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Worldcrunch

ADEVARUL, ANTENA 3, ZIARE.COM (Romania)

BUCHAREST - Former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase remains in a hospital room in the Romanian capital. His aides say the 62-year-old is recovering – gradually -- from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the neck in a June 20 suicide attempt gone awry after having been sentenced to prison on corruption charges. On Sunday night, his son went on national television to read what was meant to be a farewell note from the man who led Romania from 2000 to 2004.

But a growing number of people in Romania are questioning whether there was even a suicide attempt, and want to know more about Nastase's actual condition. Prosecutors who convicted him on charges of illegally financing a presidential bid want the white-haired pol taken to prison, where he would be Romania's most senior official to serve time in prison since the 1989 fall of communism.

According to Bucharest daily Adevarul, respected former Justice Minister Monica Macovei said that Nastase had been convicted by the courts, and authorities should carry out the sentence.

Meanwhile a group of young people have organized protests in front of Nastase's house, wearing fancy scarves around their necks in an apparent mocking of the ex PM did the same when he was taken to Floreasca hospital in stifling heat.

The drama took a new twist on Sunday when his son Andrei read a letter on a leading Romanian TV channel, Antena 3, in which the ex PM wrote that he wanted his son "to be happy, to have a beautiful family and never to get into politics," according to the website Ziare.com." Nastase's son then publicly asked that his father's sentence be commuted, which can only happen with a decree by Traian Basescu, the current Romania President and declared enemy of Nastase.

Nastase had appealed a March 30 court ruling that sentenced him to jail for illegally raising funds for a failed presidential campaign, but the Supreme Court upheld the sentence.

Nastase was well known for his high-roller habits, with a taste for large game hunting and multiple properties in Romania and abroad. During his tenure, he was an ardent ally of U.S. President George W. Bush, notably during the lead-up to the war in Iraq.

Nastase and Bush in the White House

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How China's Mass Protest Took The World By Surprise — And Where It Will End

China is facing its biggest political protests in decades as frustration grows with its harsh Zero-COVID strategy. However, the real reasons for the protests run much deeper. Could it be the starting point for a new civic movement?

Photo of police during protests in China against covid-19 restrictions

Security measures during a protest against COVID-19 restrictions

Changren Zheng

In just one weekend, protests spread across China. A fire in an apartment block in Urumqi in China’s western Xinjiang region killed 10, with many blaming lockdown rules for the deaths. Anti-lockdown demonstrations spread to Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and other cities. University students from more than half of China's provinces organized various protests against COVID restrictions.

Why and how did the movement spread so rapidly?

At the core, protesters are unhappy with President Xi Jinping's three-year-long Zero-COVID strategy that has meant mass testing, harsh lockdowns, and digital tracking. Yet, the general belief about the Chinese people was that they lacked the awareness and experience for mass political action. Even though discontent had been growing about the Zero-COVID strategy, no one expected these protests.

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