• PM Borissov: Bulgaria Wants to Have Friendly Relations with Both Turkey and Russia

    Sofia, December 30 (BTA) – Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov described as totally ungrounded insinuations about a clash in this country, via the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party, over the relations with Russia and Turkey. Borissov noted that he wants Bulgaria to have friendly relations with both countries. “I have chosen – and this is my calling – to stand up for Bulgaria and I think I am doing it in the best possible way,” Borissov said. More…

  • BTA

    Bulgarian Parliament in 2015: Reforms, Changes, Compromises and Elections

    Sofia, December 29 (Neli Zheleva and Ekaterina Panova of BTA) – Reforms, legislative changes, compromises and elections dominated the outgoing year for Parliament. The agenda of the legislature included changes in the Constitution, the government and the ruling majority, reforms in health care, in the social and eduction sector and the judiciary.

    For the first time in its term, the coalition government of GERB and the Reformist Bloc (RB), supported by the Patriotic Front and ABV, faced no confidence vote in Parliament. More…

  • Government advances minimum salary at 1,200 lei from May 2016, unions ask 1,275 lei

    The Government on Monday night came with a proposition of raising the minimum salary to 1,200 lei/month starting with May 1, 2016, while the trade unions have asked ‘a correction’ to 1,275 lei, in order to cover losses in the first four months, said the CNS Cartel Alfa chairman, Bogdan Hossu, at the end of a meeting of the Three-party National Council, at the Labour Ministry.

    “The Government came with a proposition that the minimum salary be 1,200 lei from May 1, 2016. A proposition justified by the fact that a feasibility study is needed to analyse the impact in various counties or activity sectors, capable to assimilate the 150-lei growth of the minimum salary. From this point of view, the unions said they won’t agree because there is no justification since the decision is made now, meaning today, tomorrow and basically once the decision is made, the study has no effect upon the matter of the minimum wage, it could only have upon the legislative measures to helping some activity sectors, upon the fiscal policy regarding the jobs, upon the instruments linked to the European programmes to support the regions or the sectors in difficulty,” said Bogdan Hossu.

    After a talks break, the Government’s representatives returned with the same proposition, to raise the minimum salary as of May 1 to 1,200 lei. More…

  • Finance Minister to issue a decree for the implementation of OECD’s CRS

    Cyprus Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades will issue a decree for the implementation of the OECD`s Common Reporting System (CRS).

    Sources told CNA that the decree is at Cyprus Law Office for legal vetting and is expected to be issued in the coming days, as the implementation of CRS begins on January 1 2016.

    Cyprus is among the 56 early adopter countries for which the CRS implementation will be begin in 2016, with the first exchange of information to take place in September 2017 covering 2016. For the rest 40 countries that are not included in the early adopters, reporting will begin in 2018.

    The Standard, developed in response to the G20 request and approved by the OECD Council on 15 July 2014, calls on jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. It sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions required to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions.

    Marios Skandalis member of the board of directors of the Cyprus Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said that CRS represents a tool at the disposal of tax authorities to locate hidden income and capital located overseas.

    “The information to be accessed by the Cyprus government will enable it to locate and tax income and capital belonging to Cypriot nationals which have been hidden in banking institutions abroad,” he said in an interview with CNA in October 2015.


  • #ColectivMemorial Catalin Catana: Civil solidarity would be best lesson against oblivion

    Show producer and concert organiser Catalin Catana told AGERPRES that a Colectiv Memorial would be needed since people, tending after their everyday matters, are tempted to forget and he added the lesson that should be learned after the tragedy is the one of civil solidarity.

    He thinks the state should make a major contribution to achieving the Memorial and a proper motto would be “Together We Resist”, which is also the name of the assistance group he is part of, a civil entity set up after the Colectiv nightclub tragedy.

    AGERPRES: How do you see the building of a Colectiv Memorial as a symbol against forgetting?

    Catalin Catana: Yes, we would need such a thing. Unfortunately, as we tend after our everyday matters, many of us are tempted to forget. Such an initiative should be hailed by its symbols, even if we — those who lost many friends there — are aware that nothing will bring our friends back. Also, I think the families of the victims will neither find comfort, maybe just a glimmer of hope that such a thing will not happen in the future…

    AGERPRES: How do you imagine this Colectiv Memorial? Should it be built at the site of the tragedy or somewhere else?

    Catalin Catana: Obviously, a symbolic monument should be raised at the site of the tragedy. But since it is not an area with much traffic, I believe something more stately should be done in a more central area, with intense traffic, so that it should more forcefully remain in the civic conscience.

