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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2016-02-08
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8 February 2016, Issue 4458
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9131 subscribers of Novinite.com
155620 articles
590 interviews
10405 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
Romanian Man Dies in Skiing Accident in Bulgaria’s Bansko


A male Romanian skier has died after hitting a rock outside a designate ski run in the Bulgarian winter resort of bansko, BGNES reported on Sunday. read
Germany Demands Bulgaria Step Up Pace of Judicial Reform


Bulgaria should pursue deeper reform in the judiciary, Germany's Minister of State for Europe said on Friday. read
David Clark: Bulgaria in Danger of Blowing Its Big Moment


Bulgaria is one of the few Eastern European countries capable of proposing a UN Secretary General candidate trusted by all Security Council permanent members, an opinion piece on the FT's beyondbrics blog reads.read
 
 
MORE TOP NEWS
Bulgaria Calls Tender for Deploying Wi-Fi Network at Burgas, Varna Ports

Bulgaria's Govt Warns of 'Plot to Discredit PM'

Ex-Greek FinMin Varoufakis's Movement 'to Seek Allies in Bulgaria'

Two Migrants Die from Cold Exposure near Bulgaria’s Border with Turkey

Traffic Resumes at Kulata Crossing on Bulgaria’s Border with Greece

Key Bulgaria-Greece Border Crossings Remain Closed

Two Bulgaria-Greece Border Crossings Sealed to All Traffic

Greek Farmers Warn of 'More Intense' Blockade on Bulgaria-Greece Border

UN Security Council to Meet over North Korea Rocket Launch


UPS & DOWNS
Direct Investment into Bulgaria on the Rise Y/Y

A Third of Bulgarians Facing Energy Poverty
POLL
How long will the Greek farmers' blockade of the borders last?
 It will be over by next week
 At least a week more
 Several weeks, ushering in a political crisis
 It is hard to predict
|  Results
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TOP NEWS
TWO MIGRANTS DIE FROM COLD EXPOSURE NEAR BULGARIA’S BORDER WITH TURKEY

Two illegal female migrants have died of cold exposure near Malko Tarnovo, in southeastern Bulgaria close to the border with Turkey, Nova TV reported on Sunday.

Bulgarian border police found a group of 19 illegal migrants including 12 children in a forest area of Strandzha mountain near Malko Tarnovo where the snow cover was more than 30 centimeters thick late on Saturday. read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA CALLS TENDER FOR DEPLOYING WI-FI NETWORK AT BURGAS, VARNA PORTS

Bulgaria has called a tender for designing and building a Wi-Fi communication system at the country’s two biggest Black Sea ports, in Varna and Burgas.

State-owned Bulgarian Ports Infrastructure (BPI) Company said in a statement on Friday that the estimated cost of the project to introduce wireless Internet at the ports was BGN 6 M (EUR 3M), VAT excluded. read more


DIPLOMACY

DAVID CLARK: BULGARIA IN DANGER OF BLOWING ITS BIG MOMENT

Bulgaria is one of the few Eastern European countries capable of proposing a UN Secretary General candidate trusted by all Security Council permanent members, an opinion piece on the FT's beyondbrics blog reads.

However, "a fierce battle is under way" in the country over who will be its candidate to succeed Ban Ki-moon, with "no process" and "no open debate" taking place and "now way of knowing how or when a decision will be taken", according to David Clark, who chairs the Russia Foundation.

Bulgaria's government earlier this week announced a decision was due by the end of March - the informal deadline when all countries willing to endorse a candidate must officially have submitted their proposal to the world body.

But Clark says "Bulgaria is already supposed to have nominated its candidate," referring to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova often described, in his words, as a "frontrunner" and "by all standards a strong candidates".

"The late challenge has come from Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commission Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources," he notes, noting this rivalry has given way to accusations that "the government dithering is damaging Bulgaria's national interest" and pointing to the fact that one of the cabinet's coalition partners, ABV, threatened to withdraw unless Bokova's nomination is confirmed.

"The longer this goes on, the more likely it is that the two Bulgarian candidates will cancel each other out," Clark writes.

"The opportunity before Bulgaria today will not come again quickly, and it will not come again at all if its government is deemed to have mishandled it this time. If Bulgaria wants the prestige and influence that comes with holding the top UN job, it will have to throw its full diplomatic weight behind its strongest candidate," meaning, in his view citing "consensus among seasoned UN watchers, Irina Bokova.

