Archive for September, 2019

20 Kilometers Long Truck Queue on Kaptain Andreevo Border Checkpoint – Drivers Left 3 without Toilet and Water for 3 Days

Monday, September 30th, 2019

Traffic congestion is formed at Bulgaria’s main border checkpoint with Turkey – Kapitan Andreevo. The queue of heavy trucks entering Bulgaria’s southern neighbour is over 20 km long. Currently, the last tracks are shortly after the Shell gas station, located between Lyubimets and Svilengrad.

“In the last two weeks the queue has not been less than 17-20 km. We wait between 42 and 70 hours,” a truck driver who regularly travels through the border checkpoint complains. According to him, the conditions in which he and his colleagues are forced to wait are extremely miserable. “There are not even bins where we can throw away our trash, toilets or water. Bulgarian authorities say that the problem lies in the Turkish country, but in reality the plug is at our border. It takes 10-15 minutes to cross the border from Turkey, Bulgaria,” our reader explained.

According to Border Police data, traffic for trucks is extremely intensive not only at the exit of Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint, but also at Lesovo border checkpoint. The reason for the kilometers long queues is the repair activities of the border checkpoint which are carried out by the Turkish border authorities. The Directorate stated that everything what the Bulgarian side could do is already done.

It is recalled that there were also problems at other border points. On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, for more than 12 hours, it was not possible to cross the border checkpoints Malko Tarnovo and Lesovo towards Bulgaria due to a breakdown in the document processing system at the Turkish border checkpoints.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the General Consulate of Bulgaria in Edirne is in constant contact with the Turkish border and customs authorities and is ready to react if necessary. In case of need of assistance the Bulgarian citizens can call the following telephone numbers: 0090 284 214 06 17, on-call hotline on working days: 0090 533 7396140, on-call hotline on weekends and holidays: 0090 533 6298164.

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Ivet Lalova Qualified for the Doha Semifinals

Monday, September 30th, 2019

Bulgarian Athletics star Ivet Lalova qualified for the 200m semifinals at the Doha World Championship. The competitor finished first in the second series with a result of 22.79 seconds, gong.bg reported.

Ivet Lalova managed to outpace her competitors in the final meters at Khalifa International Stadium.

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A Fugitive Criminal Hid in a Cave in China for 17 Years

Monday, September 30th, 2019

Police in China have arrested a fugitive criminal who has been hiding for 17 years. His hiding place was discovered with the help of a drone. Song Jiang, 63, was sentenced to prison for trafficking in women and children, but in 2002 managed to escape from a prison camp. All these years he lived in a miniature cave and did not interact with people.

In early September, Yunnan Province police received information about Song’s whereabouts. Search teams reached the mountain near the fugitive’s hometown in southwest China. Officers began to search the area and authorities released additional drones to help the operation. Eventually the drones found a steep place among the rocks painted in blue steel plate and traces from waste.

When they reached the spot, the police found the man in a small cave where he had been hiding for years. The man lived so long alone that it was difficult for him to communicate with the police officers. 

He was detained and sent back to jail.

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Bulgaria’s Support for North Macedonia’s Accession to the EU is not Unconditional

Monday, September 30th, 2019

The consultative summit meeting convened by President Rumen Radev in connection with the invitation expected to be extended to North Macedonia to start EU accession negotiations in October, decided that a national position on the matter should be developed with clear-cut requirements and criteria that will uphold Bulgaria’s national interest, BNR  reported.

According to the participants these requirements should be enshrined in the negotiating framework and become a sine qua non for the country’s accession to the EU. The Bulgarian President stressed that it is particularly important to set down red lines that will guarantee that the European integration of North Macedonia will not be at the expense of Bulgaria’s history, language and identity as a bargaining chip. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov cautioned that Sofia’s support for North Macedonia’s membership of the EU has never been unconditional and that the country must not waste this chance. Sofia wants North Macedonia to progress, in its EU pre-accession negotiations, together with Albania, Boyko Borissov said. 

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Bulgaria over the Next 5 Years: Wages Jump by 40%, GDP Rises, but the Demographic Crisis Continues to Deepen

Monday, September 30th, 2019

The economic forecasts for Bulgaria for the next few years are quite positive. This is indicated by statistics released by the Statista covering the period 2014 to 2024.

The GDP of the small European country is expected to increase steadily over the next 4-5 years, by 2019 estimated to reach $ 67 billion or 2 billion more than in 2018. Extremely pleasant, is the Statista’s suggest (for the next 5 years) for a significant growth of 3 to 5 billion annually, reaching $ 91.56 billion in 2024. We recall that GDP is an important indicator of the economic situation of the countries, showing the total value of all services and goods produced for a year in the country.

