Sofia, Aug 31 (AP/UNB) — Three Bulgarian ministers have resigned in the aftermath of a bus crash that killed 17 people and injured several others.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov called Friday for the resignations of his interior, transport and regional development ministers over the crash, and Valentin Radev, Ivaylo Moskovki and Nikolay Nankov later agreed they would take political responsibility and resign.
The resignations of the three men, who had been nominated for the posts by Borissov's center-right GERB party, require approval by Parliament to take effect.
The crash last Saturday saw a tourist bus overturn and fall off the highway, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Sofia, the capital. Thirteen people died at the scene, including a 13-year-old boy, and four others died in the hospital. The crash's cause is under investigation.
Beirut, Aug 31 (AP/UNB) — A Syria war monitoring group says opposition fighters have blown up two bridges linking areas they control to government-held territories in northwestern Syria in anticipation of a military offensive.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday the Turkey-backed rebels blew up the bridges as Syria and its ally Russia warn of a military operation to restore government control over Idlib and the surrounding areas, which are the last rebel strongholds in Syria. An offensive in the area home to some 3 million Syrians is likely to trigger a major humanitarian crisis.
The bridges linked rebel and government-held villages in al-Ghab plains, south of Idlib.
Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Observatory, said the explosions rocked the area and came after rebels detected troop movement in the area.
London, Aug 31 (AP/UNB) — Cambridge University says economist James Mirrlees, the co-winner of the 1996 Nobel prize in economics, has died. He was 82.
Mirrlees, who died Wednesday, studied public economics, or the role of the public sector in the market economy.
He examined devising an optimal income tax regime balancing efficiency and equity. He shared the Nobel with William Vickrey of Columbia University.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute to Mirrlees for service to the council of economic advisers, saying he had "a way of conveying the essence of any economic issue in a manner which was clear, thoughtful and accessible."
He is survived by his widow, Patricia, daughters Catriona and Fiona from his first marriage to Gill who died in 1993, stepson Rory and four grandchildren.
Lagos, Aug 31 (AP/UNB) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday was wrapping up a three-day Africa visit in Nigeria with a meeting between the leaders of Europe's and Africa's largest economies focusing on migration.
Merkel has been traveling with nearly a dozen German CEOs in Senegal and Ghana, two of Africa's fastest-growing economies. The tour aims to boost investment in a region that is a major source of migrants heading toward Europe, even as migrant arrivals across the Mediterranean are at their lowest level in five years.
Some in Europe hope that investing in West Africa will keep people in a region plagued with unemployment, rising extremism and the effects of climate change from leaving. Merkel's visit comes two days after that of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who announced a project with France to help Nigeria, the region's powerhouse, and neighboring Niger improve border cooperation along a key migration route.
The international community also has interest in sub-Saharan Africa's economic potential and its booming population, which is expected to double by 2050.
Nigeria is among several West African nations that in recent months have brought home thousands of citizens stranded in squalid camps in Libya on their way toward Europe. After reports of abuses, Buhari late last year called it appalling that some Nigerians "were being sold like goats for few dollars" in the North African nation.
Finding opportunity at home, however, has been a challenge. Some Nigerians were alarmed by recent reports based on data by the World Poverty Clock, funded by Germany's ministry for economic cooperation and development, saying their country had surpassed India with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty.
Also faced with widespread corruption, more than one-third of Nigerians say they have considered moving abroad, according to a 2017 Afrobarometer survey last year.
Buenos Aires, Aug 30 (AP/UNB) — President Mauricio Macri asked the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday for an early release of funds from a $50 billion deal with the IMF to ease concerns that Argentina will not be able to meet its debt obligations for 2019.
Macri said in a televised address that Argentina has agreed with the IMF "to advance all necessary funds to guarantee compliance with next year's financial program."
Macri said that in the past week there have been "expressions of a lack of trust in the markets" about Argentina. He said the decision seeks to dispel any uncertainty, but he did not specify the amount or when the funds will be released.
Argentina was forced to strike a deal with the IMF earlier this year after a sharp depreciation of its currency and a run on the peso. The three year stand-by financing deal is aimed at strengthening the South American country's weak economy and helping it fight inflation, which at 30 percent per year, is one of the highest in the world.
The Argentine currency fell again Wednesday to close at an all-time low of 34.2 pesos per U.S. dollar.
The IMF said in a statement that it will "revise the government's economic plan with a focus on better insulating Argentina from the recent shifts in global financial markets, including through stronger monetary and fiscal policies and a deepening of efforts to support the most vulnerable in society."
Most Argentines have bad memories of the IMF and blame the international lending institution for encouraging policies that led to the country's worst economic crisis in 2001. The crisis 17 years ago resulted in one of every five Argentines being unemployed, millions sliding into poverty and some reporting going hungry.
The international lender has admitted that it had a made a string of mistakes that contributed to Argentina's economic implosion. A 2004 report by the IMF's internal audit unit concluded it failed to provide enough oversight, overestimated growth and the success of economic reforms, while it continued to lend Argentina money when its debt burden had turned unsustainable.