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Source: Freepik

On the night of July 15, 2020, the Balkan nation of North Macedonia was anxiously awaiting the preliminary results of its parliamentary election. Soon after the polls closed, in what was first believed to be a minor technical glitch, the website of the State Election Commission went down.

The polling results were nowhere to be found on the website in the next several hours, as the commission resorted to manually announcing the latest updates on a makeshift YouTube channel. And things didn’t get any better in the late hours of the night.

That night, the country suffered the biggest cyberattack…


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As the early deployment of 5G infrastructure across Western Europe takes shape, inside Eastern Europe, most countries are at very different stages when it comes to their individual 5G rollouts. Due to the different technical, legal or even political contexts, these countries are making difficult choices about what to do next.

The Balkan region, where most countries aren’t EU members, is often seen as an arena where the international powers try to create their own spheres of influence. …


After the re-emergence of a Telegram group sharing explicit pictures and videos of women and girls, experts say authorities must act on several levels to confront the devastating scourge of online harassment.

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Source: Telegram

Authorities in North Macedonia face an uphill battle to confront the dangers of online harassment, experts warn, following a public outcry over the reappearance of a group on the encrypted messaging app Telegram in which thousands of users were sharing explicit pictures and videos of women and girls, some of them minors.

The group, known as ‘Public Room’, was first shut down in January 2020, only to re-emerge…


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Source: ZDNet

The cyberattacks that targeted multiple US government agencies and companies in recent months have raised the alarm in developing Eastern European countries regarding their own cybersecurity capabilities.

During the past year, some of them, like North Macedonia, have already experienced breaches of their state IT systems: last summer, the country had its electoral process disrupted by massive DDoS attacks that happened on election night. Hackers targeted the website of the state electoral commission, which went down for a few days before the election results could finally be made available to the Macedonian public.

In 2019 in neighboring Bulgaria, more than…


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Source: Freepik

The Western Balkans, a region surrounded by EU member states, could pose a threat for the spread of the virus to neighboring countries if its citizens remain unvaccinated

While the Covid-19 vaccination process has been well underway in the UK and EU member countries during the last few weeks, countries in the Western Balkans region are still scrambling to secure the necessary vaccines doses for their populations.

The Western Balkans, a region practically surrounded by EU member states, has been mostly relying on the COVAX mechanism, a WHO-led global effort to provide vaccines for the poorer countries, to provide the…


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A cellphone tower equipped with 5G. Photo: EPA-EFE/WU HONG

To Matjaz Bericic, chief technology officer at Telekom Slovenije, 5G is “not the destination, it is the journey”.

If that’s the case, the countries of the Balkans are at very different stages of that journey, but

for all of them the potential benefits of the next cellular standard are vast, experts say.

“An early strategy on 5G deployment and frequency licencing could be a great opportunity for the region, as it can be seen as part of the advanced infrastructure that can attract investments from, for example, industrial production companies or multimedia production companies,” Petar Popovski, professor of wireless connectivity…


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Credit: Vaonis

With the current health crisis hitting most aspects of people’s lives, many have turned to new hobbies that suit social distancing and staying at home.

Stargazing and amateur astronomy are two activities to benefit from people’s enforced isolation, with lockdowns across the globe leading to an increase in people observing the night skies and a rise in sales of astronomical instruments.

But despite the attraction of these activities, some people have found the use of traditional telescopes hard work, especially those who are new to amateur astronomy. It’s a problem that a young French company is trying to tackle.

Vaonis…


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Credit: Wirestock

As most countries in the Balkans are looking to diversify their energy sources for the upcoming years, there have been many interconnection projects that are either in the phase of construction, or implementation. In this article, we take a look at how these countries are planning and implementing these projects.

Bulgaria

The Bulgaria-Serbia Interconnector Gas Pipeline, also known as the IBS Interconnector or the Nis-Sofia Gas Pipeline, is a proposed pipeline in Bulgaria and Serbia, with a proposed capacity of 1.8 billion cubic meters a year and a length of 62 kilometers on Bulgarian territory, and 108 km on Serbian territory…


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Photo: Nacho Kamenov

Two years into the Syrian war, in 2013, Shyar Ali fled his native Aleppo, ending up in a refugee camp in Iraq where he worked as a labourer to make ends meet. Life was hard, the 22-year-old recalled.

His luck began to change, however, in early 2019, when Ali stumbled upon ‘Humans In The Loop’, HITL, a Bulgaria-based social enterprise that links refugees, asylum seekers and others displaced by conflict with work opportunities in the growing industry of artificial intelligence, or AI.

So far, Ali has worked on four data annotation projects via HITL, earning enough money to open a…


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Image source: Freepik

At the beginning of October 2020, Bulgaria took another step towards the full liberalization of its energy market for industrial companies and small businesses. These two categories of consumers are to participate on the free market and to buy electricity at freely negotiated prices. Meanwhile, the process for households across the country is still ongoing and they are staying on the regulated market for now.

Bulgaria is one of the few countries where both a regulated market and a free electricity market exist — household consumers and small businesses buy electricity from electricity suppliers on fixed prices by the Energy…

Bojan Stojkovski

Freelance journalist based in Skopje, Macedonia. Contributor for @ZDNet and @ForeignPolicy

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