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Parliament approves new government

BUCHAREST — Romania’s parliament has approved a center-left government, putting an end to concerns that a bitter feud between the president and prime minister could lead to a political standoff.

Lawmakers voted 402-120 on Friday to approve the Cabinet of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, whose alliance won 68 percent of seats in Dec. 9 parliamentary elections.

Mr. Ponta said: “I want to show that social injustice can be remedied. I want to tell the retirees, those who were fired and the poor that the fight against poverty is a priority for the Romanian government.”

Mr. Ponta is an archrival of center-right President Traian Basescu, whom Mr. Ponta moved to impeach this year.

The bid failed, but Mr. Basescu said he was reluctant to reappoint the 40-year-old Mr. Ponta. He later relented after pressure from EU leaders.


2 Greeks jailed for life over illegal antiquities

THESSALONIKI — A Greek court has imposed life sentences on two men convicted of dealing in ancient treasure worth an estimated $15.85 million, which had been illegally excavated from a cemetery in northern Greece.

The court in the northern city of Thessaloniki jailed two other men for 20 and 16 years, respectively, after finding them guilty of digging up and transporting the antiquities.

The severity of Friday’s sentences was due to the high market value of the loot — more than 70 artifacts from the sixth century B.C.

These included gold masks, four helmets, a glass perfume bottle, small clay statues, part of a gold diadem and parts of an iron sword decorated with gold leaf.

Archaeologists are currently excavating an ancient cemetery near Thessaloniki where the finds came from.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports