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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-10-25
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25 October 2014, Issue 4063
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9741 subscribers of Novinite.com
147003 articles
590 interviews
9548 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
GERB Meets BSP Friday in Second Round of Coalition Talks


GERB will complete the second round of consultations over potential formation of a government coalition with talks with Socialists on Friday. read
Bulgaria Asked to Give EUR 7 M More for EU's 2015 Budget


Sofia should transfer an additional EUR 7 M installment to EU's budget, the EU Commission announced Friday.read
Gazprom Directors' Board to Discuss Issues of South Stream Bulgaria


Gazprom executives are to meet November 5 to consider the approval of certain transactions with the assets of South Stream Bulgaria, the Russian energy giant announced. read
 
 
MORE TOP NEWS
Antoaneta Vasileva Questioned In Money Laundering Investigation

European Union to Boost Ebola Research with EUR 24.4M

Bulgaria Determined to Keep Varna TPP Functioning – Deputy Minister

Over 15 000 People Not Let Into Bulgaria in 2014

US Software Company To Acquire Bulgaria's Telerik For USD 265.5 M

Car Tolls at Danube Bridge 2 May Drop by 50%

Over 100 People Residing in Bulgaria Illegally Arrested in Special Operation

Kosovo President Receives Bulgaria's Ambassador for Farewell Visit

Hungary Mulls Unprecedented Internet Tax

President Plevleniev: Bulgaria Can Meet EU's Renewables Target


UPS & DOWNS
Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Belt Of Bulgar Warrior

Drunk Snow Plough Driver Might Have Caused Crash of Total CEO's Plane
QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The EU is like a thirsty vampire feasting on UK taxpayers' blood. We need to protect the innocent victims who are us."

UKIP leader Nigel Farage commenting on the demand for Britain to pay an extra EUR 2.1 B to the European Union.

“This is not a war, but rather a battle between the facebook generation and the typewriter generation. Globally, the facebook generation is winning and the same will happen in BSP.”

BSP MP Georgi Kadiev describes the situation in the party after the deputy chairperson of BSP Dimitar Dubov claimed that rich kids were destroying the party.

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TOP NEWS
BULGARIA'S CENTRAL BANK HOLDS MEETING ON KTB RECOVERY

Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) met on Friday representatives of Vienna-based fund EPIC, Oman's state fund and London-based Gemcorp, the central bank said in a statement.

During the talks held at the BNB's headquarters, the three investors declared they were in talks with the government and parliamentary represented political forces to draft a recapitalization plan for Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB or Corpbank).

Their idea includes state aid to save the bank.

Officials from the BNB reminded the newly-formed consortium that plans for recapitalization should come hand in hand with an evidence that the assets to be pumped into KTB are available and at disposal, the statement reads.

Deadlines and tools used to fulfill the investment plans will also have to be clearly stated by the consortium.

The three entities have demanded from the BNB access to the auditors' report on Corpbank's books prepared by AFA OOD, Deloitte Bulgaria OOD and Ernst & Young Audit OOD.

A summary of the audit's results was made public by the central bank on Wednesday this week revealing BGN 4.2 B of impairment costs on KTB's balance sheet. Dismissed KTB directors have called the report "a lampoon".

The BNB for its part is unable to grant access to the document without the auditors' consent, but has promised to cooperate.

Gemcorp was founded earlier this year by Atanas Bostandzhiev, the former CEO of VTB Capital who stepped down during the summer.

Bostandzhiev, who resigned briefly after the developments in KTB in mid-June, also claims his fund has already secured USD 500 M worth of financing.

Corpbank was placed under conservatorship after its liquidity was depleted by a bank run. read more


BUSINESS

US SOFTWARE COMPANY TO ACQUIRE BULGARIA'S TELERIK FOR USD 265.5 M

The US Progress Software Corporation announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Bulgaria's leading software developing company Telerik AD for USD 262.5 M, said the corporation in a press release.

