Archive for July, 2018

Euronews: How to Kill Thousands of Animals in a Few Days, Bulgaria’s Battle with Livestock Plague

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

After Ovine rinderpest was discovered in Voden, the Bulgarian authorities had to work out how to kill thousands of animals in a matter of days.

Of course plans and precedents exist for such a programme but on a logistical and human level, there are many challenges to overcome.

The first positive test results of this disease also known as ‘sheep and goat plague’ were found in two sheep belonging to Yordan Trifonov, a 50-year-old ex-police officer.

After these positive results, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porozhanov said that Bulgaria would take appropriate measures in regards to the outbreaks and containment zones, which included the humanitarian euthanasia of all small-scale animals from the affected ones and the ones that were in contact with. The EU encouraged Bulgaria to take these necessary containment and eradication measures, including drastic movement restrictions for sheep and goats and their products.

One week after the positive test results were returned from the French lab CIRAD, some 30 veterinarians along with local assistants showed up to Yordan’s property to perform the mass culling on his 300 sheep.

Just before the animals were killed, a protocol document to ensure the humane killing of the livestock needed to be signed by both a veterinarian and Yordan himself. This protocol described how the animals would be euthanized by injection and then buried after, not incinerated. Authorities said the animals were buried because this region of Bulgaria is not suitable for burning animals, and transporting them to a region for incineration would only present a deeper threat.

All of Yordan’s 300 sheep were killed one-by-one, with multiple injections into the animal’s main carotid artery. An injection of ketamine momentarily paralyzed the animal, followed by an injection of T-61 to depress the central nervous system, causing respiratory and cardiac arrest in a matter of minutes.

His animals were then buried in a mass grave on his property near where the sheep used to feed. Yordan was told that after 70 hours in the ground the disease could no longer spread if properly disinfected. Yordan insisted on having the animal grave dug more than 3 meters deep so it would not impact his water supply.

The Bulgarian Food and Safety Administration says measures for the compulsory humane killing and disposal of all small ruminants in the affected holding are performed in compliance with the requirements of Ordinance 22 of 14.12.2005 on minimizing the suffering of animals during the slaughter. This ordinance includes culling methods such as a gunshot to the head, and the bleeding out of the animal after being stunned by an electric shock.

‘No choice’

Ana Petrova, 41, is a farmer from the nearby village of Bolyarova, who still has her 203 sheep alive and is awaiting further blood tests to be done on her animals this week.

She has been a vocal supporter of farmers who have already lost their livestock and was among the protesters at the neighbouring villages when authorities began the cullings.

“The police surrounded the town and gave them no choice. There were never any documents shown. The authorities said if you do not agree to let us kill your animals there will be fines, and we will not pay for the animals either,” said Petrova.

Petrova said she witnessed animals killed with injections, but was concerned there were not different dosages used based on the size of the animals, causing some of the livestock to suffer for upwards of 10-minutes.

She says she was never presented with any evidence regarding the qualifications of all those involved in the operations.

Another farmer, Baba Tzveta also from Voden, had all 126 of her sheep including 51 lambs killed by the authorities. She described the doctors as emotional when they injected her healthy animals at the back of her property because they knew how important they were to Baba Tzveta’s livelihood.

“We didn’t want them to kill healthy animals and I don’t think they wanted to kill them either. The veterinarian doctor explained to me that if they put a vaccine to the animals, instead of killing them, the outcome will be worse because we won’t be able to sell animals and milk for the next 5 years,” said Tzveta.


10 Ways Your Small Business Can Use Voice Technology

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

10 Ways Your Small Business Can Use Voice Technology

For the modern small business, voice technology is a great way to streamline processes and boost customer service. However, according to recent statistics from Globant, while 45% of senior employees use voice-activated technology personally, only 31% use the technology at work. Further, only 55% are getting ready to implement these tools into their business operations.

