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NEWS IN BRIEF

Discharged from hospital, General Chitac could return to prison


Doctors at Fundeni Hospital do no recommend the splenectomy in the case of former General Mihai Chitac who was temporarily released from prison on June 21 to undergo that particular type of surgery, Agerpres reports. Yesterday morning, Chitac was discharged from the General Surgery Clinic of the Floreasca Emergency Hospital. Hospital Manager Mircea Beuran confirms the discharge, noting that the patient’s hospitalization was no longer justified under the new conditions. The discharge would open the way for proceedings against him to be resumed if the court is notified by the hospital, by the penitentiary or by the defendant himself. Asked what would happen concretely if notified to that effect, judge Radu Stancu who had temporarily released Chitac from custody, said he was unable to give an answer before consulting with all parties and holding extensive debates under the law.


Five officers from Maramures investigated


Five police officers from Maramures County Police Inspectorate (IPJ), among whom also the chief of the Criminal Investigation Service, will be investigated after two men escaped from the arrest of the institution on May 26. “Further to the control performed by officers from the Internal Control Division, IGPR management decided to caution chief commissioner Isac Ioan, chief of IPJ Maramures, for superficiality in the execution of the control and organization activity at the level of the arrest structure from the police entity. It was also decided to start the preliminary investigation in connection with five officers, among whom also the chief of the Criminal Investigation Service, activity that will be carried out by IPJ Maramures,” the General Police Inspectorate informed yesterday in a press release quoted by Mediafax. The escapees ran into IPJ Maramures yard without being noticed and managed to get out into the street, right in the center of the town, where the offices of the institution are located.


Former RADET manager, sentenced to six years in prison


The Bucharest Court of Appeals (CAB) yesterday ruled to increase the sentence of former RADET general manager, Gheorghe Dabela, to six years in prison on the accusation of taking over half a million euros as bribe for a contract aimed at modernizing the public heating utility corporation. Initially, in a first trial, the Bucharest Territorial Military Court sentenced him to three years in prison. The present decision may be challenged at the Supreme Court. Anticorruption prosecutors found out that, during 1998-2002, people from the top management of RADET Bucharest and intermediaries repeatedly asked and received from the representatives of German company Preussag Rohrsanierung GmbH, money and objects worth over half a million German marks, for the awarding of an economic contract. Dabela allegedly received a bribe of EUR 100,000, while the remainder up to EUR 500,000 was split between his seven accomplices.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

EC could sanction Romania for delayed payments in agriculture


Minister of agriculture, Ilie Sarbu, declared that Romania may be sanctioned EUR 1 M by the European Commission for the delayed payments by ha to the farmers for the year 2008, amount much smaller than the penalties for the campaign from 2007. “The penalization for this year will probably be only one million Euro. I wouldn’t like to mention the amount, because I may be wrong, but there is a big difference between what it was in the past and what is now,” Sarbu declared in a press conference at the offices of the Agency of Payments and Intervention in Agriculture (APIA), quoted by Mediafax. According to APIA, Romania was sanctioned by EC for the delay of the direct payments in agriculture in the period October 16, 2008 – March 30, 2009, and could receive new penalties of EUR 8.6 M related to the payments that it had to make during July 1 – October 15, 2008. The agency announced yesterday that it paid EUR 492 M from the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (FEGA) for the subsidies per ha in the year 2008, to which the money withheld for the multi annual sanctions and compensations totalling EUR 5.4 M add.


Mihai David Ciprian, the new GM of Hidroelectrica


The Economy Minister Adriean Videanu named Mihai David Ciprian as the new general manager of Romania’s largest electricity producer Hidroelectrica, a release reads. Mihai David Ciprian will replace Traian Oprea. Videanu replaced several directors at the companies owned by the Economy Ministry since the beginning of the year. Hidroelectrica is the largest electricity producer in the country and is majority state-owned. Its production stood at 3.891 Twh after the first three months, 11 percent down from the same period last year. In 2008 the company covered 26 percent of the national electricity production.


