Former ruling party Gerb tops polls as Bulgaria heads for early election

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia August 26, 2021

Socialists in last ditch talks to form a government after receiving mandate from President Radev but election most likely outcome.

Russia sets pro-Kremlin single betting operator, Qiwi payment system hurt

bne IntelliNews August 26, 2021

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order making Mobilnaya Karta the single operator of online betting. That will hurt listed online payment company Qiwi, which made a lot of money facilitating payments

New infections on the rise in Hungary but government is not planning restrictions

bne IntelliNews August 26, 2021

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has made a desperate call for people to get vaccinated in an email message sent to millions of Hungarians.

Iran set to pay significant economic price caused by Taliban turmoil says think tank analyst

bne IntelIiNews August 25, 2021

Iranian and Afghan economies said to be more interconnected than is widely appreciated.

New political deadlock in Bulgaria as parliament speaker says she won’t accept PM nomination

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia August 25, 2021

Iva Miteva was proposed for prime minster by two of the smaller parties in parliament in an attempt to form a government and head off another snap election.

Weekend of protests looms in Montenegro over inauguration of Serbian Orthodox cleric

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia August 25, 2021

Metropolitan Bishop Joanikije II will be inaugurated in Montenegro’s former capital Cetinje, which Montenegrin protesters see as a threat of Serbian hegemony in their country.

Ukraine’s SBA with IMF could be extended by six months

by Cameron Jones in London August 25, 2021

The Ukrainian Finance Ministry Serhiy Marchenko said Ukraine’s $5bn stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund may be extended by six months on August 25.

Local MP claims not a single cannabis plant at Europe’s one-time ‘marijuana mountain’

bne IntelliNews August 25, 2021

Tritan Shehu invites people to visit Lazarat and “get a coffee” after US embassy warned of crime and violence associated with marijuana cultivation.

Romania’s Cluj-Napoca gets residents moving with bus tickets for squats

bne IntelliNews August 25, 2021

Sports Festival brings back popular Health Ticket — exchanged for 20 squats at Memorandumului Sud bus station — after residents did over 1mn squats last year.

Ukraine foreign ministry rejects report of hijacked Afghan evacuation plane flown to Iran

Cameron Jones in London August 24, 2021

A Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson has denied earlier reports from the Ukrainian deputy foreign minister that a Ukrainian evacuation plane was hijacked by armed assailants and flown to Iran.

500 sheep killed by lightning strike in southern Georgia

Neil Hauer in Tbilisi August 24, 2021

More than 500 sheep were killed after being hit by a lightning strike at a pasture in the Ninotsminda region in southern Georgia.

Czech president claims he and his advisors were wiretapped by counterintelligence services

bne IntelliNews August 24, 2021

Zeman reportedly made sacking of BIS chief a condition for continuing to give Babis his support during upcoming general election.

Dogs sniff out COVID carriers at Transylvanian airports

bne IntelliNews August 24, 2021

Romania becomes one of the pioneers in canine detection of coronavirus at airports. Pilot scheme expanded after initial success.

Iran ‘restarts fuel exports to Afghanistan after messages from Taliban’

bne IntelIiNews August 23, 2021

Gasoline price leapt as Afghans drove out of cities to escape arriving regime. Amid US withdrawal, fuel traders less anxious about sanctions.

Iran 'moves for western vaccines' with country mired in worst virus wave yet

bne IntelIiNews August 23, 2021

As Delta mutation gets a grip, inoculation efforts remain hamstrung by severe delays in obtaining Russian and Chinese shots.

Ukraine will do everything to reclaim Crimea – Zelenskiy

Cameron Jones in London August 23, 2021

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy staunchly backed returning Crimea to Ukraine at the inaugural meeting of the Crimea Platform that attracted dignitaries from 44 countries in a show of solidarity on August 23.

Romania set to increase wheat exports as harvest reaches 14-year high

bne IntelliNews August 23, 2021

With rival producers hit by severe droughts, Romania is expected to raise exports to Egypt and other markets.

VTB accelerates relocation to Frankfurt as UK losses balloon to $213mn

Jason Corcoran in Moscow August 23, 2021

Kremlin-controlled lender VTB has relocated its CEO and chief operating officer from its London investment banking business to Frankfurt in the wake of a strategic business review and as its UK operation’s losses have quadrupled to $212.7mn.

Moldovan MPs slam prosecutors’ failure to recover funds stolen in $1bn bank frauds

bne IntelliNews August 23, 2021

Prosecutors told to draw up a new strategy to remove funds siphoned off from three Moldovan banks.

Iran’s Caspian Sea gas find ‘may be so large it could meet a fifth of European gas needs’

bne IntelIiNews August 22, 2021

Some say field could be “geopolitical gamechanger”. Tehran reportedly working with Russia and China in exploiting resource. Distribution of gas reportedly to be conducted in consultation with Moscow.