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Romanian report Romanian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-12-09 07:49:24
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Inside Romania's secret CIA prison

In northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighbourhood minutes from the centre of Romania's capital city, is a secret that the Romanian government has tried for years to protect. For years, the CIA used a government building -- codenamed Bright Light -- as a makeshift prison for its most valuable detainees. There, it held al-Qaida operatives Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the mastermind of 9/11, and others in a basement prison before they were ultimately transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006, according to former U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the location and inner workings of the prison.

The existence of a CIA prison in Romania has been widely reported but its location has never been made public until a joint investigation by The Associated Press and German public television, ARD Panorama. The news organizations located the former prison and learned details of the facility where harsh interrogation tactics were used. ARD's program on the CIA prison will air Dec 8. The Romanian prison was part of a network of so-called black sites that the CIA operated and controlled overseas in Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. All the prisons were closed by May 2006, and the CIA's detention and interrogation program ended in 2009.

Unlike the CIA's facility in Lithuania's countryside or the one hidden in a Polish military installation, the CIA's prison in Romania was not in a remote location. It was hidden in plain sight, a couple blocks off a major boulevard on a street lined with trees and homes, along busy train tracks. The building is used as the National Registry Office for Classified Information, which is also known as ORNISS. Classified information from NATO and the European Union is stored there. Former intelligence officials both described the location of the prison and identified pictures of the building. In an interview at the building in November, senior ORNISS official Adrian Camarasan said the basement is one of the most secure rooms in all of Romania. But he said Americans never ran a prison there.


Romania's position in the European Council is to amend protocol 12

President Traian Basescu on Wednesday evening said that Romania's position in the European Council will be that, for now, a solution concerning the euro area is to amend protocol 12 and when the 27 member states reach a consensus, we should also be able to modify the Treaty. 'Our position will be that, for the moment, the correct solution is to immediately amend protocol 12, which only requires consulting the European Parliament and the Central European Bank and which can be established at the Council level. And in a future phase, when there is a consensus among the 27 states, we should also be able to modify article 136 or protocol 14 of the Treaty,' Basescu told a press conference held at the Cotroceni Palace.

Romania is deeply affected by the situation in the euro area at the moment said President Traian Basescu on Wednesday night in a statement issued at Cotroceni Palace. 'Romania is currently severely affected by the situation in the euro area ... Our credit default swap (CDS) was somewhere in June around 200 points on ten-year loans, and below 100 points at one-year loans. This is the first insurance for loans and our CDS at ten-year loans exceeded 450 points and is going up, due to the mistrust generated by the delays for Greece, by the situation in Italy. Therefore we are affected. Romania pays a heavy bill for the procrastinated firm decisions in the euro area,' said Traian Basescu.

He said Romania 'forced' for a 1.9 percent deficit as a solution for the effects of the situation in the euro area. 'I can tell you what we did. Seeing what goes on around us, we forced a 1, 9 percent deficit instead of a 3 percent one, with the precise idea to borrow less, because any 7 percent interest rate is already too high. We borrowed at 5.2 or 5.3 percent in June and the interest rates reached now 7 or 8 or even above 8 now. We have the same CDS as Italy now,' said Basescu.  He also said that Romania would insist on discussing the accession to the Schengen area in the sidelines of the winter European Council, pointing out, though, that the priority remained pulling the euro area out of the crisis.


Young people remain among the largest buyers online

Romania's most recent study investigated the behaviour of Internet users towards online shopping. The results show that 28% of urban Internet users have shopped online last year. Almost a quarter of those who buy on the Internet do so at least once a month. Young people remain among the largest buyers online. Thus, online purchases are often made by those aged 18-24 years (37%), and the adoption of this behaviour decreases as age increases (reaching 31% for those aged 25-34 years and 26% for the period 34-44 years). The proportion of women and men is almost equal. Residents of Bucharest and those with higher education shopped online significantly more (36%, 40% respectively). Romania's inhabitants from cities order on Internet: electronics, appliances, phones (44%), clothing and accessories (28%), personal care products (22%), books, CDs or DVDs (22%).

Cash payment on delivery after receiving the product is by far the most commonly used payment method (83%). Online payment by card begins to be also popular. This is in second place as the payment method used in the last 12 months by 28% of internet users in urban areas. "Clearly, shopping on the Internet is increasingly popular. However, the role of the Internet in product purchasing goes beyond the online order. For example, many consumers informs on the Internet on certain purchases they intend to do, then some of them still choose to buy products from traditional stores (offline) ", says Traian Nastase, Online Project Manager GfK Romania.

According ePayment, the main online payments processor in Romania, in the first 10 months of 2011, Romanians bought online with credit card 14% more than in the same period last year. Most orders were placed during the week (81%), between 10.00 - 18.00h (54%), 80% of orders being from Bucharest.
The industry of online payments by credit card, in Romaina, is dominated by sales of products and services in tourism, telecommunications and services. However, in 2011, significant increases over the previous year were recorded in the segment of online sales of flowers (75%), books (76%) and gifts (64%).

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