Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 04:52:20 AM EST
The political scene in Romania is currently gripped by the debate over the "minority law". It's difficult to find English language sources regarding this debate but I think it's worth looking at anyway. What follows is what I've been able to glean about this debate from my limited Romanian and Hungarian and from talking to people. I take full responsibility for any errors.
At present the issue is being reported as one which has the potential to bring down the current government (as it may lose its coalition partner over it), but in fact the bigger issue is the rhetoric and fear that is being stirred up by unscrupulous (or worse) politicians.
Mon Oct 24th, 2005 at 07:17:01 AM EST
This year's version of the annual "Corruption Perception Index" has been released by Transparency International.
From a Romanian perspective it makes pretty miserable reason, with the country languishing at 85th in the world tied with the Dominican Republic and Mongolia.
The press release can be found here (scroll down for the table itself).
Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 04:49:21 AM EST
Bucharest is currently underwater following yet another flood to hit Romania this year (the fourth major one of 2005, causing billions of Euros in damage and so far responsible for the deaths of about 70 people).
Along with the news pictures of people attempting to drive through waist-high water and of water lapping at the doors of shops and houses, we have been treated to pictures of politicians in the senate conducting business as water drips around them through the ceiling of the chamber, some even participating in debates under cover of umbrellas.
This is the Palace of the People, one of Ceasescu's follies, and still an abiding and conflicting source of national shame and pride.
Tue Sep 20th, 2005 at 04:54:46 AM EST
Apologies if this story has already been mentioned on here.
Two undercover British troops (presumed to be Special Forces) were arrested in Basra, by the local police force. In response, the British army (who are, remember, there to support the local population as they rebuild the country, and not to act as an invading and occupying force, no sirree), sent in tanks, smashed down the walls of the prison and freed them (and a few dozen other prisoners while they were at it).
Guardian version of the story here
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We have not had confirmation of the full details of this. We've heard nothing to suggest we stormed the prison. We understand there were negotiations."
Tue Sep 20th, 2005 at 04:09:58 AM EST
A small yet amusing story on a new campaign in Romania to get people to adopt stray dogs, featuring "the most hated dictators on this planet".
Who are these most hated dictators?
Adolf Hitler, ...
Nicolae Ceasescu, ...
George W Bush
Glad to see him finally getting the press he deserves.
Fri Sep 16th, 2005 at 06:49:08 AM EST
Promoted and edited by Colman
This month marks 5 years since the assassination of Trade Union leader Virgil Sahleanu in Iasi, Romania by assailants acting with the former manager of his employer TEPRO.
It's a sad story that probably never made it outside Romania and the Czech Republic (the company that owned TEPRO were Czech).
It's clear that there is still a fair amount of mistrust related to the escape of the Czech Frantisek Priplata, who was convicted of "inciting murder", to Prague and people doubt that he will ever serve out his jail sentence.
"Czech law forbids Czech citizens from being extradited," said Petr Dimun, spokesman for the Justice Ministry. "The only exceptions are EU countries, and Romania is not in the EU."
It's not clear to me what happens when it does join in the next couple of years.
Tue Sep 13th, 2005 at 04:07:14 AM EST
Romanian football has a serious problem with racism. This week UEFA punished Steaua Bucharest for racist chanting at their recent match with Shelbourne and forced them to play their next European match 250kms away from home. It's shameful that it was left to UEFA to finally take some action and the Romanian FA (FRF) has never done anything about it.
Fri Sep 9th, 2005 at 05:27:54 AM EST
Romania has come in 64th (out of 177 countries studied) in the UN Development Program's Human Development Report. (Click on the link marked "Human Development Indicators" for the rankings). This is some kind of complicated index that takes into account GDP, health care, life expectancy, income, education etc.
Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 07:44:31 AM EST
"Romanians believe they show less positive personality traits than the "European person". They even admit having outright negative traits such as being somewhat insensitive to others, leaning towards aggressiveness, and authoritarianism, behaving like followers rather than leaders, reacting tensely, walking on the thin line between honesty and dishonesty, being rather disorganized, idealistic, superficial and conservative."
This is one summary statement from the just released and fascinating study "Romanian and European values and beliefs: are they different or not ?"