Archive for December, 2013

Bulgarian Tobacco Growers Threaten Protests as of Jan 6

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Bulgaria’s National Association of Tobacco Growers has threatened to stage protests in early January 2014.

Tsvetan Filev, chair of the Association, explained Tuesday that tobacco growers wanted companies to start buying Basma tobacco by January 5th or else they would hold mass rallies in front of the companies’HQs, block arterial roads, and set fire to bales of tobacco on January 6th.

Filev, as cited by Darik radio, noted that a total of 300 tones out of a total output of 13 000 tonnes of Basma-type tobacco had been bought so far.

He expressed concerns of tobacco growers that the delay of purchases of tobacco would reduce its quality, taking into account that 70% of the output had been packed in bales and was ready to be sold.

Filev specified that all of the tobacco of the Virginia and Burley types had been bought, as well as 60% of the production of Kaba Kulak tobacco.


2014 WordPress Website Trends: What’s Hot and What’s Not

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

2014 wordpress website trends

The popularity of CMS-based websites has been growing constantly, and WordPress is the most used platform by far.

At least 19 percent of the entire Internet is powered by the WordPress platform. This number includes nearly half (48 percent) of the top 100 Technorati blogs, as well as some of the largest websites in the world – Ford Motor Company and NASA, to name a few. In 2014, that number is expected to increase.

In the 10 years since its launch, WordPress website trends have come and gone. Below are some of the latest emerging 2014 WordPress website trends that you can expect to see more of in the new year – and some of the features that have fallen by the wayside.

2014 WordPress Website Trends: What’s Hot

Speed, Simplicity, Standout Backgrounds

Fast loading times are crucial for a successful website today. With more people than ever accessing the Internet on mobile devices, the trend is toward websites that are simple and easy to navigate, yet elegant and interesting.

Look for these WordPress features to rise in popularity during 2014:

Typography Over Images

Through simple add-ons like Typekit, more WordPress websites are creating great looks with the use of distinctive fonts.

Previously, most websites were limited to using standard fonts like Arial, Times New Roman or the dreaded Comic Sans, with the process of displaying custom fonts limited to hand-coded or designer sites.

Now just about any font style can be displayed through easy-to-use technology and more WordPress sites are incorporating stunning typography to help them stand out.

Flat Websites

The latest digital interfaces, including Windows 8 and iOS 7, shy away from fancy design elements like gradients or shadow, and instead rely on the use of color to make things pop. This trend is also surfacing in WordPress websites.

Clean and simple layouts with strategic color placement are the basis of the sleek, modern designs you can see reflected in many WordPress templates and custom websites. Expect this WordPress website trend to continue through 2014.

Single Page Websites

Potentially inspired by navigation challenges on mobile devices, there have been plenty of these simplified WordPress designs popping up lately. Simple, yet elegant, single page websites contain all of the main content in one page. When you click on a “menu” item your view shifts to another area of the same page, rather than changing the URL and loading a new page.

Some examples of single page WordPress templates include the free One Page from WordPress, and paid themes like Renova, Stylos, and Interion.

Full Width Background Images

While simplicity is trending high, style and professionalism are still important facets of a successful site.

One way many WordPress websites are bringing their designs to life is through the use of page-width imagery, usually with a hi-definition photo as the background.

2014 WordPress Website Trends: What’s Not

Lag-Prone, Slow Loading Page Elements

In a world built on speed, most WordPress websites are shedding anything that slows them down and makes navigation cumbersome.

These outgoing elements include:


A popular page-within-a-page layout style for many years, frames can make for a dramatic website.

Unfortunately, they also slow down loading times and make for SEO (search engine optimization) unfriendly pages that can bring searchers to random content outside the main website.

PDFs as Pages

While it’s fairly easy to insert a PDF document as a page into a WordPress website, it’s also cumbersome and most visitors don’t appreciate the shift from viewing a standard Web page to downloading a PDF, especially on mobile devices. PDFs also have a tendency to crash browsers.

