Archive for September, 2014

Bulgaria Sends Firearms, Ammo to Iraqi Government

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Bulgaria has granted arms and ammunition worth about BGN 6 M to Iraq as part of an international effort to back the Iraqi government in its fight against Islamic State militants.

The grant comprising about 1,800 firearms and some 6 million rounds of ammunition has already been received by Iraq, the Defence Ministry in Sofia said in a statement.

The supplies worth a total of BGN 5.96 M came from the Bulgarian Army’s surplus stocks and were transported with the help of partner countries, the ministry said. It didn’t elaborate.

With Islamic State jihadist fighters now in control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria, the security and stability of the entire region are at risk, the statement said. On August 15 European Union foreign ministers welcomed the decision of some EU member state governments to meet demands of Kurdish regional authorities in Iraq for urgent supply of military aid to counter the offensive of Islamic State militants.

In the current extremely volatile sitiation Kurdish Peshmerga forces have the potential to fight the Islamist group in northern Iraq, which determines the need to urgently provide them with military aid through the Iraqi government

Other EU countries, including Germany, France and Italy have already agreed to send Kurdish Peshmerga forces allied with Iraq’s central government light weapons to use against the Islamist militants.

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Lot 2 of Bulgaria’s Struma Motorway To Be Completed in Autumn of 2015

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Lot 2 of the Struma motorway will most probably be completed by the autumn of 2015, according to Bulgaria’s caretaker Regional Development Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.

Zaharieva inspected Tuesday the 37.5km motorway section from Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad.

Zaharieva, caretaker Transport Minister Nikolina Angelkova, and Lazar Lazarov, Chair of the Managing Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency, visited the Dupnitsa–South road junction, the archaeological excavations near the western village of Mursalevo and the tunnel at Kocherinovo, according to reports of dnevnik.bg.

After the inspection, Zaharieva declared that it was one of the best examples of organization of the construction of a motorway, adding that everything proceeded on schedule.

Lot 2 of the Struma motorway is being built by a consortium of Italian Impesa and Bulgarian GBS-Infrastructure Construction and Patstroi 92. The value of the contract is BGN 358.7 M.

Later on Tuesday, the ministers will check the progress of construction works at the problematic Lot 4 between Sandanski and Kulata, which is being built by Greece’s Aktor under a contract worth BGN 67.2 M.

Several inspections revealed that no construction works were underway at the site and the contractor was warned that the agreement would be cancelled if the delays persisted. The 16km motorway section was to be launched by October 15.

 

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Lot 2 of Bulgaria’s Struma Motorway To Be Completed in Autumn 2015

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Lot 2 of the Struma motorway will most probably be completed by the autumn of 2015, according to Bulgaria’s caretaker Regional Development Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.

Zaharieva inspected Tuesday the 37.5km motorway section from Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad.

Zaharieva, caretaker Transport Minister Nikolina Angelkova, and Lazar Lazarov, Chair of the Managing Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency, visited the Dupnitsa–South road junction, the archaeological excavations near the western village of Mursalevo and the tunnel at Kocherinovo, according to reports of dnevnik.bg.

After the inspection, Zaharieva declared that it was one of the best examples of organization of the construction of a motorway, adding that everything proceeded on schedule.

Lot 2 of the Struma motorway is being built by a consortium of Italian Impesa and Bulgarian GBS-Infrastructure Construction and Patstroi 92. The value of the contract is BGN 358.7 M.

Later on Tuesday, the ministers will check the progress of construction works at the problematic Lot 4 between Sandanski and Kulata, which is being built by Greece’s Aktor under a contract worth BGN 67.2 M.

Several inspections revealed that no construction works were underway at the site and the contractor was warned that the agreement would be cancelled if the delays persisted. The 16km motorway section was to be launched by October 15.

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When to Give Business Gifts and Who to Give Them to

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

when to give business gifts

You don’t have to wait for the holidays to send out business gifts. There are several different groups of people that might warrant gift giving. But if you’re wondering when to give business gifts and who to give them to, a general rule of thumb is to send gifts to the people who help make your company great.

In general, this includes clients, employees, and certain service providers. Read on for some tips about when to give business gifts and who you should send them.

Gifts for Clients

You should send something small to all of your company’s clients at least once a year. Gifts keep you at the top of clients’ minds year round, writes Forbes contributor John Hall. And even as some company’s cut back in recent times due to the economic crunch, others continue to be convinced gift giving is important for maintaining relationships, reports the Saremento Business Journal.

