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Natalia, Cristi Chivu’s girls, baptized in Milan

Natalia, the daughter of Cristian Chivu, the skipper of the national football team, and his wife Adelina, was baptized on Saturday within the Orthodox Church in Milan. Natalia was baptized by Victor and Manuela Becali. Natalia Chivu was born on February 12 within the Madonnina clinic in Milan. Cristian Chivu and Adelina got engaged on November 24, 2007 in Milan and married on July 6, 2008. Their wedding took place within the Stirbey Palace and was attended by approximately 500 guests.

Unirea Alba Iulia to enter League I

Unirea Alba Iulia has mathematically secured its League I entry after winning its home-side game against Minerul Lupeni, score 2-0. The game counted for Round 23 of League II. The goals were scored by Pogean (an own goal in the 37th minute) and Florin Dan (54th minute). Unirea Alba Iulia will return to League I after its relegation four seasons ago.

Women’s handball: Romania defeats Poland in second friendly

The Romanian women’s national handball team has won its second friendly game against Poland on Saturday in Drobeta Turnu Severin, score 37-22 (18-8). The team had previously won the first friendly game, score 39-28 (17-10). The two games were the final tests ahead of the upcoming two-leg game against Belarus (first leg scheduled for June 6-7 in Belarus, return leg scheduled for June 13-14 in Romania). The game against Belarus is part of the playoffs for the China World Cup.

Rugby: Steaua defeats Dinamo to top national division standings in play-offs

Steaua has won its derby against Dinamo. The game was part of the last round of the National Rugby Division’s play-offs. Steaua won its away-game against Dinamo by a one-goal advantage, score 30-29, with the game registering a minor incident towards its end. Nevertheless, Dinamo, a team that was able to field the 10 rugby players that were suspended after the violent incidents registered in the game against Farul, scored four tries and won the bonus point offered for that achievement. At the end of the season Steaua tops the play-offs with 64 points, followed by Farul with 55 points. Dinamo ranks third with 54 points.

Cristina Varzaru wins Danish Handball Championship with Viborg HK

Handball player Cristina Varzaru, a member of the Romanian women’s national handball team, has won the championship title in Denmark after Viborg HK won its away game against Aalborg DH, score 29-21 (18-10). The Romanian player scored two goals in Saturday’s decisive game. Earlier Viborg HK had won the EHF Champions League by defeating Hungary’s Gyor ETO. k

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Anti–smoking campaign launched on the International Day against Smoking

The organization “HELP – For a life without tobacco,” launched yesterday, during the international anti-smoking day, the second campaign called “Run away from tobacco”, promoted in Politehnica Park of Bucharest. According to the representatives of “HELP”, the action addresses young persons, it promotes sport practicing, a healthy lifestyle, joy and fresh air. “We try to associate with sport, with the young persons, this is why we have chosen this location (Politehnica – editor note),” said the campaign coordinator, Adriana Jipa. During this campaign, in the Politehnica Park, three competitions were organized – a cross one, a cycling one and a skating one – the winners receiving prizes from sponsors. HELP events are organized on May 31 in each Capital of the EU Member States, in order to inform the public and the young persons mainly on the official launch of the new campaign.

Tougher sanctions for foreign drivers

Eight Central European countries, Romania included, agreed on Saturday to toughen their sanction norms for the foreign drivers who do not observe the traffic rules on the territory of one of them, the Hungarian Minister of Justice informed, after a meeting in Warsaw, according to Mediafax. “It is in our common interest for the rules to have the foreign drivers be sanctioned at a similar manner with those in the respective country,” Tibor Draskovics said, adding that the current measures should be adopted in the next few months. The forum of the officials from Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, who have regular sessions since 2001, approached the issue of the Schengen system, including the evolution of the IT and the awaited joining by Romania and Bulgaria of the Schengen space in 2011.

Tariceanu to sue Government with ECJ

Former Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced on Thursday within a press conference in Oradea that he will sue the Government with the European Court of Justice, seeking to cancel the lump tax. Tariceanu stated that he will seek to do that because through that tax the Government had put into law the ‘discrimination’ between the companies that manage to register a profit and those that register losses. Tariceanu stated that through the introduction of the lump tax the Boc Government introduced a double tax by basically giving up the 16 per cent flat tax and that the measure discriminated against the companies.

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London lab confirms new flu cases in Romania

The Health Ministry received from the London-based European Laboratory the official validation Friday evening of the positive test results conducted by the Cantacuzino National Institute on Romanian patients suspected of swine flu virus infection, according to a ministerial release. The patients admitted to the ‘Matei Bals’ National Institute of Infectious Diseases remain in hospital, under observation and anti-viral therapy.

They evolution is favourable. Epidemiologic investigations show that none of the 22 people who came in contact with the female reported health problems. ‘To avoid confusion, experts with the Coordinating Committee of the Health Ministry outline that the new AH1NI flu virus is strictly human, with exclusive inter-human transmission,’ the quoted source said. The first case of swine flu virus infection in Romania was reported by a 30-year-old woman who flew to Romania on May 23 from New York, via Paris. The case was confirmed on May 27 by the Cantacuzino Institute following tests conducted after the woman came to the institute May 26. The other two cases are associated with secondary transmission, one of them, a 14-month-old baby, being one of the woman’s two children, and the other, the baby’s father.

