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Romania's Enescu music festival thrives in shaky political times
8 September 2019 - Floating above the turbulent politics of modern-day Romania, the biennial George Enescu Festival is a welcome relief for Bucharest's classical music fans, with performances not just in the main concert hall but on street corners and in bookstores. The 24th festival, which kicked off on August 31, features the London Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Royal Concertgebouw, and the Berlin Philharmonic under Kirill Petrenko. (more)

Romanian city gets its first electric buses
4 June 2018 - The city of Cluj-Napoca, in central Romania, has received its first 10 electric buses, which will be used for public transport. The buses were acquired through a program financed by the Swiss government ... The electric buses bought by Cluj-Napoca were produced in Poland. Mayor Emil Boc hopes that by 2025 the city's whole public transport fleet will be environmentally friendly. (more)

Prince Charles talks to jam, honey producers in Transylvania
31 May 2018 - Britain's Prince Charles returned Thursday (31 May) to Romania's Transylvania region, where he advised honey, jam ... producers on how to market their goods. Charles, who will be 70 this year, has a home in Transylvania's unspoiled countryside. He makes an annual visit to Romania, where he is a popular figure. [His] Prince of Wales Foundation Romania . . . supports the East European nation's heritage and rural life, and sustainable development. (more)

Romanian wetlands return to the wild
15 September 2016 - Birds and fish are slowly but surely returning to a part of Romania's picturesque Danube Delta that was drained by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in the 1980s but has been returned by local communities to its natural wetland state. According to the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority, the area -- a UNESCO heritage site -- is the third most bio-diverse in the world. (more)

Romania moves to protect some of Europe's last virgin forests
13 September 2016 - With new technology and a crackdown on logging, Romania is racing to save some of Europe's last virgin forests. To speed the process, the European Union state has invited environmental NGOs to join official administrators in mapping the threatened woodlands and adding them to a newly established national database to guarantee their protection by law. The database should go online within six months. (more)

Romania - One of Europe's most active technology hubs
23 June 2016 - Romania has emerged as one of Europe's most active technology hubs, with the IT industry posting stellar growth and benefiting from a highly-skilled local labor pool as well as one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. Multinational companies such as Oracle, IBM, and Intel have set up in the former communist country in customer support, business process outsourcing, and software development, and young entrepreneurs have launched a wave of new startups. (more)

Romanian Christmas tree auction raises money for children's charity
23 December 2015 - An auction of 22 Christmas trees created by leading Romanian designers raised 250,000 euros ($272,230) for a children's charity in Romania, a country with one of the highest rates of child poverty in the European Union. (more)

Romanian peasant blouse back in fashion
29 October 2014 - Romania's latest hot fashion item? The traditional peasant blouse. The peasant blouse garment with distinctive traditional stitching dates back centuries, but it disappeared from sight during the communist era as authorities tried to stamp out rural traditions. Now the blouse is making a comeback -- even having its intricate stitching featured in the recent presidential campaign. The revival of the 'ie' (EE-yeh) -- seen everywhere these days on the streets of the capital -- is a sign that Romanians are returning to their roots a quarter century after the Soviet collapse. (more)

Romania should preserve rural life, says Prince Charles
31 May 2014 - Prince Charles has called on Romania to preserve its rural traditions, saying it could help boost the economy in the poor Europe Union nation. The royal, who has been enamoured with Romania's natural beauty for years, has been visiting since 1998. 'If traditions are preserved they will bring huge financial benefits to your nation,' he told students at University of Bucharest, in a rare public speech made to Romanians. The university made him an honorary doctor Saturday. (more)

Romania: Scottish bison to be reintroduced to wild
28 April 2014 - A Scottish female bison born and raised at Kingussie's Highland Wildlife Park has been selected to return to the wild, as part of a bid to reintroduce the species that became extinct in the wild less than 100 years ago. Glen Rosa, named after a Highland glen on the Isle of Arran, joined six other female bison from three other British and Irish herds at the Aspinall Foundation's Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent before setting out on their journey to Romania. Douglas Richardson, head of living collections for Highland Wildlife Park, said: 'Glen Rosa and the other bison will join an already established herd in Vanatori Neamt Nature Park, Romania, to help augment both numbers and genetic diversity within the group. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Medical doctors in Romania promote Maharishi Ayur-Veda
14 February 2009 - There is great receptivity to Maharishi's programmes in Romania. Medical doctors in Romania have founded a new organization to promote Maharishi Ayur-Veda; a University is interested in learning more about Consciousness-Based Education; and many people are learning Transcendental Meditation. (more)

