Issue 80

IT ALL BEGINS WITH GOOD INTENTIONS, An excerpt from the novel Fake is a State of Mind

Once upon a time… James always began his stories like that, smiling. He thought fairy tales were the best ways of telling a story and he was right. I looked at him like a little child every time he told a story. So, once upon a time, Ruben Sullivan was a legend for Interpol. Young, talented and so very clever, he had been the mastermind of pretty much every beautifully conducted art crime over the past ten years. In order to be the best, he was of course the student of the best before him. There was an old saying that when the student is ready, the master will appear. And he did.

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BRAŞOV

In a twist of historical irony, probably the best way to encounter unchanged European medieval architecture is to visit Romania. There, guarded by the Carpathian Mountains, lies Transylvania, the home of fictional Dracula and of what used to be a significant German population. The Saxons arrived and settled here in the Middle Ages at the invitation of the Hungarian kings, and spent the next several centuries building fortified cities, Gothic cathedrals and Baroque mansions. They developed trade and industry in this rich land.
 


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BULGARIA'S ENDANGERED HERITAGE

Officially, not a single Bulgarian entry in UNESCO's world heritage list is in danger. In actual fact however, in the country of sun and roses, many historical and natural sites are in danger of being changed beyond recognition, or of being completely lost.

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ELIZABETH ALLEN

When in the UK, Elizabeth Allen works as a senior policy adviser to the British Government. She's worked on immigration, counterterrorism and integration policy in the Interior Ministry and led the Turkey section in the Foreign Office. She was also a professional career coach in her spare time. In Sofia she has been working with NGOs, the Office of the President, ministries and local government in support of “deinstitutionalisation” – closing down children’s home and developing local family support services.

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OESCUS, NEAR GIGEN

The second bridge over the Danube, between Bulgaria's Vidin and Romania's Calafat, is a project which took decades to be conceived and years to be built. Funnily enough, some kilometres downstream there is proof that spanning the Danube with a bridge was not all that difficult.

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IN BOTEV'S FOOTSTEPS

Every 2 June, at exactly noon, the civil defence systems all over Bulgaria are switched on. The sirens wail for a minute; a minute when many people stop whatever they are doing and stand still.

The sirens are the noisiest part of the commemorative events for the death of Hristo Botev (1848-1876), arguably the greatest poet Bulgaria ever produced. He died, along with many of his fellow revolutionaries, in a battle with the Ottoman forces, while trying to start an uprising in Bulgaria's north-west.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

Every printing house can use the matrix for whatever it wants. It can print ballots and then use them as wallpaper.

GERB's Council of Ministers chief secretary on the discovery of 350,000 illegal ballots stoked a day before the 12 May snap election

If anyone prefers the prosecution to be a passive observer of violations and crimes, they have got the time, the prosecutor and everything else wrong.

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WELCOME TO THE NKRSDEWOOJTYDEG

Woken by the phone’s insistent ring, he rolled to the right to swing his feet to the floor, but his knee hit the hard wall making his pictures rattle. Someone had somehow contrived to move his bed 180 degrees in the night. The phone continued its urgent shriek every four seconds. Georgi A. cursed its mother and especially the mother of whoever was hanging on relentlessly at the other end. Hadn’t he installed a gentle bluesy ring tone, a soothing coaxing musical phrase? This hectoring shriek was becoming shriller.

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PROFESSOR (OXON.) EVGENIY DAYNOV

To everyone with an interest in Bulgarian politics and society for the past 30 years, Evgeniy Daynov has been a familiar name. Educated at the Corpus Christi College in Oxford and having taught political science at both the University of Sofia and the New Bulgarian University, Evgeniy Daynov has been at the forefront of a variety of pro-democracy movements and political parties, starting from the Ekoglasnost grassroots environmentalist movement in the late 1980s and going through the SDS, or Union of Democratic Forces, through the 1990s. Evgeniy Daynov is not your "typical" Oxon.

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