In terms of GDP per capita – another important indicator that demonstrates the total value produced by each resident – the picture is expected to be similar. From an estimated $ 9,619 on average per year in 2019, the growth will reach $ 13,533 per year on average per person. This practically means that the average wages in the country should jump by almost 40 percent within 5 years. According to the latest data from the National Statistical Institute, the average wage in the country for the first quarter of this year amounts to BGN 1208 or 5, which means that the expectations for the next 5 years are these amounts to increase to BGN 1691 or 4.8 respectively.

At the same time, in 2019, the government of Bulgaria spent in 37% of its gross domestic product on various investments, improving the living conditions and quality of services in the country. The projection is to gradually reduce this amount by almost half a percent a year, reaching 34.6% in 2024.

However, the good news are over here. According to statistics, the demographic crisis in the country will continue to deepen. Since officially the population of Bulgaria has fallen below 7 billion people in 2019, the tendency for the country is to lose an average of 0.5% of its people every year – in other words, the Bulgaria’s population decreases annually by about 35 thousand people. It is projected to reach 6.77 million people in 2024, which, however, will receive higher average salaries and will have higher productivity.

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BFSA Launches Mass Inspections at all Industrial Breeding Farms due to Risk of Flu

Monday, September 30th, 2019

The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) will launch mass inspections at all industrial breeding farms for waterfowl and landfowl in the country, the BFSA press office said.

As the coming winter season poses risk of flu to birds, inspectors will monitor whether biosecurity requirements are met and whether farms self-monitor with regard to bird flu and Salmonellosis.
The frequency and number of the samples taken should be applied in accordance with the National Preventive Control Programme and the supplementary instructions approved by the BFSA to ensure the health status of the sector.
If the inspectors establish violations or omissions, the owners will be fined.
The checks will continue until 18 October 2019.

At the beginning of September, at a meeting with the poultry industry at the BFSA, the biosecurity measures were discussed that should be applied by the farmers. The food agency will be checking their implementation, namely, taking samples to check the effectiveness of disinfection, and documentary verification and on-site inspection of the prepared biosecurity plan.

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20 In Office Event Ideas for Your Small Business

Monday, September 30th, 2019

20 Incredible In Office Event Ideas

Small business owners need their staff to bond with each other in order to ensure a good working relationship that benefits the company. They can achieve this with a variety of events and activities that are either free or inexpensive and can be hosted right there in the office itself.

In Office Event Ideas

Here are twenty of the best in office event ideas.

Two Truths and a Lie

A brilliant ice-breaking game that helps team members get to know each other better while having a bit of fun in the process. Form a circle and have each employee introduce themselves before revealing two true things and one false thing about themselves. Everybody else then has fun trying to figure out which of the three things is not true.

Suddenly Stories

Gather everyone together and start a story with three sentences, then say ‘suddenly…’. This is the cue for the next person to continue the story with their own three sentences, which they end with the word ‘suddenly…’ again. The next person then takes over and so on. This word game helps your staff innovate new content based on what came before as well as forcing them to be creative while the spotlight is on them.

Jigsaw Puzzle Race

Get several of the same jigsaw puzzles and split your staff into teams who must then race to complete the puzzle before their rival teams. It is an excellent activity for developing teamwork skills and helps focus their collective minds on a single task.

The Egg Drop Challenge

This team-building exercise has been gaining popularity in the last few years due to its quirkiness. Split your staff into teams who must use only simple materials such as sticky tape, cardboard rolls, paper and the like to create a structure around an uncooked egg that must protect it when dropped from a significant height.

What’s My Name?

This fun game has been parodied in a number of TV comedy shows, perhaps most notably in The Office where the well-meaning but idiotic Michael Scott makes an utter mess of his company’s diversity training day. Stick to celebrities from any era and write their names on paper that you stick to each other’s foreheads or backs and then try and figure out who is written on yours.

Sneak-a-Peek

This game is a test of your staff’s descriptive and communication skills as well as their creativity. An object or shape is made out of building blocks (such as Lego) and one member of each team gets to ‘sneak a peek’ at the structure before returning to their group and describing it to them so they can recreate it as accurately as possible.

Board Game Tournaments

Spend an afternoon engaging in some board game tournaments to relieve stress, reward employees for their hard work, and to help everybody either work together or compete in friendly fun. The low stakes of such games means everybody enjoys themselves, even when they lose!

Office Trivia Games

Expand everybody’s knowledge with a few rounds of general knowledge trivia as well as some specific categories that are relevant to your business or individual members of staff. Split into teams to challenge each other and work together to win points and maybe even a prize!

