In Brief

Bulgaria draws up measures for EU funds SOFIA (AFP) – Bulgaria on Saturday drew up urgent measures to improve the management of European Union subsidies and convince the European Commission to unblock over 800 million euros of frozen funds, government officials said. «It is our ambition to react in an adequate way, with concrete action plans on all points of criticism in the European Commission report,» Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said after a meeting of the ruling center-left coalition in the southern resort of Bansko. «Whatever we do, all effort will be pointless without concrete results,» he added. Bulgaria’s deputy premier for the use of European subsidies, Meglena Plugchieva, said that the government has formed a special working group of experts from different ministries in order to improve control over the use of European Union money. The European Commission confirmed last week in a report the freezing of a total of over 800 million euros (1.25 billion dollars) in farming, road and regional development aid for the European Union newcomer. China and Russia to boost ties, energy trade China and Russia agreed to strengthen a strategic partnership by expanding their cooperation to projects including oil trade, pipeline constructions, explorations and nuclear power. «The first round of talks have achieved some positive results,» the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishang as saying during his meeting with visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin on Saturday. Energy cooperation plays an important role in the strategic relationship between the two countries, the report said. Premier Wen Jiabao, who also met with Sechin, is boosting ties with China’s oil-rich neighbor to meet the energy needs of an economy that expanded 10.4 percent. (Bloomberg) Romanian contract Singapore’s Keppel Corp, the world’s largest offshore oil rig builder, said yesterday it has won a S$181 million (US$133 million) contract to build a ship for a Romanian drilling company. Keppel said in a statement that its unit Keppel Singmarine Pte Ltd would build the multipurpose heavy lifting and pipe-laying vessel for drilling contractor Grup Servicii Petroliere. (Reuters) Property write-down Emaar Properties PJSC, the Middle East’s largest real estate developer, wrote down 165 million dirhams ($45 million) related to its US unit in the second quarter, Al Mal Capital PSC said, citing an analyst call. Gross profit included a write-down related to its «development properties» at John Laing Homes, Al Mal said. (Bloomberg)