If your company has a small number of clients, or a small number of clients with particularly large accounts, you should try to customize their gifts as much as possible. Pay attention to each client’s habits or get some information from the sales people who have dealt with them.

For instance, if a client orders wine during dinner meetings, wine is a safe choice. If you’ve met with the client over golf, then a small token from their favorite course could be more appropriate. These personalized gifts can make your clients feel like they’re special and really important to your business.

But if your business has too many clients for you to manage individual purchases, smaller more general items will do. Just avoid cheap promotional items like pens or notepads with your business logo. Even a handwritten card seems more genuine than these purely promotional items.

You should also cater the timing of the gift giving to particular clients. Some clients, for instance, might not celebrate Christmas. You can ask clients if they do, without any specific questions about their religion or beliefs. But try to cater your gift giving to your clients’ preferences rather than your own.

Alternatively, you might consider sending a gift to clients during another time of year. You could send a gift after the completion of a large project, a new product launch, or another type of milestone.

But be sure to avoid sending gifts during inappropriate times. For instance, if you’re currently trying to close an account with another company or are involved in a bidding war with a competitor, sending a gift could send the wrong message.

Gifts for Employees

Employees have come to expect at least a small token of appreciation from their employer at least once per year. This often takes place during the holiday season or at the end of the year, an annual holiday survey by CareerBuilder explains.

Of course, most would prefer a simple cash bonus. So if that’s a possibility for your company, don’t forego it in favor of a token that only some employees might appreciate.

If you can’t afford sizeable bonuses for every employee, a small token like a restaurant gift card can still make them feel appreciated, suggests Salary.com. For most employees, you should stick to the same type of gift or at least gifts of similar value. But if you have one or two employees or colleagues who you work with more closely, like an assistant or partner, larger gifts may be more appropriate.

The most important aspect of giving employee gifts is to remember every single person. Co-workers are likely to exchange information and you don’t want anyone feeling under-appreciated or forgotten.

Gifts for Service Providers

Certain types of service providers for your business may also warrant holiday or end-of-year gifts. These can include virtual assistants, consultants, and even postal workers.

You may choose to either send gifts to these service providers over the holidays (taking into account their preferences and habits, of course). Or you could send a gift after a big project or period of time where they went above and beyond to help your company.

These service providers are also likely to prefer gifts like cash or gift cards. You can decide on an amount based on how closely you work with the person and what types of services they provide.

But you can also personalize these gifts by adding a small token if appropriate. For instance, if you work closely with a virtual assistant and know his or her favorite type of candy or dessert, pair it with the cash or gift card. But you could be less likely to know the preferences of your postal worker, so cash inside a simple card may be a safer route.

In addition, ask or find out if they have any restrictions on gifts. Postal workers, for example, are only supposed to receive gifts that are under $20 in value. So giving a larger tip or item could lead to an awkward situation for both parties.

Gift Photo via Shutterstock

The post When to Give Business Gifts and Who to Give Them to appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Bulgaria’s President Calls for Fair Distribution of Immigration Burden in EU

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has underscored the need for an integrated European approach to refugee issues at an informal meeting of the Arraiolos Group in Braga, Portugal.

During the meeting, the heads of state of nine EU countries agreed that the EU had to take steps to solve the problems causing refugee waves and at the same time ensure humane treatment of people who had reached their common borders in line with EU and global standards, according to the press office of the Bulgarian President.

The 10th informal meeting of the Arraiolos Group brought together the presidents of Portugal, Germany, Poland, Austria, Finland, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, and Bulgaria.

“Over the past year alone, terrorism forced millions of people to leave their homes and head for the EU borders. This is why we share the belief that we can only solve the problem with terrorist organizations if we work together, within a broad coalition,” Plevneliev insisted.

“Coping with refugee flows requires heightened attention on the part of EU institutions and a common EU policy,” Plevneliev remarked.

“It is very encouraging that the new European Commission includes a Commissioner with substantial experience in the sphere of immigration, namely Greece’s representative. It will not be easy, because crises cannot be solved in a day,” the Bulgarian President stated.

During the meeting, Plevneliev reiterated his calls for a fair distribution of the burden of the immigration wave, for strengthening European institutions, Frontex, and, most of all, boosting preventive measures.

“In order to be efficient, we have to pay attention to Syria, Libya, Lebanon, and Ukraine, and work there in order to make it possible for these people to live in their home countries instead of becoming refugees,” he said.

