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Archive for March, 2009

Barroso to Stanishev: EU feels “assistance fatigue”

March 31, 2009 1 comment

The European Commission (EC) rejected a request by Bulgarian prime minister Sergei Stanishev to send European officials and diplomats to help the state administration. In a special letter obtained by Dnevnik, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told Stanishev the demanded new institutional mechanisms are improper for an EU member state.
According to Barroso, the other countries in the bloc are experiencing an “assistance fatigue” and the Bulgarian government should first show concrete and visible results to motivate its partners to send in more experts and new funding.
Barroso said Brussels is ready to continue to help Bulgaria but believes this does not require the creation of the structures proposed by the prime minister a month ago. Instead, he says Bulgaria should enhance current technical monitoring and cooperation by a more extensive political dialogue and setting results-oriented goals within the monitoring mechanism that has been in place ever since its EU accession. Barroso points out this is the stance of the other member states as well.

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Public-private partnership (PPP) is a good opportunity for reviving investment activity in Bulgaria

Public-private partnership (PPP) is a good opportunity for reviving investment activity in Bulgaria and easing the negative effects of the crisis, this was the united position of the participants in the conference organised by Pari daily on PPP in times of crisis. Partnership between state and business is well accepted by both parties. PPP is one of the mechanisms to solve the problem with municipalities’ dropping incomes because of the slowdown and increasing expenditure. For the business, on the other hand, this is a low-risk investment with secured long-term redeemability. That is the reason for the increased interest towards this “marriage of propriety”.

Source: Pari

The European Commission (EC) rejected a request by Bulgarian prime minister Sergei Stanishev to send European officials and diplomats to help the state administration. In a special letter, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told Stanishev the demanded new institutional mechanisms are improper for an EU member state. According to Barroso, the other countries in the bloc are experiencing an “assistance fatigue” and the Bulgarian government should first show concrete and visible results to motivate its partners to send in more experts and new funding. Stanishev’s Cabinet said they would not abandon the idea to appoint foreign experts into the “problematic” administrative units.

Source: Dnevnik

Bulgarian producer prices dropped 0,9 % on a monthly basis in February, the statistics office said on Monday. Producer price growth decreased from 2,2 % to 05 % on an annual basis, the data shows. Processing industry prices were down 1,6 % on a monthly basis, while mining industry prices increased by 3,7 %. The index of total producer prices dropped 1,0 % on a monthly basis and 3,1 % on an annual basis.

Source: Darik radio

Liquid Fuels, Tailoring Products, Canning, Perfumery and Cosmetics,
Furniture, Meat Products, Wine, Wood processing

Companies

Polimeri JSC chemical plant reported 3.15% growth of total income for 2008. Turnover was BGN 47.7 million against BGN 46.2 million in 2007. Sales hold the highest share of the income, 97.8%, and last year they rose by 2.7% year on year to BGN 46.6 million. Despite the rise, profit of the company dropped by 54.7% to BGN 452,000. Total expenses grew to over BGN 47 million, or up by 4% on an annual basis.

Source: Pari

Bulgarian company Svilengrad Gaz, which is 60%-owned by Turkish businessman Fuat Guven, is seeking a 35-year gas distribution permit in the town on the southern border. The application will be reviewed today by the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC). The company’s remaining capital is split between the municipality and local engineering, construction and energy group Enemona. In early 2007 the Svilengrad city council moved into Svilengrad Gaz, acquiring a 10% stake through an in-kind contribution of a 0.3 hectare land plot.

Source: Dnevnik

Battery maker Elhim Iskra sees its pre-tax profit falling to BGN 100.000 in the first quarter versus BGN 1.1 million in the respective period last year. Moreover, sales are seen shrinking by 57% in the first quarter to BGN 4.3 million, mainly on low demand in view of the global financial crisis, said the company. Elhim Iskra plans to invest BGN 1 million on new machinery and optimization of the production process by the end of the year.

Source: Company information

Austrian companies will invest EUR 260 M until 2011 in Bulgaria for renewable energy projects. Dr. Michael Angerer, a commercial adviser in the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria, announced. Austrian renewable energy projects have already started in Bulgaria. A total of 120 MW facilities will be constructed until 2010. Austrian investors show interest towards the Gorna Arda Dam (Upper Arda), Angerer said. Besides EVN, who have already announced its intentions, OMV has also wanted to take part in the project, he added.

Source: Darik radio

Bulgarian bridge construction company Moststroy JSC envisages BGN 50 million revenue generated from construction, installation and maintenance projects for 2009, an official statement from the company revealed. “Last year’s negative economic influences affected all companies in the sector, Moststroy included. Complications therefore emerged with processing structural funds from the European Commission. Numerous infrastructure projects were either halted, or scrapped altogether, hence the company did not realise its revenue figures,” said a Moststroi spokesman. The net unconsolidated profit for 2008 amounted to BGN 143,000, a substantial increase over the net profit for 2007, which was BGN 5,153.