Flash and Animations

In the battle of Flash versus HTML5, the more dynamic HTML5 is far ahead. This is particularly true in the mobile market, with iOS devices not supporting Flash display. Other types of animations, such as Gifs, are also being left behind due to the drag on loading times.

It’s shaping up to be a great year for simplifying and transforming your website using the latest 2014 WordPress website trends. Begin to envision your Web presence for 2014 now.

Hot Trends Photo via Shutterstock

The post 2014 WordPress Website Trends: What’s Hot and What’s Not appeared first on Small Business Trends.


Another Turkish MP Quits Erdogan’s Ruling Party

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Another lawmaker from the ruling Turkish AKP party has filed resignation from it in the wake of a major corruption scandal that has shaken the cabinet of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bulgaria’s Nova TV informs Tuesday that Hasan Hami Yildirim has quit the ranks of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

He had blasted the government for pressuring magistrates over the graft investigation

A number of well-known people in Turkey, including prominent businessmen and the sons of three ministers were arrested on December 17 on suspicions of bribes in construction projects and illegal money wires to Iran. His son Bilal Erdogan is also under investigation for “establishing and belonging to a criminal organization for gain.”

The Culture Minister and now 4 Members of the Parliament quit AKP in the aftermath.

Erdogan has repeatedly said he believes he is the real target of the probe, behind which he sees a scenario for the overthrow of power in Turkey. He has hinted that the attack came from supporters of an influential Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in theUS.

In the aftermath, hundreds of people across Turkey walked out on the streets in Istanbul, Izmir, Adana and other cities calling for the PM’s resignation.


Romanian and Bulgarian Migration Stirs up Ancient, Dark Parts of the Brain

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

The Guardian

Paul Quinn

Populist politicians’ attempts to fan the flames of hatred rely on our hardwired suspicion of outsiders

Romanians and Bulgarians will gain the same rights as other EU citizens to move to Britain from 1 January. But for months the British media have been running alarmist reports about the imminent influx from these countries. What is it about this group of people that makes them seemingly so dangerous and so undesirable? Are they really different from any other group we have “welcomed” into our country? Will our national life really change after 1 January? As somebody who has conducted research into the process of stigmatisation, I have found the reaction in the British press to be both fascinating and terrifying.

Stigmatisation is a biosocial phenomenon, meaning it is a behaviour that can be attributed to both instinctual impulses and our cognitive ability to reason, using the information we are provided with. Many theorists suppose that our instinctual tendency to stigmatise evolved from the need to adapt to life in small bands or groups. This evolution may have occurred to prevent “free-riding” by individuals perceived as outsiders.

As a consequence, in most societies and cultures throughout human history, certain groups have been susceptible to stigmatisation. These include the sick, the old, social non-conformists and, most important, individuals who are perceived as coming from another group or having outside loyalties. Our brains are, in other words, hardwired to suspect individuals who fall into such groups, and may urge us to act in a stigmatising manner towards them. American social history provides an illustrative example of this where successive waves of immigrants (ranging from Dutch, Irish, eastern European and, more recently, those of Hispanic origin) were marginalised until, with time, they came to be seen as an accepted part of society.

This predisposition towards suspicion of immigrants means that reports that portray them negatively find fertile ground. We have been bombarded with stories of Roma who have kidnapped children and Romanian crime gangs on the loose. Often it is the political class that sets the tone. The Ukip leader Nigel Farage has recently spoken of a “Romanian crime wave” on its way to the UK.

Stigmatising attacks are even more effective (for the stigmatiser) in times of material shortage, perhaps explaining why the reaction to increased Romanian and Bulgarian immigration appears to be so much more visceral than it was for other east Europeans who migrated in 2004.

But potentially stigmatising behaviours are also influenced by conscious thought processes. This conscious cognitive process is shaped by the beliefs that we as individuals hold about the group in question. Civilisation, education and rational thought have helped us overcome a range of irrational negative impulses about other groups of individuals.

