Ivo Panov: The Department of Iranian Studies contributes to developing ties between the EU and Iran

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Ivo Panov (photo: Ivo Panov)

An interview on the Bulgarian-Iranian cultural relations and how the Department of Iranian Studies at Sofia University works to develop them

Vladimir Mitev

The orientalist and iranologist Ivo Panov was born on October 5th, 1958 in Sofia. His dedication to the East began with study of Persian Philology at the State University of Kabul (1978-1980) and continued graduating Eastern Languages and Literature at the State University of Azerbaijan (1980-1984). In 2001 he defended his doctorate at Sofia University on theme: New Aspects in the Study of the Poetic Heritage of Omar Khayyam.

At present, Ivo Panov is head of the department for Iranian Studies at Sofia University since the department was founded in 1993. He was also a director of the master’s programme Iranian Studies at New Bulgarian University (2000-2004). He is president of the Association of Friends of the Persian Language and Culture in the Republic of Bulgaria since its establishment in 2008. Ivo Panov leaded section Theory, History and Criticism of Translation at the Union of Translators in Bulgaria (2010-2016) and the Union of Translators in Bulgaria (2016-2019).

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The anti-Iranian axis cracks

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(photo: Pixabay, CC0)

The EU, Russia and China have their own visions for the Middle East, which emphasise economic development and cooperation. A surprising step towards the peace camp was made by the UAE 

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 13 August 2019 on the English section of the site „The Barricade”. 

The world media reports abundantly on the escalation of tensions in the Middle East. In the hot summer of 2019 we followed the takedown of an American drone, which Iran claimed entered its aerial space. The UK captured an Iranian tanker around Gibraltar, claiming that it was about to deliver petrol to Syria, against international rules. Iranian military seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. We also learned that the USA has introduced sanctions against the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who played a key role in the negotiations and signing of the 2015 nuclear agreement with the group of six (USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China).

What has a more difficult time grabbing the attention of the international press are the efforts of a number of countries supporting peaceful development and easing of tension in the Middle East. The EU, Russia and China see possibilities for economic development, reconciliation, trade, and security partnerships in this region. Without saying so openly, these concepts are being realized, evidently counter the confrontation strategy of Iran’s adversaries.

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The Romanian Black Sea coast is the embodiment of precarious labour

A video interview with Marin Florian – president of the Federation of Free Labour Unions in Romania on the labour conditions in Romanian tourism

This article was published on 1 August 2019 on the English section of the site ”The Barricade”. 

he site Recorder recently released a video report from the Romanian Black Sea coast, which presented the dramatic situation of the tourism industry’s labour force. The report circulated the idea that there isn’t a sufficient labour pool, which forces employers, who are otherwise well-intentioned, to bring in workers from Southeast Asia and to attract students from the professional high schools for “experience”. The report provoked indignation among many,  who commented on Recorder’s YouTube channel, but also among journalists from Romania, who noted immediately that this report was done with the support of the Employers’ Confederation “Concordia”, and mostly represents the interests of employers, while employees’ voices were barely heard.

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The murder which shook Romania – a story from Caracal

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(foto: Pixabay, CC0)

What does Alexandra Măceşanu’s tragedy show, why didn’t state institutions do their job and what dangers haunt you if you are a girl and are poor?

Maria Cernat

This article was published on 4 August 2019 on the English section of the Bulgarian site ”The Barricade”. 

Romania has been in a state of shock for more than a week, after a 15-year old girl – Alexandra Măceşanu, from the centrally-located southern city of Caracal, was killed on July 25th. Alexandra had gone to a larger city for private lessons. Due to Romania’s general lack of public transport, she was forced to hitchhike back home. The government recently eliminated free regional transport and now private transport companies aren’t obligated to service routes which don’t generate a profit. That is how she was abducted by a 57-year old automobile mechanic, Gheorghe Dincă, who operated an unlicensed taxi service. He took her to a house in Caracal. In spite of the fact that Alexandra called the emergency phone number 112 a few times, police didn’t manage to pinpoint her signal immediately, and didn’t enter the house until the following morning, because of lack of permission from the observing prosecutor. In the 19 hours between the first call until police entered the house where she was being held, Alexandra was repeatedly raped and then killed.

The case has shaken Romania not only because of the brutal abuse of the adolescent, but also because state institutions acted with inexplicable slowness, which enabled the criminal to follow his plan to completion. Alexandra phoned 112. It took the police 19 hours to intervene. Another interesting piece of information is that three months prior, another young girl from the zone- Luiza Melencu, was killed by the same man. This horrible fact was publicized, along with a 2012 human trafficking case at the Deveselu military base. The base has been used by American air defence since 2011.

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Romania bravely raises the pensions

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(photo: Pixabay, CC0)

The ruling social democrats are accused that they destabilise the country financially, as they win over the voters with their concept of „income-led growth“

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 30 July 2019 on the site of the Bulgarian newspaper ”Word”.

On 8 July 2019 Romanian president Klaus Iohannis promulgated the new Pensions Law, which outlines a significant growth of pensioners’ income in the following years. The law is a successive measure of the Social Democratic Party, which represets the relatively poorer nd more vulnerable part of the voters. Just as it happened with other similar actions – such as the introduction of special VAT for food in 2015, the current action is criticised by the business circles.

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Eleonora Ivanova: There are cheap and effective ways for countering the heavy traffic between Bulgaria and Romania

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(photo: The Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

The executive director of the Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry gave this interview in April 2019 for the Bulgarian television Bloomberg Bulgaria, speaking about the third bridge over the Danube at Svishtov-Zimnicea, about the need for better cross-border connectivity and the successful business cooperation between Bulgaria and Romania

The decision for the construction of the third bridge over the Danube between Bulgaria and Romania at Svishtov-Zimnicea was taken without discussions with the business organisations, which develop the relations between the two countries, such as the Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and industry. This is what the executive director of the chamber Eleonora Ivanova said in an interview for the Bloomberg Bulgaria TV, which is now given to the blog “The Bridge of Friendship”. Furthermore, BRCCI has fighted for the last two years in order to encourage the usage of cheap and effective possibilities for lowering of the traffic at the bridge between Rousse and Giurgiu, through the introduction of a ferryboat. Each bridge over the Danube would contribute to interconnectivity between the two countries, but the need for a new bridge at Rousse-Giurgiu remains dire, says Eleonora Ivanova. That is why when such decisions are taken, they have to be based on the current data and on the experts’ advice.

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We, the Bulgarians, don’t care about the Danube

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(photo: Yavor Michev)

Bulgaria doesn’t take advantage of the river and its Danubean regions are among the poorest in the whole of Europe

Mila Cherneva

This article was published on 19 July 2019 on the site of the Bulgarian newspaper ”The Capital”. It is republished here with the consent of the newspaper and with insignificant modifications.

Some of the richest regions in Germany, Austria and even Serbia are around the Danube. But in Bulgaria it is exactly the opposite. Along the river banks are situated some of the poorest municipalities. They don’t take advantage of the river’s potential. Commercial possibilities are not developed sufficiently, relations with neighbouring foreign towns are weak, and tourism is left behind. On one hand, this is explained by the negligence towards water and the lack of infrastructure, on the other hand it is caused by the lack of initiatives among the local authorities and communities.

Although there is the so-called Danubean Strategy on European level, which should help the Danubean regions to develop, it is scarcely used. That is how the Danube remains a barrier, instead of a possibility.

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