Play Selects Comverse to Manage

WAKEFIELD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Comverse, a subsidiary of Comverse Technology, Inc. and the world's leading supplier of software and systems enabling network-based multimedia enhanced communication and billing services, today announced that Play, a new mobile operator in Poland, has selected Comverse to manage its Converged Billing operations and Value-Added Services. Comverse solutions deployed by Play include Converged Billing, InSight Open Services Environment, SMS, MMS, Messaging Gateway, Mobile Internet Gateway, and Data Control and Monitoring Point. Comverse service management enables Play to achieve its marketing strategy by synchronizing services, billing and customer care operations, aimed towards high customer satisfaction with minimal operating expenses.

As a new operator, we are young in spirit, and infused with energy and a visionary drive to make a difference in the Polish market. Having Comverse as a partner gives us global expertise that can enable us to reach our goals, said Play CTO, Hans Cronberg.

By partnering with Comverse for managed services, Play benefits from a joint team of specialists from both companies, mastering the technologies and procedures required, and enabling Play to gain a competitive edge by speeding time-to-market of new services and laying the groundwork for marketing best-practices and optimal system availability.

Yaron Tchwella, President of Comverse, said, Managed services capabilities are an important aspect of Comverses strength as a world leader in Total CommunicationTM Our commitment is to complement our cutting-edge products by providing support services from our technical and marketing experts which match the unique needs of every operator.

About Play

Play is the new brand of P4, which was set up by the Icelandic fund Novator and Polish alternative fixed-line operator on September 16, 2004. P4 was granted a UMTS license in August 2005, with initial service launch in March, 2007. P4 is a distinctive player on the Polish market for mobile communications offering competitive facilities combined with new mobile broadband services. P4s different products and services are easy to understand, simple to use and both entertaining and relevant to deal with. P4 services reach out to corporate industries and to the individual consumer. For the individual consumer, P4 boasts a wide range of services and products that makes everyday a little bit more exciting. For business customers, P4 presents a wide range of services and products that all help to make a day at work a bit more fun and productive.

About Comverse

Comverse is the worlds leading provider of software and systems enabling network-based messaging and content value-added services, converged billing and IP communications. Comverse solutions generate revenues, strengthen customer loyalty and improve operational efficiency for over 500 communication service providers in more than 130 countries. The company's Total CommunicationSM portfolio facilitates personalized lifestyles in an evolving connected world and is based on the holistic InSight Open Services Environment. Comverses solutions support flexible deployment models, including in-network, hosted and managed services, and can run on circuit-switched, VoIP, IMS and converged network environments. Comverse is a subsidiary of Comverse Technology, Inc. (CMVT.PK). For more information, visit www.comverse.com.


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Market welcomes Agora's decision on new CEO, says future brighter UPDATE

Polish media group Agora's shares rose on opening as investors welcomed the company's nomination of Marek Sowa, a former senior executive at Canal+ and other TV companies in Poland, to take over as chief executive.

Sowa, who is 45 and also has experience with other electronic media, needs to be voted onto the board at a meeting of shareholders on Aug 30, and analysts say this should be a formality.

They said it was very good news the company had looked to an outsider with a background in a different sector, offering at least the chance that he will breath fresh life into Agora's operations.

'It's a fantastic decision. I'm very pleasantly surprised,' said Warsaw's DB media analyst Krzysztof Kaczmarczyk.

'Agora had to search hard to find someone like this. Sowa is an ideally tailored manager with background in electronic media and TV, where Agora is not yet represented.'

Agora's stock rose as much as 2 pct in early trade, before settling at a 0.7 pct gain, compared to a 0.8 pct fall for the blue-chip WIG20 index.

The market was prepared for this year's departure of Agora's first and only chief executive, Wanda Rapaczynska, but media reports had suggested the company would appoint current deputy chief executive Zbigniew Bak as her replacement.

Agora, which gets more than half of its revenues from the sale of its flagship daily Gazeta Wyborcza, has suffered from stagnation on the Polish newspaper market and a recent fight for dominance with German publisher Axel Springer, publisher of Poland's best-selling daily Fakt.

Agora, a media company with assets on the newspaper, outdoor, radio and Internet markets, has for years been on the lookout for access to Poland's expanding TV market.

'The company needs fresh blood (and) Marek Sowa has experience with electronic media and should usher Agora into a new era,' said Dorota Puchlew, media analyst with PKO BP (nyse: BP - news - people ) brokerage in Warsaw.

