Issue 122

HEY LISTEN, MR PRICK!

With just 5.87 percent of the vote (or 253,726 actual votes) their candidate Traycho Traykov lagged behind the extreme nationalist Krasimir Karakachanov (14.97 percent), the politically unknown Veselin Mareshki (11.17 percent), and even the universally reviled former Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski (6.63 percent).

However, one of them, the leader of the DSB, or Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, Radan Kanev, perhaps unwittingly, did something that may be interpreted as the last straw that broke the GERB's camel's back.

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BRINGING ANTIQUITY BACK TO LIFE

In October 2016, a thick layer of soil and debris covering an ancient mosaic for centuries was removed to reveal a stunning mosaic of a peacock with a tail fanned to show all of its majestic colours. But the marvellous bird is only a speck of the archaeology, history and art treasures of the Bishop's Basilica in Plovdiv. For a second year now, they are being surveyed by archaeologists from Plovdiv Archaeological Museum led by Zheni Tankova, with funding by the America for Bulgaria Foundation.

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IN AFTERMATH OF PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT

While he was in his heyday, Bulgaria's prime minister, Boyko Borisov, used to deride learned men and women by calling them "the guys wearing spectacles." Notoriously, he used to boast that in his lifetime he had read only one book, a Western story entitled Winnetou and written by a 19th century German writer, Karl May. He also used to woo workers protesting over their unpaid wages by assuring them that they were "simple folk" and because he himself was a "simple man" they would get together well.

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MASTODONS OF DORKOVO

The mastodons roamed along the banks of a river, munching on the vegetation under the canopy of a tropical forest, oblivious to the screams of the monkeys and the presence of rhinos, but watching out for the lions and sabre-toothed tigers that were never far from the watering hole.
 

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ALL ALONG THE ISKAR, Part 1

Nothing is deeper than the Iskar River, says the folk song of the Shopi, the Bulgarians who inhabit the area around Sofia. This song is the ultimate proof of the Shopi's proverbial stubbornness and local pride, and yet the Iskar River is indeed remarkable. Gushing out in Bulgaria's highest mountain, the Rila, it begins its life when two smaller rivers, the Beli, or White, and the Cherni, or Black Iskars, converge. It then heads towards the Danube, arriving there after a journey of 368km (the Beli Iskar lenght included).

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BULGARIA'S RUSSIAN CHURCHES

The impact of the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish war in what is now Bulgaria is hard to exaggerate. The nation regained its independence after five centuries of Ottoman domination, and established strong, but often troubled, relations with first imperial and then Soviet Russia, mingling the inevitable gratitude for those who died in the war with the need to have independent foreign, economic and social policy.

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THE SECRET OF MISHKOVA NIVA LOCALITY

Until recently, no one was able to visit one of Bulgaria's most interesting sites, the dark grey remains of a tomb near Malko Tarnovo. Under Communism, people needed special permits to enter this small town in the Strandzha mountains, as it was only a few metres from the border with Turkey, a member of a hostile NATO member. Even if tourists had somehow obtained permits, it was impossible for them to cross the border fence and take a look at the tomb in the Mishkova Niva area.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

The Interior Ministry is one of the most reformed systems in this country.

Rumyana Bachvarova, outgoing interior minister

Parvanov (the former president) lies that I am going on hunger strike again.

Poet Edvin Sugarev, who now works as Bulgaria's consul in Nis, Serbia. He has made a name for himself for going on politically motivated hunger strikes

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AMAZING ISTANBUL

Home to at least 18 million people, Istanbul spreads over two continents, and has a past so rich that it would take you a lifetime to get to know it properly. And yet, it is so vibrant and full of sensations and experiences that it feels more like sheer pleasure than a history lesson, particularly in winter.

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THE INHERITANCE OF HOPE, An excerpt from a short story

Some folks like to warn that money can’t buy happiness, but I figure it’s hope that holds real worth. Twelve days before emigrating from Będzin, Poland, to the hilled landscape of Oregon in 1943, my great-grandpa Alistair made a single, significant purchase. With the last of his savings he bought a ring for his wife, Kazia. It was forged by a goldsmith who claimed he could weave the couple’s aspirations right into the metal, preserving their visions for the future as neatly as life sealed in amber. Sometimes, that’s all you can do with misery such as theirs – manipulate it, melt it down.

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MY HOME IS MY INSPIRATION

What inspires you to wake up in the morning and to begin your life in good mood? Your family, your loved one, your dog, the thrill of a challenge in work or an upcoming travel are all things that inspire us to live to the full and with eagerness. But have you noticed how does interior inspire you?

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GIFTS OF HAPPINESS

With Christmas coming, the question of the gifts balloons to scaring proportions. On the one hand, we don't have much time, and on the other we worry if our choice will make its recipient happy or will be met with a lukewarm "Thank you" and forgotten in some corner or wardrobe. These thoughts stress us and rob us from the most precious thing: the joy of choosing presents, the impatient awaiting for the reaction while they are being unwrapped, and the thrill before we are about to see what surprises have our relatives and friends have for us.

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WINE EUPHORIA

Bulgaria's wine traditions span so deep back into time that no-one can say for sure where they begin. But even the strongest traditions change and open space for new tastes and fashions. Bulgaria is not an exception. The country has already a stable position on the modern wine market, adopts novelties, invests in vineyards, technologies, specialists and wineries, and enjoys a growing group of people interested in wine.

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