Source: Sofia Echo

Germany’s Enertrag plans to invest one billion euros to build three wind energy parks in Bulgaria, its Bulgarian unit said. The new wind farms, with a planned total capacity of 660 megawatts, will be set up near the town of Dobrich, Denitsa Nozharova, manager of Enertrag Balkan, told. ‘The three farms are expected to become fully operational by 2017,’ Nozharova said. The German wind farm developer plans to provide 30 percent of the necessary funding, and seek bank loans for the remaining amount. It is also considering setting up a fund and attracting more investors for the projects, Nozharova said.

Source: Econ.bg

Basic economics…

Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for £10 each.

The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at £10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He next announced that he would now buy monkeys at £20 each.

This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to £25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort even to find a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at £50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers: “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has already collected. I will sell them to you at £35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for £50 each.”

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for £700 billion.

They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

Now you have a better understanding of how Gordon Brown’s bail-out plan for the UK will work!!

Any questions?

The head of the International Monetary Fund mission for Bulgaria, Bas Bakker, said that Bulgaria’s economy might go into recession.

The head of the International Monetary Fund mission for Bulgaria, Bas Bakker, said that Bulgaria’s economy might go into recession. Bakker’s latest statement runs counter to the last IMF report on Bulgaria in February 2009, in which the Fund predicted that the Bulgarian economy would grow by 1% in 2009. “If we look at other countries in the region, many of them are falling into recession. The decline in Western Europe is much steeper than expected. Yesterday’s figures showed the January industrial production in the Eurozone declined by 17%, which is obviously hurting Bulgaria. At the same time, the inflow of capital is dropping unexpectedly quickly, so it is definitely possible that the Bulgarian economy might shrink this year”, Bakker declared.
Source: Darik radio
Bad loans in Bulgaria have risen by BGN 159.5 million in January 2009, showed data of the central bank. Bad and restructured loans topped BGN 1.34 billion, up 13.5% from December. The increase was BGN 10.746 million, or 1.5 month-on-month, in the same period of 2008. In December, bad loans increased 9.6% from November. The figures could be the first sign of the expected surge in bad loans. Bankers warned at the end of last year that loan portfolios might deteriorate. They noted, however, that it is normal that bad loans would grow faster against the backdrop of a slowing credit in the recent months. In end-January, bad and restructured loans made up 2.8% of banks’ portfolios versus 1.97% in the same month of 2008.
Source: Dnevnik
Minister of Economy and Energy Petar Dimitrov said the government was searching for alternative sources of financing for the construction of Bulgaria’s second nuclear power plant in Belene (on the Danube.) According to initial plans, Germany’s energy giant RWE, which won the tender for constructor, was supposed to start pouring money into the project as soon as the joint venture with Bulgaria’s National Electric Company was founded. But it appears that the Germans have altered their conception, probably because of the spreading global financial crisis. They now say they would start financing the project only after it is completely structured, so the Bulgarian government has started seeking alternative sources of financing, including Russia.
Source: Standart
The Board of Directors of SFB Capital Market JSC calls a regular annual shareholders meeting on May 28, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. in Sofia, 16-20 Alabin Str., conference hall on floor 1. The agenda includes reports of the Board on the activities of the company in 2007 and 2008, allocation of the profit from 2007 and 2008, alteration of the company regulation.
Source: Capital Market
PS Tour SPLTD transformed into PS Tour LTD after SFB Capital Market JSC joined the company as partner. PS Tour SPLTD is a company with a lot of experience in Tourism and tour operation services. SFB Capital Market JSC develops and maintains dynamic Internet-based application systems, incl. for access to business information and sales of tourist products. The two companies joined their efforts and created OK-Booking.com, an online tourist service booking system with instant confirmation. OK-Booking.com was developed by a team of PS Tour LTD and allows the customers to make their choice fast and easy among dozens of Bulgarian hotels and receive real time order confirmation.
Source: Capital Market
The decrease of prices is the right direction, but is not sufficient and does not correspond to the European recommendations, the company announces. Therefore, BTC will bring the case to the Consumer Protection Commission, the Bulgarian Euro Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, Vivian Reding, as a Telecommunications Commissioner and the National ombudsman Ginio Ganev. This is about the decision of the Communications Regulation Commission for reduction of the prices of mobile phone calls in July by BGN 0.02. BTC said that such a reduction is insufficient and does not protect enough the interests of Bulgarian consumers.
Source: News.bg
Capitalisation of Bioiasis JSC, the Sofia-based biomaterial products and surgical supplies manufacturer, is BGN 68.8 million. For 2008, its profit was BGN 386,760. On the general meeting on May 2, 2009, the shareholders will decide whether BGN 86,270 to be used to cover losses from previous years and BGN 100,490 to be put in a Reserve fund. Another issue to be discussed is the increase of capital from BGN 200,000 to BGN 400,000 by issuing the same amount of stocks with par value BGN 1 each.
Source: Pari
Gas company Overgas said it will bundle its west Bulgarian distribution units into a single company. The move is aimed at optimising gasification costs and improving end-customer prices, said the gas company, which holds more than 20 distribution permits. Overgas will invest BGN 30 million in building gas grids this year after registering a 9% increase in gas volumes to 278 million cubic metres in 2008, with household consumption rising the highest. The company spent BGN 33 million to build 226 kilometres of gas mains.
Source: Dnevnik
A new Bulgarian-Greek-Russian company will be set up to operate the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline with the aim to participate in the tender for the project’s structural implementation on an equal footing with the rest of the bidders. This is what Stefan Gunchev – chairman of the board of directors of the company that design the project – said in an interview. Establishing such a company would be the main topic of discussion during Transneft (Russia) CEO Nikolay Tokarev’s visit to Bulgaria in the middle of the week. Another major issue would be supplying enough oil to run the project. Construction works will start off in 2010. Up to a third of the funds needed would be provided by the partners. The rest will be loaned.
Source: Standart

