Articles at TOL

Called to Witness, 11 Feb 2004, By ANCA PADURARU for Central Europe Review, a splinter of Transitions Online
A minister-turned-novelist tries to come to terms with his own and his country's recent traumas, writing in a language few in his homeland understand: “The commotion of summer 1990 inspired me. Then, ethnic Germans left Romania for Germany in droves, and I was left on the railway station platform helpless and perplexed to witness it.” Eginald Schlattner, 70, is talking about the experience that prompted him to write two novels [...] 
Notes from Bucharest: Of Mortality and Resurrection, 29 Jan 2004, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Infants and mothers dying in droves, and children rising from the dead: here are just a few recent tales from Romania’s maternity wards: International newswires last week carried the news that a team of Romanian and American doctors had successfully removed the second-largest benign tumor ever recorded. It weighed in at an incredible 80 kilograms. The event was hailed by the minister of health, Ovidiu Branzan, as proof that the [...] 
Shooting Blindly in the War on Drugs, 12 Jan 2004, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Hemp farmers and drug addicts are suffering equally as a result of poor law enforcement, insufficient funding, and erratic strategizing when it comes to the Romanian government’s battle against illegal drugs. That’s the surprisingly critical conclusion of the year-end report by the country’s own National Anti-Drug Agency, the government body funded by the Interior Ministry and the administration that began supervising Romania’s anti-drug strategy six months ago. "So far we [...] 
Getting the Goods on the Securitate, 17 Dec 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Central Europe Review, a splinter of Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Sensational: After 14 Years Nicolae Ceausescu’s Double Is Ready to Confess, by Dumitru Burlan. This "sensational" confession was released several months ago amid a marketing hoopla that promised the inside story of Nicolae Ceausescu's double. The publishers even released it in a bilingual English and Romanian edition, as though assuming it would find a foreign readership. Between the covers is an interview with "Mitica" Burlan, a former Securitate intelligence officer, [...] 
Romania: The Slavery of Poverty, 17 Nov 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Child labor revelation exposes the plight of Romania's rural poor: A boy's climb on an electrical pole--and subsequent hospitalization, with burns over 60 percent of his body--has again put the promises of authorities to protect children under intense scrutiny. Only when the 13-year-old was recuperating in hospital earlier this month did authorities discover that he and his brother Mihaita, 12, had been working illegally at a pig farm [...] 
Romania: Euro-Corruption Arrives, 15 Sep 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Minister faces an EU inquiry into her family's acquisition of $150,000 in vocational training grants. First it was sick palm trees. Now Prime Minister Adrian Nastase's government is facing another corruption allegation--the foul play of the Minister for European Integration, Hildegard Puwak. In late July, investigative journalist Liviu Avram of the Adevarul daily uncovered evidence that companies run by Puwak’s husband and son received a total of $150,000 in [...] 
Transylvanian Screen Test, 9 Jul 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Central Europe Review, a splinter of Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
More questions than answers surround Romania's shaky film industry. And that's good. A year ago, the poster for a new Romanian festival of domestic and international film featured the word Transilvania on a mountain crest, mimicking the cliffside "Hollywood" sign that symbolizes cinema glory. This year’s poster for the second edition displayed "Transilvania" set in stars like those lining Hollywood Boulevard. These stars, however, spread out across a freshly harvested [...] 
Technicalities: A Plugged Brain Drain? , 2 Jul 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Microsoft’s acquisition of a Romanian anti-virus software development firm raises a few fears among Romanian IT managers, but mainly optimism. In late June, Romanian police and the U.S. FBI joined forces to seize a group of Romanian adolescents. Operating from the city of Sibiu, in central Romania, the teens had cracked the security systems of four U.S. companies over the Internet, downloaded their client-sensitive data, and threatened each company that [...] 
A (Cyanide) Taste for Gold, 12 Jun 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Romania’s Apuseni Mountains are ‘heaven on earth,’ but some experts say a planned gold-mining operation will transform the area into a ‘cyanide hell on earth.’ “They will carry away the gold, while we will carry the burden of the devastation its exploitation will bring to our villages,” Viorel Sicoe, the mayor of Campeni, a small mountain town of 9,000 in central Romania, told TOL in a May interview. Sicoe was [...] 
Notes from Bucharest: Captives of Wealth, 12 Jun 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
A story about the mysteries of Romanian lawmaking and about counting eggs and unhatched chickens. Somewhere on the short journey between the cabinet office and parliament in late May, a draft Romanian law found itself with three more articles than the government put there. They were, of course, nice additions for some, forcing ministries, public institutions, and the country’s many state-owned companies to build holiday cottages on publicly owned land. [...] 
Notes From Bucharest: Gotta Have Faith, 30 Apr 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Orthodox Easter marks a pinnacle of church attendance in Romania each year, with even the young and tragically hip lining up outside churches to receive their blessings. A young couple sporting designer clothes are making out unabashedly, leaning on their black Volkswagen Passat. A few steps away, teenagers discuss the night of partying to come and swear casually, tossing their cigarettes on the ground as they finish them. It would [...] 
Paunescu's Way, 19 Mar 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
One day some 20 years ago, a crowd nearly blocked one of Bucharest's main boulevards. They were queuing to buy a just-published volume of poetry. Legend has it that the gathering attracted the notice of Nicolae Ceausescu as his official motorcade swung past. After all, Romania was a country where spontaneous large gatherings of people never occurred, and if they did it probably meant trouble. [...] 
Notes from Bucharest: Burying the King--and Kings, 26 Feb 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Romanians found the reburial of their pre-war king good viewing. But vote a king a prime minister like the Bulgarians, or call for a return to a monarchy? No chance, they say. Fifty years after his death, King Carol II, Romania’s third king, finally returned to Romania from Portugal and his remains were, on Valentine’s Day, finally laid to rest alongside other members of the Romanian royal family. Romanian television [...] 
Notes From Bucharest: Naked Truths, 15 Jan 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
The mayor of Bucharest says three gymnasts who posed nude deserve to be given the keys to the city. Do Romanians have a problem with sex? For all of one week at the end of November, Romanian news was dominated by the country’s invitation to join NATO and U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit to Bucharest. However, after one week of solemn musings on politics, newspaper headlines and TV and [...] 
Romania: What a Mouthful, 23 Dec 2002, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Romanian farmers find a bone of contention on their Christmas plates. At Christmas time, the true Romanian hears the last desperate squeals of the pig as it bleeds to death in the farmyard, its throat slit. But this year's customary pig slaughter made many Romanians pause and scratch their heads, wondering how European they really are as they kill a pig in the backyard as their forefathers have always done. [...]