Romanian teachers call strike for higher pay

Bucharest - Teachers in Romania have called a series of strikes to press demands for a 50 per cent pay increase approved by parliament, union leaders said Friday.

The teachers plan a day-long stoppage on November 10 and an indefinite strike from November 18 if their demands are not met. Civil servants and doctors say they will join the protest action.

President Traian Basescu has urged the teachers not to go ahead with their strike, saying it could jeopardize parliamentary elections scheduled for November 30.

The president supports the teachers' pay claim, but it is opposed by his political rival, Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

Jewish cemetery headstones destroyed in Romania

Bucharest - Unknown vandals have knocked over and, in some cases, destroyed 131 headstones in Bucharest's Jewish cemetery.

According to the Mediafax news agency on Friday, the vandals also smashed windows in the administrative offices of the cemetery in Romania's capital.

Some office equipment was also destroyed.

No anti-Semitic slogans were discovered on the destroyed headstones, according to police.

Romania's Justice Ministry denounced the vandalism and promised a speedy investigation of the crime and punishment for those responsible.

There are only about 9,000 remaining members of Romania's Jewish community.

Romanian stock exchange halts regular trading

Bucharest Stock ExchangeBucharest - Romania's Bucharest Stock Exchange halted regular trading Friday for the second time this week, as the massive global sell-off hit Eastern Europe's fastest-growing economy.

Seeking to stem panic selling, exchange officials blocked transactions right at the start of Friday's session and drastically shortened the trading day to 15 minutes, news reports said.

Otherwise, the broad-based BET-C index would have plunged 15 per cent after the latest share plunge on Wall Street and in Asian markets, said Stere Farmache, the exchange's general manager.

Romanian civil servants walk off jobs

Romanian civil servants walk off jobsBucharest  - Some 100,000 Romanian civil servants walked off the job Thursday to press for 50 per cent higher pay, the latest sign of wage pressures in the new European Union nation.

The two-hour "warning strike" came after Romania's parliament, facing elections on November 28, recently voted a 50-per-cent raise for teachers. Health-care workers are demanding 60 per cent more pay.

Stock plunge halts trading in Romania

Stock plunge halts trading in RomaniaBucharest - Bucharest's stock e

Romania to build Holocaust memorial, premier says

Bucharest - Romania will press ahead with plans for a national Holocaust memorial, Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said Monday.

Tariceanu said work would soon commence at the site in the centre of Bucharest, the capital, to commemorate some
400,000 Romanian Jews and Roma killed under a Nazi-allied regime during World War II.

"The Holocaust must not be denied or forgotten, and it must never be repeated," Tariceanu said in a written statement ahead of Romania's October 9 Holocaust memorial day, introduced four years ago.

The memorial is to use a design by Romanian-born sculptor Peter Jacobi, who lives in Germany.