How Your Business Can Use Voice Technology

Small Business Trends spoke with Diego Tartara, CTO Latin America at Globant, and Brent Leary, Co-founder and Partner of CRM Essentials LLC, for 10 ways your business can use voice tech.

To Simplify the Customer Experience  

“I think the main thing is providing the customer with the opportunity to use their natural language to get what they want,” Leary says.

The right technology does away with the typing, clicking and swiping through other types of customer service platforms. Voice technology is faster than other types and an enhanced client experience makes for more sales.

To Cut Down on Data Input Time

Voice technology like Apple’s Siri streamline the process for busy salespeople too. When they can find the forecasts, top sales figures and other data simply by using their voice, they can spend more time in the field cultivating contacts and making money. The technology brings all the important CRM info under one roof and makes it quickly accessible.

To Remotely Manage the Office

Google Home and other technologies like it can help small business owners keep an eye on things while they’re on the road. Security cameras, alarm systems and even smart locks can be voice controlled from your smartphone.

To Increase Forecast Accuracy  

Small business management sees a definite advantage to using voice technology. Once everyone like their sales teams and inside staff are on board, data gets entered more quickly and more accurately.

“When there’s more data and more accurate data in the system, management can do more accurate and complete forecasting,” Leary says.

To Create Reminders 

A successful small business owner is pulled in several directions daily.  Knowing what meeting you’ll need to be at next and which emails should be flagged for immediate contact can be challenging. The right voice technology like Alexa can help you to categorize everything and bring it up quickly at your convenience.

To Track Shipments and Packages  

Alexa can be integrated with UPS to track packages over the Amazon platform. Once again, simple voice commands get you all the information that you’ll need.

Diego Tartara, CTO Latin America, Globantm, sees these types of technologies carving out an even big niche soon.

“I expect voice, gestures, sentiment and thoughts to be standard ways of interacting with an experience at some point, the same way I expect keyboards and mice to become obsolete,” he says.

To Streamline Customer Ordering  

Leary points out that the bigger players who are successful using voice technology are always looking for a way to remove any friction that prevents their customers from buying things. Amazon Echo is a great example but there’s nothing to stop small businesses from implementing voice ordering too.    

“Voice technology is just another way of removing friction and making it easy for customers to order,” he says.

To Manage Your Books 

 Small businesses can use Alexa like an voice activated book keeper. You can get information on everything from orders to inventory simply by asking.

To Order Business Supplies   

You can also use voice-activated software to buy business supplies for your enterprise. Google home offers some good options that include alternate prices so you can comparison shop.

To Stay on Top of Client Demand  

Tartara stresses staying on top of changing customer preferences means keeping an eye on this evolving technology.   

“Investment in voice technology must be viewed through the eyes of the end user without losing perspective,” Tartara says.  “This means that small businesses need to make these investments with their customers in mind throughout the entire development and implementation process, but also keep an eye on the future.”

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Ways Your Small Business Can Use Voice Technology” was first published on Small Business Trends


25 Ideas to Boost Your Business Curb Appeal

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

25 Small Business Curb Appeal Ideas

Why is curb appeal important for your store? An enormous 95% of customers say that the external appearance of a store is one of the main influences on their decision on where to shop.

Small Business Curb Appeal Ideas

But how exactly do you improve the appearance of your store, to make it welcoming and appealing to as many customers as possible? Follow these tips:

Put Some Greenery Out Front

A couple of hanging flower baskets or planters at either side of the door adds a splash of color and greenery to the entrance and makes the store look cared-for.

Get a Welcome Mat

A tiny, affordable change that makes every customer feel super welcome.


If you’re revamping your storefront, why not refresh your branding at the same time? This is the ideal way to signal a new start for your business.

Refresh your Signage

Peeling paint and faded colors say to customers ‘no one cares about this store, so why should you?’. Invest in a new sign and change that impression.

Add a Splash of Paint

Just like replacing your store sign, repainting walls and window frames gives your store a new lease of life. It makes it look brand new, cared about and fresh, which customers will love.