Plevneliev cited Eurostat data indicating taht 60% of the immigrants entering the EU headed for a total of only 5 countries, while 90% of them aimed for a total of 10 countries.

“This shows that we do not have a fair distribution of the burden. This is precisely what the new EU policy should focus on,” Plevneliev declared.

He pointed out that the participants in the meeting had reached agreement on the need for a swift adoption of the policy aimed at coping with the migratory pressure and they expected actions on the part of the EC.

Plevneliev suggested that the common point in the debates on problems in the energy sphere and refugees was the fact that complex problems such as these could only be solved through a unified European approach and the joint efforts of the Member States.

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Unemployment Rates in Bulgaria Remain Stable in August – Eurostat

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.5% in August 2014, stable compared with July 2014, but down from 12.0% in August 2013, according to Eurostat.

The EU unemployment rate was 10.1% in August 2014, the lowest value since February 2012. The rate was down from 10.2% in July 2014, and from 10.8% in August 2013.

Unemployment rates in Bulgaria have dropped from 12.8% in August 2013 to 11.3% in August 2014, remaining at the same level as in July the same year. Youth unemployment saw a decrease from 27.8% in August 2013 to 22.2% in the same month of 2014.

The statistical office of the European Union estimates that 24.642 million men and women in the EU, of whom 18.326 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in August 2014. Compared with July 2014, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 134 000 in the EU and by 137 000 in the euro area. On an annual basis, unemployment fell by 1.745million in the EU and by 834 000 in the euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.7%) and Germany(4.9%), and the highest in Greece (27.0% in June 2014) and Spain (24.4%).

In August 2014, 4.989 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the European Union, of whom 3.332 million were in the euro area. Compared with August 2013, youth unemployment decreased by 602 000 in the EU and by 210 000 in the euro area.

In August 2014, the youth unemployment rate was 21.6% in the EU and 23.3% in the euro area, compared with 23.5% and 23.9% respectively in August 2013.

The lowest rates were observed in Germany (7.6%), Austria (8.2%) and the Netherlands (10.1%), and the highest in Spain (53.7%), Greece (51.5% in June 2014), Italy (44.2%) and Croatia (43.9% in the second quarter 2014).

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Reformist Bloc Promises Justice Reform, Balanced Budget

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The Reformist Bloc says is targeting reform of the judiciary to guarantee independence of courts and free the justice system from corruption and political influence.

To ensure success of the justice system reform, the Reformist Bloc says in its programme for October 5 vote, it wants Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor to be elected by Parliament. It also will aim to introduce control of courts, prosecutors and the Supreme Judicial Council by Parliament to make the judiciary more accountable.

The Reformist Bloc, a union of five parties running in coalition with another two parties for seats in the next Parliament, is also targeting the following priorities in the justice and security system:
- Improving the performance of the Interior Ministry in collection of reliable evidence and rooting out corruption.
- Expanding the investigative functions of the Customs Agency and granting such functions to the Financial Supervision Commission and the National Revenue Agency.
- Introducing legislative changes aimed at improving the performance of security agencies and setting up a unified intelligence service.

In the area of economy and finances the Reformist Bloc is targeting increased efficiency of public finances’ management to ensure low levels of government debt, inflation and budget deficit that will allow Bulgaria to prepare for joining the Eurozone.

To achieve these goals, the party pledges to:
- Maintain low public debt in nominal terms.
- Achieve balanced state budgets and limit public expenditure to 38% of GDP (EU funds excluded).
- Keep the currency board and current tax levels.
- Work for achieving Bulgaria’s membership of the European banking union.
- Improve the business climate through reducing the administrative burden and encouraging foreign investment in Bulgaria.
- Introduce economic incentives for exporters and companies creating innovative products.
- Introduce participation in procurement deals on an entirely electronic basis to boost transparency and ensure equal degree of access to all participants.
- Work for liberalization of the energy market and sustainable development of modern energy infrastructure, lower energy consumption and increased energy efficiency of Bulgarian businesses and households.

Foreign policy goals include:
- Active participation of Bulgaria in the decision making process in the EU.
- Mobilizing all Bulgarian diplomatic resources for achieving the country’s immediate entry into the EU’s borderless Schengen zone.
- Defending and supporting the interests of Bulgarian national minorities abroad.

