Issue 130

THE TASTE OF SUMMER

Oh, summer! We spend the whole year dreaming about its got days and blissful evenings, about the vacation and the time we will have in the company of the people we love. Summer is the season when we are more relaxed, wear light clothes and flirt, meet new people and strengthen our friendships, when we go to the seaside and travel.

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REASONS FOR A SMILE

Smile is the quickest manifestation of our good mood. This is probably why children smile at an average of 400 times per day, the happy adults – about 40-50 times per day, and the average person – around 20 times per day. Regardless of the mood, smile is good for our health. Even when we are in a bad mood and we force ourselves to smile, it yet brightens us.

Regardless of their mood, however, many people are not able to smile. The reason? Bad teeth.

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TO UNLEASH POTENTIAL

Regardless of its size, not a single business can be stable and develop if its employees work without enthusiasm. This is an old truth, so old that it was identified as early as the 18th century, in the dawn of the industrial revolution.

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THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW HOW

The outside consultant is the solution. This is a professional who is a specialist in a particular field, but has the indispensable advantage of having an outsider's outlook of the situation. Thanks to this he is able to identify the problem, to offer a solution and to inspire change. The consultant is objective and is not under the influence of the company's internal dynamics. He or she can organise effective trainings of the employees, and also perform unpopular measures such as firing people.

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LAND OF LOST LENINS

If you could (or would want to) go back in time 29 years and visit Communist Bulgaria, your trip would unfold under the constant presence of one man, Lenin. There was hardly a place in Bulgaria – big city, small town, village even – without a monument to Lenin, or at least a street, school, or kindergarten named after him.

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ELIZABETH KOSTOVA

Elizabeth Kostova is a well-known name in literary circles in the United States. Her first novel, The Historian (2005), quickly became a national and then an international bestseller, and it was subsequently translated into many languages.

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PRIME MINISTER WITHOUT A SMOKED SAUSAGE IN HIS HAND

Each outrage committed by the top GERB functionaries is almost immediately followed by something totally unexpected – and even more outrageous than before – in order to distract the attention of the general public from the really important issues such as the failed judiciary reforms, the unwillingness or the inability of the police to solve even street crimes (whose number increases by the day) and the plummeting standards of democracy in the EU's poorest and most corrupt member state.

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FALL OF 1,300 YEARS OF BULGARIA

In the summer of 2017, after years of debates, projects and protests, Sofia looked as though it would finally part with one of the most controversial monuments of the period referred to as Mature Socialism (roughly, the 1970s and 1980s in Communist Bulgaria). Everyone knows the monument in question: it is the 35-metre-high angular construction of granite plates and metal, crowned with ghostly statues and disintegrated slogans, in front of the NDK in central Sofia.

Ironically, the name of the monument slated for demolition is 1,300 Years of Bulgaria.

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GOING, GOING, (ALMOST) GONE!

This would have been the perfect story for Andy Borowitz. A group of people identifying themselves as intellectuals start a war of words (involving so far just one non-verbal Molotov cocktail) over another group of people whom the intellectuals dub uncouth simpletons with fascist or Taliban tendencies over a monument no one has ever liked and everyone, including the engineers, agrees is actually dangerous not only to your sight and mind but also to your head in case you happen to be walking too close by.

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SMALL COMPANY, BIG DREAMS

Bulgaria's potential in high technologies transcends the outsourcing software services it is popular for now. Rüger Consulting has been a successful example for exploring new fields. It is a regular feature in the top 3 list of the most prosperous IT consultancy companies by the Computer World Bulgaria weekly. It is small, but it's clients' portfolio includes major international names, like UniCredit Germany and the largest financial group in Northern Europe – Nordea. The company implemented and refined many terabyte scale enterprise data warehouses and big data applications.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

Why do our children have to study Darwin's theory, in which I do not believe, and not creationism?

Yordan Tsonev, an MP for the DPS

Boyko Borisov is the bearer of peace in Europe.

Georgi Gergov, a Plovdiv businessman and a member of the BSP

I am known for my humility.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov

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PREOBRAZHENSKI MONASTERY

The Wheel of Life scene, on the southern wall of the main church, is self-explanatory. Here unfolds the human cycle, the eternal flux mirroring the passing of the seasons. The naivety of the child in spring blends into the confidence of the adult in summer, before settling into the wisdom of the ageing man in his autumn, until it reaches the despair and demise of the old man in his winter; a never-ending cycle put into motion by Death itself.

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ST ANASTASIA ISLAND

To the British, He gave mastership over the seas, while the Swiss received the mountains, the Russians got the great plains, and the Germans took possession of the thick forests. When God ran out of gifts, He noticed that there was a people who were still empty-handed: the humble Bulgarians, languishing at the end of the queue of nations. Baffled, God soon realised what had happened: the Devil had stolen all the best pieces of the earth. The Almighty took everything back, and gave it to the Bulgarians.

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BURGAS THAT WAS

Sometimes it pays not to have a very long history. Despite some claims that Bulgaria's largest city on the southern Black Sea coast is ancient (related in some way to Troy, I was told recently), most would agree that Burgas is quite new.

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ALL ALONG BYALA REKA

Even before the day trippers have started their descent to Byala Reka, or White River, their uneven melody precedes them. After a while the singers themselves appear, hikers whose tiredness testifies that they have seen much more than just the Byala Reka Eco-Path.

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GUČA MADNESS

At the Guča Trumpet Festival, exaggeration is the norm. Every August this sleepy town in southern Serbia attracts thousands of people from all over the Balkans – and increasingly beyond – for several days of traditional brass music unleashed by dozens of bands, large and small, of dancing and singing, of overeating and overdrinking, of behaving as if there is no tomorrow, when life is to be lived to the full.

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SEVEN BEDTIMES FOR SEVEN BONZOS, An excerpt from a short story originally published in Yeti magazine

According to their testimony, the three co-defendants had met while flipping ollies in the drained swimming pools of suburban southern California and a decade later had gone on to serve as graphic designers and principal investors in Abacus 5, their own product line of extreme sports clothing. Without seeking prior permission from myself or my former employer, Black Star Photo Agency, Abacus 5 had printed a series of T-shirts that used elements of eight photographs spanning several phases of my career, albeit significantly altered from their original form.

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