REGIONAL EUROPE
Bulgarian PM: Schengen accession would encourage us Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov said following talks with European Council head Herman Van Rompuy on Wednesday that Schengen accession would encourage his country to protect EU external borders and be more active in fulfilling duties, Novinite.com reads.
Protesters and police clash in Athens Police have used tear gas against people throwing rocks and bottles at them during protests against austerity measures in Athens, Greece, Reuters reports.
EC report on Bulgaria: Bulgaria made insufficient progress in its judicial reform and fight against corruption  Bulgaria registered some progress to reform the judiciary and its fight against corruption but efforts remain insufficient to be considered a good standard for the EU, the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism on Bulgaria reads, quoted by news agency Mediafax.
Romania on first place in the EU on construction activity in December Romania occupied in December the first place in the EU on construction activity in December when it increased by 17.6% compared to November, Eurostat reports. At the EU level, the activity in construction dropped by 3.1% in December and in the euro zone by 1.8%.
European Commissioner Viviane Reding about arrests at Romanian customs: it is a sign that justice starts to work European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding commented in a talk show for RFI and TV5 Monde the recent arrests at Romania’s customs saying that investigations which ended with the arrest of tens of customs and police officers prove that justice is starting to work in Romania.
Adevarul Holding shuts down the print version of the Blik daily in Ukraine  Adevarul Holding shuts down the print version of Blik daily in Ukraine, paginademedia.ro informs, reporting that Ukrainian journalists were announced by the decision in a meeting on Monday morning. Paginademedia.ro quotes Romanian businessman Dinu Patriciu saying that he decided to shut the print daily and orient on weekly prints because distribution is difficult.
14 Romanians exploited and beaten by co-nationals in Spain The nightmare of 14 Romanians, accommodated in a factory hall in Villamarciel city, Valladolid region obliged to work for free ended when the Spanish police was alerted by one of them who managed to escape and make the announcement.
Dutch minister: it’s in Romania’s interest to join Schengen when it is ready Netherlands was always favorable to Romania and Bulgaria joining Schengen but just like France, we consider that at this moment, the two countries are not ready to join, Dutch Immigration minister Gerd Leers declared. He talks, in an interview for RFI about an issue of trust in his attempt to explain the delay.
Romanian minors’ virginity out for auction, 40 pimps arrested in Italy Italian police arrested 40 people in an operation against a specialized human trafficking network involving tens of Romanian prostitutes. The organization had branches in several cities across Italy. Shocking aspects were found: the virginity of minor Romanian girls was sold on the internet.
Yet anoter step for a new natural gas route: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania establish project company AGRI The joint company due to develop the AGRI project was established in Romania on January 21, 2011, according to information obtained by HotNews.ro from the Economy Ministry. AGRI LNG Project Company will develop the feasibility study for the AGRI project due to bring natural gas to Europe via Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania. According to Economy Ministry representatives, the feasibility study will be conceived by the winner of a tender organized in this regard.
Romania’s Foreign Affairs ministry warns that some roads and customs points in Greece will be blocked  Romania’s Foreign Affairs ministry informs Romanian citizens wishing to travel to Greece that in the upcoming period new protests will be organized that will block main roads in Greece and customs points to and from Bulgaria.
Al Jazeera to launch a channel for the Balkans Al Jazeera will launch in April, the latest, a news channel that will cover the Balkans. The new television network aims at exceed the audiences of CNN and implement new professional standars in an area still divided by inter-ethnic conflicts.
French European Affairs minister: we do not oppose Romania’s adhesion out of principle, but Romania and Bulgaria cannot join the next 3 months  French European Affairs minister Laurent Wauquiez said at RFI that his country does not oppose Romania’s adhesion to Schengen “out of mere principle, but definitely Romania and Bulgaria cannot join in the next three months because Bulgaria is not ready and Romania cannot join without Bulgaria. If the two countries are ready to join this year and all guarantees that they are ready exist, then we will not oppose.”
Rome: fire in a Romanian gypsy camp leaving 4 dead children  Four brothers, aged between 4 to 11 years died on Sunday in a fire that shattered a Romanian gypsy camp in Rome. The fire started from an improvised shack on Via Appia Nuova but causes are still unknown, Corrierre.it reads.
EC institutes infringement procedure against Romania on energy product storage warehouses legislation The European Commission has instituted infringement proceedings against Romania over legislation saying that only warehousekeepers who are authorized to produce energy products and keep petrol refining capacities are allowed to use storage warehouses for energy products. In January, the National Union of Road Transporters in Romania (UNTRR) notified the Commission about an emergency ordinance issued by the government in 2010 which includes the new rules.
AUDIO INTERVIEW Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor analyst: Unlike the 1989 anti-Communist movements, there will be no domino effect in the Middle East The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have been presented as a 1989 of the Muslim world. Why doesn’t the comparison stand? Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor director for Middle East explains in an interview for HotNews.ro the major problems of the countries in the region. Bokhari says Syria and Yemen are in a fragile position and talks about possible scenarios after Hosni Mubarak.
Romanian football player Cristi Chivu, suspended four games in the A series  The Italian disciplinary committee decided to suspend Romanian Cristi Chivu four games, after he hit a Bari player, Marco Rossi in the game the team of the Romanian international, Inter Milan won with 3 to 0.
Discovery reshuffles its operations in the region / Three Romanians in the South East European management  Ada Roseti, Andrei Grigorescu and Gabriela Stoian are part of the South East European Discovery Networks as Discovery reshuffled its organization at the regional level, an official press release reads. This shows that the Bucharest office becomes the most important in the region which included Bulgaria, Croatia, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia.
Russia accuses EU, US and Romania for pressuring Moldova  EU, US and Romania pressure Moldova’s political processes in an attempt to draw the state towards their area of influence, Russia’s Ambassador to Chisinau, Valeri Kuzmin declared. During the electoral campaign, Russia adopted a politically correct attitude, as the practice of international relations requests it, the Russian diplomat said.
Wired: how Ramnicu Valcea transformed into Hackerville With only 120,000 people, Ramnicu Valcea is known to security experts across the world as Hackerville because the town is full of online hackers that haunt the city’s streets in expensive European cars, an article in the prestigious American IT magazine Wired reads about Ramnicu Valcea.

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