Archive for the ‘World news’ Category

Guide to the 7 Bulgarian Startups to Watch

Saturday, November 17th, 2018


One of the strongest evidence that young Bulgarians are not lazy but loving development are the innovative startups they create. In Bulgaria, the startup idea and the overall culture are developing with full force and they are becoming more and more popular.

Some of the future businesses start from a casual idea and almost no money until they find financing. But how are ideas and startups born? We present to you just a small part of the Bulgarian start-up companies that make our daily life easier.

Listen Up and its mission with high responsibilities

The main goal of this app is entirely social. Listen Up is an application that allows deaf people to participate in normal life, to communicate freely, to have access to information, and education. The tasks are highly complex and the startup continues to seek additional funding to complete its mission. But as one of the founders, Ashod Derandonyan says: ” Problems are what teach entrepreneurs not to give up.”

EnhanCV

Writing a good CV can be one of the toughest challenges of job hunting. Most employers spend just a few seconds scanning each CV before sticking it in the ”YES” or ”NO” pile. Harsh.

Here comes the Bulgarian startup to take care of your professional success! EnhanCV not only helps us make an interesting and distinctive CV, but his team also cares to provide valuable tips useful in a job interview!

The app came under the spotlight in autumn 2016 when it made resumes highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump before the US presidential elections.

Enhancv 940

Together with Birlibam, which collects all business cards in a virtual place – a new technology way to exchange contacts, you will simply rule the world!

DOGLAR

DOGLAR connects you to owners community so you can walk your dogs together. With an easy to use interface, you can swipe all dog breeds and dog owners around you.

Grajdanite Ltd

The idea of this app is to build more active, responsible and polite civil society, with the help of innovative technological solutions.

Using the app, people can report any social problems. In October 2017, Mayor Yordanka Fandakova announced at a press conference that Sofia District Administration are using ”Grajdanite” to receive and process alerts from citizens.

The motto of the organizers is to Join other active citizens and improve the environment in which we all live!

SpeediFly

SpeediFly is the first social travel platform for spontaneous last-minute travel.

flight airport airplane plane Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

The Bulgarian startup company was set up in 2016. Soon after, it joined the Czech accelerator StartupYard, where it also received an investment of 308,000 euros at the end of the program. The company currently employs 10 people based in London and Sofia.

An interesting thing is that during the registration users are providing information about their interests by indicating their preferences for activities, sports, music, and culture. It also analyzes your friends’ interest and their travel availability. With this functionality, SpeediFly meets the needs of the so-called budget travelers.

Another very useful social platform if you are a traveler, is called ClaimCompass.

It also deals with flights but in this case-delayed flights. The company specializes in securing compensation for delayed, canceled or overbooked flights by combining legal know-how, a. Compensation calculator and a blog spot that gives general advice to users. The company is run by a team of people all under the age of 30.

These examples, of course, are a small part of Bulgaria’s start-up ocean, which is getting bigger. Quality grows together, and it flows over and beyond our country.

Innovative ideas applied in startups are another proof that technologies are useful and are everywhere around us.

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Protests Against High Fuel Prices Continue in Shumen

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Another day with protests in Shumen. The reason – disagreeing with the low standard of living, high fuel and essential goods prices, reported the Bulgarian National Television.

The protesters also declared  against the bad, according to them, health care system and they want a change that would make life in the country better.

 

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Fitch Agency Has Confirmed Bulgaria’s BBB Rating with a Stable Outlook

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Bulgaria’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-’. The Outlooks are Stable, quoted by Reuters. 

A full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary. KEY RATING DRIVERS The upgrade of Bulgaria’s IDRs reflects the following key rating drivers and their relative weights: High A prolonged decline in external debt ratios has led Bulgaria’s external finance metrics to outperform the majority of its ‘BBB’ peers. Including data revisions, Bulgaria’s net external creditor position strengthened to 8.6% of GDP in 2016 from a net debtor position of 2.1% of GDP in 2015. Bulgaria’s net creditor position is forecast to strengthen further, staying above the ‘BBB’ median net creditor position of 0.8% of GDP.

Current account surpluses averaging 3.4% of GDP are also forecast for 2017-2019, supported by gains in export competitiveness and a diversifying export base. This compares with the ‘BBB’ median current account deficit of 1.2% of GDP. Bulgaria’s sovereign external buffer continues to strengthen as reserves climb. Foreign reserves represent 49.7% of GDP, equivalent to 10 months of imports. An external liquidity ratio of 215% (end-2016) provides more than adequate liquidity support for Bulgaria’s long-standing and credible currency board regime.

