Romanian parliament lifts immunity of two ministers

RomaniaBucharest - Romania's parliament Tuesday voted to lift prosecution immunity for Labour Minister Paul Pacuraru and former economics minister Codrut Seres who are the target of corruption investigations.

Both politicians, who are also members of the upper chamber, now face possible prosecution on corruption charges. Additionally, Seres is suspected of "espionage" in connection with some energy business deals.

Pacuraru, a member of the National Liberal Party (PNL) voted in favour of lifting his own immunity. Seres, of the co-ruling Conservative Party (PC), abstained in the vote.

Ford's Romania plant posts lower profit

Bucharest  - Ford Motor Co's Romanian plant saw profits drop by more than 26 per cent in the first half of 2008 on weaker sales, news reports said Tuesday.

Net income at the Craiova plant, which is being upgraded to start vehicle production next year, fell to 1.08 million lei (454,000 dollars), the Mediafax news agency said. Sales fell by 4 per cent, the report said.

Ford last year agreed to pay Romania's government 57 million euros (79 million dollars) for a 72-per-cent stake in the plant, which was originally taken over by South Korean automaker Daewoo in the 1990s.

The move confirmed Romania as a rising auto industry hub after Renault's Dacia unit racked up strong sales with budget-priced cars.

Romania breaks up alleged dating-fraud ring

Bucharest - Romanian police broke up a dating fraud ring that preyed on US and Canadian nationals and made 130,000 dollars with fake promises of romance, news reports said Tuesday.
Based in the Romanian city of Cluj, the 11 suspects allegedly set up false internet profiles of Romanians looking for love, then asked for travel money when their victims got interested, the Mediafax agency reported.
Investigators in Cluj believe that more than 70 people were defrauded in the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Britain and Belgium, the report said.
Police arrested nine people in raids Thursday, Mediafax quoted city authorities as saying Tuesday.

Suspected German human trafficker arrested in Romania

Bucharest  - Romanian border police have arrested a 37-year- old German citizen on suspicion of multiple counts of human trafficking and enforced prostitution, the Romanian Mediafax news agency reported on Monday.

The man was arrested on the Romanian-Hungarian border, and was travelling in the direction of Germany in the company of three women aged between 14 and 22.

Police also found detailed accounts of the man's income, as well as well as an appointment calendar with client information.

Romanian president, foreign minister start Caucasus conflict tour

Romanian President Traian BasescuBucharest - Romanian President Traian Basescu and Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu embarked Wednesday on a whirlwind tour of five countries to review the Georgian-Russian conflict and its effects on the region.

In just two days, the Romanian duo were to visit the Ukraine, Moldava, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, meeting with their counterparts to review developments in the wake of the conflict in Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia.

In Kiev, Basescu is to meet Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to start the series of top-level meetings.

Hindus want minorities fairly treated in educational reforms in Romania

Washington, Aug 19: Hindus have applauded Romania for her attempts at educational reforms and overhauling religious instruction, but stressed that minorities should be fairly treated when these planned reforms are finalized.

Acclaimed Hindu and Indo-American leader, Rajan Zed, in a statement today, said that considerable changes were reportedly needed in this overhaul. Every Romanian should feel welcome without any ethnic or religious discrimination.

Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that in school curricula comparative religion could be offered as an alternative to religion and those who did not want to study either, should be offered a non-religious choice.