Source: By Adrian Krajewski, forbes.com

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Central European Distribution: the Toast of Poland

When is it good to be an alcohol importer? It's just fine, when you are one of the biggest ones in Europe. It's also very good, when you own a couple of your own distilleries and are one of the biggest vodka producers in the world.

Central European Distribution Corporation (NASDAQ: CEDC) imports and distributes more than 700 brands of beer, spirits and wines in Poland. Among its imported brands are Diageo (NYSE: DEO) spirits, Metaxa Brandy, Remy Martin Cognac, Sutter Home wines, E&J Gallo wines and Jim Beam bourbon. The firm also makes and distributes various brands of vodka. The company owns two distilleries and operates 16 distribution centers, serving some 39,000 retail outlets.

CEDC pleased investors last week, when it raised its FY07 EPS guidance from $1.50-1.66 to $1.56-1.72 and its FY07 revenue guidance from $1.05-1.10 billion to $1.10-1.15 billion. Analysts had been expecting $1.59 and $1.09 billion. The CEO cited strong underlying growth in core brands and downward pressure on raw spirit pricing for the more optimistic outlook. Management also guided FY08 EPS to $2.00-2.10 ($2.00 consensus) and FY08 revenues to $1.20-1.30 billion ($1.23B consensus).

The stock popped into a bullish "pennant" consolidation pattern on the news. Prices frequently exit pennants moving in the same direction they were traveling when they entered them. In this case, that would be to the upside.

Brokers recommend the issue with two "strong buys", two "buys" and one "hold". Analysts see a 22% growth rate, through the next year. The CEDC Price to Sales ratio (1.54), Price to Book ratio (2.69), Price to Free Cash Flow ratio (32.02) and Sales Growth rate (20.04%) compare favorably with industry, sector and S&P 500 averages.

Institutions own about 63% of the outstanding shares. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $21.77 and $38.18. A stop-loss of $33.00 looks good here. Note that the firm is expected to report second quarter results in early August.

Larry Schutts is a contributing editor for Theflyonthewall.com and the Vice-President of Stockwinners.com.

Soource:by Larry Schutts, bloggingstocks.com

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Poland planning takeover defence for Orlen - report

Poland's economy ministry is working on a strategy to defend PKN Orlen against a potential takeover, concerned that a Russian oil major could buy a large stake in the company on the open market, Wprost weekly reports today without citing sources.

Wprost says that the share price of PKN, in which the state holds almost 30 pct as well as a 'golden share' aimed at giving it a veto on company decisions, may have risen in recent months due to a Russian company buying its shares.

Analysts and fund managers say PKN's gains have been due to high world oil prices and investors taking a positive view of its long-term strategy and purchase of Lithuanian refinery Mazeikiu.

The economy ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Source: forbes.com

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Poland's budget deficit at 12.3% of full-year plan at end-June

Poland's budget deficit amounted to 12.3% of the annual plan, or PLN 3.678 bln, after the six-month period ending June, the Finance Ministry said on its website Monday.

However, the deficit growth is expected to accelerate in the reminder of the year to close at 3.4% of the country's gross domestic product.

"The brilliant implementation of the budget in the first six months does not mean it will be so for the rest of the year," said Katarzyna Zajdel-Kurowska, deputy finance minister, on news television channel TVN24. "Expenditures that have been moved to later months will accumulate in the latter part of the year."

The six-month deficit resulted from revenues at PLN 115.3 bln, accounting for 50.4% of the yearly total and expenditures of nearly PLN 119 bln, or 45.9% of the annual plan.

It had stood at PLN 4.265 bln after the January-May period, or 14.2% of the yearly total.

Source: gielda.wp.pl

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Poland and JRC step up collaboration

Poland's contribution to European research and development (R&D) looks set to increase, following the signature of a Memoranda of Understanding with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).

The agreement, which was signed by the Polish Minister for Science and Higher Education Michal Sewerynski and JRC Director-General, Roland Schenkel, aims to stimulate cooperation between the JRC and Polish research organisations.

Together, Polish researchers will work with their counterparts at the JRC on initiatives in four areas of research of strategic interest to Poland: food and feed safety and quality; energy; nuclear safety and security; and human exposure. These initiatives will support the joint use of resources, such as equipment and facilities, as well as knowledge sharing and staff exchanges.

'EU Research Policy can only realise its full potential when it has the appropriate links with scientific and technical organisations at international, national and regional level,' said Dr Schenkel. 'With over 60 Polish organisations already working closely with the JRC, Poland is clearly committed to playing its part.'

