A Bulgarian care center for disabled children excels

Nov 29th, 2008

A Bulgarian care center for disabled children excels

VARNA, Bulgaria — State institutions in Eastern Europe devoted to the care of children and the disadvantaged are most often the subject of negative news stories in Western media. So after the British Broadcasting Corp. aired an upsetting documentary last year about conditions at a home for mentally impaired orphans, advocates for the disabled were relieved they could focus attention on good practices and all point to Karin Dom, a nonprofit day care center for children with mental and physical disabilities.

Macedonia dispute has an Asian flavor

Oct 1st, 2008

Macedonia dispute has an Asian flavor

SKOPJE, Macedonia — It is one of Europe’s most bizarre – and stubborn – international disputes, and certainly the only one that invokes an argument about Asian tribes stretching back to Alexander the Great.

A Book Peels Back Some Layers of a Cold War Mystery

Sep 11th, 2008

A Book Peels Back Some Layers of a Cold War Mystery

September 11, 2009 Sofia Journal A Book Peels Back Some Layers of a Cold War Mystery By MATTHEW BRUNWASSER SOFIA, Bulgaria — It was one of the legends of the cold war: a Bulgarian dissident writer, Georgi Markov, dying in a London hospital of a mysterious fever after being injected with a poison pellet from a specially adapted umbrella as he walked to work across Waterloo Bridge.     A prominent novelist in his native land when he defected to the West in 1969, Mr. Markov had become a journalist at the BBC’s Bulgarian service and an unflinching critic of Communist rule and Bulgaria’s longtime leader, Todor Zhivkov.

Cold war escape route

Aug 19th, 2008

Cold war escape route

Reporter Matthew Brunwasser reports on one of the routes chosen by East Germans who wanted to escape their country during the Cold War. It went through Bulgaria, and held the promise of freedom. But many didn’t make it.

landfill – D’Arcy Norman

Aug 5th, 2008

The Nation’s Largest Landfill Beckons Tourists

story by MATTHEW BRUNWASSER photo by D’ARCY NORMAN Broadcast on NPR / Day to Day Click here to listen Los Angeles County is home to the country’s largest active landfill. Recently the high-tech Puente Hills Landfill also began offering tours. What is so attention-worthy about a massive pile of trash? Garbage is the affluence of our consumption. That’s one of the messages of the exhibit, Post Consumed: A Landscape of Waste in Los Angeles at CLUI’s Culver City gallery. It’s 8:30 in the morning, and Heidi De Vries (ph) is waiting for the bus tour, which is part of this exhibition. She’s looking at photos of different stages of the waste stream.

Singing-Shepherd: Hans Breuer

May 12th, 2008

Singing-Shepherd: Hans Breuer

Hans Breuer is one of a kind. He was born in Vienna, Austria…to a Jewish father and a Christian mother. He became a shepherd — a singing shepherd. In fact, he became a Yiddish-singing shepherd. Breuer sings to his sheep…and to his fellow Austrians. He says his songs make the sheep happy. But they make some Austrians uncomfortable. Breuer was featured in the book “Shlepping through the Alps,” by American Sam Apple. Matthew Brunwasser schlepped along with Breuer and his 900 sheep in the Austrian Alps.

Nuclear ambitions fan controversy in Bulgaria

Oct 30th, 2007

Nuclear ambitions fan controversy in Bulgaria

SOFIA — As governments around the world struggle to secure energy supplies, cut carbon emissions and adapt to rising oil prices, Bulgaria has adopted an ambitious solution: Construct a new nuclear power plant, the country’s second, near the northern town of Belene, across the Danube from Romania.

A Ride to the Afterlife

Oct 1st, 2007

A Ride to the Afterlife

story by MATTHEW BRUNWASSER published in Archaeology Magazine Vol 60 Issue 5 STANDING OVER AN EXCAVATED PIT in a lush field between rusting grain silos and an aging dairy, archaeologist Veselin Ignatov explains, in helpfully unscientific language, the difference between two Thracian chariots he has just uncovered. “This one is a Mercedes,” he says, as we look over the remains of a chariot and horses buried in Bulgaria sometime between the first and third centuries A.D. “The other one,” he says, indicating a pit 10 yards away, “is more economy class.”

Sep 26th, 2007

International Accordion Festival

Quick — name a famous American accordionist. You might have a little trouble. The accordion has a bit of an image problem here in the U.S. But next month, it gets star billing at an International Accordion Festival in San Antonio, Texas. The festival is promoting a broad array of international performers. Recently, the festival director took a trip through the Balkans to scout for talent. Reporter Matthew Brunwasser caught up with her in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Doctor Recounts Imprisonment in Libya

Aug 2nd, 2007

Doctor Recounts Imprisonment in Libya

By MATTHEW BRUNWASSER SOFIA, Bulgaria, Aug. 1 — In the yard of the Bulgarian presidential residence, on the foothills of Vitosha Mountain, Ashraf al-Hazouz on Tuesday recounted his years of imprisonment and torture in Libya and aired his grievances: the beatings, the electrical charges all over his body, the injection that he was told carried the virus that causes AIDS.