his position that Kristalina Georgieva's nomination (and government support) as a candidate to become the EU's foreign policy chief is a move of "national responsibility".

The Prime Minister in resignation also insisted that his government had enjoyed a low level of media comfort unknown to previous cabinets in Bulgaria's recent history. read more


PROCEDURE FOR ELECTION OF SUPREME COURT OF CASSATION CHAIR KICKS OFF

The Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) opened Thursday a procedure for the election of a Chair of the Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS).

The name of only one candidate is certain so far, namely judge Pavlina Panova, according to reports of mediapool.bg. read more


SOCIETY

BULGARIA RANKS 58TH BY HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX

Bulgaria ranks 58th in the list of countries in the 2014 Human Development Report (HDR) released on 24 July in Tokyo.

The HDR covers 187 countries across the world and is published annually by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). read more


REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS SLAM AMENDMENTS TO BG PENAL CODE ON BANKS

The Reporters Without Borders organisation harshly criticised the amendments to Bulgaria's Penal Code criminalising the spreading of false information on banks.

In an open letter of Christophe Deloire Reporters Without Borders secretary-general,  published on its website, the organisation notes that in spite the best intentions to protect the country's banking sector, those amendments would practically turn it “into a walled-off fortress that would have to render accounts to no one.” 

“Banks and financial institutions are no more immune to abuses and excesses than any other sector of Bulgarian society, and it is the media’s job to make the public aware of these problems,” reads the letter. “It is also the media’s job to explain how this complex sector operates, because the public’s understanding is essential to the country’s prosperity.

What journalists would dare to fulfil this role, even when sure of their facts, if the threat of a jail sentence were hanging over them? How could they prove to a judge that their stories were not “false or misleading” especially as, in the overwhelming majority of defamation cases, it is the journalist’s good faith that is demonstrated, not the story’s accuracy? And finally, how could journalists be sure that judges, at their discretion, would not decide that the public’s reaction constituted a “panic”?”

“The balance of power between the banking sector and journalism was already skewed, inasmuch as the banks can afford much better legal advice. If you adopt this amendment, this imbalance will be enshrined in the law.Many civil society representatives have come out against this amendment. Some say the very vague reference to “other information” should be made more precise. Some want “false or misleading information” changed to “deliberately false or misleading information.” Others point to the fact that “causing a panic” is not defined. Reporters Without Borders shares these criticisms.”

“But Reporters Without Borders asks you to go further. This amendment should be abandoned altogether. It has no place in the penal code because it is draconian, it contradicts all of the international accords that protect fundamental rights, and it contradicts the Bulgarian constitution, which enshrines the right to receive and disseminate information freely.”

In conclusion Christophe Deloire points out that the situation with media freedom in Bulgaria is serious enough. “Freedom of information is in poor shape in Bulgaria, which is ranked 100th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, the lowest position of any European Union member,” he said. “You have a duty to improve your ranking, not make it worse. ” read more


BULGARIAN POLICE IS LOOKING FOR A GERMAN CITIZEN

Bulgarian police is looking for a German citizen who went missing in Varna two weeks ago, according to the Interior Ministry website. 

The 28-year-old Lars Joachim Mittank, from Berlin, was last seen at the Varna airport on July 8. 

According to the police, he arrived with an organised group on June 30 in Varna, but due to an accident did not board the return flight on July 7. 

Mittank is 180 cm tall, with normal build, longish face, blond short hair. He was wearing a yellow t-shirt and brown shorts. 

The police is asking for any information on the man. It can be given either on the 112 emergency telephone number or in the nearest police station. read more


ALMOST HALF OF BULGARIANS LIVE BELOW POVERTY THRESHOLD – SURVEY

A total of 49.3% of all Bulgarians live below the poverty threshold, a survey by Greek statistical institute EL.STAT shows.

Greece ranks fourth among EU countries in terms of the highest percentage of citizens living on the poverty line, Bulgarian Telegraph Agency informs. read more


PRIVATE COMPANIES TO ORGANIZE DRIVING LICENSE TESTS – AGENCY HEAD

Bulgaria's Automobile Administration Executive Agency (AAEA) has proposed that driver's license exams be conducted by private companies.

Dimitar Ganev, AAEA Director, emphasized that the proposal did not rule out state participation and that the state would remain in charge of external control. read more


ENVIRONMENT

BULGARIA'S ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY WARNS OF POSSIBLE FLASH FLOODS

Bulgaria's Ministry of Environment has warned of expected rise of river water levels throughout the country on Thursday.

Local flash floods due to heavy rainfalls and increased soil moisture are also possible, Bulgaria's Telegraph Agency reports. read more


SPORTS

BULGARIANS SPENT OVER EUR 104 000 AT 2014 WORLD CUP

Bulgarians who visited the 2014 FIFA World Cup have spent at least EUR 104 000 with bank cards during the sports event of the year.

The data provided by international payment system VISA suggests a total of EUR 3250 were spent each day.

Over 1160 transactions were made with a VISA, the company says.

