“We heard about Spain from the TV, and now we’re in the capital!” – meeting the Romanian homeless of Madrid

While grand residential projects help regenerate the outer centre of the Spanish capital’s district of Delicias, Romanian beggars build shanty-huts in the dirt – a short report written with Vlad Odobescu for The Black Sea     Delicias. In English this means ‘Delights’. A district in outer central Madrid. A warm Wednesday. Huge new apartment complexes […]

The End of the Line

How kids from Romania were sexually abused by the Italian elite at Rome’s Termini station Text by Michael Bird, Cecilia Ferrara and Vlad Odobescu, published here in The Black Sea Illustrations by Sorina Vazelina   Over 100,000 passengers pass through Rome’s Termini station every day. Its 33 platforms host high-speed trains that span Europe and […]

“It’s so painful to realise we are victims”

Women trafficked from Romania to Spain for sex reveal the path from tragedy to recovery. Published here on The Black Sea Text by Feliciano Tisera, Vlad Odobescu and Michael Bird Illustrations by Sorina Vazelina “When they start to rape you, you stay quiet, as you don’t want to be killed. You stay completely paralyzed by fear, […]

What we learned from Marine Le Pen and her nationalist friends’ visit to Romania

A posting from The Black Sea, available here   They are against the EU, the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe and open borders. They don’t like to be called extremists. They want to be called radicals. They can command up to a third of the votes in their countries. Last weekend they came to one of the […]

Moldovan energy intermediary company linked to “billion-dollar bank theft” scandal

A controversial supplier of electricty from the frozen conflict zone of Transnistria to Moldova has an ownership structure linked to companies involved in a “billion dollar theft” from Moldova’s banking system in 2014 A preliminary investigative report into Moldova’s energy troubles published in The Black Sea and across dozens of the largest news sites in Moldova […]

Crimea – where Russia’s war on drugs has deadly consequences

Up to 100 recovering drug users have died in Crimea since Russia seized the Ukrainian peninsular and banned their medication A feature published in The Black Sea, The Influence (USA) and Matters of Substance (NZ) magazines   Surrounded by seaside resorts, Crimea has been both a magnet for holidaymakers and drug users (picture copyright: Petrut Calinescu)   “I had to abandon home, […]

The Timebomb

Moldova’s political class is discredited, fragmented and unpopular at home and abroad – but is the opposition too divided to challenge the failed leadership of Europe’s poorest country? A feature – published here in The Black Sea   CAMP NUMBER ONE I call the phone number of Ilian Casu, the deputy chairman of Partidul Nostru […]