Aleksandar's Feed
Feb 1, 2015

Death toll mounts in Ukraine fighting after peace talks fail

KIEV/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Thirteen Ukrainian soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed in the past 24 hours in the country’s separatist-minded east, Kiev authorities said, after the collapse of peace talks dimmed hopes of a near-term ceasefire.

The civilian and military death toll has mounted in the past two weeks after rebels launched a new offensive. Hopes of de-escalation evaporated on Saturday with Ukraine’s representative and separatist envoys accusing the other of sabotaging negotiations.

Jan 30, 2015

Ukraine peace talks aborted as civilians die in east

DONETSK, Ukraine/MINSK (Reuters) – Civilians were killed on both sides in heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine on Friday, while an attempt to reopen peace talks in neighboring Belarus was aborted before it began.

Rebel delegates flew to the Belarus capital Minsk, only to announce that no talks would take place on Friday and they were flying straight back to Moscow. Any talks would be the first since a five-month-old ceasefire collapsed with a new rebel advance last week.

Jan 16, 2015

Serbian music stars face sudden tax scrutiny

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Tax inspectors in Serbia have turned their attention to a parade of local pop and folk music stars summoned to explain their earnings and extravagant lifestyles in the wake of a government pledge to rein in a vast gray economy.

For the past week, a succession of singers have been pictured in tabloids turning up at the offices of Serbia’s tax authority, feeding speculation about tax evasion in the Serbia’s gaudy folk and pop scene.

Dec 25, 2014

Serbia’s parliament adopts 2015 budget, sets deficit at 6 percent of GDP

BELGRADE (Reuters) – After 19 hours of debate, Serbia’s parliament adopted a 2015 budget early on Thursday intended to slash spending on pensions and unprofitable public industries to secure an IMF loan.

The budget targets a consolidated deficit at 231.9 billion dinars (1.9 billion euros), or around 6 percent of national output. It was drafted in line with a 1-billion-euro loan deal with the International Monetary Fund and sets revenues at 924.4 billion dinars and expenditures at 1.11 billion.

Dec 23, 2014

Serbian 2015 budget ‘realistic’, will bring savings: advisory body

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s draft spending plan for 2015, currently being debated by parliament, is “realistic” and should result in savings of 600-650 million euros ($734-795 million), a top economic advisory body said on Tuesday.

Serbia’s Fiscal Council, which advises the government, said it expected next year’s consolidated budget deficit – which includes subsidies and guarantees for state firms and municipal spending – would come in at around six percent of output, or slightly higher than the government’s own forecast of around 5.8 percent.

Dec 17, 2014

Balkan railway part of Chinese ‘express lane’ to Europe

BELGRADE, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Serbia said on Wednesday it
expected Chinese construction of a new rail link between
Belgrade and Budapest to begin by mid-2015, part of Beijing’s
strategy to accelerate the flow of goods into Europe through the
Balkans.

China, Serbia and Hungary signed a memorandum of
understanding on the 370-km (230 mile) rail route on the second
day of a summit in Belgrade between China and 16 central and
eastern European states.

Dec 17, 2014

Belgrade-Budapest railway part of Chinese ‘express lane’ to Europe

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Chinese construction of a new rail link between Belgrade and Budapest should begin by the middle of next year, Serbia’s prime minister said on Wednesday, as China pursues plans to accelerate the flow of goods through the Balkans.

China, Serbia and Hungary signed a memorandum of understanding on the 370-km (230 mile) rail route on the second day of a summit in Belgrade between China and 16 central and eastern European states.

Dec 15, 2014

Cash-strapped Balkans seeks Chinese funds for infrastructure projects

BELGRADE (Reuters) – China is preparing a fresh investment push into central and eastern Europe, promising more than $10 billion in loans for energy and infrastructure projects to be discussed in Belgrade this week.

China is seeking a new foothold on the continent, outside the European Union, under a strategy adopted in 2012.

Dec 12, 2014

Eastern Europe counts cost of a pipeline’s demise

BELGRADE, Dec 12 (Reuters) – As recently as Nov. 21, the
Gazprom subsidiary tasked with building the Serbian leg of
Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline issued a call for mechanics,
builders and welders.

Branko Tasevski was among dozens of businessmen hoping to
get a contract for his Veco Welding Company in the northern city
of Zrenjanin, near the planned path of the 422-km stretch of the
pipeline.

Dec 11, 2014

Serbian central bank keeps rates on hold with dinar weak

BELGRADE, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Serbia’s central bank kept
interest rates on hold on Thursday in the face of low inflation
and a bleak economic outlook, taking a cautious approach as the
dinar currency weakens daily and with next year’s budget still
in the works.

The decision to keep the benchmark rate at 8
percent was in line with the expectations of 11 of 14 analysts
and traders polled by Reuters this week and last. Three analysts
had predicted a cut of 25 basis points.