Translators don’t be scammed

If you are a translator, you are likely to get a request for quotation of translation of the following text, into one, or several languages. Do not bother. It is a scam that has been going around some time, possibly the EXCESS PAYMENT scam, where they send you a fake certified check (or stolen check) in excess of your quote, then ask for a refund.

This is not the only text being used for scamming translators.  BE ON THE LOOK OUT


Regional Seminar on Economic Dynamics of Newly

Liberalized Telecommunication Markets in CEE

Countries and Baltic States


Market, Economics and Finance Unit


The seminar on Economic Dynamics of Newly Liberalized Telecommunication

Markets in CEE countries and Baltic States took place in Vilnius (Lithuania) from 5 to

7 October 2004. 56 representatives of telecommunication sector stakeholders from 16

countries attended. 1 The seminar was hosted by the Lithuanian Communications

Regulatory Authority and was organized in the framework of Programme 4,

Economics and Finance, Including Costs and Tariffs of the Istanbul Action Plan.

The purpose of the regional seminar was:

1) to review the latest developments in the telecommunication sector in CEE

countries and Baltic States with special focus on regulatory and economic


2) to analyse the new EU regulatory framework in terms of

a. market analysis,

b. remedies for competition problems,

c. management of the convergence process;

3) to demonstrate the growing economic potential and performance of the

telecommunication sector in CEE countries and Baltic states;

4) to draw attention to the economic analysis of mobile telecommunications, and

to discuss regulatory options leading to enhanced competition;

5) to discuss particular needs in terms of economic analysis of the

telecommunication sector in the region;

6) to evaluate first effects of EU eastern enlargement on the economic

performance of telecommunication markets in the CEE region.

The seminar was opened by Mr Tomas Barakauskas, Director, Communications

Regulatory Authority (RRT) Lithuania, Mr Vytautas Krasauskas, Head, Post and

Telecommunication Division, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Lithuania,

and Mr Nenad Stankovic, Head, Europe and CIS Unit, ITU.

1 For more details see Annex 1


  • Mr Nenad Stankovic – Head, Europe and CIS Unit, ITU

o Title of presentation: ITU/BDT Activities in the Europe and CIS Region

o Executive summary: The presenter provided information on global

trends in the telecommunication sector, WSIS initiative in terms of the

creation of digital opportunities, and ITU activities in the region.

  • Mr George Papapavlou – Head, Implementation of Regulatory Framework,

European Commission

o Title of presentation: New regulatory framework (NRF) and its legal and

economic implications for CEE countries

o Executive summary: The presenter provided information on the gradual

liberalization process in the EU, the evolution of the EU regulatory

framework, the main features of the New Regulatory Framework, and

challenges regarding transposition of the NRF into national laws.

o Title of presentation: Implementation of the new regulatory framework

in Central and Eastern European Countries: Regional particularities of

new telecommunication laws in CEE countries from the point of view of

the EU

o Executive summary: The process of transposing the NRF into the

national laws of CEE countries and Baltic States (only two countries, i.e.

Czech Republic and Estonia have not transposed the NRF) were

presented. The main regulatory challenges as well as regional

particularities were pointed out.

  • Ms Jana Novosadova – Czech Telecommunication Office

o Title of presentation: Implementation of new regulatory framework in

Czech Republic

o Executive summary: The presenter provided detailed information on the

process of transposition of the NRF, the identification and management

of the SMP (Significant Market Power) and the current distribution of

relevant markets in the country. The presenter pointed out that the new

act on electronic communications was not approved by parliament and

stressed the main problems that the Czech Telecommunication Office

faced at the present time.

  • Mr Pavol Gerhat – Telecommunications Office of the Slovak Republic

o Title of presentation: Effective competition on Slovak

telecommunication market – transition from “old” to “new” regulatory


o Executive summary: The presenter provided detailed information on the

Slovak act on electronic communications that came into force on

1 January 2003 and corresponds to the NRF. Special attention was drawn

to market analysis issues.

  • Prof. Dr. Paul J.J. Welfens

o Title of presentation: Significant Market Power : Theoretical and

Practical Aspects

o Executive summary: The presenter focused on the main theoretical

issues related to market power in the telecommunication industry,

discussing the following aspects: monopoly, network effects,

competition, cost-oriented pricing, oligopoly in telecommunications,

asymmetric competition, substitution, bundling.

o Title of presentation: Proper identification and demarcation of markets

under continued process of convergence

o Executive summary: The presenter discussed the dynamic character of

market definition under the convergence process.