Telerik was founded in 2002 by four graduates of the American University in Bulgaria and the Technical University of Sofia. read more


CAR TOLLS AT DANUBE BRIDGE 2 MAY DROP BY 50%

Hristo Monev, Deputy Chair of the Supervisory Board of Danube Bridge 2 Vidin – Calafat AD, has suggested that the car tolls could be reduced by 50%.

In a Friday interview for the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), Monev informed that a 50% reduction in car tolls to EUR 3 was feasible, taking into account the fact that monthly revenues stood at EUR 1 M, of which 5%, or EUR 50 000, were car tolls, on which VAT was levied in both directions. read more


CLOCKS SET TO ASTRONOMICAL TIME ON SUNDAY


At 4 AM on Sunday the clocks will be set one hour back, reminds the Meteorological Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Thus the country returns to astronomical time until the last Saturday of March. read more


FINANCE

BULGARIA'S OMBUDSMAN PREDICTS 'AVALANCHE OF LAWSUITS' REGARDING KTB

Bulgaria's courts will be flooded by “an avalanche of lawsuits” with connection to the Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), Bulgaria's Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev told the BNR public broadcaster.

According to him, the deposits with preferential interest rates would pose a problem, as they, by law, are not covered by the Deposit Guarantee Fund. “Then there would be the people with deposits above EUR 100 000,” Penchev commented. “How come you bankrupted this bank – four months you did nothing to save it and deliberately kept it shut – they would ask.” read more


BULGARIA’S END-AUGUST GROSS FOREIGN DEBT RISES 2.2% Y/Y

Bulgaria’s gross foreign debt totalled EUR 38.2B as of end-August, increasing 2.2% from a year earlier and 2.3% higher compared with end-2013, the central bank has said.

Gross foreign debt was equivalent to 94.3% of projected 2014 Gross Domestic Product as of end-August, the Bulgarian National Bank said in a statement on Thursday. read more


MERGER OF REVENUE, CUSTOMS AGENCY NOT ON AGENDA OF CARETAKER GOVT

Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry has assured that it is not developing a framework or project for the merger of the National Revenue Agency (NRA) and the Customs Agency.

A media statement of the Finance Ministry informs that the caretaker government lacks the competence to adopt such a decision. read more


ENERGY

ECONOMY MINISTRY WORKING TO ENSURE VARNA TPP WILL REMAIN OPEN

Bulgaria's Ministry of Economy is seeking to ensure the Varna Thermal Power Station will remain operational despite not having complied with European norms, the institution said in a statement.

The ministry believes that Varna TPP, the second-largest thermal station in Bulgaria and on the Balkans, is necessary both on a national level (safeguarding security of supplies) and on a regional level.

Authorities urge the plant's owners to make the investment needed for its modernization and the fulfillment of environmental norms.

Under EU rules, Varna TPP, owned by CEZ Razpredelenie-Balgaria (the Bulgarian branch of Czech-based electricity company CEZ) should be upgraded by end-2014.

Otherwise it has to be closed down on January 1. read more


BULGARIA DETERMINED TO KEEP VARNA TPP FUNCTIONING – DEPUTY MINISTER

Bulgaria is determined to rescue the Varna thermal power plant, according to Anton Pavlov, Deputy Minister of Economy.

Pavlov participated Friday in a conference titled "GREAT Energy Summit" in Prague organized by the British Embassy Prague and the British Embassy Sofia. read more


GAZPROM DIRECTORS' BOARD TO DISCUSS ISSUES OF SOUTH STREAM BULGARIA

Gazprom executives are to meet November 5 to consider the approval of certain transactions with the assets of South Stream Bulgaria, the Russian energy giant announced.

A 50-50 joint venture between Gazprom and the Bulgarian Energy Holding, South Stream Bulgaria AD was created to be responsible for the planning, construction and operation of South Stream's onshore section in Bulgaria, the first EU member on the pipeline's way. read more


PROPERTIES

BULGARIA'S DWELLING PRICES RECORD SLIGHT DECREASE IN Q3 2014

The market price index of dwellings for Q3 2014 compared to Q2 2014 was 99.9%, i.e. the average decrease of the market prices of dwellings was 0.1%, according to Bulgaria's Statistical Institute.

