Archive for March, 2014

Irina Bokova Receives Personality in the News 2013 Award

Monday, March 31st, 2014

H.E. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, attended the annual awards ceremony for Novinite’s “Personality in the News 2013″, Monday.

“Wherever I go, no one forgets that I am Bulgarian!”, Bokova claimed upon receiving the award in the Politics category.

“Personality in the News” attracted over 15,000 votes in the independent online poll combined between the English language (, the Bulgarian language (, and the Russian language ( versions in the period December 2013 – February 2014.

This year there were a total of 6 categories – Politics, Business, Charity, Diplomacy, Culture and Sports. Three outstanding representatives of the political, economic and social life in Bulgaria were nominated in each category.

The readers of Novinite Media Group picked Dobri Dobrev, known as “The Elder Dobri” as the winner in the Charity section. The man has managed to win people over with his kindness and to set an example for many Bulgarians.

The Business category of Novinite Media Group saw a tie between ABB country manager Ekkehard Neureither and founder of Walltopia, Ivaylo Penchev.

Japan’s Ambassador to Bulgaria, Takashi Koizumi, was awarded in the Diplomacy section. Renowned Bulgarian violinist Vesko Eschkenazy was the winner in the Culture category, while tennis star Grigor Dimitrov topped the vote in the Sports section.

The awards ceremony at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” was attended by the winners in the different categories, government officials, representatives of the diplomatic missions in Sofia, partners and friends of Novinite Media Group, as well as fellow journalists.

“Personality in the News” awards are held for the 13th consecutive year.

In March 2014, Novinite Media Group received the “Media of the Future” award at the World Communication Forum in Davos.


Erdogan Claims Victory, Tells Enemies They Will Pay Price

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan declared victory in local polls and said he would “enter the lair” of enemies who have accused him of corruption and leaked state secrets. 

“They will pay for this,” he said, addressing his supporters from a balcony of at the headquarters of the ruling AKP party.

Erdogan told thousands of cheering supporters that his enemies in politics and the state, whom he has labelled “traitors,” “terrorists” and “an alliance of evil”, would pay the price.

“We will enter their lair,” he said. “They will be brought to account. How can you threaten national security?”

According to the Hurryiet newspaper, at 95% of the ballots cast, Erdogan’s party wins 44% of the votes, while the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) gets 28%. In the elections participated 92% of the nearly 52 million voters.

The main opposition CHP said it would challenge the result in Ankara, which was a particularly close race.

The elections did not go all too smoothly, with 8 people reportedly killed during clashes between rival supporters.

Investors, who have been unnerved by the turbulence in the past several months, took solace in the election result, seeing it as a sign of political continuity. The lira rallied to its strongest in two months and stocks hit a 3-month high.


Verizon Introduces Single Security Suite for All Devices – Mobile and Desktop

Monday, March 31st, 2014

verizon mobile security

A new survey reveals 88% of consumers around the world own more than one Web-enabled device. And 62% of U.S. consumers own more than three devices, another concludes.

In its recently released Digital Assets survey, online security company McAfee reveals there is also a lot of value on those devices. Globally, the average person has up to $35,000 in personal assets and information stored on these Web-enabled devices. This goes beyond personal data like your credit card information, login names and passwords. It also includes things like photos and entertainment files, too.

By now you’ve probably become attuned to the need for security on desktop and laptop computers. But that concern has apparently not spread to mobile devices where the threat may be just as great.

On the official McAfee Blog, company Online Security and Safety Evangelist Robert Siciliano explains:

“And while we have all these devices and have valuable assets on them, we don’t take enough precautions to protect our valuable assets. Nearly 15% of consumers globally don’t have comprehensive security on ANY of their devices and 20% are unfamiliar with cyber risks and security dangers.”

Small businesses in particular are increasingly targeted by cyber criminals seeking not only their information, but the information of their clients and customers.

McAfee (acquired by Intel in 2011) and wireless communications company Verizon are partnering to extend security to multiple devices, using a single application and central dashboard, called the Verizon Internet Security Suite Multi-Device program. The program is aimed at creating more security for both consumers and small businesses.

With the Verizon offerings, subscribers protect all of their PCs, laptops, Macs, and Android smartphones and tablets via one central management console.

Verizon customers can get Internet security for all their devices starting at $6.99 per month. Cloud backup and storage can also be added in. Small business owners, who use more data, might also want a bundled package including 50 or 150 GB of cloud storage also protected by McAfee. Those bundles start at $11.99 per month.

The service features automatic updates for all devices. Verizon says you’ll be able to monitor activity on all your devices from one desktop app, too. This feature would include the ability to lock certain apps when others are using your devices.

