#AceWorldNews – BULGARIA (Sofia) – October 02 – Bulgaria officials have confirmed that a series of powerful blasts on Wednesday at an explosives plant killed fifteen people and injured three others.
The government has announced a day of national mourning for the victims of the accident.
It happened near the village of Gorni Lom, some 120km north of the capital, Sofia.
Red Cross staff were consoling weeping relatives on the scene, a Reuters photographer said.
Workers had been dismantling old military mines at the factory, which employed 150 people, but the exact cause of the blasts was unclear.
A thorough investigation would have to wait until investigators can enter the site 24 hours after the last explosion, for safety reasons, officials said.
“The tragedy is enormous, everything is destroyed, including the bomb shelter for the staff at the plant,” Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov said after viewing pictures of the site.
#AceNewsServices UKRAINE September 15 Nato countries have started an annual military exercise in west Ukraine, with Kiev saying some Nato states have also begun to ship weapons.
The exercise – “Rapid Trident” – began on Monday (15 September) in Yavoriv, near the Polish-Ukrainian border.
According to a Nato statement, the 11-day drill will practice “peacekeeping and stability operations”, including “countering improvised explosive devices, convoy operations, and patrolling”.
It includes 200 US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy.
It also includes 1,100 troops from Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the UK and from former Soviet republics Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine itself.
Rapid Trident is taking place at the same time as “Maple Arch” – another Nato drill involving Canandian, Lithuanian, and Polish soldiers in Poland.
Ukraine has taken part in similar events since 2006 under its “Partnership for Peace” programme with the Western alliance.
#AceBreakingNews – EUROPEAN UNION – Press Release – June 04 – Lithuania, the last Baltic nation outside the currency union, has been finally given green light to join the euro area, after its bid was turned down 8 years ago. The country could adopt a single currency on January 1, 2015.
“Lithuania’s readiness to adopt the euro reflects its long-standing support for prudent fiscal policies and economic reforms.
That reform momentum, driven in part by Lithuania’s EU accession ten years ago, has led to a striking increase in Lithuanians’ prosperity: the country’s per capita GDP has risen from just 35% of the EU28 average in 1995 to a projected 78% in 2015,” Olli Rehn, the European Commission Vice-President responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, said in the statement.
The ECB looked at eight European Union countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and Croatia. Only Lithuania met all the criteria to join.
The Council will make a final decision on the matter in the second half of July, after EU officials and state heads meet at the European Council from June 26-27.
Then the council will also agree on a set conversation rate for Lithuania’s currency the litas to the euro.
In order for a country to adopt the euro, it needs to tie its currency to the euro for a two-year period, as well as keep debt below 60 percent of GDP and inflation within 1.5 percentage points of the three lowest rates among the euro zone.
The European Commission said Lithuania’s key stumbling block of inflation has been overcome.
Europa: PRESS RELEASE: 04/06/14
#AceWorldNews – The United States military are planning large scale war games in Poland, which would involve troops from several eastern European states, the American ambassador to the country, Stephen Mull, said.
Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) will be participating in drills, together with the Americans, Mull told Radio ZET.
Lask airbase in central Poland has been selected as the venue for the military exercise, the ambassador said, refraining from saying when it was scheduled for.
Mull’s announcement comes just three days after US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the Polish capital of Warsaw.
Biden’s trip was aimed at reassuring that America remains a “steadfast ally” to Poland and the Baltic States after they expressed anxiety over the events in the Crimea, which signed a treaty of accession to the Russian Federation on Tuesday.
RT – WP – AP – AFP – Reuters
#AceWorldNews – British troops would participate in military drills in Ukraine in July, the British newspaper Guardian said on Thursday.
The personnel would be part of a group of about 1,300 troops, mostly American, to participate in the Rapid Trident 2014 exercise, the newspaper said.
Rapid Trident 2014 is to “promote regional stability and security, strengthen partnership capacity and foster trust while improving interoperability between the land forces of Ukraine, and NATO and partner nations,” according to the US forces in Europe website.
In addition to US and UK troops, Rapid Trident 2014 will include units from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.