The exchange rate, at low level since June 1


Romania’s central lender BNR established a reference exchange rate of 4.1892 lei per euro yesterday, down 0.42 percent over the previous session, after the national currency rose constantly on the market, in line with the regional currencies. The exchange rate last reached such a low level on June 1, when BNR posted a rate of 4.1817 lei per euro. BNR settled a reference exchange rate of 4.2067 lei per euro yesterday, 0.26 percent down versus the previous session. For the U.S. dollar, the Central bank indicated a 0.04 percent inch of the national currency to 2.9779 lei per dollar, from 2.9792 in the previous session.


Dorin Marian taken in Marexin team


Dorin Marian, the chief of the Chancellery of the former PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, was included by Dinu Patriciu in the team of the firm Marine Resources Exploration International (Marexin), controlled by the businessman, Mediafax informs. According to the executive director of Marexin, Peter Hamilton, Dorin Marian was hired by Marexin in January 2009, after leaving the Government in December 2008. On another hand, Marexin will look for partners and will exploit individually the sapropelic mud that it is exploring in a perimeter from the Black Sea.


Romanian drivers can settle fender benders amiably as of July 1


Romanian drivers involved in fender benders no longer face fines or license suspensions, provided they choose to settle the incident amiably, road police said, Agerpres informs. The measure is applied as of July 1, but only for small accidents involving two cars, Commissioner Paul Toma said. Drivers involved in fender benders will only have to fill in a form and file it to their insurer, he mentioned. Amiable settlement is not mandatory and drivers who do not want to settle can always report to the nearest police section, without having to worry about penalties, Toma said. In addition, the drivers need not to go to their insurer within 24 hours since the accident (like they are required to do if they report the accident to the police) and they cannot be tested for alcohol either. As long as the police do not write a minute on the fender bender, there can be no legal penalties, Toma mentioned. Amiable resolutions are regulated by Law 136/1995 on insurance and re-insurance in Romania, Government emergency Ordinance 195/2002 with respect to traffic on public roads and the Order 21/2008 of the Insurance Supervisory Commission applying the norms on the use of accident amiable resolution form.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Renault made investments worth EUR 1.5 bln since it took over Dacia in 1999


Renault invested EUR 1.5 bln in Romania since it took over Dacia, in 1999, as the car plant manufactured over 1.32 million automobiles, announced the Romanian carmaker, which is celebrating today a decade since its takeover by the French giant. The investments targeted the Dacia plant, Renault Mecanique Roumanie, Renault Technologie Roumanie, the Titu-based testing center and the Bucharest Design Center. Out of the total sum, the company invested EUR 50 M in improving work conditions and EUR 17.5 M in environment protection. During these 10 years, the company paid to the state over EUR 400 M as taxes and dues, of which EUR 100 M in 2008, with a turnover accounting for 2 pc of the country’s GDP. Besides cars, Dacia also outputted over 1.4 million engines, over 1.55 million gearboxes and over 1.52 million transmission sets. Exports increased each year, from 2,270 vehicles in year 2000 to 172,886 units in 2008. Over 80 pc of the five-models output is being exported now in nearly 60 countries and territories all over the world. The most important export markets are Germany and France. Sales of Dacia boosted 87.7 percent in France in June compared to the same month last year, to 6,052 units, Renault announced in a release.


GfK: Consumer goods market up 18 pc in Q1 this year


The consumer goods market had in the first quarter an advance of 18 per cent against the same period of the past year, as a result of the 10 per cent growth of the prices and by 7 per cent of consumption, according to a GfK survey released yesterday. The users the most sensitive to the price rise are those from Moldova, while in Bucharest the acquisition of consumer goods remains on an upward trend. “Even if they paid 8 per cent more for the essential foodstuffs, the users have not reduced the consumption of some categories of products such as dairies, pasta or coffee. If we refer to the basic non-food products (detergents, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.), they were purchased more seldom, but the quantity acquired one time was 6.5 per cent bigger,” the survey shows. Among the families the most affected by the price rise are “those with a low or average income, and the age of the head of household is between 40 and 49 years.” There are also families which, even in the present economic circumstances, use more. They are characterized through big revenues, and the head of household has a university degree. According to the survey, the users have started more and more to do their shopping in hypermarkets and supermarkets, being attracted by the special offers. Therefore, the neighborhood and traditional shops are the most affected by the crisis, registering smaller volumes vs. the previous period. GfK survey is based on the data obtained through the household type of continuous research. The sample consists of 2,200 households and is representative at national level.