Bulgaria will benefit from an extra BGN 186 million under OP ‘Human Resources Development’

‘Bulgaria will benefit from an extra BGN 186 million under OP ‘Human Resources Development’, earmarked for prequalification and employments of people that have been laid off because of the crisis’, the Minister of Labor and Social Policy Emiliya Maslarova said. Maslarova’s experts have already proposed to the Committee for monitoring the program a couple of anti-crisis projects. The idea is to prepare and redirect to new jobs nearly 7200 people, as well as to prequalify another 40000, who lost their work after 1 November 2008. The initiatives also provide financial incentives to employers for hiring nearly 32000 people for at least 9 months.

Source: Focus agency

Bulgaria’s unemployment rate continued to increase for the fifth month in a row in February, official statistics showed. A total of 248,000 Bulgarians were registered as unemployed in February, up by 7,000 over the previous month. The average jobless rate for Bulgaria stood at 6.69%, going up by 0.9% since September when it notched up for the first time. Experts attribute the increase in unemployment rate to the deterioration in the economic situation, the reduction in the work load of companies in the textile, construction and wood-processing sectors, where lay-offs are widespread.

Source: Darik radio

The European Commission said in a March 19 2009 media statement that it had formally requested Bulgaria to change some of its tax provisions. The provisions with which the EC has taken issue are those according to which certain types of Bulgarian source income are subject to a withholding tax on a gross base when paid to non-residents while Bulgarian residents may deduct expenses related to the same income. The EC considers that these rules may lead to higher taxation for non-resident taxpayers and therefore are incompatible with the freedom to provide services and the free movement of capital.

Source: Sofia Echo

Bulgaria’s PM, Sergei Stanishev, demanded additional compensations from the EU for the pre-term decommissioning of Units 3 and 4 of NPP Kozloduy. At the summit of the Council of Europe held in Brussels, PM Stanishev underlined that Bulgaria had already submitted a detailed and well-grounded document regarding the additional compensations. The reason for PM Stanishev’s demand is the present re-examination of the EU financial perspective till 2013. Bulgaria insists on getting the same amount in compensations as the other EU states that decommissioned their reactors received. It is a question of millions of euro.

Source: Standart

The World’s Most Widely Spoken Languages

What are the world’s most widely spoken languages?

This question is a very interesting one that has a rather complicated answer. Estimates of how many people speak a language are quite general and can vary considerably. For example, English estimates vary from 275 to 450 million, Spanish from 150 to over 300 million, Hindi from 150 to 350 million, and Russian from 150 to 180 million.

To further complicate matters, the definition of “speaker” can be vague. Some surveys of languages give information on native speakers only. Others count both native speakers and secondary speakers (those who use the language regularly or primarily even though it is not their native language).

Lastly, it is important to consider not only the population (number) of language speakers, but also the geographic distribution of these languages. Some languages have relatively large populations of native speakers but are used almost exclusively in a few countries. On the other hand, other languages have relatively small populations of native speakers but are used in many different countries as an official or national language.

The Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) Ethnologue Survey (1999) lists the following as the top languages by population:
(number of native speakers in parentheses)

Chinese* (937,132,000)
Spanish (332,000,000)
English (322,000,000)
Bengali (189,000,000)
Hindi/Urdu (182,000,000)
Arabic* (174,950,000)
Portuguese (170,000,000)
Russian (170,000,000)
Japanese (125,000,000)
German (98,000,000)
French* (79,572,000)
* The totals given for Chinese, Arabic, and French include more than one SIL variety. See chart for full details.