You can read the full text here.


read more


BULGARIA IN EU

GERMANY DEMANDS BULGARIA STEP UP PACE OF JUDICIAL REFORM

Bulgaria should pursue deeper reform in the judiciary, Germany's Minister of State for Europe said on Friday.

Visiting Bulgaria to meet officials, Roth recognized the progress achieved so far, but insisted more should be done, after a year in which the Sofia government approved a new judicial reform strategy and changed the constitution, in a move they say will make the judiciary more efficient. read more


DOMESTIC

BULGARIA'S GOVT WARNS OF 'PLOT TO DISCREDIT PM'

The head of the Bulgarian government's press office has warned that yet another plot has been carried out, aimed at tarnishing the Prime Minister's reputation, during the latter's visit to London on Wednesday and Thursday.

In her second such comment for the past few weeks, Sevdelina Arnaudova is referring to a Q&A session with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov as he was meeting members of the Bulgarian community in the British capital.

A number of awkward questions were asked during the session, heightening tensions in the hall.

One of the expats attending broached the issue of a Der Spiegel article which argues that Bulgaria MP Delyan Peevski is part of the "iceberg of corruption" in the country. Recalling that "Spiegel" means "mirror" in German, he asked Borisov whether he saw Peevski when he looked in the mirror, prompting the PM to retort by enumerating the government's successes in boosting tax and excise revenues and in combating smuggling and organized crime.

A woman earlier wished to know why Sofia had abandoned the South Stream pipeline (suspended by Russia), but he interrupted her and asked her to stop reading from a sheet of paper, the same way he always replied without reading.

Most of the session, largely important to domestic media for much mas emigration to Western Europe has been a major issue, wasn't aired by leading Bulgarian TV station, sparking social media anger about "censorship".

A number of news websites, however, uploaded or offered links to footage of the entire session.

But Arnaudova argued in a Facebook comment [BG] that a plot organized to discredit Borisov had taken place during the meeting, with the controversial questions having been asked - in her words - by activists and members of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and ultra-nationalist Ataka party.

She opined it had been the head of the BSP's London-based structure (the bigger Bulgarian parties have such structures in London due to the relatively large Bulgarian community living and working in the UK) and an activist with Ataka who directed the questions to the Prime Minister.

There was no immediate comment from either Ataka or the BSP.

"I understand it suits you to portray a foolish act in a way you are being pushed to by your owners, but before writing about "awkward and tough questions" of "the entire Bulgarian community" in London, it is good to check at least who these people are and what actually happened at the embassy," Arnaudova wrote in an apparent address to journalists.

She added methods formerly used by Bulgaria's Communist-era security agency called State Security (DS), were being used even by younger politicians "denying" that the atrocities of the Communist regime.

At the end of January, Arnaudova argued in an interview with public broadcaster BNT that a scenario was being played out to topple down the government.

Borisov's second government took over under the slogan of "stability", vowing to fix all the mistakes made in governance by the previous administrations.

This comes nearly three years after his first cabinet resigned, amid mass street protests over costs of living an in particular electricity prices.

Ever since Borisov and his supporters have maintained the events of mid-February, 2013 were a result of a scenario to make the government step down.    read more


INCIDENTS

ROMANIAN MAN DIES IN SKIING ACCIDENT IN BULGARIA’S BANSKO

A male Romanian skier has died after hitting a rock outside a designate ski run in the Bulgarian winter resort of bansko, BGNES reported on Sunday.

The accident took place man about 2 p.m. on Sunday in a ravine leading to Banderitza chalet below Todorka peak, according to the Bulgarian news outlet. read more


WORLD

UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET OVER NORTH KOREA ROCKET LAUNCH

The United States, Japan and South Korea have requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council following Sunday’s launch of a long-range rocket by North Korea, Fox News has reported.

The security council session is likely to start at 11 a.m. New York time (6 p.m. Sofia time) on Sunday. read more


EU

AUSTRIA WANTS EUR 600 M FROM EU TO COVER EXTRA 2015 ASYLUM COSTS

Austria has asked the European Commission for EUR 600 M to cover the costs related to providing care for a larger-than-expected number of asylum seekers accepted by the country last year.