Image: Verizon

The post Verizon Introduces Single Security Suite for All Devices – Mobile and Desktop appeared first on Small Business Trends.


Employment and Social Situation Show Little Improvement in 2014 – EC

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The recent economic recovery has not yet been able to create new jobs, according to the European Commission’s latest Employment and Social Situation quarterly report.

This analysis also points to an expected increase in poverty levels and a slight improvement in the effectiveness of social protection expenditure in 2013, even if its impact remains very weak. The EC review also provides empirical evidence that the crisis at its height had the strongest adverse impact on the employment situation of men and young people.

“The EU economy has returned to growth at a slow pace but the situation of many households and individuals is not yet improving, with ever growing numbers suffering from financial distress,” European Commissioner of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion L?szl? Andor commented.

“Inequalities have risen and there is a risk that the current fragile recovery is not going to improve the situation of many lower-income groups. The EU is still far from having secured an inclusive and job-rich recovery: Member States and the EU should further step up their efforts to ensure that nobody is left behind as we try to exit the crisis. In particular, we should focus our efforts on investing in people in line with the guidance set out in our Social Investment Package and the recommendation on the Youth Guarantee”.

The latest quarterly review stresses that the improvements in the EU labor markets are still weak. Employment showed the first signs of stabilization in 2013, with a 0.1% growth in the second half of the year. Positive growth was recorded in the service sectors while job destruction in the construction and industry sectors has slowed down. Nevertheless, figures from the third and the fourth quarters of 2013 show that in an increasing number of EU Member States a growing economy has not been accompanied by job creation. It is therefore too early to assess if the current recovery will be able to bring new jobs.

The income that households have at their disposal is lagging behind the growth in Gross Domestic Product. In 2013, the real Gross Disposable Household Income continued to decline year-on-year in the Euro area in real terms, though at a slower pace than before.

Another worrying trend is the continuous increase in financial distress since 2010, with more and more of the population reporting the need to draw on their savings and, more recently, even to run into debt to pay for everyday living costs. Households with the lowest income are those hardest hit: 10% of adults in low income households are forced to run into debt and a further 15% must draw on savings to cover current expenditure (compared to 5% and 12% for the total population).

January 2014 shows that unemployment is still at record high levels, with around 26 million people in the EU looking for work. The report also shows increasing use of temporary and part-time work. There is evidence that temporary employment has become less of a stepping-stone towards a permanent job since the onset of the crisis. At the same time, job stability has decreased significantly, especially for men and the young, and divergences between Member States became more pronounced.

Poverty and social exclusion continued to rise in 2011 and 2012 and, according to the latest available data, a further increase is estimated in 2013 for those countries where economic and labor market conditions have continued to deteriorate.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate remained stable on average at EU level between 2011 and 2012, hiding diverging national developments. In fact, the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion increased in one third of the EU Member States, including in some countries where it was initially at a low level. A particularly strong increase in poverty is observed in Greece, and a further increase is expected, between 2011 and 2013, in several Eastern European countries as well as Greece.

The stabilization impact of social protection expenditure remained very weak in 2013, growing much less than expected, despite a slight improvement. The analysis reflects significant differences among countries. In Greece and Portugal, further reforms of the tax and benefit systems in 2012-13 reduced incomes in all or most households. In other countries, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, the overall impact on household incomes was positive, with lower income households benefiting most in proportional terms from the changes in the most recent year. In the UK and Spain, households in the bottom of the distribution have seen the strongest reductions in their income due to policy changes in 2012-13.

In its February 2013 Social Investment Package (SIP), the European Commission called on Member States to prioritize social investment and to modernize their welfare states, as more effective and efficient use of social budgets today will prevent having to pay a much higher social bill tomorrow. In particular, the SIP gives Member States extensive guidance on investing in children, active inclusion, health and long term care, homelessness and social policy innovation. The Package also offers guidance to Member States on how best to use EU financial support, notably from the European Social Fund, to implement the outlined objectives.

Recognizing the urgency to invest in young people, the Commission proposed the Youth Guarantee in December 2012, which was adopted by the EU’s Council of Ministers in April 2013. The Youth Guarantee aims to ensure that all young people up to the age of 25 years receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.

The Youth Guarantee should enable young people to find a job suited to their education, skills and experience or to acquire the education, skills and experience that are directly relevant to increasing their chances of finding a job in the future. The Youth Guarantee is one of the most crucial and urgent structural reforms that Member States must introduce to address youth unemployment and to improve school to work transition, the report states.


GERB Wants Six Seats In European Parliament

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The center-right opposition party GERB said it will seek at least six seats in the European Parliament. 

Currently GERB has five seats. 