Sweep the Sidewalk Out Front Every Day

This simple task, which should be part of every store owners’ daily routine, is so often forgotten about. It takes just a moment, but instantly makes your store more appealing.

Inject Some Color

What better way to make your store stand out from the others from the street? Make your storefront vibrant, colorful and memorable.

Change your Window Display Regularly

This can keep regular passers-by interested in your store, eager to see what the display will be next. You might find it fun too!

Make it Clearer What your Business Does

Any passer-by should be able to tell immediately what it is that your business does or sells. If your signage or display doesn’t communicate this, you may need to go back to the drawing board.


Clutter looks untidy and can be confusing for the customer. Have a clear out and take out or down anything that detracts from the appeal and message of your store front.

Clean the Windows

Every store owner should have a regular cleaning schedule for their windows. Clean, sparkly windows make an enormous difference to the appeal of your store, while dirty, uncared-for panes are extremely off-putting.

Help your Neighbors to Tidy Up

You can only control how your storefront looks, right? Actually, you can help to improve the general area around your store by offering your neighbors (who may not be as tidy) to clean up.

Make Sure Parking is Well Lit and Signposted

This is a practical step that customers will really appreciate, as it makes finding your store and the parking lot easier.

Display your Most Appealing Goods

Your window display is no place for mediocre items and tatty goods from last year’s stock. It should be reserved for your most prized and appealing items, to lure customers in from the street.

Advertise Sales and Special Offers

Your main goal is to get customers through the door, and what better way to do it than with a big ‘sale – 50% off’ sign? No one can resist a bargain.

Consider Installing New Shop Furniture

Would an attractive new awning or sunshade give your store more curb appeal, or how about a brand-new door? It could be well worth the money for these larger projects if it means a better welcome for customers.

Don’t Forget about Maintenance

The smaller things like gutters and door handles are important, so make sure you pay attention to their maintenance.

Put your Trash Cans Out of Sight

While a trash can could help to keep the store front cleaner, it’s not the first thing you want customers to see when they approach your store. Tuck them away out of view, or at the back of the store, instead.

Use Seasonal Décor Carefully

It can be great fun during the holidays, but don’t forget to take it down on time.

Make your Store Cycle-friendly

Would your customers appreciate somewhere safe to store their bicycles? If so, install a bike rack out front or in the parking lot.

Be Dog-friendly Too

Even if you don’t permit dogs in the store, a bowl of water and somewhere to tether a dog are great ways to win over dog-loving customers.  

Be Accessible

If feasible, consider how you could make your store more accessible for disabled visitors, such as a ramp to the door.

Consider Landscaping

If you have outdoor space at the front of your store, look into how you can make the most of it with flowers, bushes and even trees.

Maintain Paths and Steps

Your customers need to be able to enter your store safely and easily.

Put Out a Sandwich Board

This helps you to catch the eye of customers further down the street, so they can see your special offers or branding before they even reach the store.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “25 Ideas to Boost Your Business Curb Appeal” was first published on Small Business Trends


What Everyone Ought to Know about Freelancing – Before Quitting your Day Job

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

3 Terms All Self-Employed Need to Know

Starting a business is more than quitting your day job and putting together a website for your new project. It involves the law, your money, and your daily energy. When it comes to being your own boss, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can both protect and grow your business.

Terms All Self-Employed Need to Know

I’m not talking about the more you know about marketing or the more you know about your competition. I’m talking about the more you know about business itself. Here are three common business terms all self employed people need to understand.

Quarterly Taxes

People who work for themselves don’t pay taxes in exactly the same way as people who are W2 employees for a company. In the W2 situation, a company helps pay taxes on your behalf and sends you tax information once a year.