The following list is from Dr. Bernard Comrie’s article for the Encarta Encyclopedia (1998):
(number of native speakers in parentheses)

Mandarin Chinese (836 million)
Hindi (333 million)
Spanish (332 million)
English (322 million)
Bengali (189 million)
Arabic (186 million)
Russian (170 million)
Portuguese (170 million)
Japanese (125 million)
German (98 million)
French (72 million)
The following list is from George Weber’s article “Top Languages: The World’s 10 Most Influential Languages” in Language Today (Vol. 2, Dec 1997):
(number of native speakers in parentheses)

Mandarin Chinese (1.1 billion)
English (330 million)
Spanish (300 million)
Hindi/Urdu (250 million)
Arabic (200 million)
Bengali (185 million)
Portuguese (160 million)
Russian (160 million)
Japanese (125 million)
German (100 million)
Punjabi (90 million)
Javanese (80 million)
French (75 million)
However, in terms of secondary speakers, Weber submits the following list:
(number of speakers in parentheses)

French (190 million)
English (150 million)
Russian (125 million)
Portuguese (28 million)
Arabic (21 million)
Spanish (20 million)
Chinese (20 million)
German (9 million)
Japanese (8 million)
Thus, if you add the secondary speaker populations to the primary speaker populations, you get the following (and I believe more accurate) list:
(number of speakers in parentheses)

Mandarin Chinese (1.12 billion)
English (480 million)
Spanish (320 million)
Russian (285 million)
French (265 million)
Hindi/Urdu (250 million)
Arabic (221 million)
Portuguese (188 million)
Bengali (185 million)
Japanese (133 million)
German (109 million)
The following is a list of these languages in terms of the number of countries where each is spoken. The number that follows is the total number of countries that use that language (from Weber, 1997):

English (115)
French (35)
Arabic (24)
Spanish (20)
Russian (16)
German (9)
Mandarin (5)
Portuguese (5)
Hindi/Urdu (2)
Bengali (1)
Japanese (1)
The number of countries includes core countries (where the language has full legal or official status), outer core countries (where the language has some legal or official status and is an influential minority language, such as English in India or French in Algeria), and fringe countries (where the language has no legal status, but is an influential minority language in trade, tourism, and the preferred foreign language of the young, such as English in Japan or French in Romania). For a complete breakdown of each and an accompanying chart, click here.

After weighing six factors (number of primary speakers, number of secondary speakers, number and population of countries where used, number of major fields using the language internationally, economic power of countries using the languages, and socio-literary prestige), Weber compiled the following list of the world’s ten most influential languages:
(number of points given in parentheses)

English (37)
French (23)
Spanish (20)
Russian (16)
Arabic (14)
Chinese (13)
German (12)
Japanese (10)
Portuguese (10)
Hindi/Urdu (9)

http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm

Categories: Interesting Tags: ,

Hijacker

A cargo plane is in mid-flight over the ocean when suddenly the cockpit door burst open to reveal an armed, masked hijacker to a startled pilot, copilot, navigator, and a stewardess. He held a gun to the pilot’s head and said, “Take this plane to Iraq or I am going to spill your brains all over the place.”

The pilot calmly reached up, pushed the gun aside and said, “Look buddy, if you shoot me this plane will crash right into the sea and you will die along with the rest of us.”

The hijacker thought about it, then held the gun to the copilot’s head and said, “Take this plane to Iraq or I am going to spill HIS brains all over the place.”

The copilot also calmly reached up, pushed the gun aside and said, “Listen to me. The pilot has a bad heart and he could keel over at the shock of my being killed. So if you shoot me, this plane will still crash right into the sea and you will die along with the rest of us.”

The hijacker thought about it for a moment and then held the gun to the navigator’s head and repeated, “Take this plane to Iraq or I am going to spill HIS brains all over the place.”

The navigator calmly reached up, pushed the gun aside and said, “I would not do that if I were you. Those other two guys have no sense of direction. Without me, they could not find their way out of a paper bag much less get this plane to Iraq. So if you shoot me, this plane will still crash right into the sea and you will die along with the rest of us.”

The hijacker thought some more, shrugged and this time held the gun to the stewardess’s head and demanded, “Take this plane to Iraq or I am going to spill HER brains all over the place.”

No one said a word, but the stewardess leaned over and whispered something into the hijacker’s ear. He turned beet red, dropped his gun, and ran out of the cockpit in a panic.

The crew tracked down the hijacker, who was found cowering behind some crates in the hold, and tied him up. The pilot then asked the stewardess what she said that terrified the man so.

“I told him,” she replied, “that if he killed me, he would be the one who would have to give you guys your blow jobs.”

Categories: Fun and Games Tags: ,