It was meant to be a quick crime, the police said (via NYTimes.com)
Place a skimming machine over the card readeroutside a Chase branch after dark, stick a couple of cameras above the keypads on the cash machines inside and wait to collect the numbers from unsuspecting customers.
Two hours later, on Tuesday night, two men who the police said were would-be thieves returned to the bank branch, at 290 Flatbush Avenue on the northern edge of Park Slope in Brooklyn.
By that time, they were under surveillance by the police.
“We’ve seen that these people are starting to leave these devices on for not that long a time,” said Detective Robert Cimino of the Police Department’s financial crimes task force. “Short, quick hits.”
If the two men had plans to go to other spots that night, they ended when plainclothes police officers knocked on the glass door of the bank’s A.T.M. area at about 10 p.m. The men opened the door for the strangers, not realizing who they were. “They were very cordial, very polite,” Detective Cimino said on Wednesday.
Then the men were arrested and charged with burglary, criminal possession of a forgery device and criminal possession of a skimmer device.
The police identified the men as Laurentiu Baies, 35, and Marcel Boariu, 36. They are Romanian nationals who have been in the country for about a month, the police said. Neither could be immediately reached for comment. They appeared to be linked to a larger criminal conspiracy surrounding the creation of fake cards used to withdraw cash, the detective said, though he would not provide details, citing a continuing investigation.
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta named a 34-year-old finance minister as part of a cabinet shakeup after losing the support of the ruling coalition’s second-biggest party. Ponta told reporters today in Bucharest that he’d nominated Ioana Petrescu, his Harvard-educated economic adviser, as the first woman to head the Finance Ministry since at least the fall of communism. He picked Constantin Nita, 58, as economy minister and will ask parliament to vote on the appointments tomorrow. Liviu Voinea, 38, stays on as budget minister. “I’m convinced that despite her age, Ms. Petrescu will be able to meet expectations as finance minister,” Ponta said. In support of her candidacy, he cited Petrescu’s “involvement over the past six months in government negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.” (via Bloomberg)
Ioana Petrescu received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Economics from Harvard University and a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Wellesley College. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, she worked as an N.R.I. Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. Her fields are public finance, development economics and economics of national security. Her research interests range from taxation in transitional and developing countries, to underground economy, entrepreneurship, and economic sanctions. She was born in Romania, lived in Boston and Washington, DC for fourteen years. She currently serves as the economic adviser to the Romanian Prime Minister in Bucharest.
Kerry supports Moldova.
‘Constat cu regret că Rusia a făcut presiuni asupra Republicii Moldova pe fondul provocărilor din Ucraina. Este vorba despre sursele lor de energie și capacitatea de a efectua schimburi comerciale. Dar ne-am angajat ferm să susținem calea de dezvoltare pe care cetățenii și Guvernul Republicii Moldova au ales să o urmeze’, a declarat John Kerry. El a salutat acțiunile autorităților de la Chișinău în vederea continuării parcursului european și a anunțat că administrația SUA va suplini ajutorul financiar acordat Republicii Moldova. ‘Noi vom suplini ajutorul cu încă 2,8 milioane de dolari, care se adaugă celor 4,7 milioane anunțate anterior — în total, aproximativ 7,5 milioane de dolari pentru a-i ajuta în această perioadă de tranziție. Statele Unite au oferit de-a lungul anilor asistență economică foarte semnificativă, de aproape un miliard de dolari și jumătate. Suntem foarte interesați în a-l ajuta pe prim-ministrul Leancă în eforturile sale de a continua inițiativele anticorupție din țară și suntem foarte, foarte entuziasmați de modul în care el și guvernul său conduc, construind cu determinare viitorul țării și demonstrând clar că doresc să devină parte dintr-un mecanism larg al comerțului mondial’, a declarat John Kerry. (via Kerry: Rusia a făcut presiuni asupra Republicii Moldova pe fondul provocărilor din Ucraina – AGERPRES)
Romania’s unemployment rate was stable at 7.3% in January compared with the previous month, but up from 7.1% in the same period of 2013, seasonally adjusted data from the statistics institute INS showed Friday.
The number of unemployed individuals (aged 15 – 74) estimated for January 2014 is 730,000 people, won from the previous month which recorded 732,000 unemployed, and up from the similar period last year (when there were 708,000 unemployed).
Based on gender, the unemployment rate for men is higher by 1.3 percent than women: 7,8 percent for men and 6.5 percent for women. (via Romania’s unemployment rate was stable at 7.3%)
Romanian state-owned company Nuclearelectrica, which runs the Cernavoda nuclear power plant, ended 2013 with a preliminary profit of RON 417.3 million (EUR 94.6 million), up from RON 24.1 million (EUR 5.4 million) reported a year before, according to the company’s preliminary results. (via ri)
Romania’s ANCOM has sent notifications for temporary halt of service to 187 telecom providers who have not fulfilled their obligations to communicate statistical data for the first half of 2013. The 187 providers who have not reported the information within the regular deadline still have 45 days to do so after the receipt of the suspension notification from the authority. Otherwise, ANCOM warns it will suspend their services for 60 days. During this time, the companies in question will no longer have the right to provide telecom networks or services and their licenses will be suspended. In case they fulfill the obligations, the Authority will lift the restrictions. In case the telecom providers do not comply within the 60 day-deadline either, the Authority will withdraw the right to provide telecom services based on the general authorisation. Starting July 1, 2013, telecom providers are under the obligation to send the telecom watchdog statistical data via an online application, using a certified electronic signature. (via Romania’s ANCOM sent notifications for temporary halt of service to 187 telecom providers)
Romania still has EUR 10 billion in unused EU funds under the 2007-2013 framework that can be put to work in the by the end 2015, said on Friday Eugen Teodorovici, EU funds minister, reports Agerpres newswire.