Catch Phrase

This game involves teams describing a phrase or thing without saying the name of it directly. It is a great way to get your employees working together while teaching them how to communicate with one another.

Office Improv Workshop

Improv or comedy workshops are another fun way to help your staff develop useful skills such as communication and concentration. These interactive experiences can be hosted right there in the office, and for a small fee you might be able to get an experienced improv expert to pop in and get the shenanigans underway.

Hero, Highlight and Hardship

Get each member of staff (including yourself and other management) to share a hero who influenced them, a special highlight of their life so far, and also a hardship that they endured and perhaps also had an influence on the person they are today. This game helps you all get to know other on a much deeper level, strengthening the bond between you and the respect you have for each other.

Strengths-Finding Workshops

Initiate a strengths-finding workshop so that your staff can learn more about their own strengths as well as those of their workmates. By helping them understand each other’s strengths as well as their own, they will become a much more effective team.

Concentration or Pairs

A simple card game where teams must work together to remember where matching pairs of the same symbol are in an arrangement of otherwise facedown identical cards.

Democratic Employee Awards

Instead of the boss deciding who is the employee of the month according to sales figures or other such stats, let the staff themselves vote. Other factors then come into play besides just cold hard numbers. It might be someone’s willingness to help others will see them rewarded, or perhaps another’s dedication to tasks that often get overlooked will finally get some recognition.

Active Shooter Training

While hopefully not something your staff will actually ever need, knowing that your workmates are equipped with the knowledge and ability to handle a terrible situation will strengthen their bond and the trust they have in each other.

Table Sports

A foosball or table tennis table are not too expensive and don’t take up much room, but they can be great for staff to unwind and you can even organize mini-tournaments to encourage fun interactions between staff members.

Themed Sales Day

Organize a themed sales day that alternates work tasks with games. Provide snacks to enhance the fun factor and perhaps even encourage fancy dress for the day. Award fun prizes for the teams or individuals that generate the best sales for that day.

Customized Jeopardy!

Come up with several questions in a variety of categories related to your business or industry and then form teams to compete by answering the questions.

Untangle the Human Knot

This team-bonding and problem-solving exercise involves everyone standing in a circle, putting their right hand in the air and grasping the hand of someone on the other side of the circle, then linking your left hand to someone else’s. Then the game is to untangle yourselves without letting go of each other’s hands. Sounds easy until you try it.

Group Grouping Challenge

Split everybody into smaller groups and then challenge them to sort themselves according to a variety of categories. Some of the categories can be easy such as height, age or hair length.

However, you can really help them get to know each other by including categories such as how many countries they have visited, how many music bands they have seen play live, how many siblings they have or how many sports teams they follow. The possibilities are quite literally endless.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “20 In Office Event Ideas for Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Is it better to use gaming affiliates or gaming operators?

Monday, September 30th, 2019

Online gaming is a hugely popular pastime in the UK, with adults of all ages going online to have fun, win money and play with friends or new people. With the latest technological advancements and the availability of smartphones and computers increasing, the number of gaming websites has skyrocketed in recent years.

Overall, the gambling industry produced a gross yield of over ?14.5 billion in the United Kingdom last year. Significantly, 39% of the industry’s market share belongs to the remote (in other words, online) sector. This is an increase of 1.2% from the previous year and goes to show that gaming online is, and will continue to be, a popular and profitable industry.

However, while more choice is a great thing for most players, it can be a little overwhelming for new players just dipping their toe into the world of online gaming.

This is where gaming affiliates come into play. Affiliates promote various online gaming websites, with the intention of increasing traffic to their websites and providing consumers with valuable information about games and the websites that operate them. This may include game ratings, reviews, special offers and bonuses.

Many affiliate websites have great credibility and are a really useful tool for finding new games. However, some sites have gained a poor reputation for their spammy marketing tactics or for prioritising revenue rather than quality content.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the pros and cons of using gaming affiliates are, in comparison to going straight to the gaming operators themselves:

Gaming affiliates – what are they and what is so great about them?

In order to understand the pros and cons of using affiliate gaming websites, we must first grasp exactly what it is that affiliates sites offer and how they are different to game operators.

Affiliates are often created and run by experienced game players themselves, as they already have an interest in and knowledge of what the best games are on the web. They may begin as a blog before gaining traction and developing into a full affiliate site.These sites round up the best bingo sites and online casinos and provide truthful information about gameplay, user experience and any tricks and tips they might have.

Clicks are what usually bring gaming affiliate sites their revenue. Put simply, the more website traffic they bring to the game operator, the more revenue the affiliate will receive from them.

Aside from the game recommendation and tips, why do people choose to go through affiliate sites to find games? For many, it is their additional unique features that appeal to them.

