Archive for the ‘World news’ Category

Bulgaria Extradites Russian Hacker to US: Embassy

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Bulgaria has extradited a Russian indicted by a US court for mounting a complex hacking scheme to the United States, the Russian embassy in Washington said Saturday, reported AFP

The Russian embassy, in a statement on its VK social network, said Alexander Zhukov had been extradited on January 18 and was being held in a jail in Brooklyn, New York.

“Employees of the Consulate General in New York will visit him in jail soon,” the embassy said.

Zhukov is one of eight people, most of them Russian, indicted in November for creating fake advertising schemes through remote data centres and malware-infected computer networks.

Their activity cost businesses tens of millions of dollars, says the indictment.

Zhukov’s group is accused of organising two schemes in 2014 and 2015.

In the first, dubbed “Methbot,” it rented computer servers and simulated humans viewing ads on webpages, tricking businesses into paying more than $7 million (6.16 million euros) for the fake views, according to US prosecutors.

In the second scheme, two of the group members operated a fake ad network through 1.7 million malware-infected computers to falsify billions of ad views, costing businesses $29 million for the views.

Zhukov, originally from Saint Petersburg, is known as Nastra in hacker circles, according to reports. He was arrested in Bulgaria, where he had lived since 2010, in November.

According to Kommersant newspaper, which claims to have spoken with a friend of Zhukov, the hacker stood out on the dark web for the selective way he chose his jobs, staying away from credit-card theft or child pornography.

Zhukov was earning about $20,000 per month on his fake ad-view contracts, but was exposed after a conflict with his US client, Kommersant said.


Bulgarian National Bank 2018 Indicators Report

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Bulgaria’s balance of trade until November 2018 is negative, and stands at 167.2 million euro, with a deficit of 119.5 million euro for November 2017, the Bulgarian National Bank says, quoted by the Bulgarian National Radio. 

In the January-November 2018 period, the trade balance was negative at close to 2 billion euro (3.6 percent of the GDP), with a deficit of 371.3 million euro (0.7 percent of the GDP). Over the same period of 2018 the country’s exports have gone up by 6 percent, or 547.5 million euro, compared to the previous year (46 percent of the GDP). Imports over the same period have gone up by 7.6 percent – 195.5 million euro, reaching 49.6 percent of the GDP.

According to preliminary data the net inflows of foreign direct investments in the country over January-November 2018 amount to 795.4 million euro.  For November 2018 the current account balance was positive, standing at 58.6 million euro with a deficit of 26.1 million euro for November 2017.


Bulgarian Businesses and Trade Unions Request Meeting with PM over High Power Prices on Energy Exchange

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

 Businesses and trade unions have requested a meeting with the prime minister over the high electricity prices on the energy exchange. In a letter, the national employers’ organisations and trade unions insist on outlining, together with state institutions, “urgent measures with regard to the unjustified and speculative rise of electricity prices on the exchange and their stabilisation at acceptable and logical levels.”


The Weather Today in Bulgaria will be Cloudy, with Occasional Rainfall and Snow

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Cloudy weather will prevail today. Slight rain and snow will fall in some places. It will blow moderate eastern, in the Danube plain and on the Black Sea – northeastern wind. The minimal temperatures this morning will be between minus 3 ° and 2 °, and the maximal between 4 ° and 9 °. The atmospheric pressure is close to the average in January and will rise slightly. Such is the forecast for the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) announced FOCUS News Agency.
Extremely cloudy weather will prevail over the Black Sea coast without significant precipitation. It will blow moderate northeastertn wind, and cold air will penetrate with it, the temperatures will drop slightly. The maximal temperatures will be between 5 ° and 8 °. The sea water temperature is 5 ° -7 °. The waves of the sea will be 2-3 bales.
Above the mountains it will prevail over cloudy weather, but only in some places will pass some snow. It will blow moderate south-southwestern wind. The maximal temperature at a height of 1200 meters will be about 2 °, at 2000 meters – about minus 3 °.


Bulgarian Court Fails to Proceed with Case Against Two Former Ministers and Influential Businessman

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

The court failed to proceed with the case against former finance minister, Simeon Dyankov, former minister of the economy Traicho Traikov, businessman Ivo Prokopiev, the Executive Director of investment intermediary “Bulbrokers”, Radoslav Rachev, and two of his employees, reports BNT. 

The specialised court postponed the case scheduled for today, 17th of January, because of the absence of Dyankov’s lawyer, who reported that he was ill. Traikov, Dyankov, Prokopiev and the other three were accused of selling 33% state-owned shares in EVN electricity distribution company in 2011, which, according to the prosecutor’s office, resulted in losses to the state amounting to BGN 20 million.

The investigation into the case started in 2013 following a signal from the then chair of the Financial Supervision Commission, Stoyan Mavrodiev. Since then, the case has been returned to the state prosecution several times because of ambiguities in the indictment.