When you work for yourself you have to pay taxes once a quarter. These are called, very helpfully, quarterly taxes. You can pay them by phone, online or mail in a check. They’re designed to ease the total burden of taxes due in April. Many freelancers though, don’t save enough for their quarterly taxes or fail to pay them throughout the year. It’s important to pay them on time and to regularly save for them, to avoid any fees or getting into trouble with the IRS.


Bookkeeping is one of those business terms that you’ll hear a lot when you start a business. ‘Do you have someone doing your bookkeeping?” or “What do you use for bookkeeping?” are common questions. But what even is bookkeeping?

Broadly put, it’s keeping track of all your financial records. That means your income and expenses, and narrowed down, it means things like all your invoices, receipts, taxes and contracts. You can do this yourself by hand, or you can hire a bookkeeper, or you can use a platform like Due to manage it. What works for you will depend on your business and your needs.

Work Agreement

A work agreement is a basic statement that lays out the type and scope of work that you’ll complete for a client. It’s not as rigid or binding as a contract, but it functions to lay the groundwork of a partnership in a similar way.

A work agreement is essential for freelancers, especially new ones. It can provide some protection for clients that want to take advantage of you. It can provide guidance if you get confused about what you’re trying to create.

These business terms are common in the self-employed world, and understanding them will make your work day smoother. Learn all you can about the functions of being self-employed and you’ll find that the profit comes a little easier.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Image via

This article, “What Everyone Ought to Know about Freelancing – Before Quitting your Day Job” was first published on Small Business Trends


Metro Tries to Sell and Lease Back its Properties in Romania and Bulgaria

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Goldman Sachs was mandated by German retailer Metro, to find a buyer for real estate owned by the company in Romania and Bulgaria.

The company, which owns 30 cash & carry stores, is looking to sell the real estate business, and rent the premises to continue operations. Metro owns in Romania around 190,000 sqm at a value estimated at EUR 400-600 million, in the context of a store (construction and land) costs EUR 15-20 million.

Ziarul Financiar has written about a year ago about the idea of ??the Germans to restructure their local business, more precisely to separate their real estate division from the commercial division to sell it first.

The move would mark a change in Metro Cash & Carry’s operating mode, the player who opened up the modern local commerce market in 1996. The initial business model of the Germans was based on land acquisition and ownership of the shops, but it seems that model will change.

The Germans at Metro Cash & Carry owns 30 stores in Romania with around 4,000 employees and sales of more than EUR 1 billion.


Transgaz has for Auction the Export and Import Capacities of Natural Gas at the Border with Hungary and Bulgaria

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Transgaz published on its site the announcements regarding the sale by auction of the export –import capacities of gas from and to Hungary and Bulgaria for the gas year 2018 – 2019.

Thus, the grid operators interested to keep its capacity for import or export in relation with Hungary at Csanadpalota or in relation with Bulgaria through the pipeline Giurgiu-Ruse had to be registered until 27th July so that until 31st July present the guarantee of participation to the auction, both at Transgaz and the grid operator of Hungary and Bulgaria respectively.

The auctions for aggregated/non-aggregated capacity will start on 6th August 2018 at 07:00 (UTC) and 09:00 of Hungary (CET) and 10:00 of Romania (EET) respectively.
Within the auction, the grid users can bid for the requested capacity in successive steps, by applying pre-determined price intervals.

The grid users whose bid won the auction have to pay the capacity tariff for the capacity which was obtained, the auction  commission calculated on the basis of the price interval,the volume tariff for the transported quantity, the Transgaz announcement says.


EC Approves Sale of Telenor’s CEE Assets to Czech Investment Group PPF

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

SOFIA (Bulgaria), July 30 (SeeNews) – The European Commission said on Monday it has approved the sale of Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor’s assets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to Czech Republic-based investment group PPF.

“The Commission found that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns,” the EU’s executive body said in a statement.

The transaction includes Telenor’s wholly-owned mobile operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia and the technology service provider Telenor Common Operation.

The Commission said it has found that the transaction “would not give rise to horizontal overlaps, as the companies’ activities are confined to the different territories in which they hold their respective telecommunication licenses.”