Minister Sewerynski also underlined the value of such collaborative agreements: 'By building synergies on joint research programmes and initiatives, the larger European scientific and R&D sector can achieve more for the citizen than working alone.'

For more information about the agreement, please visit:

For information on Poland's R&D, please visit:

source: cordis.europa.eu

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Potential' for flights to Poland

An airport operator is looking at the potential for direct flights between Inverness and a destination in Poland.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited said it was a market it was interested in, but stressed that "there was nothing on the horizon" at this stage.

There are thought to be more than 8,000 Poles living in the Highlands. Many of them travel to the Central Belt or London to make their visits to home.

Poles make up a significant community in the Highlands.

Many of them in Inverness, where Polish National Day celebrations were held in May.

A HIAL spokesman said: "Poland is a potential market from Inverness, but there is nothing on the horizon."


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Polish coalition survives crisis

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's shaky government survived the latest political crisis on Monday when two junior coalition parties abandoned their threat to walk out and bring forward early elections.

The rural leftist Self-Defence party and far-right League of Polish Families kept the possibility of early polls alive though by announcing they were merging to fight the next elections on an anti-European and anti-reform platform.

"We hereby declare that a new party is being formed," Self-Defence leader Andrzej Lepper told a joint news conference with League chief Roman Giertych.

The new party, to be registered soon, would be called League and Self-Defence (LiS).

Conservative Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski plunged the biggest ex-communist European Union nation into political turmoil last week when he fired firebrand Lepper as deputy premier and farm minister over a corruption probe.

Lepper has protested his innocence, saying the probe into a land deal that proved to be a sting operation by the anti-corruption police, sought to remove him from politics.

He initially threatened to quit the coalition, which would have deprived Kaczynski of his majority in parliament, but then kept Poles and foreign investors in Poland's fast growing economy guessing about his true intentions.

His party voted several times to leave or stay, only to declare on Monday, the eve of a 6-week parliamentary recess, that staying on was a patriotic duty.

"We have been badly hurt but we have to rise above ambition because it's about Poland," Lepper said.

The alliance with the League would give both parties clout in dealing with Kaczynski's Law and Justice, Lepper said. Polls show both the smaller parties balanced near the 5-percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

"Right from the start our two parties agreed on pro-social, pro-family policies," Lepper said.


His partner Giertych said the new party's agenda would be opposition to a new European Union treaty. Other EU leaders want the treaty approved by the end of the year and are already exasperated by Polish demands for changes.

Giertych, who told Reuters on Friday that the new constitution would seal German domination of the EU and Poland, said the new party would demand a referendum on the matter.

He urged Kaczynski, himself a Eurosceptic, to take a tough line against the EU in disputes such as aid to shipyards and Baltic fishing limits.

"The formation of the new party gives us a chance to block Poland's consent to decisions made in Brussels," he said.

Asked to comment on the rhetoric of his coalition partners, Kaczynski signalled he believed the treaty would be ratified by parliament with the help of pro-EU opposition parties.

Analysts said, however, that a confident alliance of his partners would be problematic for Kaczynski in the months ahead, when negotiations are expected to start in earnest over the 2008 budget, key to Poland's plans for adopting the euro currency.

"This gives Law and Justice a headache because both parties will undermine the government from within more effectively," said Kazimierz Kik, a sociology professor at the Swietokrzyska Academy in central Poland.

Source: swissinfo.org

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Angola: Musician Maya Cool Invited to Festival in Poland

Angolan musician Maya Cool will participate on September 27-30, at the third edition of the Ntdbllyckie Festival, at the invitation of Poland's Gdansk Cultural Centre, ANGOP has learnt.

This has been announced to ANGOP by Maya Cool, who expressed his satisfaction at the invitation, as he considers this to be a unique opportunity to show abroad, one more time, the culture of Angola.

"This is an invitation made to Angola and not only for the singer Maya Cool. It is an opportunity that I will seize to promote my album and the Angolan music ( )".

To better highlight Angolan music, Maya Cool said he his preparing all the necessary conditions for this purpose, having as support Angola's Maravilha Band and two other members of the Kituxi folk music group.

Source: allafrica.com

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Poland says U.S. shield a "foregone conclusion"

A U.S. missile-defense system will be built in Poland despite Russia's anger over the plans, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said on Monday after a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Kaczynski expressed confidence over the proposed system, although Poland has held off a formal agreement to host it and pressed for concessions on issues including related military contracts.

"The matter of the shield is largely a foregone conclusion," Kaczynski said at a news conference following the meeting.