The leader of the GERB ballot, Tomislav Donchev, urged their opponents to conduct a strong and sensible debate on European topics. 

The head of the electoral headquarters Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the party will focus on positive messages and will avoid manipulations. 

“With more seats we will give better support to our partners from the European People’s Party,” Tsvetanov said. 

He also said GERB will launch its campaign on April 27 and will finance it only with its party subsidy, in order to “avoid speculations.”


Artistic Group Sets Up “War Survival Kits” in Sofia

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The Destructive Creation artistic group set up “war survival kits” at three places in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia. 

The red box contains bread, salt and a gas mask. 

According to the facebook page of Destructive Creation, who had previously painted the statues of the Soviet Army monument in Sofia as US comic characters and dressed the main statues of the Mound of Brothers monument in Sofia as a martenitsa, wrote that the kit was suitable for “the proper welcoming” of whoever and whatever. The art installation was provoked by the rising tensions between the West and Russia. 

“If there is a war between NATO and Russia, we would have to wear gas masks,” the people of Destructive Creaton told the Bulgarian OFFNews website. “Then we would need the bread and salt to welcome the winner.”


Employment Rates in Bulgaria Up By 5% in 2018 – Social Ministry

Monday, March 31st, 2014

More than 270,000 jobs will be created over the next few years, according to the medium and long-term forecasts of Bulgaria’s Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.

Some new 157 thousand jobs will be available to specialists with secondary education, and about 118 thousand – to university graduates. Unemployment will decline by approximately 5% by 2018, and the number of employed Bulgarian residents will reach 3.034M, Minister Hasan Ademov announced Monday.

Most jobs in 2018 are expected to be open in the areas of trade, auto mechanics, education, construction, transport and storage, manufacturing and processing of textile and leather, according to the latest data collected under the Human resources development Operational Program.

Currently, the fields of information technology, administration and services, marketing, sales and manufacture provide the widest range of available jobs, while programmers, engineers, doctors, teachers, machine operators, drivers, waiters and cooks are in demand.

“Education must meet the needs of the business in order to overcome the imbalances on the labor market. The survey results show the need to introduce dual system, because vocational training contributes to the transition from education to employment ,” Minister Ademov told reporters, as cited by BGNES.


Reformist Block Refers Government Decision On Karadere To Prosecution

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The Reformist Block referred the government decision to give priority to construction of a resort in Karadere to the prosecution..

The coalition also demanded the resignation of Economy Minister Dragomir Stoinev. 

According to the coalition, the project was in violation of the Limiting of Offshore Companies Act, recently passed by Parliament. 

The Reformist Block insists that prosecution checks whether there was an administrative violation or a crime by an official with the suggestion that the Black Sea Eco Garden Resort project of the Madara Europe company be granted a priority status.

The Offshore Act stipulates that an offshore company may apply for a “priority investor” status after it has registered the actual owners of the company in the Trade Registry. In the Madara Europe case, the company did so five days after it got the priority status.


UN Bans Japan’s Antarctic Whaling

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the UN has decided that Japan must halt whaling activities in the Antarctic.

Authorities in Tokyo announced they accept the ICJ’s ruling, which is legally binding.

The case was launched in 2010 upon a claim by Australia, according to which whaling in the region was actually not for scientific research as Japan has asserted for years.

Previously, other countries like South Korea have also defied Tokyo’s program, but with little success.

Since 2005, ICJ has said, Japan has caught 3600 minke whales in the Antarctic, but no “scientific” results were reported.

Australia has claimed that the number of animals slaughtered for commercial purposes in the country since 1988 has reached 10 000.

In theory, Japan vowed to abide by a moratorium on whaling which it signed in 1986. The country has however gone on with the practice, like Norway and Iceland, who have never adopted documents banning it.


Israeli ex-Prime Minister Olmert Convicted of Corruption

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been found guilty of bribery in the “Holyland affair”.

The case has been known as one of the worst corruption scandals in Israel’s history.

The BBC quotes Judge David Rozen in Tel Aviv as saying while delivering the verdict that the case revealed how Israel’s governance under Olmert “grew more corrupt and rotten over the years”.

In the so-called “Holyland affair”, a luxury property development was accelerated through bribery worth hundreds of thousands of dollars received by the former Prime Minister.

Olmert resigned in 2008, as a trial was launched against him to look into the scheme. Despite being acquitted of two charges in 2012, the same year he was also found guilty in a trial accusing him of granting favours to a business friend while he was trade and industry minister.

On Monday, 13 of 16 other defendants were also convicted over their participation in the affair.

It is not clear when a sentence would be passed by court, but Olmert could be facing a few years in jail.


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