Politeía Digest

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Daily News – April, 1st

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Unemployment rate reached 10 pc record in euro-zone

The euro zone’s 10 percent jobless rate in February was the highest since August 1998 and in line with market expectations. A month earlier unemployment was at 9.9 percent. Eurostat said on Wednesday 15,749 million people were unemployed in February in the euro zone, an increase of 61,000 from the previous month. Unemployment is a lagging indicator as the job market is slow to react to economic developments. Analysts expect the euro zone jobless rate to peak at around 11 percent in 2010. The lowest jobless rate among euro zone countries was in The Netherlands, at 4.0 percent. Austria’s rate was 5.0 percent. Spain, hit hard by the collapse of its construction sector, had the highest unemployment at 19.0 percent. Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy, registered the smallest increase in unemployment from a year earlier, rising to 7.5 percent from 7.3 percent.

Eurostat alo informed yesterday that euro zone inflation was much higher than expected in March and the unemployment rate reached 10 percent in February, data showed on yesterday, highlighting the fragility of economic recovery. Inflation in the 16-country area was 1.5 percent year-on-year, the highest since December 2008, after 0.9 percent in February, the European Union’s statistics office said. The data pointed to reawakened price pressure despite low consumer demand. Eurostat’s flash estimate for inflation, which contained no monthly figure or any breakdown, compared with the 1.1 percent price growth expected by analysts polled by Reuters. The March figure was lower than the European Central Bank’s target of just below 2.0 percent inflation.

Source: Eurostat

FM Baconschi in US this spring to prepare Basescu visit

Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi said in an interview to Agerpres news agency made public yesterday that he will go on an official visit to the United States at the end of this spring, in order to prepare President Traian Basescu’s trip to Washinton and his meeting with President Barack Obama.

“I will make a first official visit to Washington soon, probably at the end of spring. (…) If I meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the end of May or something, the date has not yet been decided, we think that in the second part of the year, we could prepare a visit by President Basescu to Washington,” Baconschi said.

One topic that the FM plans on discussing with Clinton and other US officials is Romania’s possible inclusion in the Visa Waiver programme. “Americans only recently introduced the Greek in the Visa Waiver programme. (…) Given the consistency of our trans-Atlantic policies, our massive, constant presence in high risk areas, the strategic Romanian-American partnership and American investment realities in Romania, we have enough arguments to ask that visa rejection rate criteria be redefined,” Baconschi explained.

When asked to comment on Romania’s stance on Obama administration’s appeal to US allies to receive Guantanamo inmates, Baconschi said Bucharest has not yet received any official request in this direction. “I’ve seen other European countries negotiated the matter after thoroughly analyzing inmates’ ‘resume,’ but we have not made any a priori decision,” he said, adding however that if the EU reaches consensus on the issue, Romania will observe the decision.

The foreign minister also talked in the interview of Romania’s decision to host elements of the US missile shield, a decision he included among the highlights of his first 100 days in office. Baconschi said negotiations on the matter, which were scheduled to begin in March, was postponed for the time being because of US-Russia talks on START-2 treaty. The two topics are practically discussed by the same team made up of Pentagon and State Department experts and talks on the missile shield project will be held after US and Russia sign the new nuclear arms reduction treaty on April 8, Baconschi explained.

Romania’s team of negotiators will be made of officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry and other institutions involved in establishing a legal framework for the project, he said. Baconschi refused to make any mention of possible locations for the shield elements and underlined that Romanian authorities have not received any official point of view from Iran on the matter.

Source: Agerpres

Chechen Rebel Says He Planned Attacks

A former Chechen separatist who reinvented himself as a proponent of global jihad stepped out of the shadows on Wednesday to take responsibility for two suicide bombings on Moscow’s subway, and to offer himself as the face of an increasingly lethal pan-Caucasus insurgency.

The separatist, Doku Umarov, last year revived a suicide battalion believed to be behind some of the most notorious attacks of the past decade, and then issued a warning in February that he was planning attacks in central Russia. In the recording released Wednesday, Mr. Umarov seemed to take pleasure in thrusting the bloody violence of the Caucasus upon the comfortable residents of the capital. “You Russians hear about the war on television and the radio,” Mr. Umarov said on the video, apparently made hours after the subway blasts. “I promise you the war will come to your streets, and you will feel it in your own lives and on your own skin.”

In assuming a public role and taunting Russia with his pronouncements, Mr. Umarov seemingly played into the hands of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, offering evidence that the threat in the Caucasian republics was part of a broader Islamic insurgency that threatened Russia’s security. That may provide Mr. Putin with a fresh rationale to pursue a take-no-prisoners policy in the Caucasus.  More on NY Times.

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Written by Theophyle

April 1, 2010 at 10:32 am

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