Archive for the 'obvious things about bulgaria' Category

Ah, come on Libya, what the hell’s wrong with you?

December 19, 2006

BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Libya sentences medics to death

A Libyan court has sentenced five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death for knowingly infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV.

For a court to blatantly ignore compelling evidence is unforgivable. And for a country to be so deeply in denial about public health is really quite disturbing. And, you know, scapegoating foreigners is just so 20th century.

Note to small minded fools everywhere: you can’t change reality by refusing to believe in it.

However, the reality in this case is that Libya is determined to kill these people.

Libya has asked for 10m euros (£6.7m) compensation to be paid to each of the families of victims, suggesting the medics’ death sentences could be commuted in return.

But Bulgaria has rejected the proposal, saying any payment would be seen as an admission of guilt.

Maybe, Bulgaria, in this case you should just pay up to get your people home safe, however unfair it might be?


Ian Mackenzie 1931-2006

November 5, 2006

Broadcaster, writer, musican, minister, magician.

My father, my father, my father.

Died of the quick decline at the Glebe, Southwick, on the Solway Coast, on 31 October 2006, as I was sitting in a cafe in the İstanbul Otogar, drinking tea before embarking on a long journey.

At night, if I can’t sleep, I sometimes go to the window and, if it is clear, look beyond the streetlights to the space beyond. It becomes more and more difficult to get there, because earth’s light pollution is blotting out the cosmos. But from the Glebe fields by the Solway one can see the fields of stars. There they are, the revolving galaxies. Inside the cottage behind me is my little family which one of these days I will have to leave. But for now they’re here to cherish. My heart beats for them, but my heart also reaches out to the family who left me, father, mother, Alan, Catherine, Etta. My heart reaches out so far it thins to invisibility. They, and my friends who have gone, have been travelling beyond death for years. They must have gone very far by now. I don’t find words, but I yearn that somewhere in the mystery of universes, wherever they are, in whatever form they are, they could be touched by the unconditional love I feel for them.

The intensity passes. Is it real? Do they exist anywhere? How at one moment can one be surrounded by faith and see everything fit together, and at another moment feel so utterly lost in aloneness and unknowingness?

The uncertainty is how it has always been, and always must be, no doubt.

I Was Invited: the autobiography of Ian Mackenzie (2003)

October 20, 2006

Bulgaria: Bulgarias Agriculture Minister Halts Forest-Sales Deal
This is the second in a wave of protests staged in Sofia and all over Bulgaria, calling for the preservation of Bulgarias nature and a stop to illegal constructions that are quickly covering the countrys once paradise-like beaches and mountains.

Well, this is a hopeful sign. The government seems to have responded to genuine concerns by the public! Of course, that’s not stopping the Black Sea Accelerando (it’ll be interesting to see how much things have changed since last year…) but it’s a start.


September 21, 2006

Sofia News Agency: Bulgaria: UKs Reid Sends “Strongest” Signal for Limiting Bulgarians, Romanians

UK Home Secretary John Reid has given his strongest indication yet that the government intends to restrict access to the UK for Romanians and Bulgarians if their bid to join the European Union succeed, the Guardian commented September 20.

“Although he did not specify how restrictions might operate, sources said they could include a mix of measures such as quotas or a time period during which Romanians and Bulgarians would not be allowed to enter the UK.”

This is just so totally wrong. Either you are in the EU and have all the rights of an EU member state, or you don’t. It occurs to me that there can be an intermediary stage, “EU associate” or something where restrictions like this occur, and EU accession becomes a gradual process rather than the bizzare all or nothing system we have at present.

The Guardian disclosed last month that a senior government figure had revealed ministerial plans to introduce a work permit system for Bulgarians and Romanians who would be required to prove they could fill specific skill shortages.

“We have a strong record on accepting migrants from Europe, but sometimes politics has to override the economics, and that is what is going to happen in this case,” a cabinet minister closely involved in the talks said at the time.

That’s even worse! There isn’t a rational reason for this. It’s to appease idiotic racist blue-top tabloid reading voters. The 2004 accession migrants have on the whole been a great success. There won’t be nearly as many Bulgarians and Romanians.