The market price index of the dwellings for the third quarter of 2014 in comparison with the corresponding quarter of the previous year was 100.4%, i.e. the average increase of the market prices of the dwellings was 0.4%. read more


DIPLOMACY

KOSOVO PRESIDENT RECEIVES BULGARIA'S AMBASSADOR FOR FAREWELL VISIT

Kosovo's head of state Atifete Jahjaga has received Bobi Bovev, the Bulgarian Ambassador, to mark the end of his mandate.

President Jahjaga has thanked him for his contribution and has expressed gratitude for the friendliness of Bulgaria and its citizens "who have stood close to the people of Kosovo during the most difficult times and at every step of the consolidation of the democratic state of Kosovo," according to a statement on the President of the Republic of Kosovo's website.

Jahjaga has also asserted Pristina is willing to further deepen cooperation with Sofia in economy and trade.

Bobi Bobev has been Bulgaria's envoy to the Republic of Kosovo since 2010.

Prior to that he represented Bulgaria in Albania from 1998 to 2006. read more


BULGARIA IN EU

BULGARIA ASKED TO GIVE EUR 7 M MORE FOR EU'S 2015 BUDGET

Sofia should transfer an additional EUR 7 M installment to EU's budget, the EU Commission announced Friday.

The new estimates are based on a recently-adopted model which uses revenues from income tax and GDP growth to set the amount of money each member state should send to Brussels.

Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and even Greece (with EUR 90 M in a) will also have to make fresh contributions as their economic development in 2014 was better than expected.

However, all their sums are small if compared to that of the UK, which not has to give EUR 2.1 B more, with the ruling provoking tensions between Brussels and London.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to oppose what he describes as a "completely unjustified and unacceptable" extra EU budget bill worth EUR 2.1 B.

As the row unfolded during the second day of the European Council summit in Brussels, Cameron pledged to use "every way possible" to prevent the payment of London's new bill.



He pointed a finger at the new EU Commission, which was approved by European Parliament earlier this week, blaming it for not delivering "satisfactory answers" about the new budget calculations, according to the EUObserver.

"It is an unacceptable way to treat a country which is one of the biggest contributors to the EU."

"We are not going suddenly to get out our cheque book and write a cheque for 2bn euros. It is not going to happen," the BBC quoted him as saying.

Under the latest estimates London would have to give some 20% more than it does on an annual basis. Britain, which is the EU's second-largest economy, has also seen bigger recent GDP growth than projected.

At the same time a number of member states, including Germany and France, will see tranches of their installment transferred back to them, with some EUR 780 M to be returned to Berlin and over EUR 1 B to Paris.

Combined with EU officials' failure to explain how precisely the new estimates are made, the row has triggered another budget meeting scheduled for November on which the matter should be settled among finance ministers member states.

The EU's gross output has turned out to be some 2.5% up than what was previously thought after the new method, including a range of areas (also drugs trade and prostitution), was applied by Eurostat, Europe's statistics body.

read more


BULGARIA APPLIES FOR FLOOD DAMAGE AID FROM EUSF

Bulgaria has applied for assistance under the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for coping with the flood damage in the northwestern regions of Vidin and Vratsa.

Bulgaria’s northwestern region suffered flood damage worth EUR 77.5 M in the period July 31 - August 2, 2014, according to the press office of the Ministry of Regional Development. read more


PRESIDENT PLEVLENIEV: BULGARIA CAN MEET EU'S RENEWABLES TARGET

The EU's aim to curtail carbon emissions by 40 percent and boost green energy's share in the mix by 27 percent, adopted Friday, can also be accomplished by Bulgaria, President Rosen Plevneliev said.

Plevneliev, who is attending a European Council meeting in Brussels, told other EU heads of state that Bulgaria would stick to the 2030 target which is ambitious, but is worth fulfilling, the Bulgarian National Radio reports him as saying.

"These targets... correspond to our strategic and national interest. We assigned [EU member states] goals to [ensure] network connectivity... of interconnection... we set very clearly the direction for common electricity and gas markets, which would bring about competitive prices, i.e. lower prices. We should bear in mind that we are still paying the highest price for gas in Europe," Plevneliev explained.