"The shield will exist because for Poland this will be a very good thing," he said.

Washington wants to place up to 10 ground-based interceptor missiles in northern Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic to protect against attacks from what it calls "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

Kaczynski said several issues still have to be ironed out, including the size of the base and the number of U.S. soldiers to be stationed there.

"The location on the technical level is already decided, but we will soon announce where," Kaczynski said.

The Czech Republic has already agreed to the radar site.

Russian President Vladimir Putin late last week suspended Moscow's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe, or CFE, treaty from mid-December, in a move widely seen as an effort to raise pressure over the U.S. plans.


Bush and Kaczynski insisted the system was not aimed at Russia.
Rather, it would provide security for Europe from countries where "leaders don't particularly care for our way of life and, or, are in the process of trying to develop serious weapons of mass destruction," Bush said with Kaczynski at his side in the Oval Office.

Kaczynski is one of Moscow's most outspoken critics and a key U.S. ally in Europe. He said he wanted to emphasize the "defensive" nature of the proposed missile shield.

NATO expressed concern on Monday at Russia's decision to suspend participation in the CFE treaty, which covers the deployment of armed forces in post-Cold War Europe.

The White House said it would keep working with Russia on missile defense.

Bush and Putin met earlier this month at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, in an attempt to improve ties that have become frayed partly over the missile shield.

Putin made a new counter-proposal that expanded on his previous offer to use a radar system in Azerbaijan as an alternative to the U.S. plan.

He suggested incorporating a radar system in southern Russia and bringing more European countries into the decision-making through the Russia-NATO Council.

"The comments that the Russian president made up in Kennebunkport offered a certain amount of promise for moving forward. We continue to have discussions with them on it," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

Polish and U.S. negotiators held talks on the shield in late June in Washington and will resume them later this summer.

Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, who represents Poland in the talks, has said he expects a deal in September or October.

On Tuesday, Kaczynski will visit Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where the United States has been testing missile defence technology and plans to place four interceptors by 2011.
Source: ca.today.reuters.com

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Polish President Heads To U.S. For Missile-Defense Talks

July 15, 2007 -- Polish President Lech Kaczynski is traveling to Washington today for talks with President George W. Bush that will include U.S. plans to deploy elements of a missile-defense system in Central Europe.

The three-day visit comes after Russia, which strongly opposes the project, announced it was suspending its participation in a key European arms control treaty.

Talks at the White House between Kaczynski and Bush on July 16 are expected to pick up negotiations that began in Poland in June over the missile-defense shield.

The United States wants to place 10 interceptors in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic.

Washington insists the missile-defense system is aimed at countering the threat of a nuclear terror attack from "rogue" threats that include Iran and North Korea.

But Russia says it views the U.S. plan as a threat to its national security and has responded energetically, including with an offer to allow a facility in Azerbaijan to be used for the missile-defense effort.

CFE Maneuvers

On July 14, the Kremlin announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree suspending Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) pact.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said the move was connected to NATO's eastward expansion and what he said were violations of the CFE treaty by the NATO alliance.

Kislyak also said Moscow remained open to dialogue.

"I would like to stress that we are not closing the door to dialogue," Kislyak said. "We presented proposals to our partners to find a solution. And we are still waiting for a constructive response."

The CFE treaty, originally signed by Warsaw Pact and NATO member states in 1990, and amended in 1999, limits the amount of troops and conventional weaponry that signatory countries can deploy on their territory. But the United States and other NATO members have refused to ratify the amended version of the treaty, saying Russia must first withdraw troops from Moldova and Georgia.

NATO, the United States, and individual European states expressed disappointment at Russia's fresh decision to suspend participation.

"The CFE is one of the foundations of the situation which was created after the end of the Cold War," Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told Reuters. "And we of course would like to keep this treaty, of course with some amendments, with some amendments, with some modifications which were discussed and were implemented some years ago. But of course we wouldn't like to pull out from the treaty, [and] we wouldn't like Russia to pull out from this treaty."

View From Warsaw

Poland's participation in the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq is also expected to figure on the agenda of Kaczynski's visit.

Poland has been a staunch U.S. ally since the launch of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in early 2003, and currently has about 900 soldiers in Iraq. But President Kaczynski has recently signaled an unwillingness to leave Polish troops in Iraq beyond the end of this year.

During his U.S. visit, the Polish president is also scheduled to honor late U.S. President Ronald Reagan with one of Poland's highest distinctions, presenting his widow Nancy Reagan with the Order of the White Eagle in Los Angeles on July 17.


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