Afghanistan’s Prince Heir marries woman of Romanian origins

Mir Wais Zahir Khan, Afghanistan’s Prince Heir, has married a woman of Romanian origins on Saturday in San Marino, Realitatea TV informed, quoting the Libertas.sm website.

According to the aforementioned source, the Prince’s new wife lives in exile in Switzerland and comes from a noble family. The ceremony was discreet, organized away from the prying eyes of the media and the tourists. The Afghan Prince Heir chose San Marino as a location for the marriage because he has a lot of friends in the area. Khan, aged 52, is one of the sons of Mohammed Zahir Shah (b. 1914 – d. 2007), the former King of Afghanistan.

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Romania joins Switzerland – EU free circulation agreement

Starting Monday, the Romanians will only need their identity card to travel to Switzerland, according to Realitatea TV.

The free circulation agreement between Switzerland and the European Union extends to Romania and Bulgaria, as well, the last two states which joined the EU. On the labour market, this agreement does not apply directly, because the Swiss authorities have the option to impose certain limits for the Romanian and Bulgarian workers. Basically, Romania has to wait ten years more in order to enjoy the same rights in the labour market as the Swiss people, and as the citizens of the states which are older EU Member States. June 1, 2009, will actually be a landmark for the entry into the first period of transition towards this regime of free circulation, a transition which consists of the gradual and controlled opening of the labour market.

Bucharest’s culture department head to be named by Vanghelie, Culture Minister says

Culture Minister Theodor Paleologu said during a show on Realitatea TV on Saturday that the capital will have a new head of the Culture Department, named by District 5 mayor Marian Vanghelie. The appointment of Eugen Plesca, a former Interior Minister officer and ex mayor of District 3, as head of the culture department is the result of a political deal between the Democrat Liberals and the Social Democrats, Paleologu said. He added that he cannot intervene in any way and that the final word over the matter goes to Vanghelie. “I have said I have my reserves when it comes to political interventions in culture. So things are as public as they get, meaning that people are yelling and then I’m left all alone and under fire because there is only one candidate in Bucharest. You should ask Vanghelie whether it’s good or bad that they named Plesca,” Paleologu said.

Oprescu dismisses personal adviser

Bucharest General Mayor Sorin Oprescu dismissed his personal adviser Adrian Thiess, after the latter had initially announced his intention to resign, according to Mediafax. Thiess refused to comment on the dismissal, saying that he expects to receive an official notification first. Earlier this month, the adviser said he would resign his post and make public his reasons later on. A few days later, Thiess asked Oprescu to immediately dismiss the head of the Streets Administration, Alina Roman, over “her mismanagement and the faulty activity that was monitored by the media and brought about suspicions of corruption.” Thiess did not provide any other details.

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BUSINESS

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Romania had, in 2007, the lowest collection level of taxes and duties within the EU

In 2007, Romania had one of the lowest levels of collection of taxes within the EU, accounting for 30 per cent of GDP, the only Member State which attracted fewer funds to the budget from taxes being Slovakia, with 29.7 per cent, according to Eurostat. Yet, the highest budgetary revenues from taxes and duties, in terms of shares within GDP, were in Denmark, 49.5 per cent and in Sweden, 48.9 per cent. Within the EU, in 2007, the collection of taxes and duties to the budget stabilized at 40.9 per cent of GDP, which accounted for 90 per cent of total governmental collections, slightly up as against a minimal level of 40.1per cent in 2004.

The net profit of NBG in Romania dropped in Q1 by 7 pc

The net profit made in Romania by National Bank of Greece (NBG), the major shareholder of Banca Romaneasca, dropped in the first quarter by 7 per cent, to EUR 7 M, from EUR 8 M during the same time interval of 2008, based on the data released on Friday by the Hellenic group. The profit before the inclusion of provisions amounted to EUR 17 M, by 52 per cent more, from EUR 11 M, one year ago. NBG Romania loan portfolio was, at the end of Q1, EUR 21.5 bln worth, by 27 per cent more than during the same time period of 2008. Compared to the end of 2008, the portfolio is reduced by 2 per cent. Deposits amounted to EUR 811 M, by 36 per cent over the level reached in the first quarter of 2008 and by 6 per cent over the level in the last quarter of the previous year.

The net profit of Bank of Cyprus in Romania advanced by 53.8 pc in Q1

Bank of Cyprus registered in Romania, in Q1, a net profit amounting to EUR 2 M, by 53.8 per cent more as against EUR 1.3 M during the same time interval of 2008, according to the data published by the group. The loan portfolio indicated EUR 553 M, at the end of Q1, by 59 per cent more, from EUR 349 M, during the same time period of 2008, but down from EUR 578 M at the end of last week. The deposits of bank of Cyprus in Romania were EUR 80 M worth, slightly lower from EUR 86 M at the end of 2008. Within the group, the net profit decreased by 46 per cent, to EUR 63 M, from EUR 116 M during the same time period of 2008.