The President pointed out funding under EU programs would play a crucial role toward fulfilling the new energy targets.

A number of lower-income countries managed to secure additional funding during the EC session to further cut greenhouse gases and increase the share of renewable energy.

Friday's meeting has led to lower targets than what countries in Western Europe demanded, as Central and Eastern European member states rejected a more ambitions program, warning it could pose a risk to their economies.

The number of interconnection links among member states will now also be increased.

Leaders have stated their commitment to the Southern Gas Corridor, a gas pipeline project expected to deliver gas from the Caspian Sea region.

The Southern Gas Corridor is a rival to South Stream, which will bring Russian gas to Austria and Italy via Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. read more


DOMESTIC

GERB MEETS BSP FRIDAY IN SECOND ROUND OF COALITION TALKS

GERB will complete the second round of consultations over potential formation of a government coalition with talks with Socialists on Friday.

Centre-right GERB, which won most votes in Bulgaria’s October 5 early elections but remained short of outright majority, had picked four of the other seven political formations represented in the new Parliament for the second round of consultations. read more


PLOVDIV MAYOR SIGNS CONTRACT FOR BGN 30 M LOAN FROM EBRD

Ivan Totev, Mayor of the Plovdiv Municipality, has signed a contract with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for a loan of around BGN 30 M.

The money will be used for the repair and reconstruction of the Komatevsko Shose Street and the boulevards Ruski and 6-ti Septemvri, as well as the construction of a new road from the Adata Bridge over the Maritsa River to Brezovsko Shose Street, according to reports of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA). read more


SOCIETY

ANTOANETA VASILEVA QUESTIONED IN MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION

Antoaneta Vasileva, wife of Tsvetan Vasilev – majority owner of troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) was questioned in the Sofia Investigation Service in connection to a money laundering investigation, reports Dnevnik.bg.

She was summoned as a witness in the case investigating the purchase of a CHF 20 M house at the shore of the Geneva lake by herself and her husband. read more


BULGARIAN RED CROSS WARNS OF NEW REFUGEE WAVE

Bulgarian Red Cross expects a refugee wave, and is properly preparing to face it, Hristo Grigorov, head of the organization said, Friday, Darik news reports.

He explained that currently the refugee situation in the country is under control. read more


OVER 100 PEOPLE RESIDING IN BULGARIA ILLEGALLY ARRESTED IN SPECIAL OPERATION

A special police operation against persons residing in Bulgaria without authorisation is underway on the territory of the country.

The operation was ordered by Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov and caretaker Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov, according to reports of the Interior Ministry. read more


OVER 15 000 PEOPLE NOT LET INTO BULGARIA IN 2014

A total of 15 126 people were not allowed to cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border since the beginning of 2014, Interior Ministry Chief Secretary Svetlozar Lazarov told journalists at a joint press conference with caretaker Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov.

Four thousand people were apprehended by the Turkish authorities, after being alerted by Bulgaria's border patrols and more than 3000 were placed in immigrant centres. read more


CONSTRUCTION OF SOFIA'S 3RD METRO LINE COULD BE DELAYED OVER APPEALS

The construction of the third metro line in Bulgaria's Sofia could be delayed over appeals lodged against a decision of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Sofia chief architect Petar Dikov said.

"The project for the third metro line was scrutinized and subjected to many public hearings. A number of meetings were held with the participation of many civic councils and experts. There are two appeals (...) which are the result of a misunderstanding rather than a genuine concern for the environmental impact of the third metro line. Hopefully, this is not done in order to intentionally delay its construction,” Dikov said, as quoted by Focus news agency. read more


ENVIRONMENT

BULGARIA'S OSAM, VIT RIVERS WATER LEVELS INCREASING DUE TO HEAVY RAINS

The water level of the river Osam in the north-central Bulgarian city of Lovech increased by 1 meter in the last day due to the pouring rains that hit the region.

