Archive for November, 2014

Email detox: A cleaner, leaner working life

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

A tech start-up boss ignored her inbox for a month with radical results

Sarkozy Wins Party Leadership Vote with Eye on French Presidential Bid

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been elected head of the opposition UMP party – a victory that is expected to bolster his hopes for running for president again.

The election of Sarkozy at the top position of the conservative UMP is positioning him as front-runner for the nomination of the party for the presidential elections in 2017.

Sarkozy obtained 64.5% support from party members in a vote late on Saturday, defeating former ministers Bruno Le Maire and Herve Mariton.

The result, however, is lower than the 85% of the vote when Sarkozy was first elected party leader in 2004, indicating he will have to try hard to outrun potential rivals within UMP.

Sarkozy’s victory iseen by many as the first step on his road to political comeback aimed at winning back the presidency in 2017.

The UMP will hold primary elections in 2016 to nominate its candidate for the presidential elections.

In those primaries Sarkozy’s rivals are expected to include Fran?ois Fillon, his former prime minister, and former prime minister Alain Juppe, who was also defence and foreign minister for Sarkozy.

In 2004, Sarkozy was elected the UMP’s leader and went on to become French President from 2007 until his defeat in 2012. He failed to win re-election in 2012, losing to the current Socialist President Francois Hollande.




The email detox for a cleaner, leaner working life

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

A tech start-up boss ignored her inbox for a month with radical results

Coal plants sap China’s emissions targets

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Conversion projects take toll on water consumption

Prepare for a long-term fall in energy prices

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Swiss Vote Whether to Drastically Cut Immigration

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Switzerland is holding a controversial referendum on Sunday to decide whether to cut immigration by about 75%.

According to supporters, the move would help protect the environment by reducing the need for new transport links and new housing.

Opponents, including the government, all political parties, employers and unions, argue the proposed cap on immigration growth at 0.2% of the population, or an addition of around 16,000 people per year, will hurt the Swiss economy by curbing the possibility for Swiss employers to recruit skilled foreign labour force.

Besides, opponents claim, capping immigration would derail Switzerland’s agreements with the EU on free movement of labour.

Swiss statistics put the number of foreign nationals, most of them from EU member states, at about 25% of the country’s population of around eight million.

Under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, citizens can force a referendum if they gather enough signatures of support. If an initiative wins approval at a referendum, it must become law within three years.


Brazil to raise ethanol content of petrol

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Increase in blend is first in almost two years and brings much-needed relief for sugar mills

FinMin Goranov Vows to Avoid Overdoing Fiscal Consolidation

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The government will do its best to boost investment and consumption while maintaining fiscal stability, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said on Sunday.

Commenting on the GERB-led coalition government’s plans to boost budget revenue, Goranov vowed there will be no increase in Value Added Tax, currently set at 20%.

“We’ll make every effort possible to use fiscal instruments … to increase investment and consumption,” Goranov told BNR radio station, adding parliament will work extra hours to have the 2015 budget adopted by January 1.

The government’s budget draft for next year projects  deficit equivalent to 3.0% of GDPlower than the shortfall of 3.7% expected this year. Budget revenue is projected at 36.8% of GDP and expenditure at 39.8%.

Goranov said earlier this week Bulgaria’s economy is expected to grow by 0.8 – 1.0 percent in real terms next year “which, together with some measures to improve collection – especially in regard to excise duties, will lead to around BGN 300-400 M more tax revenues in 2015 compared to 2014″.

Commenting on the performance of the previous GERB government (2009-2013), Goranov admitted its fiscal consolidation measures had sometimes been overdone due to unrealistic ambitions to join the Eurozone.

According to Goranov, subordinating everything across the board to the concept of fiscal consolidation sometimes led to unbalanced decisions that increased the share of delayed payments to businesses by the government, Goranov said.

That austerity policy promoted by then Finance Minister Simeon Djankov had been based on the wrong assumption that Bulgaria could quickly meet the minimum requirements to be allowed into ERM-2, the Eurozone’s ‘waiting room’.

“Today, we clearly realize we are far from that,” said Goranov who was Djankov’s deputy in the previous GERB cabinet.



Torn between EU and Russia, Moldova Votes for Parliament

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Moldova is holding parliamentary elections on Sunday expected to decide whether the ex-Soviet country would maintain its recent course towards EU membership or turn back and move closer to Russia.

According to the latest opinion pollsMoldova’s current pro-EU government coalition – plus the Liberal Party, which left the coalition last year but is backing course to EU accession – together have about 49% support.

The Socialist Party, which backs customs union with Russia, together with the disqualified pro-Russian Patria party, had polled about 22% support in opinion polls, while the  traditionally Moscow-leaning Communist Party had polled 21%.

Moldova’s Appeals Court banned Patria from running last week after the Central Election Commission asked for the pro-Russian party to be disqualified, claiming it had illegally used foreign financing for its election campaign. Patria’s leader, Renato Usatii, a Russian businessman of Moldovan origins, denied the allegation and fled to Russia.

Moldovans are voting for members of the 101-seat parliament. The entry threshold is set at 6% of the vote. Some 78%of Moldova’s 3.6-million population is ethnic Romanian. Russians and Ukrainians account for about 14%.

A minimum turnout of at least one-third of eligible voters is needed to make the elections valid. As in previous elections, the Russian-backed breakaway region of Transdniestria isn’t voting.

With no party expected to win outright majority it is very difficult to predict what kind of ruling coalition might emerge from the elections in the country tucked between EU member Romania and Ukraine.

According to  Vladimir Socor, an analyst with the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, “for the first time in its 23 years of independence, Moldova has the opportunity to finally tear itself away from Russia and decisively and irreversibly turn in the direction of the West.”

Since 2009, Moldova has been governed by coalitions of pro-EU parties. The country has signed an Association Agreement with the EU and has achieved a visa-free travel regime with the bloc. The EU is Moldova’s largest trading partner with 45% followed by Russia at 25%.


Start Off December With a Ton of Events

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

The big eventEDIT
The month of December is kicking off with a full week of events. Getting things started Dec. 1 is the Construction Super Conference in Las Vegas. Other events include the Online Educa Berlin Conference on Technology Supported Learning, Holiday Networking and Celebration, and FT Frontier Markets Summit. Check out the full list and see what’s going on near you.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

AM DAYS Affiliate Management Days ConferenceAM DAYS Affiliate Management Days Conference
March 30, 2015, San Francisco, CA

The Affiliate Management Days San Francisco 2015 conference is an event for marketing managers and those responsible for their company’s affiliate marketing strategy, management and operations. Whether you have an existing affiliate program or you’re creating a new initiative, AM Days provides insight into how others are successfully implementing and managing their affiliate programs.

More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.
The big event photo via Shutterstock

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