Contains selective news articles I select

Posts tagged ‘Mystical Land of Romania’

Romania blocks Russian deputy PM from entering EU airspace

July 28, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin had to scrap a trip to Moldova on Friday after his plane was barred from entering Romanian and Hungarian airspace. Rogozin told Russian news agencies that he and other Russian officials were traveling on a commercial flight to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau when the plane was denied passage over Romania or Hungary, both European Union members. It had to land in the Belorussian capital of Minsk because it was running out of fuel.

The deputy prime minister is one of the most senior Russian officials slapped with an EU visa ban in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Rogozin told the Interfax news agency that he started using commercial flights after Romanian authorities closed their airspace to his chartered flight in 2014.

Romania’s foreign ministry confirmed on Friday that authorities had not allowed Rogozin to enter the country’s airspace. In a tweet later Friday, Rogozin said Romanian authorities “put lives of the passengers, women and children at risk” by forcing the plane to divert. He issued a warning for the Romanian government: “You wait for an answer, bastards!”

Moldova’s pro-Russian President Igor Dodon, who was to meet Rogozin on Friday in Chisinau, reacted angrily. “We are watching an unprecedented Russia-phobic show, which is designed to destroy Moldovan-Russian relations,” Dodon said.

Opposition activists had gathered at the Chisinau airport earlier Friday to protest Rogozin’s visit. Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday presented Romania’s envoy to Russia with a note of protest, urging an investigation into the incident and arguing that it put the lives of those onboard at risk.

“Moscow is treating the incident as a deliberate provocation, which seriously damages the bilateral relations,” the ministry said, urging Romania to investigate the incident.

Associated Press writer Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania contributed.

Romania: president, political parties in talks over new PM

June 26, 2017

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s largest party has nominated a former economy minister to be the next prime minister. The nomination of 50-year-old Mihai Tudose was announced before President Klaus Iohannis and Liviu Dragnea, the powerful leader of Romania’s biggest party, the leftist Social Democratic Party.

Normally, as party leader, Dragnea would be prime minister, but in 2016 he was convicted of vote-rigging, which disqualifies him from holding the post. The Social Democrats withdrew support for Premier Sorin Grindeanu saying he had underperformed. He refused to resign and the party and its allies ousted Grindeanu’s government in a no-confidence vote last week.

Romania ruling party goes to Parliament to remove premier

June 18, 2017

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s ruling party plans to submit a vote of no-confidence against its own government Sunday after it withdrew its support for the prime minister. Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has refused to quit, sparking a political crisis.

The center-left Social Democratic Party convened lawmakers to read out the motion against the government, a day earlier than scheduled, in its efforts to remove Grindeanu, accused of not implementing the party’s program. Parliament will vote Wednesday on whether to dismiss the government.

Grindeanu, in office since January, denies that he has underperformed. He claims the powerful party chairman, Liviu Dragnea, who can’t be prime minister because of a conviction in 2016 for vote rigging, wants to install a party loyalist as premier.

Ex-Prime Minister Victor Ponta, an ally of the prime minister, called for talks with Dragnea to resolve the crisis and avoid a no-confidence vote, which he called “an atomic war between the Social Democrats and the Social Democrats.”

Ponta said the party in-fighting would benefit President Klaus Iohannis, a political rival, who nominates a premier who is then approved by Parliament. The Social Democrats and their political allies need 233 votes out of a total of 465 seats to remove the government.

Romania’s constitutional court upholds anti-corruption law

May 04, 2017

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s constitutional court on Thursday upheld a law preventing people with convictions from serving as ministers, a victory for the country’s anti-corruption fight. The ruling deals a blow to the powerful chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, who cannot be prime minister due to a conviction last year for vote rigging.

Dragnea has called the law unfair and many Social Democrats want him to be prime minister. The court had postponed making a ruling four times. The law, introduced in 2001 as Romania prepared for membership of NATO and the European Union, bars people with convictions from serving as ministers. Dragnea could still run for president as the law does not cover that post.

In January, Romania’s ombudsman asked the court to declare it unconstitutional. In a related development, Senators who are members of a parliamentary legal committee voted Thursday to scrap a draft law they had approved the previous day that would have granted amnesty to people convicted of bribery and influence peddling.

More than 1,000 protested the vote Wednesday evening in Bucharest, joined by hundreds more in cities around Romania.

