| BG Daily News
Israel is to join a UN rights body with which it has been feuding for years, as a member of its European bloc, an Israeli official said.
The approval of Israel's membership in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, must be considered as "the end of a period of discrimination, exclusion and historical wrong."
It will provide Israel with some influence before the top U.N. Human Rights body and its voice will be heard "loud and clear."
"Israel is now a full member of the regional group in the Human Rights Council and that means we can play a bigger role in the human rights activities in Geneva," said Aharon Leshno Yaar, the Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General for UN and International Organizations, quoted by the Europe Israel Press Association.
"The UNHRC without Israel is a flawed institution. Now with Israel fully engaged it will have greater credibility. Israel will also enjoy the recognition of being a full member of the community of nations," he said.
Although geographically located in Asia, hostile Arab and Muslim states have blocked Israel from joining the Asian group on the 47-member council, leaving it without representation within any geographic grouping.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, said Israel's entry into the Group is important, because until now it has been structurally denied the opportunity that every other U.N. member has.
That opportunity, she said, is membership in one of the regional bodies that "shape policy and determine leadership posts" at the U.N.'s Human Rights Council.
The group and others like it act in an advisory capacity but have no formal standing with the 47-nation council, in which the U.S. is a member but Israel is not.
But Israel will be able to participate in related activities such as meetings with senior UN officials as invitations to such meetings goes through the regional groups. And as a WEOG member, Israel can "elect and be elected to positions in the UNHRC."
"For far too long Israel has been unfairly excluded from regional bodies at the United Nations," Power said in a statement.
Israel cut ties with the UNHRC in March 2012 to protest what it said was anti-Israel bias by that body, which had censured it more than any other country.
In October, however, it agreed to participate in the UNHRC's Universal Period Review of its human rights record, but said it was waiting for an invitation from WEOG before it would formally re-establish ties.
In agreeing to reengage with the UNHRC, Israel accepted a compromise on its second demand, the elimination of "Agenda Item seven".
This is a standing item, under which Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is debated at every UNHRC session. No other country, but Israel, is automatically scheduled into the UNHRC agenda.
Yaar said that the EU and other friends of Israel have decided "to limit significantly their involvement in discussions under 'Agenda Item seven'."
| BG Daily News
Italian media have been speculating that former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is planning to run for a European MP in the upcoming elections in May 2014 as a candidate from Bulgaria or Hungary.
Last week the Italian senate stripped Berlusconi of his senatorial position because of his sentence for tax fraud, which besides a prison term, brought him a ban on holding public offices.
The rumour started after Russia denied the speculations that Vladimir Putin was going to give Berlusconi a diplomatic passport, which would protect him from prosecution in Italy.
According to the Italian media, the possible election of Berlusconi as a member of the European Parliament would guarantee him a five-year immunity. The first country of choice is Hungary, as Berlusconi is good friends with Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban. Bulgaria, on the other hand, grants citizenship for an investment of 511 000 euro and, besides, Berlusconi is friends with Bulgaria's former prime minister Boiko Borisov.
Later, however, Borisov, who is also the leader of the party GERB, denied the rumours that Berlusconi would run for European MP on GERB's ballot. "I can firmly say that Berlusconi will not be a GERB candidate", Borisov said, quoted by the Mediapool website.
According to the European regulations, any EU citizen can run for a European MP, as long as s/he is resident of another member-state and is not stripped of the right to run, by the court of the country of residency or the country of origin.
The Bulgarian Electoral code provides that the candidate must not be stripped of the right to be elected in the country, of which s/he is a citizen, which means that if Berlusconi wants to run for a European MP in Bulgaria, he must be a Bulgarian citizen.
| BG Daily News
The inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania will not be among the priorities of the upcoming Greek presidency of the EU, said the Greek ambassador to the EU Teodoris Sotiropoulos.
He also said that the countries must not expect the introduction of common measures for limiting the access to the EU labour markets for Bulgarians and Romanians.
Sotiropoulos commented that he hopes that an agreement on the Schengen area enlargement will be reached. Currently several countries, France and the Netherlands among them, object to the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania in the area.
Meanwhile, analysts commented for the BNT public TV channel that the refugee crisis considerably decreases the likelihood of Schengen area enlargement.
| BG Daily News
Russia's law enforcers last night detained a group of extremists belonging to the extremist organization At Takfir wal-Hijra in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported. A large amount of weapons and explosives was seized, the Ruissia's Interior Ministry press-centre said.
"Fourteen members of the radical extremist organization At Takfir wal-Hijra were detained in a special operation in the territory of Moscow's eastern district on the night of November 26-27," the Interior Ministry's press-centre announced.
The operation was carried out by police and the federal security service FSB with support from the OMON special police force.
| BG Daily News
Turkish Airlines launched the programme Invest on Board, which gives the opportunity to startups to present themselves in front of potential investors.
The young companies can do so by preparing and sending a two-minute video, which can be played by the travellers in the business class of the airline. The videos will be included in the onboard digital entertainment system.
The initiative is in partnership with the platform eTohum, which brings together investors, professionals and companies with young entrepreneurs.
The applicant videos will be reviewed and selected by eTohum.
So far there are 11 videos of various startup companies – mostly online stores and services, as well as one mobile game, and mostly from Turkey. The goal, however, is to attract applicants from all over the world.
The idea is similar to the project of Virgin Atlantic, Pitch TV.
Invest on Board will officially launch next month.