  • Mr Mark Scanlan – Scientific Institute for Communication Services (WIK)

o Title of presentation: Effective market analysis carried out by national

regulatory authorities under EU directives

o Executive summary: The presenter provided detailed information on the

process of determination of relevant markets in telecommunications. He

focused on hypothetical monopolist tests and discussed the definition of

the geographic market.

o Title of presentation: Identification of competition problems and

selection of remedies to deal with them

o Executive summary: The presenter provided information on the

procedure of identification of operators with significant market power

and remedies.

o Title of presentation: Implementation of new regulatory framework :

Improving market analysis in Romania

o Executive summary: As a former ITU consultant assisting the Romanian

National Regulatory Authority for Communications (ANRC) in

improvement of market analysis, Mr Scanlan gave a brief report on the

outcomes of the project. His presentation was supported by a short

contribution by the ANRC representative, Ms Andrea Randulescu.

  • Mr Andrejs Dombrovskis – Public Utilities Commission, Latvia

o Title of presentation: Fixed telecommunications market of Latvia:

Analysis one year after liberalisation

o Executive summary: The presenter provided a brief analysis of the

Latvian fixed telecommunication market. In addition he drew attention

to changes in regulation in connection with the process of transposition

of the NRF that began in Latvia in May 2004.

  • Dr. Jerzy Kubasik – Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications, Poznan

University of Technology

o Title of presentation: Telecommunication tariffs in Poland and new EU

member countries: Current status and perspectives

o Executive summary: The presenter provided analysis of tariffs in CEE

countries demonstrating the overall tendency to rebalancing (i.e. growth

of fixed charges and fall of usage charges) as well as the unification of

prices for all telephone calls.

  • Dr. Zsuzsanna Kosa – Department of Telecommunications and Media

Informatics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

o Title of presentation: Title of presentation: Economic and institutional

implications of network convergence

o Executive summary: The presenter focused on the three-dimensional

convergence model consisting of the following layers: regulation, market

and technology.

  • Mr Jaroslaw Ponder – Market, Economics and Finance Unit, ITU

o Title of presentation: Economic Meaning of Emerging Communication

Technologies for CEE countries and Baltic States

o Executive summary: The presenter gave a brief summary of the main

trends in the telecommunication and ICT markets in CEE countries and

Baltic States. He discussed implications for the telecommunication and

ICT sector in the process of economic catching up and highlighted policy


  • Prof. Dr. Justus Haucap – Department of Economics, Ruhr-University of


o Title of presentation: On the Economics of Mobile Telephony Markets

o Executive summary: The presenter provided a general economic analysis

of mobile telephony markets highlighting the economic explanation for

regulatory intervention and good regulatory framework.

o Title of presentation: How to increase the competition in mobile

telecommunication markets

o Executive summary: The presenter provided an analysis of a few

regulatory options directly influencing the level of competition in mobile

telecommunication markets, e.g. mobile number portability,

interconnection, mobile termination, NVNOs, international roaming,

spectrum allocation, price discrimination

  • Mr Rafal Zielinski – Chief Expert, International Department, Office of

Telecommunications and Post Regulation (URTiP)

o Title of presentation: Increasing the competition in Polish mobile

telecommunications market

o Executive summary: The presenter provided an analysis of the Polish

mobile telecommunication market discussing the role of the regulator in

terms of effective competition.

  • Mr. Tomas Lamanauskas – Head, Legal Section of the Lithuanian

Communications Regulatory Authority

o Title of presentation: Implementation of the new regulatory framework

in Lithuania

o Executive summary: The presenter discussed the main problems related

to the transposition of NRF in Lithuania and the Lithuanian regulatory

environment as part of a wider EU.

  • Mr. Saulius Gelzinis – Head, Markets and Competition Section, Department of

Telecommunications, Lithuanian Communications Regulatory Authority

o Title of presentation: Latest developments in the Lithuanian

telecommunication market

o Executive summary: The presenter provided an analysis of the

Lithuanian telecommunication markets, in particular focusing on fixed

and mobile telecommunications, the leased lines market and the Internet

access market.