The level of the Vit River in the town of Teteven has also risen, Bulgarian National Radio informs. The greatest amount of rain has fallen in the village of Chiflik - 58 liters per square meter and in the town of Apriltsi in the Lovech Province - 51 l/sq m. read more


CRIME

AUTOMOBILE ADMINISTRATION AGENCY OFFICIALS FROM PLEVEN CHARGED WITH ABUSE OF OFFICE

Nikolay Nikolov, and Georgi Matsin, director and deputy director of a regional unit of Bulgaria's Automobile Administration Executive Agency (AAEA), have been charged with abuse of office.

The prosecuting authority also pressed charges against an owner of a transport company, Ilko Iliev. read more


MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS IN BREZOVO CHARGED OVER PENSION FUND FRAUD SCHEME

The Plovdiv District Prosecutor’s Office has pressed charges against the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Brezovo Municipality, the Municipal Secretary, and a banking official in a case concerning numerous flawed attestations by a notary.

The four were arrested in a special operation of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) on Thursday. read more


BULGARIAN HACKER GETS 30-MONTH JAIL TERM IN US

A Bulgarian national was sentenced to 30 months in jail in the US on Thursday for participation in Shadowcrew, a virtual online marketplace for malicious hacking and identity theft.

Aleksi Kolarov, 32, operated the site along with 18 co-conspirators, using it to sell illicit merchandise and services to other members, nj.com said. read more


SMILES

UNORTHODOX ARITHMETIC

How many gorillas does it take to change a light bulb?
- Just one, but it takes a lot of light bulbs.

  read more


WORLD

DOCTOR BACK FROM AFRICA TESTS POSITIVE FOR EBOLA AT NEW YORK HOSPITAL

A doctor who had worked in West Africa has tested positive for Ebola at New York City hospital on 23 October.

Officials told a news conference that Craig Spencer, 33, was admitted to Bellevue Hospital with symptoms consistent with those caused by Ebola. According to the results of a preliminary test Spencer has the virus. read more


SWEDEN ENDS SEARCH FOR SUSPECTED SUBMARINE

Sweden on Friday called off its search for a suspected foreign submarine in the sea south of Stockholm.

The week-long operation reminiscent of the days of the Cold War had been investigating what the Swedish military called "foreign underwater activities". According to Swedish media reports, the country’s Navy vessels and patrol aircraft had been searching the Stockholm archipelago for a suspected damaged Russian submarine. read more


EU

EUROPEAN UNION TO BOOST EBOLA RESEARCH WITH EUR 24.4M

The European Commission has announced EUR 24.4M from the EU budget for urgently needed Ebola research.

The funding will go to five projects, ranging from a large-scale clinical trial of a potential vaccine, to testing existing and novel compounds to treat Ebola. The money from Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation program, will be provided via a fast-track procedure in order to start work as soon as possible. read more


HUNGARY MULLS UNPRECEDENTED INTERNET TAX

Hungary could become the world's first country to levy usage of the Internet after its Economy Minister Mihály Varga proposed the move on Wednesday.

A fee of HUF 150 (EUR 0.48) will be imposed on providers for each 1GB of Internet data if the plans are approved.

The measure is not envisaged to affect the consumer, but could possibly push providers to announce bill hikes.

EU officials promptly responded, with EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes warning against a negative impact on the country's digital economy and increasing prices for consumers.

Vargas however explained that the tax was similar to that paid for phone calls and text messages that entered into force after a government decision in 2011, according to German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Another official later added telecom services had not become more expensive after Budapest opted to charged them in 2012.

Reacting to negative comments on social media, Fidesz, the governing party of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, announced a cap would be imposed on household taxes for Internet amounting to HUF 700 (EUR 2.27) on a monthly basis.

Authorities hope to collect at least HUF 20 B (EUR 65 M) in revenues in 2015 if the tax is introduced.

The opposition however believes levying the Internet would make Hungarians return to the 1990s in terms of Internet accessibility.

A number of controversial fees and taxes have been passed by Hungary's Fidesz-dominated Parliament, purportedly aimed at boosting public finances and eradicating poverty.

Taxes on banks, but also on media advertisement (the latter mostly affecting foreign-owned RTL Klub) have recently provoked a public outcry.

read more



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