One example of this is player reward programmes. Some affiliate sites use reward schemes with loyalty points to encourage game players to go through them to find and play new casino or bingo games. Through these schemes, users earn points by signing up to a new site or depositing a set amount of money.

These loyalty points can them be exchanged for a reward, usually in the form of a gift or voucher, or sometimes they can even be exchanged for cash.

These player reward programmes are a real bonus for those who enjoy playing online games regularly. Much like supermarket loyalty points, they rewards users for choosing them and also provide players with an incentive to keep coming back to the website.

But are affiliates always unbiased? Unfortunately some affiliate websites do prioritise quantity over quality. Rather than linking to the best websites for certain games, they may link to lots and lots of sites in the hopes of getting some clicks. Alternatively, they may choose affiliate links with the best pay rate per click, rather than the best player experience.

Signing up to affiliate sites with spammy marketing practices is one risk, the affiliate may overload you with new deals and games and clutter your email inbox.

However, these sites are a minority. Search engines such as Google and Bing use intelligent algorithms to filter out websites that overuse links or spam their users. Therefore, you can be reassured that those in the top few search results are likely to be the most reputable affiliate websites.

Is it better to cut out the middleman and go straight to the operator?

It is the gaming operator that has the overall responsibility of delivering a great gaming experience for customers and ensuring that it meets demand.

For players who find one gaming operator that has all of the games they enjoy, going straight to the operator can have its benefits. Many operator websites also have reward programmes and loyalty points, which give players rewards such as free spins or extra game plays.

Logging straight into the operator site is a quicker way to access games that you play regularly. You may have initially found a game you enjoy through an affiliate and choose to go directly to the website next time.

But remember – the online gaming industry is highly competitive, operators are constantly bringing out new promotions and bonuses in order to maintain their competitive advantage. By ignoring affiliate sites, you might be missing out on great promotions on websites that you don’t currently visit.

Final thoughts

The answer to which type of website is better is not a simple one. While always using gaming affiliates may be best for some, others may benefit from always visiting a select few gaming operators.

For those new to online gaming, gaming affiliate sites seem to be a great option for exploring different games and learning more about how online gambling works. However users should not forget to also look into the loyalty benefits that their favourite game operators offer.

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Technology can help save the planet, but not alone

Monday, September 30th, 2019

To bet everything on future innovation is one heck of a gamble with our future

Businesses Take Up Slack as Governments Abandon Social Responsibility

Monday, September 30th, 2019

Is Your Business Working for the Common Good?

It now seems that many governments around the world are backing off from social responsibility. They no longer try to alleviate all the social problems in their counties. However, with a decade of economic growth, for-profit companies are taking up the slack. They now take more responsibility to solve these perennial issues in addition to the products or services they traditionally sell.

On the Small Business Radio show this week, we speak with the “father” of modern marketing, Professor Philip Kotler. His 70th book, “Common Good”, examines how the cost and benefit analyses are now done by business and governments.

Professor Kotler contends that the U.S. was created on the notion of building a better society. He explains that “from the earliest times, the nation had reformers who fought for a better life for all. The ‘Common Good’ calls for favoring the choice that will produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people…. Most social movements like women’s rights, civil rights, labor rights, and gay rights succeeded because they advanced the ‘Common Good’.”

More recently, Professor Kotler describes it has become a “cost-benefit analysis” when choosing government policies. He adds that “economists use this principle in welfare economics where they count how many people would benefit minus how many people would be hurt by a particular policy.” This is especially true in the areas of health care and higher education.

Is Your Business Working for the Common Good?

But Professor Kotler believes in three principles of the corporate bottom line: “Profit, People and Planet” and does not think that companies have done well by the last two. He adds “we treat the customer well, but what about the employees?” Professor Kotler insists there has been too much focus on just profit by leaders such as the economist, Milton Friedman and leading business schools. Now, he mentions that Marriott actually says the customer is number 2. (Employees are number 1!)

Increasingly, customers are looking for companies to support social issues that they care about in order to keep buying from them. For example, Microsoft, Google, Lego, Levi Strauss and Warby Parker all have large social giving programs. There is even international conferences that focus on how corporations can increase their social impact.

Professor Kotler emphasizes that he wrote his latest book to show how citizens, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits can adopt policies that advance the ‘Common Good’. This book reviews all the social tools that reformers can use including discussion, debate, negotiation, education, social marketing, legal action, and protest action.

Professor Kotler also talks about how the next recession might affect this focus. Listen to the entire interview.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Businesses Take Up Slack as Governments Abandon Social Responsibility” was first published on Small Business Trends

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