Teodorovici said Romania has sent last year reimbursement requests amounting to EUR 3.5 billion to the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU. He added the absorption of EU funds stagnated between 2009 and 2011, with the current absorption level at 34 percent.
“2014 is the starting year for the next financial framework, in which Romania has EUR 43 million in allotted funding; the sum may appear to be big at first sight, but when we discuss about priorities the sum is very small. This obliges us once again to allocate funding in areas where Romania has a competitive advantage compared to the region,” said Teodorovici.
The EC has approved last year the N 3 rule for Romania and Slovakia, which gives the two nations more time to spend and claim back EU money, reducing the risk of losing funds. Business review Romania (via Romania still has EUR 10 billion in unused EU funds)
When Romanian singer Maria Tanase died in 1963, almost a million people flooded onto the streets of Bucharest for her funeral. A brief, grainy archival snippet on the internet reveals a sea of mourners parting around Tanase’s open coffin and overflowing from every balcony. ”Maria Tanase was greatly loved and greatly respected in Romania,” says violinist Alexander Balanescu. ”And her funeral was like a state funeral. People from that generation who were there … still remember that day.” Balanescu was only nine at the time, and left Romania permanently a few years later, but he remembers hearing Tanase’s music as a child, and listening to his parents’ rapturous accounts of her live performances. It took many decades though, for those memories to resurface as the inspiration for one of his most personal projects. (via A heartfelt tribute to Maria Tanase - Romania’s Edith Piaf)
Last month, the European Union lifted work restrictions on citizens from Romania and Bulgaria - including the hundreds of thousands of Roma people. Europe’s largest minority has not exactly been welcomed with open arms. That’s particularly true in France, which has been widely criticized for its evictions and deportations of Roma. But today, a growing number of communities reject the national government’s tough stance and are trying a new approach. These rows of battered camper trailers seem like an unlikely testing ground for social integration. It’s afternoon and the compound is filling up. Men and women are coming home from work. Children are coming home from school. People come over to say hello to Marie Louise Mouket, a big woman who wears a colourful scarf. Mouket heads a local association called ALJ93. It’s working to carve out a future for the Roma community here in Montreuil and other working-class suburbs of Paris. The aim is to help families realize their goals - which may change over time. So far, Mouket believes, the association has achieved positive results. In some ways, the goals seem modest. Learning French and sending the children to school. A job. A place to live. But for the estimated 20,000 Roma in France, they are enormous. Many live precariously in squalid camps. At her office, Mouket points to a map of Romania. This group of Roma come from a village in the western part of the country. In 2008, a fire destroyed their squatter camp in Montreuil. That’s when the city began a program to find them housing and jobs through the IPJ93 association. (via In France, an Experiment in Integrating Roma | Malaysia Sun)
Richard Zamith oversees the program for the city. Zamith says the Roma families must agree to send their children to school, get health checkups and look for jobs with the help of social workers. They can’t be in trouble with the police. If they don’t respect these rules, they’re out of the program.
Today, about 62 families are enrolled. Of the families in the trailer park, roughly half have at least one member with a job. And some have found housing outside of the camp.
Twenty-five-year-old Gavila Cirpacie works in the hotel industry. He says he likes the program. He’s treated with respect. France is better than Romania, because he can find work here.
Many of these Roma work in the hotel or restaurant business around Paris. Twenty-four-year-old Gabriella Cripasi works at a canteen in the suburb of Aubervilliers.
She says she wasn’t able to find a job until now. She really likes the restaurant business. She wants to become a cook.
Canteen manager Laurent Vidaller has hired five Roma from the integration program. He says they’re hard working and punctual.
Vidaller acknowledges Roma tend to be associated with illegal immigration and foreign customs. But, he says, these perceptions change once you get to know them.
Changing perceptions of this ethnic community, which has ancient roots in India, isn’t easy. Many French, and other Europeans, who may see Roma scrounging in garbage cans and begging in the subway, and stereotype them as beggars and thieves.
The Roma and human rights groups say those stereotypes are false, and they face discrimination in education, jobs and public services.
France has deported thousands over the years, earning sharp criticism from the European Union. As of this year, Roma from Romania and Bulgaria no longer need work permits in Europe. Even so, they can be deported if they can’t find jobs.
Nor has France changed its policy of razing squatter camps. Philippe Goossens, Roma expert for the French Human Rights League, says French authorities evicted nearly 20,000 Roma from camps last year - double the number in 2012. “It is crazy, because this eviction[s] doesn’t solve anything. They just put the people on the street, and of course they go to another place and rebuild the slum. It’s ridiculous,” he said.
Now, some municipalities are taking a different approach - embracing the Roma, not rejecting them. Most are in the Seine-Saint-Denis, one of the poorest areas of France, which also has one of the highest Roma populations. Bordeaux, Nantes and Lille, have similar programs.
Zamith, the Montreuil official, says once these programs are widely adopted, people will stop talking about a “Roma problem”. For now, however, they are costly and limited in scope. And unless the state changes its tough policies, says Goossens, local efforts are unlikely to work. ”Today, we have a national policy of rejection..if, at the national level, there is no real will or policy of insertion of these [Roma] communities, it’s difficult to put in place action at the local level,” said Goossens.
But Montreuil’s Zamith believes integration is the only option. If France deports the Roma, they’ll only return - and the problems will start again. All the more reason, he says, to address them now.
Over 1,000 Romanians investigated in corruption cases received final sentences in 2013, a growth of 41 percent on the year before. Eight of these people were high level statesmen. Meanwhile, the number of acquittals was down – only seven out of 100 investigated Romanians were acquitted last year, according to the activity report issued by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate DNA. (via ri)