  • Ms Nadzida Saric – Communications Regulatory Agency, Bosnia &


o Title of presentation: Liberalization of ICT Market in Bosnia and


o Executive summary: The presenter provided an overall analysis of the

telecommunication sector focusing on the liberalisation and privatisation

process, as well as institutional issues. The author discussed the

interconnection regime as a prerequisite for effective competition in the

telecommunication market.

  • Ms Irena Malolli – Licensing Director, Telecommunication Regulatory Entity,


o Title of presentation: Presentation on Albania

o Executive summary: After an historical review of the liberalisation

process of the Albanian telecommunication market, the presenter

focused on two main issues, i.e. the licensing regime, and fostering

competition through an optimal regulatory policy. Ms Malolli underlined

that the assistance provided by ITU in the field of interconnection

regulation was very helpful in the preparation of the new interconnection


Key points highlighted during the meeting and discussions:

  • The adjustment of national laws to the New EU Regulatory Framework (NRF)

has not come to an end in many countries. A review of the NRF will be

undertaken in 2006. Of new member states, only Czech Republic and Estonia

have not transposed the law. In all new member states more attention should be

paid to more effective competition, improved harmonization and the interests of

users. National laws are presently under examination by a Commission.

  • The NRF increases the role for national regulatory authorities (NRAs) in

undertaking market analysis and imposing or withdrawing remedies after a

consultation processes involving all market players. This situation requires

systematic additional data collection and detailed analysis from NRAs. Many

representatives of regulators expressed difficulties in this area. From this

perspective any help from ITU could be very helpful.

  • In terms of future meetings it was suggested that the exercise based on the

exemplary dataset could give the participants of future seminars a good

opportunity to ask more detailed questions.

  • The presentations on experiences in different countries raised many questions

and were cause for discussion. This demonstrates that direct consultations

between countries facing similar problems could be advantageous in the future.

  • The problem of convergence was recognised by participants as a crucial issue in

terms of proper market demarcation and definition. More attention should be

paid to this issue as it influences the performance of the whole sector.

  • Mobile telecommunications is the fastest growing communication technology

in CEE countries and Baltic States. However one identifies the competition in

this segment, many regulators look for new regulatory instruments allowing

them to enhance competition in the course of the NRF.

  • The economic meaning of the telecommunication sector in terms of the

acceleration of the socio-economic catch-up process in CEE countries and

Baltic States was of great interest. It was stated that the resources in this field

are very scarce which gives the opportunity for future ITU activities to fill the




Institutional Distribution

NRAs 24 43%

Governmental Institutions 14 25%

Private Sector 10 18%

Scientific Institutions 5 9%

International Organizations 3 5%

TOTAL 56 100%

National Distribution (Number of countries represented : 16)

Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 2%

Bulgaria 1 2%

Hungary 1 2%

Kazakhstan 1 2%

Moldova 1 2%

New Zealand 1 2%

Romania 1 2%

Slovakia 1 2%

Slovenia 1 2%

Czech Republic 2 4%

Germany 2 4%

Turkey 2 4%

Poland 3 5%

Albania 4 7%

Latvia 5 9%

Lithuania 26 46%

Representatives of International Organizations 3 5%

TOTAL 56 100%



Women 23 42%

Men 33 58%

TOTAL 56 100%


Women 4 18 %

Men 18 82 %

TOTAL 22 100%


Women 2 66.6 %

Man 1 33.3 %

TOTAL 3 100%






In a nutshell, not really.

There is this myth going around that you can make a fortune writing blogs and websites around google adsense. In other words, write with content that will drive high paying ads to your site.

If you are just a regular joe, quit the notion. Don`t spend a single additional cent on books, webinars, and whatnot that will teach you inner workings of making fortunes with adense.

But somebody is making money with it, isn’t it so?

Sure, if you are a CNN, or some other site that has millions of visits a day, you will make a handsome income from affiliate programs, pay per click, advertising. However, to be a CNN you have to own a TV channel that promotes the site for free, plus thousands of employees worldwide writing content. In addition to tons of fools that contribute content to it by making comments.

The reality is, if you are a small operator, you are unlikely to drive ads to your site that even fit the subject. Let us say you write about travel. The ideal thing would be to have travel related ads – hotels, airlines, tour operators, car rental, especially relating to the destination you are writing about. Then you find out they are serving credit card company ads, rich-man-poor man ads, and a whole lot of non-sense. The likelihood anybody will click on those ads is scant at best.

You might get encouraged when you get your first check. Trust me. My checks are currently one tenth of what I used to make six, seven years ago, and the number of pages I have on my sites has mushroomed. What happened?

You never know how much you are really being paid. I don’t know if I get paid 50%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%.

As a result, you end up doing all the work, in essence, you become enslaved to the idea that big bucks are gonna roll in sooner or later. Google is making the money, not you. Wake up and smell the stinky roses.

If having the ad banners is just an after thought, and your ambitions limited to have it pay for your monthly web hosting, go right ahead.

Unless you are planning on buying CNN any time soon.

Why Mr. Romney would have wrecked America

Mitt Romney purported to be the business specialist, the manager would would have saved America and created 7 million jobs in four years. The fact is, Mr. Romney would probably have wrecked the economy, by implementing ideas that worked 30 years ago, but would not work today.

The whole “trickle down” economics worked for Republican Ronald Reagan, but would not work today. Likewise, the “New Deal”  worked for Democrats, but would not work today. One of the major reasons why it would not work today is because it was World War II, not the New Deal, that really put America to work and made the country hegemonic in the aftermath of the great conflict.

The premise of trickle down economics is very simplistic. By reducing tax loads on wealthy individuals, these invest back in the economy, creating jobs for poorer folks.

The world is much different than in 1980. Nowadays, a wealthy individual has a host of opportunities that did not exist back then, globally, and the fact is, if you reduce the tax load on Bill Gates, he is extremely unlikely to start a new company, just like Mr. Romney himself keeps his money in blind trusts!

Back in 1980, the world was divided in ideological lines. The communists (Soviet Union and China) in one side, and the capitalists, on the other. Nowadays things are not so simple.  The largest communist country on Earth, China, is also the largest predatory capitalist country on Earth! Russia is supposedly “democratic”, but it is anything but and its “privatized” economy is a wreck! Goods flow more freely, and countries like India and Brazil, which were totally irrelevant 30 years ago, are now players.

Mr. Romney  says things that do not make sense. For instance, talking about increasing trade with Latin  America is silly. Take Brazil, the player in the region. For longer than people can imagine, the USA was Brazil’s major trade partner. Now, it is China, and the USA is highly unlikely to recover this position.

Mr. Romney’s idea of a small business is probably very wrong. He might believe that a small company is a business with 100 employees. That is not a small business by a stretch. Small businesses have 1 to 5 employees, and most of them are hurting, because of regressive taxation and no capital for expansion. Small businesses, by definition and size, cannot outsource abroad, thus, they have to hire locally.

So, if one implements “trickle down” economics over again, wealthy individuals are likely to invest in hedge funds, blind trusts like Mr. Romney or myriad other Las Vegas type Wall Street “instruments”, or in facilities abroad. Face it. Most large American businesses see America as a large shopping mall where products are sold, BUT not produced. Production jobs, if any, are likely to go to China and other Asian countries, while America would probably see increases in Walmart type jobs.

Thus, while Mr. Romney  claims to have tons of experience “creating” jobs, he has been out of the “game” for a long 13 years, during which things changed.  Additional, private equity companies such as Bain Capital have a history of downsizing companies, rather than creating jobs!

The world’s economy is a shambles, and for the sake of it, continuity is best. The rest of the world at least knows what Mr. Obama is about, for better for for worse.


They say that sharks can’t stop swimming, they die. Maybe that is why they are so cranky.

I have no idea whether this is true. There are so many urban legends, it is not funny. For instance, the whole thing about duck quacks not producing an echo has been proved wrong, yet, you see this statement all over the place.

So I have not checked about the shark thing.

The Internet is a bit like the shark thing. If you stop, you die into irrelevance. So, you can’t have static sites. The powers that be, the algorithms that rule the world do not like that. You might be in page one today, page 1,256,789th tomorrow if you don’t keep adding stuff.

So add, even if you don’t have anything to say.

Or be poised to suffer an inglorious death.


Reproduced from

Shake well before using

This post could be named a number of things, such as “Current business ethics”, The fallacy of disclosure”, “Don´t ask, don´t tell”, “Beat the lights out of your cartridge”.

In this over litigated age of ours, it seems that complicated things are made too easy, and easy things complicated.

