August 21st, 2012
12:06 PM ET

Romanian president keeps his job

Romanian President Traian Basescu will officially return to office after the country's top court ruled Tuesday that a referendum to remove him was invalid.

The nation-wide impeachment effort last month had appeared to be heading for failure because turnout was below 50%.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta made a last-ditch effort Monday to get the Constitutional Court to approve the referendum by submitting new voter lists, but the court said Tuesday the vote was not valid.

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Filed under: Romania
July 29th, 2012
02:13 AM ET

Romania votes: Should president be impeached?

The fate of Romanian President Traian Basescu will be determined Sunday as the country votes on a referendum to impeach him.

Earlier this month, parliament suspended Basescu saying he overreached his powers when he announced austerity measures for the cash-strapped nation.

To comply with the terms of a $24 billion International Monetary Fund load, Basescu cut wages and benefits for public workers.

The moves soured him to many inside the country.

Two pro-Basescu governments collapsed, paving the way for the center-left Social Liberal Union (USL) to take office.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta, of the USL, then succeeded in getting lawmakers to not only suspend Basescu but also remove both speakers of parliament and replace them with allies.

The crisis in the southeastern European nation, which is slightly smaller than Oregon, has sent its currency, the leu, plummeting to record lows.

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Filed under: Romania • World
February 8th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Most Ukraine cold deaths alcohol-related, minister says

Alcohol has been involved in most of the deaths blamed on the extreme cold in Ukraine, the country worst affected by the icy temperatures gripping eastern Europe, the country's emergencies minister said Wednesday.

Nine out of 10 of the deaths reported have been alcohol-related, the country's Emergency Situations Minister Viktor Baloga said.

At least 135 deaths have been reported in Ukraine in the past two weeks, but he suggested the actual number that can be blamed on the winter weather is somewhat lower, at 112.

Authorities in Ukraine have set up an emergency hospital to deal with people suffering from cold-related conditions, and distributed 3,000 emergency relief tents across the country, they said. The tents are heated, and people with nowhere else to go can get hot food and drinks.

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Filed under: Europe • France • Germany • Romania • Russia • Ukraine • United Kingdom • World
January 17th, 2012
02:20 PM ET

Romanian deputy health minister reappointed; protests continue

Romania's deputy health minister, whose resignation last week triggered ongoing protests across the nation, was reappointed to his post on Tuesday after meeting with the prime minister.

Raed Arafat said Tuesday he had withdrawn his resignation, adding that President Traian Basescu called him over the weekend to discuss the matter.

Protests broke out last Thursday after Arafat, an opponent of health care changes proposed by the government, resigned. Arafat gained popularity after creating what many Romanians see as an efficient medical emergency system.

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Romania denies hosting secret CIA prisons
Thomas Hammarberg, human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, says guilty countries should admit their involvement.
September 7th, 2011
12:59 PM ET

Romania denies hosting secret CIA prisons

Romania insisted Wednesday there was no evidence it had hosted secret CIA prisons as part of the United States' war on terror after September 11, 2001. The country "has no information whatsoever showing that there existed secret CIA detention centers on its territory," the Foreign Ministry told CNN. (See CNN's extensive coverage of America's war prisons.)

Two investigations also failed to find any evidence that the CIA used Romanian airports for "rendition," the process in which detainees in American custody are transported for questioning to other countries where prohibitions on torture are not as strict and American laws don't apply.

The Romanian denial comes in response to a plea from the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe that countries that have hosted secret CIA prisons come clean. Thomas Hammarberg said Romania, Poland and Lithuania were among at least seven countries that hosted "black sites" for "enhanced interrogation" during the "war on terror."

"Darkness still enshrouds those who authorized and ran the black sites on European territories," he said. "The full truth must now be established and guarantees given that such forms of cooperation will never be repeated."

CIA officials have acknowledged the rendition program but have refused to discuss details and denied violating any laws. Efforts to challenge the agency and get details about it in U.S. courts have been turned aside. Hammarberg said the CIA held "high-value detainees," including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in Poland between 2002 and 2003.

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Filed under: Romania • September 11 • Terrorism
Alleged Libya rape victim arrives at refugee facility in Romania
June 6th, 2011
12:13 PM ET

Alleged Libya rape victim arrives at refugee facility in Romania

Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who caught the world's attention when she accused members of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces of gang-raping her, arrived Monday at a refugee facility in Romania.

Al-Obeidy had fled Libya and was awaiting resettlement as a refugee in Qatar when she was deported Thursday and sent back to Benghazi in Libya.

On Sunday, a high-level U.S. State Department source told CNN that al-Obeidy was on her way to Malta with her father, and would head to a processing center in Europe before leaving for a final destination. It may take weeks before she gets to that destination.

Another U.S. State Department source said Sunday the United States was deeply concerned about her well-being, and worked closely with officials in Europe and Libya to get her safely out of the country. The same source said the U.S. is "prepared to provide whatever help and support Eman may need."

Al-Obeidy has told CNN on repeated occasions that she wants to go to the United States.

One of the State Department sources told CNN that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "has been deeply interested in the case and has followed it throughout."

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Gotta watch: parliament plunge; granny robber; surfing Santa; seismic state
December 24th, 2010
11:28 AM ET

Gotta watch: parliament plunge; granny robber; surfing Santa; seismic state

Man plunges off parliament balcony in protest – A Romanian man protesting government spending cuts threw himself 23 feet from a balcony as the Prime Minister began speaking. Television engineer Adrian Sobaru was apparently upset over the budget cuts that were going to affect benefits for his autistic son. The leap was broadcast live on national television while the Romanian Parliament was in the process of a no-confidence vote. The man survived with non life-threatening injuries. The government survived the no-confidence vote.

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Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Earthquake • Gotta Watch • Romania
September 30th, 2010
11:32 AM ET

World War I to finally end for Germany this weekend

A French machine gun crew mans a Hotchkiss gun on August 1, 1915.

Germany and the Allies can call it even on World War I this weekend.

On Sunday - the 20th anniversary of East and West Germany unifying about a year after the Berlin Wall fell - Deutschland will make the last in a series of reparation payments that has spanned more than nine decades.

The final payment is £59.5 million, about $93.8 million
, reported London's Telegraph newspaper. Germany had to pay Belgium and France for material damages and the rest of the Allies the costs of fighting the war.

The initial tally in 1919, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel, was 96,000 tons of gold but was slashed by 40 to 60 percent (sources vary) a few years later. The debt was crippling, just as French Premier Georges Clemenceau intended.
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Filed under: Belgium • France • Germany • Italy • Poland • Romania • War
August 23rd, 2010
01:37 PM ET

Nurse charged with murder in Romanian hospital fire deaths

A nurse at a Romanian hospital has been charged with murder in the deaths of five newborns killed in a fire in an intensive care unit, prosecutors said Monday.

Florentina Daniela Cirstea will remain in police custody for 24 hours and appear before a judge Tuesday, said Marius Iacob, chief prosecutor in charge of the investigation. She is accused of failing to fulfill duties of her job by not constantly supervising the newborns in the unit.

She left the unit unattended for 12 minutes, Iacob said, and then was unable to evacuate and rescue the newborns after the fire broke out.

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July 5th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Military plane crashes in Romania, killing 10

A military plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Tuzla Romania Airport in southeastern Romania, killing 10 people and injuring three more, a Romanian Ministry of Defense spokesman said Monday.

Four crew members and nine military divers were on board for parachute training when the AN2 crashed around 5:40 p.m. local time, he said.

The three survivors have been recovered and taken to the hospital, said the spokesman.

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