Issue 129

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CASE OF NDK

Here are the facts. Former Construction Minister Lilyana Pavlova, who is now Minister for Bulgaria's Presidency of the EU, fired the general manager of the National Palace of Culture, or NDK, Miroslav Borshosh. Pavlova, who used to belong to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's inner circle but is now seen as being demoted to what in effect will be just a temporary ministry, cited massive wrongdoing for her decision. She said the planned reconstruction works to modernise the huge building in central Sofia lagged behind.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 13:04
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'GREAT WALL OF BULGARIA'

The barbed-wire fence supposed to prevent refugees from entering the EU's poorest member state, Bulgaria, is almost ready. After about four years of construction work, the roughly 240-kilometre fence now proudly stands in the middle of the Strandzha forest, in what is supposed to be a nature park. Its usefulness is disputable and there are ongoing allegations of misappropriation and wrongdoing.

The Fence, as it has become known in Bulgarian daily language, has a long and controversial history spanning almost six decades.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 13:02
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CHRIST IN SPACE?

Christ was an alien. Or if He wasn't, then four centuries ago there were UFOs hovering over what is now southwestern Bulgaria.

If you believe the hype, evidence that aliens visited us in the past, probably inspiring Christianity, exists hidden in plain sight. In a church. In Bulgaria.

A fresco in a 17th century church in Dobarsko village, near Bansko, is said to represent Christ in a space rocket, in the Transfiguration scene.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:55
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KNOW THINE HISTORY

In the past several months the political establishment of GERB, supported by the loose alliance of ultranationalists identifying themselves as "united patriots," has been ruthless in condemning and eradicating anything that might smack of "anti-Bulgarianness." Of course, no one but GERB's leaders and their nationalist pals can define what Bulgarianness means. It may range from wearing baggy 19th century peasant trousers and fur hats to more "refined" 21st century Bulgarian "virtues" such as being anti-cosmopolitan, anti-liberal and of course anti-gay.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:54
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SUNFLOWER POWER

Growing in fields that often look endless, they raise their large heads in rows, inspiring the traveller to stop and to release for a minute their inner Van Gogh: photos are taken, bouquets are made and brought home.

Sunflowers have covered Bulgaria for such a long time, and are so ubiquitous, that without them the countryside in early summer would look strange and bereft.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:41
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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

If you carry a ladder, you can climb over even the Great Wall of China.

Interior Minister Valentin Radev downplays information about migrants surmount the fence on the Turkish border

We have lived to see the day when Tsvetan Tsvetanov accuses Sweden of corruption.

President Rumen Radev on the GERB's top functionary's accusation that Bulgaria buying Gripen fighters is bad

We are on first-name terms since when we both were mayors.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:40
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NICOLE SIMMONS, ON TRAVELLING IN BULGARIA, NOT VISITING THE SAME PLACE TWICE AND COLLECTING ART

Nicole is also an epidemiologist and international health expert with 20 years of experience managing and developing technical assistance, training and research projects. She is currently a part-time faculty member in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with a current project evaluating an early childhood development programme in Swaziland.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:36
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NDK, COMMUNIST-ERA MONSTROSITY OR CULTURE PALACE TO SHOW OFF WITH?

On its vast square, teenagers skateboard and flirt, elderly people have coffee with friends and mothers stroll with their children, while buskers and icecream sellers vie for customers. In the evening, people heading for some festival or concert at the NDK's Hall 1 flock in front of the main entrance. It has about a dozen doors, but typically just one is open. The bars around are packed, and those who can afford it head for the luxury restaurant on the top floor.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:22
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ATHENS NEVER CEASES TO AWE

It is a place of ancient monuments and of drab, unremarkable post-1940s streets with white houses and greying apartment buildings, with bustling street traffic and elderly people slowly strolling along. There are tourist traps and tavernas that seem unchanged since  the 1960s, intelligent graffiti and classical monuments which laid the foundation of Western art, among the pestering pigeons and of the pageantry of the Evzones national guard.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:12
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THE FREEDOM TO MOVE

One doesn't value what boon is to move freely and without pain until the moment something unexpected happens: trauma during an accident or sport, a disease  triggered, old age, or the accumulation of unfavourable factors like bad posture, leading to physiological changes and acute pain. No one is protected – from children to people who do actively exercise.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:04
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THE ART OF TRANSLATION

Mastering foreign languages is an advantage in the globalised world, but it is also a huge challenge. Even polyglots – according to the Guinness World Records the first place belongs to Ziad Fazah, a Lebanese born in Liberia who claims to speak 58 languages – are not able to brave all the challenges of modern communication. The ambitious aim of creating programmes for mechanical translation, like Google Translate, is still far from perfection, as you can easily see if you try to translate a compound-complex sentence with it.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:03
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CODE WORD: QUALITY

The current year begins to look incredibly interesting for Sofia's property market. The general picture is for stabilisation and moderate growth of the prices of common residential properties, healthier market and… an increased interest in a specific segment: luxury real estate.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:03
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LOVE IS CARE

"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened," Anatole France has said and anyone who even for a short period of time has had a pet will confirm. Pets charge us with positive energy, relieve us from stress, make us laugh and give us the most important thing: unconditional love.

Pets, however, need proper care to be healthy and happy. They are not toys, they are a responsibility asking for constant care.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:02
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