Romania sees mounting interest in Transcendental Meditation Programme
2 September 2008 - Speaking 29 August 2008 on Maharishi Global Family Chat, Raja Dean Dodrill, Raja of Invincible Romania for the Global Country of World Peace, reported on a recent conference for business leaders in his domain, during which many came forward to learn the Transcendental Meditation Technique. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Romania to boost defence spending this year
28 April 2014 - Romania will raise the defence ministry's 2014 budget by 700 million lei ($217.41 million), or 0.2 per cent of national output, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Monday. The announcement comes as tensions continue to build in neighbouring Ukraine after Russia's annexation of Crimea. Romania has agreed a fiscal budget deficit target of 2.2 percent of gross domestic product this year under the terms of a 4 billion euros aid deal led by the International Monetary Fund. Higher defence spending would raise the ceiling, as would government plans to slash employer taxes to the social insurance budget. An IMF mission is expected in Bucharest later this year. (more)

Prosecutors say Romanian deputy PM abused power in 2012 vote
7 October 2013 - Romanian prosecutors charged Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea on Monday with orchestrating a campaign of bribery, threats and fraud to try to swing a vote to impeach President Traian Basescu. The July 2012 referendum came as Dragnea's leftist Social Liberal Union (USL) tried to oust the centre-right Basescu, accusing him of improperly blocking government policies. The European Union and Washington have condemned the efforts to unseat Basescu, saying they erode the rule of law in the EU state. The referendum yielded an 88 per cent majority in favour of removing Basescu, who is unpopular for backing austerity measures and for perceptions of cronyism, but the turnout failed to reach the required threshold of 50 per cent of all registered voters and was invalidated. The anti-corruption prosecutors said Dragnea, who was then his party's secretary general, abused his power with a campaign to lure Romanians to voting stations. They said his followers offered money and sometimes used threats to swell the turnout. When those failed, the prosecutors said, they forged voting papers. (more)

Romanian government falls on confidence vote
27 April 2012 - Romania's centre-right government collapsed on Friday when it lost a vote of confidence two months after taking office, raising the prospect of months of political turmoil and casting doubts on an austerity programme. The surprise result, along with another confidence vote in the Czech Republic due later on Friday, underscores dissatisfaction with belt-tightening even in countries which are not part of the debt-plagued euro zone. Romania, the European Union's second-poorest member, cut salaries and raised sales tax to put its economy on a more solid footing. But austerity was a drag on economic recovery and has now brought down the short-lived government of Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu. President Traian Basescu, a close ally of Ungureanu, must nominate a new prime minister who will have to gain parliament's backing. It could be a complicated process due to the split of parties and it may be months before a new government is in place. (more)

Thousands protest in Romania
24 January 2012 - Romania's Prime Minister on Tuesday used a national holiday to call for unity as thousands of protesters angry at the government's failure to reverse falling living standards turned their ire toward state media. Some 5,000 people jeered the government in the northeast city of Iasi, calling for early elections. Thousands also massed outside the government in Bucharest to rally against harsh austerity measures and marched to the headquarters of the public television station, which they accused of having a pro-government bias. In 2010, the government hiked sales tax from 19 to 24 per cent, and cut public workers salaries by one-fourth to reduce the budget deficit. Romanians are also angry over cronyism, widespread corruption, and a perception that the government is not interested in the problems of ordinary people in this nation of 22 million. (more)