Goals in the defence area include:
- Modernization of Bulgarian Armed Forces’ arms and equipment.
- Concluding procurement deals for the army without intermediaries other than the respective authorized EU and NATO agencies with the aim of rooting out corruption.
- Making maximum use of the scientific and production potential of Bulgarian organizations involved in developing, producing and procuring defence equipment to Bulgaria and its NATO allies.

The Reformist Bloc says it is targeting elimination of political interference in the work of state administration bodies through:
- Introduction of universal rules for appointing officials at various levels of government.
- Setting up an independent regulator overseeing appointments of state administration officials.
- Introduction of integrated and transparent electronic government on central and regional level with the aim of reducing corruption as well as making administrative services for individuals and businesses cheaper and faster.

In the area of regional development the Reformist Bloc is targeting increased financial decentralization through transfer of more powers from the central government to local governments.

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WWF: Global Wildlife Population Dropped by 50% in 40 Years

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The Living Planet Index, which measures trends in thousands of vertebrate species populations, shows a decline of 52% between 1970 and 2010, according to the latest edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report.

In other words, the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, about half the size it was 40 years ago.

Biodiversity is declining in both temperate and tropical regions, but the decline is greater in the tropics, the World Wide Fund for Nature report indicates. The tropical LPI shows a 56% reduction in 3,811 populations of 1,638 species from 1970 to 2010. Latin America shows the most dramatic decline – a fall of 83%.

Habitat loss and degradation, and exploitation through hunting and fishing, are the primary causes of decline. Climate change is the next most common primary threat, and is likely to put more pressure on populations in the future.

Terrestrial species declined by 39 per cent between 1970 and 2010, a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

The LPI for freshwater species shows an average decline of 76 per cent. The main threats to freshwater species are habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution and invasive species.

Marine species declined 39% between 1970 and 2010.

WWF’s Living Planet report is published every two years. The last one showed a 28% decrease in vertebrate species populations, Dnevnik.bg notes.

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Bulgaria’s GERB Far Ahead of BSP in Sova Harris Poll

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Six parties are expected to enter the Bulgarian National Assembly after early elections on Sunday, polling agency Sova Harris predicts.

A survey ordered by the daily Presa shows that conservative Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) will be the clear winner at the vote, with 98 MP seats, 32 seats ahead of the Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP, coming second with 66 seats.

Liberals from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) are expected to get half as many lawmakers (33) and Bulgaria without Censorship will likely have two time less than this (15-16).

The Reformist Bloc, which until recently was considered to have a result close to the threshold of 4-percent support, looks now as certain to enter the Parliament, with the votes of about 200 000 people helping it to jump over the barrier, the pollster says.

Another group to the right of the political spectrum, the Patriotic Front (a VMRO-NFSB coalition) will also make it into the National Assembly with 13 lawmakers, according to Sova Harris.

Far-right Ataka, which was part of the former Parliament, has seen support plummet, with many of its voters drained by the Patriotic Front. The poll’s results suggest Ataka will most likely stand below the election threshold.

The figures show that a center-right majority is the most evident option to forge a coalition after the snap vote, Sova Harris believes.

The agency stresses voter turnout has seen a five-percent increase in the last month, with 58% (3.4-3.6 million) of those eligible to vote saying they will cast a ballot.

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Right Parties ‘to Dominate’ in Bulgaria’s Parliament – Poll

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Six parties are expected to enter the Bulgarian National Assembly after early elections on Sunday, polling agency Sova Harris predicts.

A survey ordered by the daily Presa shows that conservative Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) will be the clear winner at the vote, with 98 MP seats, 32 seats ahead of the Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP, coming second with 66 seats.

Liberals from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) are expected to get half as many lawmakers (33) and Bulgaria without Censorship will likely have two time less than this (15-16).

The Reformist Bloc, which until recently was considered to have a result close to the threshold of 4-percent support, looks now as certain to enter the Parliament, with the votes of about 200 000 people helping it to jump over the barrier, the pollster says.

Another group to the right of the political spectrum, the Patriotic Front (a VMRO-NFSB coalition) will also make it into the National Assembly with 13 lawmakers, according to Sova Harris.

Far-right Ataka, which was part of the former Parliament, has seen support plummet, with many of its voters drained by the Patriotic Front. The poll’s results suggest Ataka will most likely stand below the election threshold.

The figures show that a center-right majority is the most evident option to forge a coalition after the snap vote, Sova Harris believes.

The agency stresses voter turnout has seen a five-percent increase in the last month, with 58% (3.4-3.6 million) of those eligible to vote saying they will cast a ballot.

Source

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