World Bulletin/News Desk
More than 100 Bulgarian judges protested on Friday against the dismissal of a judge and government critic, accusing the top legal body of bias and double standards.
The Supreme Judicial Council sacked Miroslava Todorova, a chair of the judicial professional body, the Union of Judges, for taking too long over judging three cases.
"Todorova is one of the most prominent critics of the Supreme Judicial Council. Obviously she was inconvenient and was sacked in an unclear procedure," said judge Neli Kutskova at the demonstration in front of the council's offices in Sofia.
Rightist groups and professional organisations of magistrates also condemned the decision and called it an attempt to intimidate reformist judges and stifle change in the inefficient and graft-prone judiciary.
The centre-right government of Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, which came to office three years ago promising to end a climate of impunity in the European Union's poorest state, rushed to distance itself from the dismissal of Todorova.
"The decision of the Supreme Judicial Council, whose reputation I can call controversial, is a provocation aimed against the government," the prime minister said in a statement.
Borisov said other judges had been given lighter punishments or none for similar delays to cases and urged the council, an independent body which administers the legal system, to reconsider its decision.
Brussels has repeatedly urged its newest member to overhaul its justice system. It is to issue a report next week on Bulgaria's progress in fighting corruption and organised crime.
On Thursday, European leaders reprimanded neighbouring Romania, which also is under Brussels monitoring, for failing to protect the rule of law, sending a signal that the independence of judges should be respected.
Todorova said her dismissal was "humiliating and unfair" and she would appeal it. She called on judges not to be intimidated by the council.
"I may be a subject of repression but I do not feel a victim ... There is no need for the colleagues to be afraid," Todorova told a news conference.
Todorova has criticised the government for not going far enough in its reforms and called for changes to the way members of the Supreme Judicial Council are chosen.
A survey carried out by the independent Centre for the Study of Democracy in May showed more than 50 percent of Bulgarians did not trust the courts and 72 percent believed magistrates could be easily bribed.
More than 60 percent believe the judges are susceptible to political influence.
Two civilians were killed and four others injured in a border clash between the two nuclear powers.
Only 17 of the illegal migrants have been rescued so far.
The return of the trucks may help ease the tension to some extent in time for talks in Ukraine's capital on Saturday between visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian leaders over how to end the crisis in the ex-Soviet republic.
At least eight people were killed in the attack.
Prayuth did not mention his appointment as prime minister.
Germany's Vice Chancellor, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, said "A clever concept of federalisation seem to be the only practicable way."
Over the past two days, Sanaa has been at the center of intense protests and sit-ins – called for by al-Houthi – to demand the dismissal of the current government.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's call comes after Palestinian lawmakers accused Israel of an anti-democratic crackdown as the Gaza war rages, with dozens of elected officials detained, placed under investigation or restricted in their movements.
The White House publicized details of the raid on Wednesday, a day after IS fighters posted a video showing Foley being beheaded.
A largely peaceful group had initially stuck to the established route before marching nearly three miles (4.8 kilometers) to the police station.
Lithuania also requested a UN Security Council emergency session on what is deemed to be a Trojan-horse style invasion of Ukraine.
European leaders are expected to face greater pressure for involvement at a NATO meeting in Wales next month. Some politicians say it is time to take the fight to Syria, where the group has its power base, and even work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite condemnation of his regime.
The latest fatalities from the bombing of a home brought to 2094 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since July 7.
At least 19 of the 31 ministers are fresh faces, the source said, noting that the new line-up included four Muslim ministers and seven women.
Workers demand that the government address high inflation and protect jobs.
The military is to advise only on the issue of disarmament and demobilization.