Moldova Socialists Irate Over Romanian PM's 'Unification' Statement

Moldova’s opposition Socialist Party has said it is “deeply outraged” by Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s statement about his intention to pursue the reunification of Romania with Moldova.

Ponta, who is the ruling Social Democrats’ presidential candidate and the favorite to win the November election, told a campaign rally last week that a “second great unification of Romania” should be accomplished by 2018.

The first unification occurred in 1918, when most of present-day Moldova became part of Romania alongside Transylvania and other territories.

The pro-Moscow Moldovan Socialists said in a statement that Ponta “has thrown off the moderate politician’s mask”

It said his remarks demonstrated that all Romanian politicians have the same objective: “To destroy and take over Moldova.”

In the High Tatras, Slovakia.

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Warsaw.

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bittertwee said: SO glad you're back!

Thank you! 

Map of Herceg Novi, showing the fortifications built by the Venetians during the siege of the city by the Ottomans.

Artist unknown, ca. 1589.

In the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire seemed to be moving inexorably west. Although an enormous alliance of Christian Europeans had managed to halt the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1829, ten years later the existential dread hadn’t faded.

At the time, Montenegro was a colony of Venice, but the wealthy Italian city-state was built on trade that had been ruined by the Ottoman conquests, and so they turned to their allies to help them defend their holdings. 15,000 Spaniard infantrymen were sent east to defend the colony. Castelnuovo (modern Herceg Novi) was the primary beachhead and first line of defense. 

In June of 1539, the Ottomans attacked, besieging the city. The siege lasted nearly two months, finally ending in a bloody battle on August 5. In the end, the Ottomans were the victor, and the city would be theirs for the next 150 years. But the victory was Pyrrhic, with estimates of 20,000 or more Ottoman soldiers killed.

The battle was also a disaster for the Spanish soldiers, nearly all of whom were killed - the hundred or so who survived were captured and enslaved by the Ottomans. Their glorious deaths as martyrs to a Christian Europe were a source of inspiration to thousands, though, and they were memorialized in endless songs and poems of the day. 

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Laika, Belka and Strelka are household names around the world, even today. As the first dogs to reach orbit, they are among the martyrs and the saints of communism. Their fate was the embodiment of a utopian consciousness, the ideal of a society that tried to turn a futuristic fairytale into reality. They endured inhumane tests, either giving their lives and becoming posthumous heroes, or surviving to find themselves the darlings of the nation. The lucky ones lived out their days in the laboratory, where those who had lost their teeth would be fed bits of pre-chewed sausage by their devoted attendants. Some were taken home by the scientists as pets in reward for their loyalty and endurance.

The dogs were simultaneously real and fantastical beings. One day they were strays on the street; the next they were in newspapers and on television, and given heroic names. They also became characters in children’s books. Here, they weren’t presented as sly tricksters, like their folkloric predecessors, but neither were they easily fooled simpletons. They gave a new perspective on the allegory of loyalty. The space dog was not just a trusty companion for a lone hero, but crucially, one for all humanity.

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Kosovo, urban and rural.

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Ukraine Leader’s Plea Nets Less Than He Wanted

President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine on Thursday implored Congress to provide Ukraine’s soldiers with heavy military equipment as his country seeks to repel what he called a continuing invasion by Russian forces.

But after meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office later in the day, Mr. Poroshenko said he was satisfied with American support that falls short of his request. Asked whether he had gotten what he wanted, Mr. Poroshenko appeared pragmatic.

“I got everything possible,” he said.

Mr. Poroshenko, appearing for the first time before a joint session of Congress earlier in the day, pleaded for America’s help in countering what he called “one of the most cynical acts of treachery in the modern history.” He described Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine as a stab in the back from a once-supportive neighbor.

“Over the last month, Ukrainians have shown that they have the courage to stand up,” Mr. Poroshenko said. “We will never obey or bend to the aggressor. We are ready to fight.”

Secret 'KGB Room' Discovered in Latvian Concert Hall

Renovations at Latvia’s Academy of Sciences have uncovered a secret “KGB room,” where agents of the Soviet secret police could surreptitiously monitor visitors at a concert hall during conferences and performances, Latvian media reported.

The Stalin-era building in the capital, Riga, was being renovated after decades of disuse that followed the 1991 Soviet collapse, Latvia’s Diena newspaper reported Wednesday.

"Renovating the hall, we found a very interesting object: a KGB room from which they [agents] could observe the entire auditorium," producer Juris Miller, who is in charge of the renovations, was quoted as saying.

Restorers plan to preserve the room and turn it into a museum, similar to DDR Museum in Berlin, to ”expose” features of life under the Soviet regime, Miller told Diena.

Socks from Macedonia, made in the late 19th century.
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Socks from Macedonia, made in the late 19th century.

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