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BUCHAREST, Romania, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Leaders of Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party are rallying around their powerful leader after he was handed a 3½-year jail sentence for abuse of office.

Regional bosses sent messages of support for Liviu Dragnea Friday, saying he should be considered innocent pending a final verdict.

Dragnea, who hasn't been seen in public for days, denies wrongdoing. He can appeal Thursday's ruling.

After his conviction, thousands resumed anti-corruption protests and there were also celebrations. In some neighborhoods people cheered, while cars honked their horns in downtown Bucharest as the sentence was pronounced after hours of deliberation.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice found Dragnea guilty of intervening to keep two party members on the payroll of a public family welfare agency.

The party meets later to discuss its future in the wake of his conviction.


CAIRO, June 12, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) signed contracts on Tuesday to import 420,000 tons of wheat from Russia and Romania.

Upon an international bid held earlier in the day, Egypt will import 300,00 tons of wheat from Russia and 120,000 tons from Romania, GASC deputy head Ahmed Youssef told MENA.

The imported wheat is expected to be shipped between July 15 to 25, he added.

BUCHAREST, Romania, May 31, 2018 (New Wires) — The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Romania and Lithuania allowed the detention and abuse of a Saudi and a Palestinian at secret U.S. prisons.

The Strasbourg-based court said Thursday that Abd al-Rahim Al Nashiri, a Saudi national later sent to Guantanamo Bay, was detained and abused in Romania between Sept. 2003 and Oct. 2005, and urged Romania to investigate and punish perpetrators. Romania denies hosting such CIA facilities.

The court said Lithuania hosted a secret CIA detention facility from February 2005 to March 2006 where Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian suspected of being a planner for the Sept. 11 attacks, was detained.

Al Nashiri’s lawyer Amrit Singh, called the ruling “a sharp rebuke to Romania’s shameful attempts” to conceal its hosting of a secret CIA prison.

BUCHAREST, May 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Romania and Croatia have signed an agreement to cooperate in defense and security matters as they seek to bolster ties.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, on a visit to Romania, said bilateral trade stood at 310 million euros ($366 million) last year.

Plenkovic and Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila said they supported other regional countries, including Serbia and Montenegro, in their attempts to join the bloc.

They also discussed the visa-free Schengen travel area that both countries are seeking to join.

Romania takes over the rotating presidency of the EU on Jan. 1, 2019.

BUCHAREST, Romania, May 15, 2018 (News Wires) - Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis says the country should remain a predictable partner to both the US and the European Union, criticising the government for trying to relocate Romania’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

President Iohannis urged the government to co-operate in a “loyal and correct” way during a meeting Tuesday with Premier Viorica Dancila to iron out differences in Romania’s foreign policy.

Iohannis, who’s in charge of foreign policy, is also angry with the government after Romania was among three countries to block a EU statement calling the US Embassy move in Israel “unwise.” Romania has no immediate plans to relocate its embassy.

After the meeting, Iohannis said the government should act “in the national interest,” adding that the premier had agreed. He is a rival of the left-leaning government.

BUCHAREST, Romania, April 27, 2018 (AP) - Romania's president on Friday called on the prime minister to resign, saying she is unfit for the job.

President Klaus Iohannis said that Viorica Dancila "is not up for the job of Romanian prime minister," three months after she became Romania's first female premier this January.

Iohannis said that she "prefers to execute party orders" and represented "a vulnerability" for Romania. He was referring to her political dependence on the leader of the ruling Social Democrats, Liviu Dragnea, who effectively runs the government. Iohannis also accused her of failing to inform him over a unilateral government proposal to relocate Romania's embassy to Jerusalem.

Iohannis is in charge of foreign policy and would make a final decision on the embassy. He doesn't have the authority to fire Dancila, but his request will put pressure on the government.