The president of Romania, locked in a dead heat with his rival in a run-off election, is facing questions from opponents after video surfaced of him hitting a 10-year-old boy in the face during a campaign rally in 2004.
Traian Basescu, the center-right president of the eastern European country, was confronted by footage of the incident during a TV interview Thursday night. At first Basescu didn’t deny that the incident happened, and argued there must have been a reason for his violent outburst.
“I can assure you that I will look at it and give you an explanation,” Romanian news site Nine O’Clock quoted Basescu as saying. “But does the child say anything in the film? Did he say something nasty? … Perhaps he swore at me.”
But later Basescu denied that the incident ever took place, and now political allies are rallying to his side, claiming that the video was manipulated. On Saturday Basescu said he would sue Gardianul, the newspaper that uncovered the video, for “lying and for forging video materials,” Nine O’Clock reported.
The boy in question, Bogdan Istrotaiu, now 15, initially backed up the claim that Basescu hit him in 2004, when Basescu was mayor of Bucharest and running for the presidency for the first time. The Associated Press reports Istrotaiu first told a Romanian newspaper that Basescu had hit him, but a day later he retracted his claim, saying he didn’t want to be part of the growing controversy.
Romania’s government collapsed last month under the weight of a deep recession. In the first round of elections, Basescu led his center-left rival, Mircea Geoana, by two percentage points. The controversy over the video could easily spell defeat for the incumbent Basescu in the run-off election scheduled for December 6.
— With Agence France-Presse
The following video was posted to YouTube, November 27, 2009.
There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness
As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.
He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”
It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.
This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend
As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.
At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.
Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.
The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.
Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health
On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.
"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."