    AGERPRES: Given the situation of the space where the Colectiv club was situated, who and in what degree should take care of designing and constructing a Colectiv Memorial, including finding of necessary financing: the Romanian state or the non-governmental organizations?

    Catalin Catana: The state — by its various institutions — bears much of the blame for what happened at the Colectiv. By virtue of this fact, the state should contribute in a decisive manner, at all levels, to achieving this memorial. The state should look at this memorial not only by the angle of one moment, but also in terms of the social implications and the assistance to be indefinitely given those who stood to suffer from this tragedy. I am convinced there will also be support from some NGOs. More…

  • Cabinet approves ENI-Kogas request for a two-year exploration extension

    The Cabinet of Ministers on Monday approved a request by ENI-Kogas consortium for a two year extension on their exploratory activities in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and in particular in blocks 2, 3 and 9.

    Speaking to the press following the Cabinet`s meeting in the Presidential residence in the Troodos mountains, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that the decision provides for a two year extension from February 2016 to February 2018. He explained that the consortium thinks this time is necessary in order to re-evaluate the energy potential especially following the discovery by ENI of the Zhor gas field in Egypt`s exclusive economic zone.

    Asked whether the consortium will proceed with a new type of drilling, the Minister said that there is a preliminary plan, adding that recently a group of Ministry officials travelled to Milan where the consortium presented the work that has carried out so far.

    Lakkotrypis expressed hope that in January we will be able to have the first results of their re-evaluation.

    In a question as to whether we should expect the drilling to start he said that according to a preliminary plan, this will take place around mid 2017. He pointed out however that this is just a preliminary plan.


  • Danube’s Low Water Level Makes Navigation Difficult along Bulgarian Section

    Rousse, on the Danube, December 28 (BTA) – Navigation along the Danube’s Bulgarian section is difficult due to the low water level, said here on Monday the head of the River Supervision – Rousse Directorate, Ivan Zhekov. No stranded vessels are reported. More…

  • Police carry out search on group stealing goods from lorries

    The policemen in the southern Ilfov county and of the Romanian Police’s General Inspectorate are carrying out searches on Monday in Bucharest and the counties of Ilfov, Ialomita, Arges and Prahova and act on arrest warrants issued for persons suspected of having committed theft from vehicles and robbery.

    “The suspects, 10 men aged between 18 and 42 have allegedly committed theft of goods carried by lorries while the vehicles were running on their respective transport routes, by tearing the seals and cutting the tarpaulin as well as theft from cars by punching the tyres”, the General Inspectorate said in a release to AGERPRES.

    In the case of theft from lorries, the persons are suspected to have driven in front or behind the targeted lorry and one of the persons allegedly climbed on the car cover and then up to the lorry and stole the goods.

    As for the theft from motor cars, the perpetrators allegedly punched the car tyres, taking advantage of their slowing down when in traffic, and when the driver stopped to repair the damage, they took possessions from the vehicle.

    In some instances, the police say, the suspects used violence against the victims to get away. More…

  • 2015 a successful year for Cyprus’ tourist industry, says CTO official

    Cyprus has witnessed a record in tourist arrivals during the summer months of 2015, Deputy General Director of the Cyprus Tourist Organisation, Annita Demetriades, has told CNA.

    She added that in November, a great increase was recorded in the arrivals of tourists mainly from Britain and Russia. According to data from the statistical service, there was an increase of 32.7% in the arrivals during November.

    An increase in the arrivals of tourists from Greece, Poland, Switzerland, France and Austria was also recorded, according to CTO.

    Demetriades told CNA that 2015 was a successful year as regard the revenue from arrivals, pointing out that traditionally during the months of June, July and August the arrivals of tourists are in high records.

    She also said that CTO is coordinating its efforts with other competent authorities in order for Cyprus to become a year round destination.


  • Movement for Rights and Freedoms Chairman Mestan Relieved from Post, Expelled from Party

    Sofia/Kurdjali, December 24 (BTA) – Chairman of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) Lyutvi Mestan has been relieved from the post and expelled from the party, MRF Spokesperson Velislava Krusteva told reporters after the end of a meeting of MRF’s governing body – the Central Council, on Thursday afternoon. “This will be the fate of everyone who stands against the national interests of Bulgaria,” MRF’s honorary chairman and former long-serving leader Ahmed Dogan said at the meeting, quoted by Krusteva. She said that this is a sufficiently strong argument with which all decisions were made at the meeting. “Bulgaria’s national interest has been connected with the EU and NATO for years now, and not with Russia. I may not be accused of standing against the national interests of Bulgaria on account of defending Euro-Atlanticism,” Mestan says in a statement released to the media after the decision of MRF’s Central Council ousting him as chairman of the party. More…Mestan

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