We can see, for example, that disabled people are individuals who should be treated with dignity and equal respect or that all Muslims are not a threat to our society.

It is such a capacity that allows us to live in large complex societies with individuals from different ethnic origins, despite the fact that we are essentially equipped with an innate suspicion of the different as a threat. Despite these advances, the basic underlying biological machinery remains.

As a consequence, there will be an eternal availability of receptive terrain for populist political forces that wish to rally support via negative stereotyping of vulnerable groups. Succumbing to the temptation to cast aspersions on such groups is analogous to lighting matches in a hayfield. Not only are such actions morally wrong, they are also dangerous.

History is replete with examples of those in power fanning the flames of hatred, exploiting the dark side of our human nature for their own benefit. False myths such as The Eternal Jew or the “baby-stealing Roma” should haunt our political class and teach it to beware of the risks of such opportunism. Let us hope these lessons remain with us after 1 January.


Bulgarians to Stage Anti-Govt Rally on New Year’s Eve

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Bulgarian antigovernment protesters are organizing themselves on social networks to stage a rally on “Alexander Battenberg” square on New Year’s Eve.

The rally, demanding the resignation of the Socialist-endorsed government of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, is to start at 11 pm on Tuesday, December 31, on the square where the capital Sofia traditionally holds a concert and festivities.

“What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Leave aside expensive tickets for skimpy dinners and drinks in various clubs, hotels, restaurants, and resorts; come to the square where each of you has been welcoming the New Year at least once,” say the organizers.

They invite all in downtown Sofia, where the protests are usually held anyway, to join in their common desire to banish “this corrupt government and its puppeteers.”

“Come outside with us; together we will be warm and cozy and have fun, because together we can do anything,” the message, cited by the Focus news agency, further urges.

Organizers say the protesters plan to chant “resignation” during breaks of the musical performances of the concert on the square.

The protests against the government, which have been going on for over six months, started on June 14 in response to the scandalous appointment of media mogul Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).

The rallies continue, despite the fact that the number of protesters has decreased substantially.

In early October, students in a number of cities across Bulgaria started staging sit-ins at universities. The protesting students staged partial or full blockades at university buildings, demanding the resignation of the socialist-led coalition government, the dissolution of Parliament and early elections.

Monday evening marked the 200th day of protest.


Schumacher’s Condition Improves Slightly after Ski Accident

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Former Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher’s condition has improved slightly after a second surgery to relieve pressure on his brain, French doctors have said.

A new scan taken overnight showed signs that he was “better than yesterday”, but he was still “not out of danger”, doctors, cited by the BBC, explained Tuesday.

Schumacher, a 7-time Formula 1 champion, was skiing off-piste with his teenage son, when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He was transferred to a hospital in Grenoble after the skiing accident in the Alps resort of Meribel, with a serious head injury.

Prof. Jean-Francois Payen told reporters that if Schumacher had not been wearing a protective helmet, “he wouldn’t be here now”.

Doctors placed him under induced coma to try to stabilize the pressure within the brain and to prevent secondary brain damage from occurring.

His family, which is on a vigil at the hospital, has taken the “difficult decision” to give consent for the second procedure, and doctors operated on Schumacher for about two hours.

A follow-up scan revealed a “slight improvement”.

“We can’t say he is out of danger but… we have gained a bit of time. The coming hours are crucial. All the family is very much aware that his state is still sensitive and anything can happen,” Payen explained Tuesday.

Doctors said it was impossible to give a prognosis for his condition for tomorrow, six months’ or even a year’s time.

Four years ago, Schumacher suffered a spinal injury when falling off a motorbike. During his car racing career, he also had several accidents, but with minor injuries.

Messages of support keep pouring in from around the world.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, cited by the BBC, said she and her government were, like millions of Germans, “extremely shocked”.

“We hope, with Michael Schumacher and with his family, that he can overcome and recover from his injuries,” the spokesman said.


Bulgarian Ambassador to Germany Critical of ‘Migrant’ Hysteria

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Hysteria, prompted by expectations for mass “social tourism” of Bulgarians and Romanians after January 1, 2014, is detrimental for everyone, says Bulgarian ambassador to Germany Radi Naydenov.

