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Dutch Ambassador to Bucharest says "we should all refrain from comments" in case of Romania justice scandal ​Dutch Ambassador to Romania Matthijs van Bonzel made a statement on Thursday related to a scandal now affecting the Romanian justice system. Speaking of a decision by Romania's prosecutor general to dismiss a prosecutor who led investigations into a high profile politician - a move described by President Traian Basescu and others as an interference with the justice system, Ambassador van Bonzel said "we should all refrain from comments, a fortiori from interference in the policy of the Public Prosecution".
Romanian President Traian Basescu turns against cohabitation pact with prime minister Victor Ponta, accuses him of "brutal intervention" on Justice Romania's President Traian Basescu announced on Thursday he would no longer support prime minister Victor Ponta because of the head of government's "brutal intervention" into Justice affairs. Basescu said in an interview with B1 TV news channel on Thursday morning that today he would review the cohabitation pact he had with the prime minister following the victory in the 2012 general elections of the coalition led by Victor Ponta.
Influential Romanian businessman-politician Dan Voiculescu receives a first prison sentence in major corruption case. Appeal announced ​The founding leader of the Conservative Party, a small but influential part of the governing coalition in Romania, received on Thursday a 5-year sentence in a major corruption case involving the privatisation of an agricultural institute. Dan Voiculescu and several other people received sentences of 5-6 years in the case, which can be appealed. The sentence comes over 1,700 days since Dan Voiculescu - a veteran politician, businessman connected to the former Communist trade structures and secret police and with his family the owner of a major media group - was officially indicted in the case.
Digging for gold in Rosia Montana, Romania: Announced "closure" of mining project corners government with continuing protests and threats of legal action ​A Canadian company's plans to dig for gold in Rosia Montana, Romania, which has sparked disputes for a decade and a half, threatens to come to an abrupt end as a series of unprecedented protests have forced the Bucharest government to step back and announce the "closure" of the project. Still, the announced decision has yet to be made official by a vote in Parliament, which may come in the upcoming days or weeks. The protests, attended by many young people and in contrast with what Romanians are used to in terms of anti-government demonstrations over the past two decades, forced authorities to step back with their approval of the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) project on Monday. The Victor Ponta-led executive is now caught between the promise to drop support for gold mining in Rosia Montana, threats of legal action by the company that runs the project and protests by mining supporters.
Romanian minister Relu Fenechiu receives 5 year sentence in corruption case. PM Ponta says he would take over ministerial job until new minister is named Romania's Transport minister Relu Fenechiu, a member of the National Liberal Party, received a 5-year sentence in a corruption case on Friday. The sentence can be appealed. Fenechiu's brother, Lucian Fenechiu, also received a 5-year sentence in the same case. Relu Fenechiu has ben indicted under charges of abuse in office against public interest and complicity to abuse in office in a case dating in the early 2000's and related to public procurements in the region of Moldova, which benefited Fenechiu's companies.UPDATE PM Victor Ponta announced following the court verdict on Friday that minister Fenechiu informed him about his wish to withdraw as a member of the government. Ponta said he would take over as interim minister until a new one is named.
Jonathan Stillo, the TB expert quoted in The Sun: I feel terrible, the whole thing was completely taken out of context/ It's not OK that they turned a public health problem into this anti-Romanian message On Wednesday, The Sun published an investigation saying that Romanians coming to the UK starting 2014, when the "doors will open" will infect the British with a deadly TB superbug. Jonathan Stillo, the TB expert quoted by the tabloid, explained in an interview for HotNews.ro that everything he said was taken out of context and that it is very "frustrating" and "not OK" that they turned a public health problem into an anti-Romanians thing, given that Romanians aren't the ones infecting everybody with TB. An American citizen, Stillo is a doctoral candidate in medical Anthropology at City University of New York Graduate Center (not a British researcher) and has been researching TB in Romania for the past 7 years. He says Romania is his second home.  
Bucharest Tribunal decides sentenced ex-PM Adrian Nastase may leave on parole The Bucharest Tribunal decided on Monday that former Romanian PM Adrian Nastase, who had been sentenced to two years in a corruption case, may leave on parole. The decision was taken by two judge votes against one. The former prime minister will be freed from Jilava penitentiary.
Romania's veterinary and food control authority in alert as horse meat labelled as beef was found at local vendor ​Romania's national veterinary and foot control authority ANSVSA initiated a quick response alert on Wednesday after it found horse meat labelled as beef at a company in Ilfov county near Bucharest, a press release says. ANSVSA says the meat was aimed at local market distribution and no connection could be made with the EU-level horse meat situation. The head of ANSVSA also announced he informed the police about what he called a form of intimidation, by which the horse meat was linked to an abattoir owned by his father.