Medium Budget outturns are stronger than peers. Compared with the previous forecast for a deficit of 0.6% of GDP, Fitch now forecasts the general government budget to balance in 2017, as was the case in 2016. For 2018-2019, budget measures that will increase spending on pensions, salaries, defense and social welfare will result in small fiscal deficits, but primary fiscal surpluses will be maintained.

General government debt/GDP is low relative to peers and on a downward trajectory. Projected primary surpluses will contribute to further government debt reduction, with debt forecast to stay below 25% of GDP for 2017-2019, significantly lower than the ‘BBB’ category median of 41.2%. Public debt sustainability is supported by the sovereign’s low level of interest payments to revenues (2.3% compared with a peer median of 7.3%) and relatively long average debt maturity. Economic growth is strengthening. After average growth of 1.1% over 2010-14, Fitch forecasts average growth of 3.6% in 2017-19, an upward revision of 0.5pps from six months ago, and above the five-year median (3.2%) of its ‘BBB’ peers.

Risks to Fitch’s forecast are balanced and highly dependent on both private and public sector investment activity. Higher growth may come from better-than-forecast public expenditure of EU structural funds and/or resumption of credit growth. An underperformance of both factors would risk lower economic growth. Bulgaria’s ‘BBB’ IDRs also reflect the following key rating drivers: Fitch views the risk of domestic banking sector contingent liabilities materialising on the sovereign’s balance sheet to have reduced. This reflects banks’ solid capital buffers, strong liquidity, stable deposit-based funding and moderate profitability. These factors mitigate the risks stemming from the high stock of legacy bad debts in banks’ loan books. The ratio of NPLs to total loans (excluding exposure to banks) was 16.6% at end-3Q17 and is likely to remain the highest in the region. Authorities have begun to address regulatory gaps and improve bank supervision.

Bulgaria’s GDP per capita still lags the median level of ‘BBB’ peers and higher rated sovereigns. Progress in income convergence will depend on how effectively authorities push ahead with structural reform. Labour market rigidities remain a key challenge in view of worsening demographics. Bulgaria’s governance indicators are in line with its ‘BBB’ category peers. There is broad-based political consensus in favour of integration with the rest of the EU, although progress in effective policy making is vulnerable to a changeable political environment, given the country’s history of unstable governments. However, with Bulgaria’s upcoming presidency of the EU council beginning 1 January 2018, Fitch’s baseline is for the current GERB-United Patriots coalition under Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to remain stable.

SOVEREIGN RATING MODEL (SRM) and QUALITATIVE OVERLAY (QO) Fitch’s proprietary SRM assigns Bulgaria a score equivalent to a rating of ‘BBB+’ on the Long-Term FC IDR scale. Fitch’s sovereign rating committee adjusted the output from the SRM to arrive at the final LT FC IDR by applying its QO, relative to rated peers, as follows: -Macroeconomics: -1 notch, to reflect Fitch’s view that the SRM is currently benefitting from a cyclical economic upswing, and that sustained and higher potential growth is limited by Bulgaria’s structural economic competitiveness challenges, particularly labour market rigidities and adverse demographic trends. Fitch’s SRM is the agency’s proprietary multiple regression rating model that employs 18 variables based on three year centred averages, including one year of forecasts, to produce a score equivalent to a LT FC IDR. Fitch’s QO is a forward-looking qualitative framework designed to allow for adjustment to the SRM output to assign the final rating, reflecting factors within our criteria that are not fully quantifiable and/or not fully reflected in the SRM.

RATING SENSITIVITIES The main factors that could, individually or collectively, could lead to positive rating action are: -Stronger medium-term GDP growth potential. -Progressive convergence towards income levels of higher rated peers. The main factors that could, individually or collectively, could lead to negative rating action are: -Re-emergence of external imbalances, for example from prolonged widening of the current account deficit and/or deterioration of external competiveness. -Higher fiscal deficits that result in deterioration of the public debt trajectory. -Materialisation of contingent liabilities on the sovereign’s balance sheet; for example, from state-owned enterprises.

 

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Historic Vote to Redefine the Kilogram Changes Forever the Way We Measure Mass

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Talk about massive change. After meeting the needs of science, industry and commerce for more than 130 years, the kilogram has just been fundamentally reinvented.