Overall during the Mondial international tourists have spent almost Euro 280 M with Visa cards, which is EUR 89 M more than the expenditures in South Africa in 2010.

The host cities have registered a significant increase in tourism earnings compared to last year.

The largest increase was in Sao Paulo with other cities with significant earnings growths being Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Salvador and Fortaleza.

International tourists who visited the elite sport event increased traders' earnings in many areas of the country's economy with the hotel business, retail and restaurant businesses marking the highest increases, Ruben Osta, manager at VISA in Brazil, reported.

"As a part of their preparation for the World Cup, traders invested serious amounts in their infrastructure for electronic payment acceptance in pursuit of their goal to offer better service to tourists", he further said.

According to the Ministry of Tourism of Brazil the country has become a host for over a million football fans, which is with around 400 000 people more than expected.
From the VISA everywhere Travel Report it becomes clear that the people who had the highest expenditures with VISA cards were fans from the US, UK, France, Argentina, Mexico and the champion - Germany. read more


CRIME

HACKERS ATTACK EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK'S WEBSITE

The website of the European Central Bank (ECB) has been hacked, resulting in the theft of email addresses and other contact data.

Hackers have stolen e-mail addresses of thousands of website visitors and contacts of journalists and participants of ECB’s events, the bank’s officials said Thursday, adding that the police have started investigating the case. read more


BULGARIAN CUSTOMS NAB ILLICIT CIGARETTES AT DANUBE BRIDGE 2

A total of 200,000 cigarettes without Bulgarian excise duty have been confiscated by a mobile team of the customs office in Vidin in a joint operation near Danube Bridge 2.

The excise goods were found inside of a vehicle with Bulgarian registration plate headed for Italy. read more


WORLD

MISSING AIR ALGERIE PASSENGER PLANE WITH 116 ON BOARD CRASHES IN NIGER

Air Algerie’s missing passenger plane has crashed in the Republic of Niger, according to international media reports based on information of the Algerian TV.

A flight of Algeria's national airline, Air Algerie, has disappeared from radar en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers, earlier on Thursday. Contact with flight AH5017 was lost about 50 minutes after take-off from Ouagadougou. read more


ALGERIAN PLANE WITH 110 PASSENGERS ON BOARD GOES MISSING

A flight of Algeria's national airline, Air Algerie, has disappeared from radar en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers, Thursday.

Contact with flight AH5017 was lost about 50 minutes after take-off from Ouagadougou, the airline said, as quoted by Algeria's state news agency. read more


DUTCH CALL FOR DEPORTATION OF PUTIN'S DAUGHTER FROM THE NETHERLANDS

Outraged Dutch people called for the deportation of Russian president Vladimir Putin's daughter Maria from the Netherlands, reports the New York Post. 

According to the media Maria Putina lives in the Hague affluent suburb Voorschoten with her boyfriend Jorrit Faassen. 

Ukrainians living in the Netherlands were planning to protest outside Maria’s swanky apartment, and Dutch Twitter users targeted the pretty blonde, with one fuming, “Its time you leave B*TCH” over her photo.

Pieter Broertjes, the mayor of Hilversum — where the victims’ bodies are being taken for identification — suggested during a radio interview that Maria get the boot over the attack that killed 298 people. “We could also deport Putin’s daughter from the Netherlands, because she lives in the Netherlands. Then you will have a totally different signal to give,” Broertjes said. 

He later apologized on Twitter, saying his remarks were “unwise” and came from a “feeling of helplessness that many will recognize.”

Meanwhile, the Polish government decided to cancel the year of bilateral celebration with Russia. 

"This is a decision of the government. Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Culture Minister Malgorzata Omilanowska categorically decided that in the current political situation, and because of everything that is happening in Ukraine, in a situation in which a plane has been shot down, it will be impossible to hold the Year of Poland in Russia," the BBC reported Thursday, citing government spokeswoman Malgorzata Kidawa-Blońska.

As a result of the government's decision, all events that were set to be held as part of the year of bilateral celebration will be cancelled.

The Russian-Polish cross-cultural year was set in motion at a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers in December 2013 in Warsaw. Its aim was to strengthen cultural ties between the two countries. read more


FEATURES

TIMELINE OF ORESHARSKI'S CABINET: A GOVERNMENT IN CONSTANT JEOPARDY

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski submitted a long-expected request to stand down on July 23, 2014 after weeks of uncertainty as to when he could take the step.

Even though developments around the South Stream gas pipeline and two of Bulgaria's major banks, attacked by a wave of rumors, deepened a crisis in governance and legitimacy, the road to a political impasse was triggered by events dating back to last summer, when a socialist-liberal government was formed to oppose center-right GERB, the party ranking first at the May 2012 early elections. read more


OPINIONS

WAS DPS'S CHOICE TO SPEED UP GOVERNMENT RESIGNATION A SACRIFICE?

"The DPS said to everyone that to be in power is not an end in itself, it's not a cliche," Lyutvi Mestan, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, said.

In fact, he argued, the party acted in the name of "ideals". read more



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