Polenta doesn’t explode

via Rioting in Romania: The battle of Bucharest | The Economist.

“POLENTA doesn’t explode” is the gnomic phrase Romanians use to describe the attitude of resigned acceptance typical to the country. But this weekend something snapped. Thousands of people took to the streets in Bucharest and 40 other towns, venting their anger at their leaders’ perceived incompetence in dealing with Romania’s economic crisis

Like other Eastern and southern European states, Romania is experiencing economic problems.  Many of their issues are due to the legacy of their Soviet-influenced history, including a lack of industry and major pollution problems.

Although Romania’s riots did not make the US news, they are making headlines in Europe, just another sign of growing economic problems for European Union members.




Prime Minister Claims Power in Tunisia as President Flees – NYTimes.com



via Prime Minister Claims Power in Tunisia as President Flees – NYTimes.com.

TUNIS — President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia has left the country amid growing chaos in the streets, French diplomats say, and the prime minister went on state television Friday night to say he is in charge.

The rioter have accomplished their goal – the president-for-life has fled the country. 

The anti-government protests began a month ago when a college- educated street vendor burned himself to death in protest of his dismal prospects amid Tunisia’s poverty.

They quickly escalated into calls for political reform in this close ally of the US. 

The crowd was notably middle-class, including young doctors and lawyers and other professionals. Some identified themselves as the “Bourguiba generation” — young people who benefited from free higher education and other social welfare policies instituted under Tunisia’s first post-independence president, Habib Bourguiba.

The French government and the United States State Department cautioned against all non-essential travel to the North African country.

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