In Brief

Sales of ‘The Bush Shoe’ soar after attack by journalist The shoe hurled at President George W. Bush has sent sales soaring at the Turkish maker as orders pour in from Iraq, the US and Iran. The brown, thick-soled «Model 271» may soon be renamed «The Bush Shoe» or «Bye-Bye Bush,» said Ramazan Baydan, who owns the Istanbul-based producer Baydan Ayakkabicilik San. & Tic. «We’ve been selling these shoes for years but, thanks to Bush, orders are flying in like crazy,» he said in a telephone interview. «We’ve even hired an agency to look at television advertising.» Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi hurled a pair at Bush at a news conference in Baghdad on December 14. Both shoes missed the president after he ducked. The journalist was jailed and is seeking a pardon from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Baydan has received orders for 300,000 pairs of the shoes since the attack, more than four times the number his company sold each year since the model was introduced in 1999. (Bloomberg) Bulgaria’s electricity exports steady in 2008 Bulgaria’s dominant power utility NEK said its electricity exports would be around 4.5 kilowatt (kWh) this year, unchanged from 2007. «Bulgaria exported the electricity mainly to its Balkan neighbors Greece, Serbia and Macedonia,» NEK’s executive director Madrik Papazyan told a news conference on Saturday. The company declined to make export forecasts for 2009 due to dropping electricity prices in central and western Europe, which Papazyan said could make Bulgarian exports too expensive. Bulgaria is building a new 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant, expected to be ready around 2015, to help it regain its position as a major power exporter in southeast Europe and also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Balkan country lost its position of a leading power exporter in the region after shutting older Soviet reactors at its Kozloduy nuclear power plant as a condition for joining the European Union in January 2007. Prior to the nuclear units’ closure, Bulgaria covered about 80 percent of power shortages in the Balkans. (Reuters) Spending cuts Romania’s finance minister designate pledged on Saturday to cut spending on public administration, freeze hiring of state employees and «rationalize» welfare to boost confidence in the economy. The leu has been battered in recent weeks by political uncertainty and worries over the fiscal policies of the new government coalition, which emerged from a November 30 election, and its ability to address the global financial crisis. «The signal I want to send (to the currency market) is that…I intend to create the premises so the deficits will not widen and to reduce them and the primary instrument we have for this is to cut spending,» Gheorghe Pogea told reporters. Pogea’s comments came after a meeting with Parliament’s budget and finance committee which gave its approval for his nomination ahead of a final parliament vote today. Pogea said he planned to cut spending on goods and services by public institutions by 15 percent, to block about 140,000 vacant jobs in administration, to «rationalize» social spending and to cut bonuses for state employees. (Reuters)

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