Bracing Bitter Cold Got Romania's Government to Quit

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In today's sign that the European Union's deficits problems aren't going away, Romania's Prime Minster Emil Boc and his cabinet have tendered their resignations after a very cold January and February of protests over strict austerity measures imposed by the government. In order to "ease the social situation." Romania's president, Traian Basescu, will stay in power while current Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu will be the only member of Boc's cabinet to stay in government, as the country's interim PM.

The Wall Street Journal writes those belt-tightening measure included "the government's move to slash public sector wages by 25% and hike the sales tax by five percentage points" in order to secure an IMF loan, with the rest of the report focusing on how financial markets will be affected. But more interesting were the protests themselves, which coalesced this past month despite bitter cold and heavy snowfall. "The weather is so cold that some areas of the Black Sea have frozen near the Romanian coastline," writes the AP, (see dramatic AP pic at bottom). Nevertheless, hundreds of warmly-dressed protesters were in the streets despite over a hundred people reported dead in Europe (39 in Romania) from the cold so far this winter. 

[Photo credits: Reuters, AP]

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