Archive for June, 2015

EU Commission President Thanks for Bulgarian Contribution to Investment Plan

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his gratitude to Bulgaria and its Prime Minister Boyko Borisov for the country’s announced contribution to the Investment Plan.

Earlier on Tuesday, it was announced that Bulgaria will contribute EUR 100 M towards projects financed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

Juncker expressed his gratitude in Bulgarian language in front of the building of the European Commission in Brussels after a meeting with 30 Bulgarian mayors from the ruling GERB party.

He was delighted to learn of the Bulgarian participation, saying that the contribution was important both for the country and Europe, daily Dnevnik reports.

In his words, this was an attestation of the seriousness with which Bulgaria fulfilled its commitments to the EU.

Juncker was also happy with the fact that Bulgaria could make use of all the advantages of the Investment Plan.

He assured Bulgarian mayors that the European Commission would like to closely cooperate with them.

Juncker explained that the Commission sought such collaboration with the mayors as they were the ones closest to the people.

Bulgaria became the eighth member state to announce its contribution to EFSI after Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Slovakia, even before the fund has become operational.

The Bulgarian participation will be provided through co-financing of projects approved by the Bulgarian Development Bank.

Juncker was delighted to see the solidarity with Europe demonstrated by Borisov.

He assured he had a positive attitude towards Borisov and had close friendly relations with the Bulgarian Prime Minister.


Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a Good Match for Small Businesses?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

samsung galaxy note 4

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 S Pen is still the defining utility hardware within the entire Note line. This time around, a few software enhancements have been introduced.

Key Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Features

Features of the Galaxy Note 4 include the S Pen, a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560-pixel Quad HD Super AMOLED display, a wide-angle 3.7-megapixel front camera, an Exynos 5433 8-core system chip and Android 4.4 OS, Google apps, 32GB storage, 3GB RAM, multi-window feature for multi-tasking.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Pros

Taking screenshots via the S Pen is extremely helpful. To do this, hover the S Pen close to the screen, click the button that’s on the pen, then select the last choice on the wheel.

That’s simple enough but these steps take a little practice. The choice wheel also pops up automatically anytime the pen is pulled from its chassis.

Unlike older versions of the Galaxy Note, the S Pen can now be re-inserted in any direction without fear of damaging the phone. The pen thankfully still responds to the buttons on either side of the home button, an improvement Samsung made in 2013 to the Galaxy Note 3.

The included charger allows the phone to charge quickly.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Cons

The sides of this phone are much too sensitive.

With a practically non-existent bezel, hands and fingers often initiate a command you didn’t intend. For instance, you could end up blocking a friend on Skype, opening something you didn’t want or, in the worst cases, sending something you didn’t intend to be sent. That happened to me.

I almost inadvertently blocked a friend on Skype, too. The bezel – albeit visually aesthetic on the Note 4 – is its own worst enemy.

The S Pen feature named “Direct Pen Input” provides a handwriting pad which is intended to be helpful, but it honestly just gets in the way. To turn it off, you’ll need to access the settings. This isn’t something a smartphone newbie would be comfortable doing.

The Note 4 is the first in the Note line to get optical image stabilization in the main camera. Despite that claim, it still produced blurry pics after I ran a few deliberate stress tests.

The off-contract price is $699.99 ($720 at Walmart). If you think that stings, you don’t have much of a choice because the price with a 2-year Verizon contract is $299.99.

Samsung bloatware has been toned down, but it’s still there.

Who Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Is Best For

This phone is probably best for those who are seasoned in using smartphones. Asian business owners who don’t write in English would likely have the biggest loyalty to this phone and all the variants within the “Note” line simply because of the S Pen.

The S Pen is popular in Asian countries such as South Korea and Taiwan because of its ability to write native input in the languages of those countries.

I don’t recommend this phone to people who are new to smartphones.

The browser windows are treated as separate entities when you view all your currently open apps. Some people might consider that a positive, however I feel Samsung likely modified it to meet the needs of new smartphone owners.

It, like so many other traits of the Galaxy Note 4, is a modification that falls flat because it seems to cater to people who are new to smartphones, but doesn’t really hit the mark with its intent.

Image: Samsung

This article, “Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a Good Match for Small Businesses?” was first published on Small Business Trends


EU plastics industry hit by high prices

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

European manufacturers using plastics in their goods do not gain from low oil prices

Rio and X2: coal-hearted

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Anglo-Australian miner’s cruel-to-be-kind strategy on its subsidiary makes sense

Can Mr Obama really help?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

WHAT’S the easiest way to boost America’s sluggish wage growth? President Barack Obama thinks that expanding overtime pay may be the answer. On June 30th details emerged of a new scheme in which 5m more Americans will be entitled to “overtime pay”—1.5 times their normal pay when they work more than 40 hours. Mr Obama hopes that the plan will boost the paypackets of some workers. The economic evidence behind it says this may not be the only benefit.

American workers have seen better days. Since the recession, inflation-adjusted private-sector hourly earnings have stumbled. People wistfully remember decades long gone, where they were used to annual rises of 2.5% or more in real terms every year. Small wonder, then, that economists are trying policy ideas from the glory days. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), implemented in 1938, is one place to look. The FLSA stipulated that any worker who worked more than 44 hours and was paid less than $30 a week was entitled to overtime pay. The FLSA is still in force (and the working-hours threshold is now 40 hours) but the earnings threshold was last updated in 1975 and currently stands at $23,660.

The earnings threshold is meant to strip out managers and supervisors who, the argument goes, have more control over their time. But an exemption designed for highly paid, white-collar employees ended up leaving…Continue reading

Israeli anger grows over Leviathan deal

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Netanyahu forced into climbdown over $6.5bn project amid growing disagreement with opposition MPs

Eurogroup to Discuss Latest Greek Proposal at Emergency Conference Call

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The eurozone finance minister will discuss at an emergency conference call the latest Greek proposal, which was submitted by the government in Athens earlier on Tuesday.

Eurogroup Predient Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced that an extraordinary Eurogroup teleconference will be held to discuss the proposal of the Greek government, daily Kathimerini reports.

The news of the proposal and the subsequent convocation of the Eurogroup come just hours before Greece is expected to defaults on its IMF debt repayment, which falls due later on Tuesday.

In the latest proposal, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a two-year rescue deal with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to fully cover its financial needs and with parallel debt restructuring.

Tsipras also requested a short extension of the country’s current bailout programme to avoid a “technical default” of its IMF debt repayment, which amounts to EUR 1.6 B.


Israeli anger grows over gasfield deal

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Netanyahu forced into climbdown over project amid growing disagreement with opposition MPs

Public anger grows over Israeli gasfield

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Netanyahu forced into climb down over project amid growing disagreement with opposition MPs

Ta-ta T1

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

IT IS a big week for Heathrow Airport. Tomorrow, the Davies Commission, which was set up to recommend the best way to add extra air capacity to London and its environs, reports. London is desperately short of runways, and the choice has come down to adding a third runway at Heathrow, a second one at Gatwick, or perhaps some sort of fudge. 

Many businesses and, I daresay, business travellers, would like to see the extra runway at Heathrow. Squeezing all those planes at the world’s third-busiest airport on to just two runways—half the number of Tokyo Heneda, the fourth-busiest—stretches passengers’ patience and drives up airlines’ fees horribly. The trouble is that Heathrow is, relatively speaking, close to the city it serves. And the prevailing wind direction means that the normal flight path takes planes right over the city. So expansion at Heathrow would be politically…Continue reading

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