Fitch reduced Rompetrol rating to “B”, with negative prospect

The financial evaluation agency Fitch reduced, this Friday, the long term foreign currency loan rating of The Rompetrol Group to “B” from “B+”, and they attributed the negative prospect rating, on the basis of the company loan profile deteriorating. “The downgrading reflects the deterioration of the individual loan profile of the Rompetrol Group, caused by the funds below expectations resulted from operations (cash flow after interests and taxes, before the working capital), the high indebtedness degree and the worsening of the interest coverage rates,” a press release from Fitch Ratings, cited by Mediafax, reports.

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Romania, the 3th in top emerging wine regions

Wines from the “New World,” that once were the main challengers to “Old World” wines, are now having to contend with rivals too, as more nations win recognition for their wine production. Men’s website AskMen.com has compiled a list of the top 7 emerging wine regions, as a new generation of winemakers educated globally return to their home countries to build or revive a wine industry and with global warming changing growing conditions. After Switzerland and Ukraine, Romania is the 3th in this top, before Greece. Accordin to AskMen.com, Romania has a history of producing wines going back nearly 3,000 years. It may surprise people to know that it remains one of the largest producers of wine in the world, putting out over 500,000 tons a year. The main wine regions are to be found in Cotnari, Tarnave, Murfatlar, and Dealu Mare. Although many of the native varieties of grapes were destroyed by disease, modern production of wines which use more well-known grapes are well worth seeking out.

Romania – 11th in the Forbes top of crisis holidays

Romania ranks the 11th in the Forbes classification of the most affordable countries for tourists during crisis. The criteria are represented by the fact that the Romanian RON depreciated by 30 per cent as against USD, and one USA return flight ticket costs USD 970, Pravda daily newspaper reads, cited by Realitatea TV. Hungary ranks the first, where the national currency, Forint, depreciated by 30 per cent as against USD and one USA return flight ticket costs USD 593. Sweden ranked the second, where the national currency depreciated by 31 per cent as against USD and one USA return flight ticket costs USD 700.

New change in the law on public procurement upon the EC requirement

The Emil Boc Government is preparing a new change in the law on public procurement, upon the requirement of the European Commission (EC), by raising the fine charged against the contracting authority for the cancellation of a contract awarded illegally and the modification of the provision addressing the stamp tax imposed to the companies which lodge complaints against the bids. The European Commission has recently conveyed the Government several remarks related to the new rules, indicating that the new stamp tax may prevent free access to justice, and the fine charged to the contracting authority is too small, as official sources declared for Mediafax. “Thus, the provisions addressing the stamp tax shall be amended, maybe even eliminated, and the volume of the fine charged against the contracting authority shall be raised by providing a maximal limit of 15 per cent, over the current value,” the cited sources said. Regarding the fine against the contracting authority, the Commission indicated that the level of 2 per cent of the value of the contract object is regarded as “inefficient and not discouraging,” reminding that the average level of the fine charged within the EU Member States is 15 per cent.

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POLITICS

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Romania’s ambassador to Portugal recalled

The Romanian ambassador to Portugal, Gabriel Gafita, will be recalled to Bucharest for consultations, after the Bucharest Court of Appeals ruled that he collaborated with the Securitate, the spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), Alin Serbanescu, said. ‘Normally, the ambassador should be here next week,’ Serbanescu said.

Asked whether the diplomat would be sent on mission again, Serbanescu said the MAE would assess the situation and reach a decision. Judges with the Bucharest Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Thursday that Gafita had collaborated with Securitate, the communist-era political police. The ruling is challengeable by appeal with the High Court of Cassation and Justice. According to the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS), Gafita was recruited by the Securitate as an informer in February 1977, when he was 25 years old. His alleged code name was ‘Rosetty’ and his mission was to provide information about the mood in the literary world, given he was a writer at the time.

Envoy to India, accredited to Maldives, Sri Lanka

President Traian Basescu on Saturday signed a decree naming Romania’s ambassador to India, Valerica Epure, envoy to Maldives and Sri Lanka, the president’s office said in a press release. Epure was named ambassador to India on January 15. Previously, she served as envoy to Slovakia, between 2002 and 2007. Throughout her career, she was also head of the Chamber of Deputies’ department for Euro-Atlantic Integration, deputy head at the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Regional Cooperation and chief executive of Romania’s delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Ambassador to Thailand died of heart attack

Romania’s ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, Radu Gabriel Mateescu, died from a heart attack at the Payathai Hospital in Bangkok, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Friday. The Ministry extends its sincere condolence to the bereaved family for this sudden loss.

Mateescu presented in October 2006 his accreditation letters as Romania’s ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. During a diplomatic career that spawned over 40 years, Mateescu worked at Romania’s embassies in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. He was head of mission or ambassador at Romania’s diplomatic offices in Islamabad, Ottawa, Pretoria and Bangkok.

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