For example. Several brands of orange juice come with the notice “shake well before using”, which in many cases is unnecessary, for the packing is transparent and it is obvious that it is necessary to shake the packaging to get more bang for the buck, and thus, better product.

In this case, the notice is there because users might be driven to think the US$2.99 product is no good, and stop buying it.

However, it seems funny that laser printer toner cartridges do not tell users, at least not in large-font-conspicuously-displayed notices, that cartridges last a long time after printing begins fading in the middle of the document. All you got to do is remove it and shake it and put it back on. You can still get many hundreds of pages from most printers.

You see, the manufacturers of US$79.99 plus laser print cartridges are not afraid you will be driven to the competition, lest you feel the product is uneconomical, for the cartridge is proprietary. And if you move on to the next brand, samo-samo. They all play the same game.

I still remember the first laser printer I bought about 20 years ago. The cartridge lasted forever, and there was no need to punch it around to get the ink to the proper place. When it began fading, it was really time to buy a new one.

Shall I dare to say that new cartridges are designed to fade fast in the middle, and compel users who are not in the know to buy cartridges before it is really necessary?

We are after all, in the age of inexpensive printers, but expensive ink! The less expensive the printer, the more expensive and less productive the cartridge.

Ok, call me cynical. I wonder if somebody has litigated this fine issue…

The game mentality I

It seems that in America, business has become a game.

I have had a few domains registered at for years. Don’t ask me why, for I know domain registration can be done at much less than the $35 the company charges for “outstanding customer service”. Let us say that I was unmoved by inertia, and for years renewed three domains I should have gotten out of there a long time ago. The entire domain transfer process seemed so difficult, so I left them there.

I decided to wise up.

The problem with is, first of all, if you register a domain with them, and do a domain forwarding, they place their banner at the bottom. If the domain is meant to be for a webstore, you might have a problem, for it will appear as if your site is not secure. To remove that banner, it will cost you more than the yearly registration. So for some time, the big sucker here was paying more than US$70.00 to have a domain, a year, to get rid of the banner.

I finbally decided to probe further, and drop everything I was doing, and get the domain out of of

After one call, I got the code I needed to transfer the domain. I provided this to the new registrar. It was not so difficult after all.

Much to my surprise, one day later I get an offer from to have the domain renewed for US$15.00!!!

Nice, huh? Why don’t they charge the more competitive price to begin with? Again, the game mentality.

Now I will remove the two other domains I have with them.

If you are American going to Brazil

If you live in the Miami area, you might be compelled by TAM, a Brazilian airline that offers flights to Brazil, to use the company in your next, or first, flight to Brazil. The company’s ads appear in seemingly every taxi cab serving the town.

Well, think twice, and don’t say you were not warned.

Although TAM does offer less expensive prices than its American counterparts, the seating arrangement is definitely unsuitable for Americans, which on the average are much taller, and have larger girth than Brazilians. Flying on TAM’s outrageously tight seats for 8 hours plus can be a terrible and unhealthy experience – and just thinking about the trip back will certainly make you lose some sleep the night before.

If you can afford Business Class, it is another story. Then again, if you can afford Business Class at TAM, you can certainly afford business class at American, and money should not really be an objection.

Adding to discomfort, cabin temperature tends to be either too hot, or too cold. I have flown on the airline a few times, and it is rarely comfortable.

The reason you might choose the airline is because you will be travelling a lot within Brazil, and thus you reason, why not accumulate international mileage to all domestic Brazilian miles you will be accruing?

Nice thought, except that TAM’s mileage program is the pits. You can never seem to be able to enjoy any rewards. By the time you think you might get a free flight, tons of miles are phased out. The best you can try is getting reduced rates for points, if you can ever find a flight or time that qualifies for the promotion…

Boarding the flight in Miami is a bad experience itself. The company regularly schedules three flights boarding at the same time, with limited personnel to serve hundreds of economy class passengers. You will surely be standing a good hour, hour and a half.

Adding insult to injury, if you think flying TAM will make things easier as far as getting connections within Brazil, think again. Getting a connection at Sao Paulo airport can be a comedy of errors and nerve wrecking. Rather than creating separate lines per flight time window, hundreds of passengers enter through a line that includes passengers who will be flying within the next half hour or in about 10 hours…

Don’t say you were not forewarned.