In August of 2008, Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen was premiering his new documentary, “Leaving Fear Behind”, to a group of journalists in a Beijing hotel when Chinese police interrupted and forcibly shut down the screening.
On 28 December 2007, Australian Jock Palfreeman was in downtown Sofia, Bulgaria, with some friends when he witnessed a young man being attacked by what he believed were football hooligans. Palfreeman chose to help the man, and suddenly found himself fighting a few men after they turned on him. Jock and two attackers fought, and when the dust settled, one of the attackers was fatally wounded and the other was severely wounded.
The Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in northern Bulgaria was originally proposed in the mid-1980s. The project was cancelled in the 1992, after significant environmentalist campaigning, when it became clear that the seismic risk in the region was unacceptable. Indeed, 120 people had died in an earthquake only 14km from the project site in 1977. There was also concern that the project would not be economically viable.
Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, had only one landfill, which was 500 meters from the Suhodol neighborhood. The residents of Suhodol claimed that the landfill polluted the area and was a danger to the health of their children. In 2001, the mayor of Sofia promised to close the landfill by the end of 2004.
In 1989, Bulgaria was part of the "wave" of nonviolent revolts against domination by the Soviet Union and its Communist-led governments in Eastern Europe (see Bulgarians campaign for democratic reforms and multi-party rule, 1989-90).
Early on in the Second World War, Bulgaria was a member of the Axis powers, having signed the Tripartite Pact on March 1, 1941. However, Bulgaria was not emotionally attached to the ideals of the major Axis powers. They simply signed on because they desired - and were guaranteed by Germany - the nearby territories of Thrace and Macedonia, which they had lost after their defeat in World War One. As a result, though Hitler was certainly a persuasive influence on Bulgaria’s foreign and domestic policy, he was not quite dictating every action taken by Bulgaria’s ruler, Tzar Boris III.
By 1989, Bulgaria’s Communist Party Leader Todor Zhivkov had ruled the country for 35 years through a constitutionally sanctioned single-party government. Zhivkov and the communist Politburo had always quickly repressed any opposition and independent unions or organizations were illegal in the country. In the late 1980s Zhivkov and his regime had also begun an assimilation program for Muslims and ethnic Turks, which had forced nearly 300,000 Turks to leave Bulgaria in 1989 to avoid persecution. At the same time, however, reforms were sweeping through Eastern Europe as prot