Naydenov has made the statement in an interview for the German newspaper “Die Welt.”

“Those who trail prejudice and use populist arguments harm the European idea and all of us as a whole,” explains Naydenov.

The opening of the European labor markets to Bulgarians and Romanians after January 1, 2014 will not be followed by a large wave of immigrants in Germany, the diplomat is categorical.

He adds that both Bulgaria and Germany have met all the requirements for joining the European Union and voices disappointment from the distinction made between immigrants from Bulgaria and those from Southern European countries, currently in crisis.

“Free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the European Union. Now we have the same rights and obligations that apply to all other Member States. Having stricter rules only for Bulgarians and Romanians is not compatible with the principles of the EU,” says the Ambassador.

According to Naydenov, citing German statistics, about 120 thousand Bulgarians currently live in Germany; more than 80% of them have completed high school or university education, while only 0.9% of them receive welfare.

The topic of the expected influx of immigrants, the majority of them Roma, remains very much debated in Britain and in British media.

They write that Bulgarians and Romanians will come to Great Britain precisely because it is the most “profitable” country in the EU.

Labor restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians in the European Union are going to be lifted on Wednesday, January 1. According to EU accession contracts for the two countries, labor markets of the older Member States had to be opened in no more than seven years after the joining.


Sold out! Flights and buses full as Romanians and Bulgarians head for the UK

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

The Daily Mail

By Arthur Martin and John Stevens

Bulgarians and Romanians were last night preparing to travel to Britain as restrictions on working here are lifted tomorrow.

Almost all flights from Romania to England are full – even though one airline doubled the number to meet demand – with one-way tickets selling for up to ?3,000 each.

And all tickets for seats on buses leaving the Bulgarian capital of Sofia until January 9 have been snapped up.

Wizz Air, the low cost airline that serves Eastern Europe, has doubled the number of flights it is offering. However, because of the demand, even these no-frills flights are being sold at around ?300 each.

At the central bus station in Sofia, a large poster showing Big Ben, a London bus and traditional red phone box advertise the bus routes to a new life here.

The poster reads: ‘Regular routes to London, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg and Greece’ and offers a 5 per cent discount for booking  online with agent, Balkan Horn.

All seats on two British Airways flights from Sofia to London Heathrow next Sunday and Monday – each carrying more than 152 passengers – have been sold.

When controls imposed in 2005 are lifted tomorrow, 29million from the two countries will gain the right to work in Britain.

While some of those coming here have expressed a desire to find ‘any job they can’, messages on internet forums show others making inquiries about benefits.

One user of a popular website wrote: ‘My husband and I want to have a child in the UK. We want to know what kind of benefits we can apply for. We are interested in receiving a council house.’

A mother described how she is hoping to move her family to the UK in the hope of claiming child tax credits – while a man spoke of his desire to be given a house.

A pregnant Romanian woman said: ‘I have read on this website I can get ?190 a week from the British government from the 25th week of pregnancy. Could somebody help me with the documents?’

Others wrote of their hopes to give birth in a British hospital.

A pregnant woman wrote: ‘Can I give birth in the UK for free given that neither my husband nor I have the correct papers? Will we get British citizenship for our child?’

Aleksandra Dzhongova, who runs a legitimate employment agency in Sofia, said other firms had been set up with the specific intention of helping immigrants understand Britain’s welfare system, rather than filling job vacancies.

One firm offered to help its Romanian clients avoid paying fines issued by HM Revenue & Customs.

A source at a firm helping Romanians find work in Britain told the Mail: ‘There are already many using these social benefits without necessarily having an urgent need for them.

‘I hope Romanians in the UK do not tell those from home that they are entitled to claim benefits because everyone will try to claim.

‘If you ask Romanians why are they claiming benefits they say, “If it is allowed by the law, then why not?” They have seen the Brits claiming and other nationalities too, so they want to join the queue.’

