Issue 118

NEW SETBACKS FOR BULGARIA'S DEMOCRACY

The Bulgarian parliament approved a draft counterterrorism bill meant to give wide-ranging powers to law enforcement. The bill will empower the army to be able to make arrests and assume policing functions. It would also grant the police rights to detain citizens, impound vehicles, destruct property, tap communications, impose surveillance on emails, listen in on phone calls and so on and so forth, acting only on suspicion and without any evidence.

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ECCENTRIC BULGARIA

Many of these are connected to Bulgaria's literary greats in a personal and somewhat morbid way: a body part lovingly preserved in formaldehyde here, a relic that witnessed a violent and untimely death there.

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BEGLIKTASH, A MEGALITH IN WINTER

The ancient Thracian sanctuary known with the Turkish word Begliktash stands in a meadow that opens up dramatically before you after a 40-minute walk along an overgrown path through the oak forest of the Strandzha. Anticipation builds even before you start on the path because just where it begins is the Dragon's Houses, a Thracian dolmen hidden by a canopy of tree branches.

Scattered seemingly at random, like the abandoned building blocks of a giant baby, some of the rocks which make up Begliktash weigh up to 150 tonnes.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

Mr Borisov, failure to nominate yourself as GERB's presidential candidate will indicate you are scared.

Kornelia Ninova, leader of the BSP

I can't wait for the presidential elections in the US, because that guy will be... because the world will be more interesting afterwards.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov

We need to advertise our vampires.

Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova

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AHTOPOL

The similarities between the two are not only in their names. Both are located on rocky peninsulas that have provided security for their inhabitants since Antiquity. Both were founded by Greeks well millennia ago. Both were until the early 20th century Greek-populated and both have been fishing communities for centuries. Both have a combination of ancient fortifications and traditional architecture. Intrigued? Find out more.

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XAVIER LAPEYRE DE CABANES

France's outgoing ambassador, Bulgarian-married Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes, has made a name for himself as being outspoken on any issue ranging from art to education, public relations and politics. By calling a spade a spade on key issues for Bulgaria as the rule of law and compliance with EU-related commitments, Lapeyre de Cabanes has gained the respect of many intellectuals and ordinary citizens who see Bulgaria firmly in both the EU and NATO. Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes arrived in Bulgaria in the autumn of 2013.

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MOROCCO

For centuries Morocco has attracted poets, writers, travellers and adventurers in search of the exotic and the outlandish. It is an inimitable blend of North Africa, Islam and the developing world. However, in contrast to most other Arab states, during much of the second half of the 20th century Morocco sided with the West and the United States rather with the East bloc. Recently, Morocco stood out as the only Arab country not to experience any kind of "spring," meaning local politics and the local way of doing things have been preserved much as they used to be.

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DEVETAKI CAVE

Stoney-faced and determined, Sylvester Stallone pilots a plane, shooting at a bunch of baddies holed-up in a phantasmagorical cave. There are gunshots and wisecracks, and then the airplane enters the cave with a bang.

The scene from The Expendables 2 is pure fiction, but something in it is completely real: the cave where all the action takes place is one of Bulgaria's most fascinating natural phenomena.

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WHERE IS IVANCHO?

Boyko Borisov went on a visit to a school to talk about the challenges facing firefighters. Towards the end of his talk, he asked whether the pupils had any questions. Ivancho, the popular Bulgarian jokes character, stood up and said:

"Yes, sir, I have three questions. First, why is everyone in Bulgaria so poor? Second, why do all the prices in Bulgaria go up all the time? And third, why do the citizens of Bulgaria have so few rights?"

Boyko Borisov started perspiring, but just at this time the school bell rang and the pupils were let into a recess.

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FUTURE IS NOW

Driverless cars, quantum computers, the Internet of things: we are living in times when sci-fi ideas are becoming reality. Biotechnologies are one of the fields in human knowledge that have been experiencing a rapid development in the past few decades. Now is the time to reap the benefits in the form of a growing portfolio of biotechnology medicines for deadly and previously untreatable diseases, says Krassimira Chemishanska, MD, MBA, Country Director of the Bulgarian branch of Amgen.

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ELENA

Elena, in the central Stara Planina near Veliko Tarnovo, is a destination that has all this, and more. There, you will find yourself deep amid green forests, old churches and traditional houses, complete with the feeling of a place still stuck in the early 1990s. As a bonus, the town is the home of one of Bulgaria's renowned delicacies: the Elenski but ham.

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AND NOW SMILE

Having beautiful smile is one of nature's great gifts – it makes its owner to appear better, cleaner and more confident to the others. For centuries, white healthy smile was the privilege of people with good genes.

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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Profit, expansion to new markets, innovation, employees's satisfaction: there is a lot the manager of a company has to think about. One thing he often oversees, however, is that his knowledge has some inevitable limits and this prevents him from succeeding in the constantly changing environment without proper help. And the business environment does change. Nowadays more faster than ever businesses are coming and going, new industries appear and others stagnate, periods of crisis rapidly alternate with periods of economic upheaval.

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WHO IS YOUR BROKER?

How does your dream home look like? What in your opinion is the most reasonable price for the apartment you want to sell? There are many answers to such questions, but each of them includes a constant that you cannot navigate around: the real estate agency.

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