Tougher regulation against money laundering agreed
Owners of secretive companies in Europe will have a harder time keeping out of the public eye, EU negotiators agreed last Wednesday, in another blow against opaque business practices after the LuxLeaks scandal, news wires reported.
EU fights threat of stagnation
Almost seven years into the global economic and financial crisis, it is hardly a secret to anyone that EU Member States' hopes for rapid and sustainable economic recovery remain, for the most part, wishful thinking. Despite tentative indications that it had turned the corner in the beginning of this decade, the EU's and the Eurozone's GDP growth has subsequently proven to be too fragile to stay on its positive course from 2010 and 2011. This, in turn, prompted increasing talk that the crisis will turn out to be a double-dip recession instead of the originally expected lasting recovery following the negative trend.
Europe embarrassed Israel
Israel sought assurances from the US administration last week that Washington would block efforts on Palestinian statehood, as two moves taken by the EU General Court and by the European Parliament heavily embarrassed Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas should be removed from the European Union's terrorist list, the General Court of the European Union ruled last Wednesday, saying the decision to include it was based on media reports not considered analysis.
War on terror failed to end widespread terrorism
The Pakistani Taliban slaughtered 141 people, 132 of them children, in a brazen terror attack on an army-run school in Pakistan's Peshawar city on 16 December. The same day, two car bombs killed at least 31 people, including 20 children, in central Yemen's Radaa city, when suspected al-Qaeda fighters targeted Houthi militants.
China in Eastern Europe offensive
China eyes new markets in Central and Eastern Europe as Russian influence fades, news wires reported last Tuesday, while Chinese PM Li Keqiang, accompanied by 200 corporate executives, met 16 leaders of this part of the continent in Belgrade. Li announced that China will establish a new investment fund worth $3bn that will be available to the Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC). The fund will be used in new ways, through public-private partnerships and leasing, he said at the Economic Forum held as part of the China-16 CEEC Summit.
Repsol to buy Talisman Energy for $8.3 billion
Spanish oil giant Repsol is to acquire Canadian oil and natural gas producer Talisman Energy in a deal worth $8.3bn, plus the assumption of $4.7bn in debt, ending a months-long search for acquisitions to help boost crude reserves, news wires reported.
European filmmakers showered with awards
Ida, by famous Polish Director Pawel Pawlikowski, has been given the European Film Academy's 2014 Best Film Award. The black-and-white production has won in several other categories, including Best Screenwriter, Best Director, Best Cinematographer and the People’s Choice Award. The honours were presented at the Latvian national Opera in Riga on 13 December.
Balkan music is a kind of folly
It is extremely important to me to come to Bulgaria and sing in front of the Bulgarian audience, because I feel very comfortable here. And that makes me happy. When I am in Bulgaria, I feel as if I am at home and I sing with my closest people.