2 teens die in April avalanche in western Romania

April 22, 2017

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian authorities say two teenagers have died in an avalanche in western Romania after the country was hit by a blast of wintry weather. Emergency situations chief Raed Arafat told The Associated Press that rescue workers pulled the bodies of two youngsters, aged 13 and 14, out of the snow after the avalanche hit Saturday but three others were not in danger.

He said the group was in the Retezat Mountains, an area popular with hikers 350 kilometers (220 miles) northwest of Bucharest, the capital. He didn’t know whether they were hiking or skiing. He says “they were caught in the avalanche and unfortunately they couldn’t be saved.”

Arafat said local authorities had warned about a high risk of avalanches, saying it was unsafe even to send a helicopter there.

Slobbery kisses: Romania hosts show for 1,600 exotic pets

March 20, 2017

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A tabby feline with big furry claws, bald cats with shell-like ears and skinny tails, and slobbery wrinkled pugs were the stars as Bucharest hosted a show featuring over 1,600 exotic pets.

The pet show in the Romanian capital kicked off with a free dog handling session for some of the 1,500 dogs. Owners proudly paraded their pets at the March 10-12 event or entered them into beauty contests.

Rare breeds of dogs, cats and exotic animals are status symbols in Romania — but there was plenty of affection too, as owners cuddled or performed with their dogs. The array of pets included coiffed canines and bright-eyed cats. Exotic bald cats with webbed paws vied for attention with dogs like pugs or basset hounds.

One boy visiting the show got into a cage to hug a dozing cognac-colored dog about the same size as him. Dogs took part from Romania, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.

Three pugs with tightly coiled tails stood on their hind legs seeking their owner’s attention. Two basset hounds had silver scarves wrapped around their necks. Lali the greyhound trotted along the red carpet with an alert expression, watching its owner toss a tennis ball in her hand.

Romania’s huge protests cause rifts among families, friends

February 23, 2017

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Video editor Mihnea Lupan lives just around the corner from his mother, but their views on the massive anti-corruption protests shaking Romania are miles apart. Since late January, when tens of thousands first took to the streets to protest a government degree that decriminalized some official misconduct, Lupan and his mother, Valentina, have been at loggerheads. Fights over politics dominate their visits instead of home-cooked meals and pleasantries.

“Don’t speak to me like I’m an idiot! You are what you are today, thanks to me,” Valentina Lupan, a retired architect, shouted at her 35-year-old son during an emotionally charged two-way that started within minutes of his entering the apartment where his parents and aunt live.

The demonstrations, the largest in Romania since a 1989 revolution led to the execution of the communist leader, have been a nightly occurrence for three consecutive weeks now. During that time, they have exposed a sharp generational divide between citizens who grew up, built careers and started families under communism and those who came of age a decade after the country moved to a free market economy and a multiparty system.

Most of the protesters are on the younger side. Through travel, jobs at foreign companies and the internet, they feel closer to the West than their parents. They speak languages besides Romanian, and some have worked in countries with higher wages and less pervasive corruption.

When the center-left government issued an emergency ordinance on Jan. 31 to decriminalize abuse in office if it involved less than $48.500, it struck a nerve. Taking a break from editing a program about fishing, Lupan, a slim, bearded man, said the young must show Romania’s politicians “we want change. We want to reach Western standards.”

Premier Sorin Grindeanu eventually withdrew the decree, although the government still plans to introduce the measure as a law in Parliament, where Grindeanu’s party has a majority. The center-left government also is popular with older voters. It has promised to raise state pensions, a move that would bring Valentina Lupan an extra 200 lei ($47) a month, a 20 percent increase.

Valentina, 65, is skeptical about the motives of the anti-government protesters, including her son. She thinks they were lured by financial incentives or told to demonstrate by the multinational companies they work for, echoing the news channels she watches.

As a young architect, she crafted wooden and metal doors for the giant palace of President Nicolae Ceausescu, the communist leader executed in 1989, and insists she has never paid a bribe to secure a contract. She says byzantine legislation, not outright deceit, is to blame for official corruption.

“Why weren’t they out in the streets to protest against illegal logging on a large scale?,” she asks her son during the heated exchange that had her worrying about her blood pressure. “So they didn’t protest against (that) or the stray dogs’ issue?”

In the quiet of his apartment, Lupan attributed his mother’s frustrations to a loss of earnings in recent years. “Everything was laid out for them … in communism and immediately after,” he said, adding that the news channels she watches have “indoctrinated” his mother.

Despite their differences, Lupan remains convinced that Romania needs to make steady progress toward reform so “my future children will have a chance not to be …. a generation of sacrifice.”

Tag Cloud