In addition, the Commission found that the vertical links between the upstream markets for wholesale international roaming and wholesale mobile and fixed call termination services and the downstream markets for retail mobile and fixed telecommunications services arising from the transaction would be unproblematic.

In March, Telenor said it has agreed to sell its assets in CEE to PPF for 2.8 billion euro ($3.3 million) on an enterprise value basis.

The CEE operations contributed approximately 11.8 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.52 billion/1.24 billion euro), or 9% of Telenor Group’s revenues and 4.1 billion Norwegian crowns, or 8% of EBITDA, in 2017, the group said in March. These operations had more than 9 million customers and around 3,500 employees. 

Telenor’s combined EBITDA, before other items, of its wireless units in Serbia and Montenegro increased 8.8% on the year to 719 million Norwegian crowns in the first half of 2018. In the January-June period, Telenor Bulgaria’s EBITDA rose to 130 million levs ($78 million/66.5 million euro), from 124 million levs in the first half of 2017.

PPF Group is a private investment group, operating in CEE with approximately 35 billion euro of assets under its control. PPF Group invests in various sectors, including banking, consumer finance, real estate, mining and telecommunications. In February, PPF signed an agreement with Sweden’s Modern Times Group (MTG) to acquire media company Nova Broadcasting Group in Bulgaria.

Telenor has had mobile operations in the CEE region for 25 years. Telenor entered the Montenegrin market in 1996 through the launch of mobile services in the country. In 2006, it acquired Mobi 063 in Serbia. Telenor acquired mobole operator Globul in Bulgaria in 2013. 

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Bulgaria in the Top Six in the World When it Comes to Alcohol Consumption

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

SOFIA, BULGARIA - ”Capital”  reports that, according to the International Organization of Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR), Bulgaria is among the top six in the world for consumption of spirits per capita, as the statistics also include domestic production.

Beyond that, growth in the economy leads to more expensive drinks: the bright market grows by 6.6% in last year’s value and exceeded BGN 700 million. In terms of quantity, the jump is moderate – 5.9%, but half of the quantity is actually wine – BGN 155 million and 32 million liters.

Every Bulgarian over 18 years drinks 14 liters of alcohol per year. In addition, Bulgaria is one of the countries with the lowest prices and the lowest excise duty on alcohol, and also, with solid domestic production. Homemade boiled brandy /called rakia/ accounts for 60% of the consumption. Expected Bulgarians mostly drink wine and rakia.

Source: EU Scoop


Bulgaria’s Fibank Non-cons Net Profit Rises in H1

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

SOFIA (Bulgaria), July 31 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria’s First Investment Bank (Fibank) [BUL:5F4] said that its non-consolidated net profit rose to 45.4 million levs ($23.2 million/27.2 million euro) in the first half of 2018 from 40.6 million levs in the like period of last year. The lender’s net interest income decreased to 121.4 million levs in the period January-June, compared to 123.9 million levs in the prior-year period, Fibank said in an interim financial statement on Monday. Fibank’s net fee and commission income fell to 46.2 million levs in the first six months of 2018 from 49.5 million levs a year earlier. The company’s administrative expenses rose to 96 million levs in the review period from 95.5 million levs the year before, while other expenses declined to 215,000 levs from 12.9 million levs. Fibank was the fourth largest lender in Bulgaria in terms of assets as at end-May, according to data of Bulgaria’s central bank. 


Bulgaria’s Power Output Falls 7.2% y/y in May

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

SOFIA (Bulgaria), July 30 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria’s gross electricity production fell by 7.2% year-on-year in May, whereas electricity supply decreased by an annual 5.7%, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said on Monday.

On a monthly comparison basis, Bulgaria’s power output declined by 1.7% to 2,976 GWh in May, the NSI said in a statement.

Electricity supply added 3.6% month-on-month in May, reaching 2,361 GWh.



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