Rentals of commercial spaces in Bucharest dropped 30 pc in Q1 2009


The rentals of the commercial spaces in Bucharest dropped 30 per cent in the first quarter of this year against the same period of the past year, in the conditions in which the “prime” rentals in the retail segment have dropped in almost all the regions of the world as a result of the global recession which affected the decisions of the users and retail sales, reads a survey of the real estate consultancy group CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). “Bucharest follows the same trend of decrease of the retail market at world level, the rentals for the commercial spaces from Bucharest registering a fall of 30 per cent in Q1 2009, against the same period of the past year,” declared Luiza Moraru, head of retail, CBRE/Eurisko. In spite of the 10 per cent decline of the rentals, New York remains the most expensive retail destination in the world, with value of the rentals totaling USD 1,800/sq m per year. The retail rentals in New York are almost the double of those from Hong Kong, which ranks second at global level with rentals of up to USD 975/sq m per year. Through an interesting reversal of situation, Moscow occupies now the place held by Tokyo previously in this top, shifting from the fourth to the third place. It is followed by Paris and Tokyo, which complete the top most expensive five retail locations.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Opposition’s notice over deconcentrated companies to be discussed on July 8


The Constitutional Court will debate on July 8 the notice filed by PNL and UDMR Deputies regarding the non-constitutionality of the Law for approval of Ordinance 37/2009 regarding the management of the deconcentrated institutions. PNL, UDMR Deputies filed this notice with the Constitutional Court on Friday. “The text of the notice submitted by the Liberals to the Constitutional Court, among the criticism of non-constitutionality leveled against this normative act, which was issued with the only purpose to entirely re-politicize the deconcentrated structures of the ministries refers also to the fact that further to the modification of the Emergency Ordinance by the Chamber of Deputies, this normative act has consequences over the salaries0,” reads a press release signed by the Liberal Deputy Ciprian Dobre.


Predoiu: Legal, penitentiary system going through difficult times


Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu warned in a message dedicated to Justice Day and made public yesterday that the legal and penitentiary systems are going through unprecedented difficult moments. Predoiu also wrote he was aware that there are insufficient funds at the moment for the modernization of the legal system and the penitentiary system. “I assure all the professionals in the legal and penitentiary systems that we make efforts every day to prepare for the moment when we will be able to obtain more funds,” he said, adding that a first step forward would be if the government passed a pack of emergency measures for the justice system. Also on the occasion of Justice Day, Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi congratulated prosecutors and underlined that magistrates must show solidarity and not waste their energy in useless fights. She said the system must get rid of prosecutors that don’t belong here and who ‘overshadow’ other magistrates’ achievements.


Justice Day is usually marked with ceremonies on the first Sunday of July. This year, the event scheduled to be held in Cluj to mark the day was cancelled and the Superior Council of Magistracy recommended that the day be celebrated by each court and prosecutor’s office, in an attempt to cut expenses.


Turkish FM on official visit to Romania


Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, will pay an official visit to Romania from July 2 to July 4, at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart Cristian Diaconescu, a communiqué issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry informs.


The talks will include issues such as: the stage of bilateral relations, the cooperation in the economic and energy domains with an emphasis on the Nabucco projects and the Constanta – Istanbul undersea cable, Black Sea cooperation particularly as part of BSECO and the Black Sea Synergy. At the same time the talks will reconfirm the support that Romania offers Turkey in its EU accession bid and will tackle current issues on the international agenda, such as Afghanistan, Iran and Middle East Peace.

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