The request had been sent by Austrian Finance Minister Hans Jörg Schelling to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on January 25, Austrian daily Kurier reported on Saturday. read more


EX-GREEK FINMIN VAROUFAKIS'S MOVEMENT 'TO SEEK ALLIES IN BULGARIA'

DiEM25, the movement due to be launched by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, is set to look for allies in Bulgaria, a civic activist said on Saturday.

"I really think so," Lorenzo Marsilli replied when asked in an interview with the Bulgarian National Radio whether DiEM25 would work with organizations in Bulgaria. He also praised the country for having a well-developed civil society, adding it had many ideas in common with his movement.

Marsili, introduced as one of the "driving forces" behind the movement, added "it is very clear to many people" there are two alternatives for the future of Europe at the moment, but neither the preservation of the status quo (of bureaucracy and austerity) nor a return to national states can properly address present-day challenges, Marsili told the Bulgarian National Radio.

He added Varoufakis wanted to "democratize" Europe and return the power back to people, explaining decisionmaking mechanisms should be urgently changed to give voice to EU citizens through the parties they have sent to the European Parliament.

Already known by its acronym, DiEM25, the Democracy in Europe Movement is due to be officially founded on Tuesday in Berlin, with its first members being kept "a secret" to surprise EU citizens which has "no leader" for the moment.
 
Marsili, however, refuted suggestions that the movement's ideological problem rested solely upon the ideas of Varoufakis, saying the former Finance Minister's theses were shared by leading economic minds around the world. He added the goal was to unite organizations, individuals and concepts around Europe and provide funding through donations.

He stressed that, even though DiEM25 wants to shift the balance of power, it doesn't necessarily want to grown into a party, but possibly might also seek to found new parties in other countries.

Lorenzo Marsili is founding director of transnational organization and citizens movement European Alternatives, the initiator and spokesperson of the Media Initiative and host of political webshow TalkReal.

Varoufakis for his part resigned in July of last year, after having served as Greece's Finance Minister for only a few months, citing pressure amid the talks of Greece with international lenders.

read more


SOUTHEAST EUROPE

TRAFFIC RESUMES AT KULATA CROSSING ON BULGARIA’S BORDER WITH GREECE

Traffic has resumed at Kulata-Promachonas crossing on Bulgaria’s border with Greece, bTV reported on Sunday.

Cargo vehicles and passenger cars have started moving in both directions at the busiest checkpoint on the border after 11 a.m. read more


KEY BULGARIA-GREECE BORDER CROSSINGS REMAIN CLOSED

Major crossings at Bulgaria’s border with Greece remained fully or partially closed to traffic on Sunday morning, the Interior Ministry has announced.

Passage at Ilinden-Exochi crossing is blocked completely. read more


TWO BULGARIA-GREECE BORDER CROSSINGS SEALED TO ALL TRAFFIC

The major border checkpoints of Ilinden-Exochi and Makaza-Nymphaea, connecting Bulgaria and Greece, are closed to all traffic as of 13:00 local time (EET), Bulgarian police authorities have said in a statement.

This includes cars and buses as well as transit commercial trucks.

A blockade of Greece's borders with its neighbors has been in place since the end of January as farmers are protesting against a planned pension reform and other austerity measures Athens has agreed with international lenders.

At Kulata-Promachonas, where the biggest queue has been formed over the past few days with stretches of only a few hours a day when transit trucks can move freely, trucks are able to cross both ways only between 12:00 and 14:00 local time (EET) on Saturday.

The other border crossings between the two countries are open to all traffic, police say.

The information comes amid reports that farmers are planning to intensify the blockades across the country and at the borders as part of their effort to pressure the government of Alexis Tsipras into abandoning the reforms.

Athens has so far put forward the idea to establish a committee bringing together representatives of parties and farmers' unions, according to Kathimerini.

Farmers for their part say they will not withdraw unless the government backtracks on the social security reform.

The newspaper also says that, as of Friday, at the border crossing of Promachonas (on the Greek side of the border) trucks were "backed up almost 30 kilometers).

read more


GREEK FARMERS WARN OF 'MORE INTENSE' BLOCKADE ON BULGARIA-GREECE BORDER

A more intense blockade is due from Saturday across Greece unless farmers' demands to scrap some austerity measures are heard, a Greek daily reports.

Protesters, who have staged blockades for days over a planned pension reform that would increase the value of monthly social contributions is carried through, have severely disrupted traffic both way across Greece's borders, including at the checkpoints with Bulgaria. read more



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