Flu Epidemic Declared in Smolyan District

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Flu epidemic is declared for the territory of Smolyan district, South Bulgaria as of 18th of January. The number of flu cases reached 253 per 10,000.The threshold for epidemic levels is 220 people per 10,000, reports BNT. 

Visits in hospitals, prophylactic immunizations, consultations for children and pregnant women are suspended.

Planned operations in hospitals have also been suspended.

Schools will cancel classes from 21th to 23rd of January including.

So far, flu epidemic has been declared in 7 districts in Bulgaria including, Silsitra, Shumen, Bourgas, Yambol, Stara Zagora, Pazardzhik and Pernik.

More than 400 schools across the country have temporarily cancelled classes.


Why # 10yearschallenge is Not a Harmless Fashion on Social Networks?

Friday, January 18th, 2019

People do love a Facebook challenge, from posting random movie stills through to the albums that define your life, writes But the latest trend could be used for far more sinister purposes argues one writer.

 Kate O’Neill tweeted about the tend suggesting that it would be a really great way for Facebook to train an artificial intelligence to understand the human aging process. Her comments went viral, probably with good reason.

Her idea was simple. You take a load of posts tagged with #10yearchallenge or simply hunt for public posts that use the keywords and you ingest those photos into an artificial intelligence.

From there the AI could develop an understanding of the aging process which could be used for either good, or evil.

The police, for example, could use the resulting algorithm to age photos of people who have been missing for some time. Or they could catch criminals who have evaded arrest for years.

And on the more shady end of the spectrum it could be used by cosmetic companies to target users who are visibly aging more quickly.

For those who missed it, the 10 year challenge involves posting an image of yourself from, surprisingly, 10 years ago and one from today.


43 People Detained in a Large-Scale Operation in Bulgaria

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Bulgaria’s specialised prosecutor’s office, together with the State Agency for National Security and the State Agency for Combating Organised Crime, conducted procedural investigations on the territory of the cities of Sofia, Pleven, Blagoevgrad, Razgrad, Haskovo, Plovdiv and Lovech, the prosecutor’s office announced on 18th of January.

The subject of the investigation is the activity of a group of foreign citizens in organising and realising on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria unregulated money transfers in and out of the country in particularly large amounts under the so- “hawaia” method within an international organised criminal group.

43 persons were detained for a term of up to 24 hours in the course of the investigation.

It was identified that the main organizer of the criminal activity was a Syrian citizen residing in Bulgaria. He was detained in Sofia, reported the Bulgarian National Television. 


0.0% Monthly Inflation For December 2018, Compared to November 2018

Friday, January 18th, 2019

The consumer price index in December 2018 compared to November 2018 was 100.0%, i.e. the monthly inflation was 0.0%, reported the National Statistical Institute (NSI). The annual inflation in December 2018 compared to December 2017 was 2.7%.

The annual average inflation, measured by CPI, in the last 12 months (January – December 2018) compared to the previous 12 months (January – December 2017) was 2.8%. Figure 1. Inflation measured by CPI.

In December 2018 compared to the previous month the prices of goods and services in the main consumer groups changed as follows:

Food and non-alcoholic beverages – a decrease of 0.1%;
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco – an increase of 0.5%;
Clothing and footwear – a decrease of 1.1%;
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels – an increase of 0.1%;
Furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house – the prices remained at the level of the previous month; Health – the prices remained at the level of the previous month;Transport – a decrease of 2.7%;
Communications – an increase of 0.3%;
Recreation and culture – an increase of 4.3%;
Education – a decrease of 0.1%;
Restaurants and hotels – an increase of 0.3%;
Miscellaneous goods and service – a decrease of 0.3%.

The harmonized index of consumer prices in December 2018 compared to November 2018 was 100.0%, i.e. the monthly inflation was 0.0%. The annual inflation in December 2018 compared to December 2017 was 2.3%.

The price index of a small basket in December 2018 compared to November 2018 was 100.1% and the overall increase since the beginning of the year (December 2018 compared to December 2017) has been 103.3%. In December 2018 compared to the previous month the prices of goods and services in the small basket for the 20% households with the lowest income changed as follows: 

Food products – an increase of 0.3%;
Non-food products – a decrease of 0.2%;
Services – the prices remained at the level of the previous month.


Deputies Adopted the Social Services Act at First Reading

Friday, January 18th, 2019

With 163 votes in favor and no “against” MPs adopted the first reading of the Social Services Act, reported the Bulgarian National Television. It is the third of a set of laws that mothers of disabled children insist on accepting.

The law provides for the creation of a special agency for the quality of social services at the Minister of Labor and Social Policy to monitor how municipalities and private organizations deal with social care. A National Map of Social Services will also be established. It will reflect the specific needs on the ground and the necessary funding for their realization. All Bulgarian citizens will have the right to social services.

“With this bill, the government is committed to developing and submitting to the National Assembly a package of bills aimed at the rights of people who are from the vulnerable groups of our society”, said Bisser Petkov – Minister of Labor and Social Policy