Romanian businessman, politician receives 3 year sentence with conditional suspension of execution Romanian businessman and politician Gigi Becali received on Monday a 3-year sentence with conditional suspension of execution in a case in which he was charged with forcefully retaining several people involved in a car theft. Becali, best known as the man who controls Bucharest football club Steaua and as a former member of the European Parliament turned member of the Romanian Parliament - is not in Romania for the moment. He announced last weekend that he was in Dubai and would not return before the court sentence.Shortly after the reading of the sentence, Becali told Romanian news TV channel RTV by phone that he was resigning from the National Liberal Party and that "I have nothing to do in that country [Romania] anymore".
OPINION Hezbollah, a security threat to Europe The conclusions of the official investigation of the Bulgarian Government into the 18 July 2012 Burgas bus bombing are clear: the terrorist organization Hezbollah was directly responsible. (...) Terrorism has no boundaries and the time has come for the European Union to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and place it on its official list of terrorist entities.
Top Romanian politician involved in corruption case Dan Voiculescu resigns from Senate again​ Dan Voiculescu, the founding leader of Romania's Conservative Party, a small but highly influential party of the governing coalition, announced his resignation from the Senate on Monday. The announcement comes several days before a new term in a corruption case involving Dan Voiculescu was due at the High Court of Justice. His resignation means the case is returned from the High Court, which deals with cases involving dignitaries, to a lower court - the Bucharest Tribunal. It is the second time in less than a year when Voiculescu resigns as Senator and thus avoid High Court hearings.
Romanian PM Ponta says government looks for solution to increase taxes on high incomes among public sector employees Romanian PM Victor Ponta said in an interview with the Romanian-language version of HotNews.ro on Friday that his government was looking for the "right judicial and constitutional solution" to allow for higher income taxes for budget sector employees with incomes of more than 4,500 lei (1,000 euro). He said he believed that an income of 1,000 euro would provide for a "decent living in the public sector".
Romanian PM Ponta says integrity body will receive extra responsibilities to combat EU funds-related conflicts of interests Romania's National Integrity Agency (ANI), a key body in preventing and fighting conflicts of interests, will receive more responsibilities in combating conflicts of interests related to EU funds, an initiative which would be discussed in government session next week, PM Victor Ponta said in an interview with the Romanian-language version of HotNews.ro on Friday.
Romanian PM Ponta says he supports shale gas exploration Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta said in an interview with the Romanian-language version of HotNews.ro on Friday that he supported the exploration of shale gas in the country.
Romanian Prime minister presents extensive team of new government Romania's designated prime minister Victor Ponta presented on Wednesday the structure and members of the future Government. It will include many more ministerial seats than before, many of which split from existing governing bodies. Ponta's team was announced after days of negotiations between the governing Social Liberal Union (USL), formed of Ponta's Social Democrats and the National Liberal Party, who won the December 9 parliamentary elections by a large majority.
Victor Ponta designated prime minister of Romania following December 9 general elections Romanian President Traian Basescu signed on Monday the decree designating Victor Ponta, leader of the Social Democrats (PSD) and co-head of the Social Liberal Union (USL) as prime minister of Romania. The move comes as the USL, the alliance of PSD and the Liberals (PNL), obtained a large majority of votes in the December 9 parliamentary elections.
Romania general elections results now official. PM Ponta says he hopes new government will be in place by Christmas The official results of the December 9 parliamentary elections in Romania were published in the Official Gazette on Friday. President Traian basescu said in Brussels today that he would call the Parliament immediately after the publication of results and that he would consider whether to do so on December 19. Meanwhile, PM Victor Ponta, whose governing alliance won a majority of votes in the elections, said in an interview he hoped the new government would be in place by Christmas.
US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein completes assignment in Romania US Ambassador Mark H Gitenstein has completed his diplomatic assignment in Romania and has returned to the US, the Embassy announced in a press release on Friday. Deputy Chief of Mission Duane Butcher has become charge d'affaires ad interim as of December 14.
Aftermath of Romania parliamentary elections: Main opposition alliance dismantled. Social Liberal Union claims 66% win. Not enough places in Parliament for elected MPs​ The main alliance of Romanian opposition parties, the Right Romania Alliance (ARD), was dismantled a day after parliamentary elections in which it suffered an overwhelming defeat against the governing Social Liberal Union (USL). While partial results show USL with about 60% of the total number of votes, USL says its own parallel counting shows it won with about 66% of MP seats. Meanwhile, The elections were harsh for the ARD leaders who have yet to learn if they'll get a seat in the Parliament - which will have more MPs than available room on the parliamentary floor.
Romania Parliamentary elections. The stake of PM Ponta's offer for Hungarian Democrats to support USL in Parliament, Government after Sunday poll Negotiations between the Romanian PM Victor Ponta's Social Democratic Party (PSD), a member of the Social Liberal Union (USL) along the National Liberal Party (PNL), and the Hungarian Democrats (UDMR) for a possible collaboration in the Parliament and the Government had started before the December 9 general elections and are aimed mainly at strengthening the PSD position before PNL within the USL alliance, according to HotNews.ro sources. PM Ponta announced on Sunday night that he talked with UDMR over such a possibility. According to sources, the talks took place between Ponta and UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor, who may receive the seat of Culture minister.

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