World Bulletin/News Desk
The Council of Europe has asked constitutional experts to examine Romania's suspension of its president after Germany and the United States criticised the action by the ruling leftist alliance, saying it threatened the rule of law.
"I am very concerned about the recent developments in Romania, especially about actions taken by the government and the parliament in respect of key democratic institutions," the council's Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland said.
"“I have requested an opinion from the Council of Europe's Commission for Democracy through Law - of which Romania is a member - on whether these actions are compatible with democratic principles and the rule of law."
Romania's parliament suspended President Traian Basescu on Friday, ruling he had overstepped his powers and setting the stage for an impeachment referendum on July 29.
The dispute between the leftist alliance of Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his right-wing rival Basescu has pushed the currency to a record low, increased borrowing costs and raised doubts about Romania's IMF-led aid deal. It has also raised concern about respect for the law and constitution.
Ponta, himself under pressure to resign over plagiarism charges, took office in May and has taken a series of steps to increase his party's power in a country that is the second-poorest member of the European Union and is relying on IMF aid to recover from a deep recession.
His Social-Liberal Alliance (USL) has backtracked on a plan to replace Constitutional Court judges in response to international criticism, but has issued emergency decrees that take immediate effect before the court can rule on them.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a German Sunday paper he was concerned political conflicts were being conducted in Romania at the cost of “"fundamental European values" and said the German government would “not ignore such developments in Europe. He also questioned the further integration of Romania into the European Union.
"“Serious violations of the letter and spirit of the European community of values would raise questions over how adapted Romania was to carrying out the last steps to complete integration within the European Union," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Ponta will travel to Brussels next week for talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
The U.S. State Department said in a statement: "“We are concerned about recent developments occurring in Romania, our NATO ally and partner, which threaten democratic checks and balances and weaken independent institutions such as the courts.
"“As the government contemplates the serious step of removing Romania's head of state, we urge that the process be conducted in a fully fair and transparent manner, with scrupulous respect for the rule of law and democratic ideals."
Muslim cleric called for protests in Egypt on the anniversary of the country's Jan 25 uprising against Hosni Mubarak and said Mohamed Mursi is Egypt's "legitimate" leader
Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for the state governor, said the militants released young men, women and children who were kidnapped on Jan 6
"Russia have just blocked a (Security Council) statement by refusing to include condemnation of recent provocative public statements by the separatists," a council diplomat said
The government says Nisman's allegations and his death were linked to a power struggle at Argentina's intelligence agency and agents who had recently been fired.
Barack Obama begins a historic India trip where he will become first US president to be chief guest at India's Republic Day parade
European leaders eye the results fo the elections closely as a Syriza victory may generate a clash with the Troika -- the EU, European Central Bank and the IMF -- which could possibly start a new crisis between the nation and its creditors, with the euro in the balance.
Several hundred demonstrators gather in Manhattan to protest Egypt's president Sisi on fourth anniversary of Jan. 25 Revolution.
Rope attached to lifting bag connected to fuselage snaps in waves of 2-3 meters, the section of the plane returning to the seabed.
The blast targeted policemen stationed outside a sports club in Cairo's Heliopolis area, the security sources said.
Parliamentary sources said that the postponement of the session is intended to make room for further negotiations among all factions to reach a political solution
The bodies of the five troops were found on a road between the southern districts of Abu Najim and Jufra, near the site where they had been kidnapped
Islamic Front military commander issues ultimatum to Bashar al-Assad regime calling it to stop attacks on suburb of capital Damascus or else opposition fighters would attack regime positions with rockets
They accused the Lebanese regime of being "complicit" in the war now being waged by the Syrian regime against the Syrian people
The Muslim Brotherhood's former spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlan, had disappeared soon after Egyptian police evicted Morsi-backing protest camps in Cairo and Giza in August of 2013.
Algeria's deputy foreign minister for African affairs Abdel-Qadir Mesahel met in Algiers with a Turkish delegation led by Emrullah Isler to discuss the crisis in Libya
Zambia's ruling party candidate Edgar Lungu secured a narrow victory in this week's presidential poll, defeating his closest rival who said the election had been "stolen".