At a meeting Friday in Versailles, France, representatives from the U.S. and 59 other nations adopted a resolution to define the familiar unit of mass in terms of the Planck constant, an unvarying and infinitesimal number at the heart of quantum physics.

 
 ”Celebrations and standing ovation as the vote is accepted,” the Bureau of Weights and Standards, which hosted the event where the vote was taken, said in a tweet featuring a photo of packed auditorium. “This has been a measurement revolution!”

Previously, the kilogram was defined as the mass of a specific physical object: a shiny metal cylinder that since 1889 has been stored in a vault on the outskirts of Paris. Cast of a platinum-iridium alloy and roughly the size of a votive candle, the International Prototype of the Kilogram (sometimes called “Le Grand K”), represents the mass of one liter of pure water at its freezing point.

The resolution will take effect on May 20, 2019.

The kilogram — which was and still is roughly equivalent to 2.2 pounds — was redefined in order to streamline scientific research and development involving ultra-precise measurements of mass. It aims to do that by ending the reliance on Le Grand K and official copies of it held by the U.S. and other nations.

 These reference kilograms, which periodically are taken from their protective cocoons for measurement and recalibration, are vulnerable to damage, wear and theft despite the care taken to safeguard them — and their masses have shifted by tiny amounts over the years.

“The change brings our best scientific understanding of the natural world directly into our daily lives, and gives us access to a definition of the mass unit which is available to everyone with the will and the skill to perform the experiments,” Canada’s chief metrologist, Alan Steele, told NBC News MACH in an email in advance of the vote.

In everyday life, the redefinition is expected to have no immediate consequence.

Source: NBC News

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Fuel Protests in France: MAP Reveals Locations of Planned Road Blocks

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

A growing protest group known as the ‘yellow vests’ are planning to block French roads and bring traffic to a standstill across the country on November 17th to voice their anger over the rising cost of diesel and petrol in France. Here’s where the protests are set to take place.
Increasingly it looks like November 17th might be a day to avoid hitting the road in France altogether. 
 
Below is a map that shows where the planned protests will be although there are likely to b ones that are not on the map as organisers hope to cause as much disruption as possible. 
 
A growing protest group known as the ‘yellow vests’ are planning to block French roads and bring traffic to a standstill across the country on November 17th to voice their anger over the rising cost of diesel and petrol in France. Here’s where the protests are set to take place.
Increasingly it looks like November 17th might be a day to avoid hitting the road in France altogether. 
 
Below is a map that shows where the planned protests will be although there are likely to b ones that are not on the map as organisers hope to cause as much disruption as possible. 
 
This week French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the protest movement was “irrational” and vowed that police would intervene if road blockages prevented emergency services from being able to get through.
 
“We will not tolerate any total blockages,” said Castaner.
 
 

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Tourism Minister: Bulgaria and Greece Partner in Joint Projects to Attract Tourists from Distant Markets to the Balkans

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

 The partnership in tourism between Bulgaria and Greece is developing and both countries are working on joint initiatives to attract more visitors to the Balkan region, Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said at a working meeting with George Tziallas, Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development at the Ministry of Tourism in Greece, the press office of the Ministry of Tourism said, reports Focus News Agency. 

The bilateral meeting took place on the sidelines of the 2nd International Congress of World Civilisations and Historical Routes, which has been taking place since yesterday in Sofia and was organised by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Minister Angelkova pointed out that Greek tourists are one of the largest groups of foreign visitors to Bulgaria, and Greece is also among the most preferred destinations for Bulgarians. Last year over 1.1 million Greek tourists visited Bulgaria, which was an 8.5% increase compared to 2016, and the country ranks first in inbound tourism for Bulgaria. For the first nine months of this year, tourist arrivals from Greece exceeded 852 thousand.

Minister Angelkova described as very promising Bulgaria’s initiative to create a common Balkan tourism route, which would make the Balkans an even more attractive destination. This idea was supported by Greece at the meeting of 11 countries from the region in May 2018 in Sofia. 
Secretary General Tziallas expressed his country’s full confidence in the benefits of cooperation and emphasised the joint role of tourism administrations in mobilising the industry and the experts in implementing these initiatives.

