WHAT THE WORLD

Budapest or Bucharest? A Tale Of Very Lost French Soccer Fans

Let's be honest, as European capital names go, Budapest (Hungary) and Bucharest (Romania) are pretty similar. It's even slightly closer in French: Budapest and Bucarest. Still, for six French football fans who wanted to watch last week's France v. Hungary match live, we can only wonder how this geographic blooper could have gone this far.

Oui, oui...the supporters of les Bleus wound up in Bucharest, watching the game on television, rather than the stadium Budapest where France and Hungary finished in a 1-1 draw.

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Not Sure About That Romanian Style

For a moment, the streets of Sibiu turned into a fashion show — and that woman didn't seem too convinced by the man's dress sense ... Was it the traditional căciulă sheepskin hat, or something else?

Religious Romania

Romania is one of the richest countries I've set foot in when it comes to religious heritage. The central European state has history-packed cathedrals, exuberantly colorful churches — and in this case, beautifully peaceful monasteries.

Wouldn't It Be Nice

The setting and timing of this shot coincide perfectly with the release, half-way around the world, of the seminal surfer album Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. But this summer in Romania was also just a year after the rise of Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu. We didn't know it then, but he would become one of the 20th century's cruelest tyrants.

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Bertrand Hauger

Legendary Cathedral

Don't be fooled by the exuberant Moorish style of the Curtea de Argeș cathedral. The various legends associated with this Romanian Orthodox church tend to be, well, grim.

In one tale, the architect — to be able to finish the building — is forced to sacrifice his wife by walling her alive in the cathedral. In another, the Prince who had ordered the construction of cathedral had the masons stranded on the roof, for fear they'd build a greater church for someone else. The builders tried to escape by flying off with wings they'd made out of wood. No, this tale doesn't end well either.

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Slice Of Transylvanian Life

Driving around Romania during one of the hottest summers I can remember, I got to see the many faces of daily life — in both sadness and joy. These traditionally dressed locals were bringing cake to a wedding. No sign of ice cream.

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LA STAMPA
Mihaela Iordache

In Romania, Where Infant Mortality Meets Anti-Vaccination Movement

Romania has Europe's highest infant mortality rate. The main causes of death are infectious diseases like tuberculosis and rubella, while VIPs make public claims that vaccines are dangerous.

-Analysis-

BUCHAREST — Olivia Steer is young and beautiful, and she frequently graces the front pages of Romanian magazines to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle. But Steer is also famous for something else: She is the face of the country's growing anti-vaccination campaign.

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Panama Papers, Polish Abortion Law, Spain Time Travel

PANAMA PAPERS SET OFF GLOBAL REACTION

A massive leak of more than 11 million documents has exposed an immense network of offshore shell companies, many of them illegal. The documents — dubbed the "Panama Papers" — were obtained by German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and reveal the involvement of 72 current and former heads of state.

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The Haymaking Stork

This stork decided to keep company with these Romanian haymakers near Covasna, a scene reminiscent of my childhood in the French countryside.

Sources
Etienne Dubuis

Yves Leresche, Capturing The Dazzling Mystery Of The Roma

The Swiss photographer gets inside an often impenetrable community and emerges with a portrait that both shines and confounds.

LAUSANNE — A man with a large face and drooping mustache warmly greets his children on a misty road in the Romanian countryside. He then reappears in the night, lying in the open air with his wife, on the outskirts of Lausanne, a short distance away from the city lights.

These scenes, so representative of the life of Roma, are the opening images in a new book by Swiss photographer Yves Leresche, whose work is also on display right now in an exhibition and an audiovisual installation in Lausanne.

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Eurovision Contestants 2015: Romania

Romania chose none other than its biggest pop-rock band, Voltaj, to represent the country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The group has been one of the most popular acts in Romania for the past 20 years and their fans all across Europe will undoubtedly vote for them on the big night. Well played, Romania.

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LA STAMPA
Federico Varese

Shadows And Light In The World Of Romanian Hackers

This small Eastern European country is the Wild West (good guys and bad guys) of the fight for Internet security.

ALEXANDRIA — On the FBI's Most Wanted list is the name Nicolae Popescu.

Born in the small city of Alexandria, a two-hour bus ride south of Bucharest, Popescu is now in his early thirties and is known for sporting a crew cut and smart clothes. After creating a digital ruse to sell hundreds of fictitious cars on eBay, and pocketing $3 million, he was arrested in 2010, but eventually released on a technicality. He is now a fugitive from justice and the reward for any information to lead to his capture is at $1 million.

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Beheaded Saint, Decapitated Church

The Arbore church in northern Romania was built in the early 16th century and dedicated to St. John the Baptist — the martyr beheaded by Salome.

Coincidentally, the Orthodox monastery itself suffered a comparable fate when marauding Cossack troops melted the lead roof to make bullets.


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Romanian Ride

Romania was one of the largest automobile producers in Central and Eastern Europe during the Communist period. But that doesn't mean horse-driven carts were entirely discontinued, especially on a traditional wedding day like this one.

Geopolitics
Alexandre Lévy

A Quarter-Century Late, "Romanian Nuremberg" Finally Begins

A full 25 years after the fall of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the brutal commandant of a labor camp for political prisoners is finally being tried for alleged atrocities.

BUCHAREST — Born in 1925, Alexandru Visinescu lived a quiet, remorseless and very comfortable life until last year. The former commandant of the Ramnicu Sarat forced labor camp in eastern Romania was enjoying the equivalent of a $1,700 monthly pension, eight times more than the minimum pension paid to most Romanians of his age.

It was a pension he believed he definitely deserved because he did nothing more than "follow orders" at the camp where political opponents to the Communist regime were detained. Researchers from the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER) beg to differ.

After a first, failed attempt to bring him to court, last year IICCMER leaked the story of the abuses Visinescu and more than 30 of his then-colleagues committed: tortures, summary executions, food and sleep deprivation, beatings, exposure to the cold, etc. The list is so long and terrifying that the justice system spent a good time of time pondering how the crimes should be classified. "Genocide" or "crimes against humanity?" Then, encouraged by public opinion, the justice machine ignited.

Visinescu has the dubious distinction of topping this "list of 35" criminals. His trial, which some are already dubbing the "Romanian Nuremberg," began last month, 25 years after the fall of repressive Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu, and almost 50 years after the atrocities for which he is being tried. After Visinescu appeared in court, the case was adjourned until October 22.

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