PM warns violence could destabilize Romania
16 January 2012 - More than 1,000 demonstrators jeered government austerity measures in downtown Bucharest on Monday as Romania's Prime Minister warned that violent clashes like those that left 59 injured over the weekend could jeopardize stability and economic growth. Protesters who gathered in freezing temperatures for a fifth day of demonstrations chanted 'Freedom!' and held banners saying 'Hunger and poverty have gripped Romania!' They waved flags with the center ripped out, a symbol of the 1989 uprising against former Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. A car parked in the vicinity was set on fire but firefighters put out the blaze.Interior minister Traian Igas said Monday that around 8,700 people attended weekend demonstrations, but only in Bucharest did the protests turn violent, when -- according to Interior Ministry officials -- fans of football clubs infiltrated the demonstrations and wreaked havoc in the city. Prime Minister Emil Boc on Monday called the violence 'unacceptable' and said it 'cannot be tolerated.' He promised, however, that a controversial health law allowing for some privatization of emergency services will be redrafted. (more)

Romanian protesters clash with riot police
16 January 2012 - Romanian riot police used tear gas against protesters who threw rocks and set fire to newspaper stands and rubbish bins in central Bucharest in a fourth day of street demonstrations against government austerity measures Sunday. Protesters also gathered peacefully in several large cities across Romania, including Cluj, Timisoara and Iasi, calling for the resignation of President Traian Basescu and the centrist government of Prime Minister Emil Boc. The protests began across the country on Thursday in support of a Deputy health Minister who resigned after criticising a controversial draft healthcare reform bill that would have added private firms to the state health sector. The cabinet withdrew the bill on Friday, but that did little to assuage the demonstrators, who returned to the streets to express general discontent with spending cuts and falling living standards. (more)

Sixty four missile warheads stolen from Romanian train
18 July 2011 - Dozens of small, old rocket warheads were stolen from a train carrying military equipment from Romania to Bulgaria, officials said Monday. Bulgaria's Economy Ministry said the warheads belonged to 122mm (4.8-inch)-diameter Grad rockets, which are typically fired from vehicle-mounted multiple-rocket launchers. Authorities promised that the 64 warheads posed no danger to the public but offered varying explanations why. Romanian officials also tried to portray the Saturday theft as accidental. However, only one of the eight cars on the 27-car train was broken into. (more)

Romanian town erects wall by Roma neighbourhood
1 July 2011 - The erection of a concrete wall between a Roma gypsy neighbourhood and a main road in northern Romania has led a human rights group to accuse the town of trying to set up a ghetto. The vast majority of Romania's Roma gypsy population live on the margins of society in abject poverty and pro-democracy organisations say the state does not do enough to prevent discrimination. 'Such initiatives belong to the Nazi era,' rights group Centre for Legal Resources said in a letter demanding the Mayor halt work on the wall and resign. 'The idea to separate a community with severe social problems ... amounts to institutionalised racism.' (more)

Poll: Many Romanian teens rampantly intolerant
13 April 2011 - Teenagers in Romania are widely intolerant of Gypsies, gays, and people with AIDS, according to a new poll that called the results 'extremely worrisome'. The findings published late Tuesday came from a poll paid for by the Soros Foundation and conducted in November. The report says the results show a large number of Romanian teenagers could be described as racist and anti-Semitic. The poll also showed that 42 per cent are opposed to having a Muslim neighbour, and 34 per cent opposed to a Jewish neighbour. The findings showed that while children from more educated families were generally less intolerant, they were more intolerant of Gypsies, or Roma. In Romania, home to an estimated 1.5 million Roma, there is widespread prejudice against the minority. (more)

Despair in Gypsy ghetto town in eastern Romania
29 September 2010 - As the EU announces legal action against France over its policy of mass expulsions, some returnee Gypsies are saying poverty at home is better than the hardships they face on French streets. 'It was like being in the jungle,' Brazilianu Moise said of the three months begging in the central French city of Orleans. 'I am not returning.' But not all share that view. Most Roma girls leave school before completing fourth grade. Boys usually leave four years later. That perpetuates their lot as unskilled, often jobless, and dependent on state benefits. Romania has an overall birthrate of about 10.5 per 1,000 people -- far below the replacement rate. But Roma have babies at a rate double the national average. That, in turn, feeds Roma misery by creating future generations with no schooling, employment, or future at home, or abroad. (more)


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