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Bulgarian Anti-corruption Commission Seeks to Seize Property of Former Minister of Economy

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

The Anti-Corruption Commission has requested the court to seize the property of Traicho Traikov, former Minister of Economy. The Commissione found that the he could not prove the origin of property at the value of BGN 2,372,004, reports BNT. 

Sofia City Court seeks seizure to the state, the Commission told BNT on 16th of November.

At the time of the investigation, Traikov was given the opportunity to submit additional documents and objections. Property of the former minister, to the value of 1,500,000 BGN, has already been restrained.

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Serbia Grateful to Bulgaria for its Vote in Energy Community

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic held a bilateral meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Sofia on Thursday.

During it, she “expressed her gratitude for support for voting in the European Energy Association,” the Serbian government announced on its website, citing a statement the PM made for Tanjug, reports b92.net

Brnabic said she “thanked her Bulgarian counterpart for the support that this country, although it had recognized the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo, during the voting in the European Energy Association, which is very important for Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija, so that the Serbian electricity network will remain there and that they will have a safe supply.” 

The prime minister assessed that this “was a great and friendly gesture,” adding that she conveyed gratitude to the prime ministers of Montenegro and Macedonia, with whom she participated in the panel at the start of the summit in Sofia, who abstained during the vote.

Continue reading here 

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International Congress on World Civilizations, Historic Routes Kicks off in Bulgaria

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

The second International Congress on World Civilizations and Historic Routes kicked off here on Thursday, bringing together over 500 high-level delegates from countries and regions all over the world, Xinhua reported.
The two-day event would explore the possible ways in which world civilizations could be brought to life through tourism, in particular by making use of a network developed along historic routes, Bulgarian tourism minister Nikolina Angelkova said at the opening ceremony.

A special panel would discuss the role of governments and regional policies in the development of historic routes, “which requires a strong political will and effective transnational cooperation,” Angelkova said.
Tourism has proven its potential as one of the main generators of global economic growth, accounting for 10.4 percent of global gross domestic product, and employing over 313 million people worldwide, the minister said.

Jaime Cabal, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Deputy Secretary-General, said in turn that cultural heritage has been shaping identities and everyday life.

Historic routes such as the Silk Road and Orient Express have inspired many travelers and become a powerful promotional tool and unique instrument to increase tourism competitiveness, he said.
Delegates from countries such as Iran, Greece, Turkey, Afghanistan, Italy, Spain, United States, United Arab Emirates and Cambodia participate in the event, jointly organized by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Tourism and the UNWTO.

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Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov Resigned

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov has submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. He announced his decision to withdraw from office at an extraordinary press conference at the Council of Ministers on Friday evening, 16th of November, reports BNT. 

He said that his decision was not made under pressure and the reasons to resign was an ongoing media campaign, especially over the past two days, which came as a sequel to a campaign carried out against him in connection with his statement about protests in front of the Government building.

“The sequel to this campaign, already does not focus on me personally in my official capacity, but on MPs of the NFSB,” Simeonov said, referring to the National Front for Salvation of Bulgaria party. Simeonov is the leader of NFSB party, which is part of the power-sharing United Patriots alliance.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has accepted Simeonov’s resignation, the Government press office said.

Valeri Simeonov added that he did not resign under pressure but did so in order not to damage the country’s governance, which he described as exceptionally successful. And he stressed that his decision was personal.

“I am aware that this campaign deals a blow on the government’s rating and becomes an obstacle for the governance – I cannot afford this, I repeat – it is not about me as a person, but about the governance of Bulgaria, on which I cannot weigh as a millstone and create preconditions for protests and attacks. It is not my childhood dream to be a prime minister and I have taken this position on the insistence of my partners to be a guarantor. I have not thought that one can enter the executive to get some benefits. My departure aims at depriving the protests of their cause, at least in part. There is no drama, I do what my conscience tells me. I do not make the decision under pressure, I have decided to do so this afternoon after I consultations with NFSB,” he added.

Valeri Simeonov’s resignation comes after 26 days of daily protests, staged by mothers ofdisabled children, including one this evening. The protests were sparked by Simeonov’ remarks on SKAT TV on 16th of October in which he described them as “a group of loud mouthed women who speculated with their children, manipulated the public, exhibiting allegedly sick children in hot weather and heavy rain outside the Parliament”.

After consultations with the Coalition Council,Simeonov publicly apologised for his words on 24th of October. However, the protesting mothers did not accept the apology and went on with the protests insisting on Simeonov’s resignation.

 

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