So where, exactly is the problem?

Perhaps it’s in the head of Dr John Reid.


August 21, 2006

Osama “Obsessed with Whitney Houston”

Lifestyle: 21 August 2006, Monday.

Osama bin Laden is obsessed with pop diva Whitney Houston, and has even considered killing her husband Bobby Brown, Sudanese poet and novelist Kola Boof has claimed.

If only, if only it could be true… Osama would be revealed as the small-time crackpot he is, the neo-cons and new-laborites as the idiots they are, peace would reign on planet earth, and we could start doing something about (a) world poverty (b) the rapidly accelerating environmental crisis.

Or am I getting a little carried away?


August 14, 2006

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice by Country

With effect from the 1 September 2006, Britons holding valid passports will be allowed to enter Bulgaria for up to 90 days in any 6-month period without requiring a visa, instead of the previous 30 days.

Ohhh, that makes life a lot easier. Now if we can get rid of the need for “where you have been staying” certificates…

speaking in other tongues

August 8, 2006

So 10.5 “Leporardrard” (I prefer to call it 10.5 I’ve never been able to spell learporærd proper) will have a better speech synthesiser in it.

It’s called Alex and speaks American English. I wonder what else Alex is capable of?

If he knows about the International Phonetic Alphabet, and the fairly regular spelling rules of (some) European languages perhaps he’ll be capable of making a fair go at speaking in foreign tongues. My personal interests would be Norwegian and Bulgarian, as I’m rather pathetically trying to learn them just now. And boy would it be handy to be able to hear individual words or text read out (correctly) in those language. I know that nice Mr Carmo has expressed an interest in Portuguese. And I’m sure other people would be interested in other things, European or otherwise.

So how about it? A nice set of sophisticated computer voices, backed up maybe by some nice open-standard translating dictionaries, augmenting what’s meant to be the best, most multilingual operating system out there…

Mapping Happiness

July 31, 2006 – Denmark is happiest place in the world, report says – Jul 27, 2006

LONDON, England Reuters — If youre looking for happiness, move to Denmark.

Its the happiest country in the world while Burundi in Africa is the most unhappy, according to a new report by a British scientist released on Friday.

Well, maybe.

Denmark is No. 1. I can see that. Norway is down at 19th place, which I’d guess you’d expect given the winters, but Bulgaria is down in 164th place. Now, life may be hard in Bulgaria, but I don’t believe it’s worse than life in, say, sub-Saharan Africa, or totalitarian states like Burma or North Korea…

400 Kms Illegal Sewers Found in Sofia–Sofia News Agency

July 1, 2006

400 Kms Illegal Sewers Found in Sofia

Experts from Sofia’s water supply company “Sofiyska Voda” have detected over 400 kilometers of illegal sewerage, media reported.Some of the drains built about ten years ago are in very poor condition as they were constructed hastily, with contractors skimping on quality, Sofiyska Voda have told private Darik radio. The faulty construction of these sewers is the reason why they clog up every time it starts raining.

Constructions have eaten away most of the capital’s green fields and now all of the water finds its way to the streets, the experts say. Many companies present a problem as they dump their waste in the open and it later clogs the drains.

After I came home from Bulgaria last year Zornitsa sent me a map of Sliven. I was mildly surprised to see that officially, all those houses, villas, garages, streets, etc I could see to the east of her parent’s block were non-existent.

It’s boring but vital. A rational planning system that works is absolutely neccessary for a country to develop in a way that isn’t destructive. Look at this post from bootstrap analysis to show what’s happened in Detroit.


June 15, 2006

Pothole "Swallows" Jeep in Sofia
An alarming story on Sofia News Agency. I can safely say that I never saw a hole that big on a road. I did however discover an uncovered drain at least five feet deep, and can state with authority that the road maintainance crews in Sliven have a relaxed attitude towards informing the public of their work, and that roads only get closed when the hot tarmac is actually being laid.

Meanwhile, in Scotland…

A few weeks ago the road out the back of Helensburgh got resurfaced. The trouble was the warning signs and speed limit had been posted at least two weeks before. So everyone was ignoring them.

I'm not sure which is worse.