The Daily Mail asked Priority Point, which gives Romanian migrants advice on settling in the UK, whether they could help a Romanian woman with two children with no legal documents to claim benefits while looking for a job as a housekeeper. A member of staff said they could, for a free.

The employee said: ‘There is no problem. But first she will need to apply for a national insurance number and then she can apply to receive money for the kids.’

When asked if the company will fill out the paper work, the employee replied: ‘Yes, we will do. For the documents for claiming child benefits you’ll be charged ?70.’

Travel agencies in Sofia as well as the Romanian capital of Bucharest reported huge demand for tickets. At the Central Bus Station in Sofia, travel agent Svetlanka Beaucheva said: ‘Everything is booked until Thursday, January 9. There are no seats left.’

Sixteen coaches carrying more than 50 passengers each will make the 1,500-mile journey by road to London from Sofia next month.

A manager at coach company Karats Eurolines said prices had gone up due to the high demand.
Another, at coach firm Balkan Horn, said: ‘It is very busy, many people want to travel to England, especially with the change in EU rules. But everything is booked up, it’s hard to get there.’

Ion Prioteasa, president of Dolj county in the south of Romania, claimed that the numbers travelling from there to the UK will double to 70,000 next year.


Death Toll in Volgograd Terror Climbs to 34

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

The combined death toll from the two suspected suicide bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd has risen to 34.

The news was reported Tuesday by CCN, citing Russian RIA Novosti.

The death toll increased after some of those wounded in the attacks died in the hospital overnight.

Two terror attacks struck Volgograd within 24 hours.

The first terrorist act was committed in the railway station in Volgograd on Sunday. Another terrorist attack was committed on a trolley bus Monday.

The number of people killed in an explosion at the city’s rail station now stands at 18, the Russian agency said, citing the Emergencies Ministry.

For the blast on a trolleybus Monday, the toll has reached 16.

The two attacks left over a hundred injured, including 65 people hospitalized. All victims have been identified.

Specialists are offering psychological assistance to the injured, their families and the families of the victims. A hotline for counseling has been opened.

The first victims of the attacks will be buried Sunday and funerals will continue during the first days of the new year. The decision for the burials has been made by relatives of the dead and the costs will be borne by the Russian state.

All events, associated with gathering of people in one place, have been canceled.

Russian authorities have announced five-day mourning after the two attacks.

Investigators say the attacks were linked.

They struck just over a month before the Winter Olympics begin in Sochi.

Volgograd was also targeted in October, when a suspected female suicide bomber killed six people in an attack on a bus.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the two latest explosions.

Russian media reported meanwhile that according to preliminary information the suicide bomber was a Russian male, Pavel Pechenkin, who converted to Islam in 2012.


Volgograd Policeman Stopping Suicide Bomber Awarded Posthumously

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Russian transport police Senior Sergeant Dmitry Makovkin, 29, killed on the line of duty in Volgograd has been awarded posthumously with a Medal of Courage.

Two terror attacks struck Volgograd within 24 hours.

The first terrorist act was committed in the railway in Volgograd on Sunday. Another terrorist attack was committed on a trolley bus Monday. Over 30 people have been killed.

Makovkin perished on site at the railway station while stopping the suicide bomber from advancing further and preventing a much higher death toll.

“When the suicide bomber saw the metal detector frame and saw the policemen on duty as she entered the railway station, she got nervous and her behavior seemed suspicious to the policemen,” Interior Ministry spokesman Andrei Pilipchuk told TV Rossiya-24.

Makovkin started in the direction of the bomber at a fast pace and at that moment the explosion rang. He will be buried on Wednesday.

Russian media reported meanwhile that according to preliminary information the suicide bomber was a Russian male, Pavel Pechenkin, who converted to Islam in 2012.

Investigators say the attacks were linked.

They struck just over a month before the Winter Olympics begin in Sochi.

Volgograd was also targeted in October, when a suspected female suicide bomber killed six people in an attack on a bus.


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