Funding boost for European SMEs
Two separate initiatives to increase funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were unveiled by the Commission on 22 July. Under the first drive, SMEs in Europe will soon have access to up to €25bn of additional finance, as a result of an agreement signed between the Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF).
Citizens have stronger say on EU urban agenda
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Currently in the EU almost 359 million people, which is 72% of the total EU population, live in cities, towns and suburbs. As the forecast shows, in 35 years the urban population is projected to exceed 80%.
Katainen in running for challenging EU post
Finland's former Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has moved to Brussels to take up his post as an interim EU commissioner, and is expected to be part of the new Commission due to be appointed in October.
Cultural heritage to gain from stronger EU support
Cultural heritage organisations should seize the opportunities of EU funding programmes and policies to help address the challenges facing the sector, according to a new report by the Commission released last Tuesday.
With 180 out of 240 MPs "in favour", the Bulgarian National Assembly voted to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's cabinet on 24 July. The now former premier and his colleagues were sent off under the applause of membeers of the Parliament. "It was an honour and a great responsibility for me," said Oresharski afterwards. In a recapitulation of the work the government had done, he pointed out that the year his cabinet spent in power was the most challenging in terms of the political environment in Bulgaria's modern history. "Nevertheless, we made good on the majority of our election promises," he added.
Varna Port reaches 30,000 tonnes in daily grain exports
Bulgaria has exported almost 950,000 tonnes of cereals via Varna Port since the beginning of the year. The current capacity of the facility exceeds 30,000 tonnes of grain exports on a daily basis, the Port's executive director Bozhidar Chaparov announced. Wheat is the largest export crop (with approximately 550, 000 tonnes), followed by sunflower (160, 000 tonnes), barley, maize, rapeseed, etc. Another 70,000 tonnes will be exported in the next few days, Chaparov explained.
Ten priorities for Juncker's Europe
Jean-Claude Juncker will preside over the European Commission and he will do so after enduring one of the most violent and denigrating campaigns by the British press, among others. The results seem all the more pitiable for David Cameron: apart from the ultranationalist Viktor Orban, first minister of Hungary and a friend and admirer of Vladmir Putin, not one of the other 28 heads of states of the European Union dared join the British position.
Grief, anger and despair
We are here to discuss a tragedy: the downing of a commercial airliner and the death of 298 innocent people. Men, women and a staggering number of children lost their lives, on their way to their holiday destinations, their homes, loved ones, their jobs or international obligations, such as an important HIV/Aids conference in Australia.
Israel pummels Gaza Strip
At least 15 people were killed and many wounded last Thursday when Israeli forces shelled a UN-run school sheltering Palestinian refugees in northern Gaza. A Reuters photographer at the scene said pools of blood had collected on the ground and on student desks in the courtyard of the school near the apparent impact mark of the shell. Scores of crying families who had been living in the school ran with their children to the hospital where the victims were being treated a few hundred metres away. UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said that civilians in Gaza were in a "terrible, terrible situation."
Mystery remains of who fired the fatal missile
After a resolution for a proper investigation, unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council and under mounting world pressure, pro-Russian rebels handed over to Malaysian officials in Donetsk last Tuesday the data-filled "black boxes" from the Boeing 777, downed on 17 July over eastern Ukraine with 298 people aboard.
Black money pulls out of black hole
In a major development in the fight against black money, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - the OECD - released on 21 July a "single global standard" for automatic exchange of financial account information across different countries. The Group of 20 leading economies tasked the OECD with developing a tool to help governments clamp down on corporate tax dodging.
Saudi Arabia to open bourse to foreigners
Saudi Arabia plans to open its stock market to direct investment by foreign financial institutions in the first half of next year, the Capital Market Authority said in a statement last Tuesday.
China food scandal engulfs US companies
A food scandal is spreading fast in China, dragging in US coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King Worldwide and others, as well as KFC and McDonald's products as far away as Japan, news wires reported.
And the finalists are...
Three films from Slovenia, France and Poland will have the chance to win this year's Lux Prize after being pointed at as finalists for the award, the EP press service reported. The finalists were announced last Tuesday in Rome by Silvia Costa, the newly-elected president of the Parliament's culture committee. Class Enemy (Razredni sovraznik) by Rok Bicek, Girlhood (Bande de filles) by Celine Sciamma and Ida by Pawel Pawlikowski will be subtitled into the EU's official 24 languages and will be screened in all 28 Member States during the LUX Film Days this autumn.
I paint money, I do not print banknotes
A big part of my work is a reflection of Americans' positive attitude towards money as something worth striving for. Protestantism teaches its followers that any opportunity to make money is God's blessing and by taking it you are doing His will.
Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje is coming to Sofia for a book signing event at the Helikon on 26 September. The author of The English Patient novel will talk about his work and his latest novel, The Cat's Table, which is yet to be published in Bulgaria by Lachezar Minchev ET.
The city of Dionysus
Balchik is a small town on the north Bulgarian Black Sea coastline, standing on picturesque white hills sloping down to the sea. The first settlers in the region were the ancient Thracians , evidence of whose presence in these lands (vessels, adornments and weapons) has been found in the town and its surroundings.