In Brief

Bill on national fund for the poor tabled in Parliament The government submitted to Parliament late on Thursday a draft law for the creation of the National Fund for Social Cohesion, from which integrated programs for combating poverty will be funded, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros announced yesterday. The bill includes allowances for families with three children. «We are fully implementing our pledge for the support of families with three children, as of January 1, 2008, they will receive the allowance provided to families with four or more children, while they will be exempt from all taxes, levies and contributions,» he stated. Antonaros added that the government aims to improve the revenues of poor families through targeted action. Benefiting from the fund’s program will be poor people fulfilling objective criteria, such as the unemployed, retirees on low pensions and single-parent families. Gradually, the fund will reach 2 billion euros. Romania Q3 GDP growth driven by strong investment BUCHAREST (Reuters) – The Romanian economy’s higher-than-expected growth in the third quarter was driven by a strong jump in investment, a detailed breakdown of gross domestic product data showed yesterday. The new European Union member’s economy rose 5.7 percent in the third quarter, compared with 8.3 percent in the third quarter of last year. Investment rose by 32.2 percent, compared with 17.3 percent in the same 2006 period. Consumption rose 7.8 percent year-on-year in the third quarter against 12.2 percent in July-September 2006. GNTO tender The National Tourism Organization proclaimed two tenders, totaling 315,000 euros, concerning the design of stands for Greece’s participation in the international tourism fairs to be held next year in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Offers can be submitted until December 18 for the exhibition in Utrecht, and until December 20 for the other two shows. Sofia imports Bulgaria has imported over 90,000 tons of maize and 37,000 tons of wheat since July 1, after extensive drought cut this year’s grain crops, data from its Agriculture Ministry showed yesterday. The EU newcomer imported 94,400 tons of maize from Brazil, Romania, Hungary and Germany from July to November. Wheat imports, which stood at 37,800 tons from July 1 until the beginning of December, came from Russia, Ukraine, Greece and Romania. (Reuters) Calik refinery Turkey’s energy regulator has decided to grant a license to a consortium of Calik Holding and Indian Oil Corp (IOC) to build an oil refinery, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters yesterday. (Reuters) Bulgarian defense Bulgaria approved the purchase of two secondhand Belgian frigates and a minesweeper, but deferred plans to buy four new NATO-standard French corvettes for its navy, costing up to 780 million euros, for lack of funding, Defense Minister Vesselin Bliznakov said yesterday. (AFP)