ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Robbie Williams concert breaks theatre record


A performance by British pop star Robbie Williams, broadcast to more than 250 theatres around the world, set a world record on Tuesday by having the largest number of screenings of a live concert in theaters. The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed that BBC Worldwide’s live show of Williams’ sold-out “Electric Proms” show, shown via satellite in venues in 23 countries, marked the “most simultaneous cinematic screenings of a live concert.” Among the nations that played the broadcast in theaters are Germany, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Additional screenings will be shown in the next few weeks in auditoriums in Mexico City, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and other countries. Williams also set a Guinness World Record when his 2009 “Close Encounters” tour sold 1.6 million tickets in one day. In Romania, the performance could be seen on Tuesday at The Light Cinemas.


Works by Raphael, Rembrandt- set to bring record price


Christie’s will offer for sale a drawing by Renaissance master Raphael which he used as a study for a figure in a Vatican fresco, and expects it to break the record for an old master drawing sold at auction. “Head of a Muse” will go under the hammer at the London sale of old masters and 19th century art on December 8 and has been estimated at 12-16 million pounds ($20-26 million). The existing record for an old master drawing at auction stands at 8.1 million pounds, including buyer’s premium, for Michelangelo’s “The Risen Christ” in 2000 and for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Horse and Rider” in 2001. The Raphael drawing was a study for a figure in “Parnassus,” one of a series of four frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican commissioned by Pope Julius II and executed between 1508 and 1511. The December 8 auction will also include Rembrandt’s “Portrait of a man, half-length, with his arms akimbo,” estimated at up to 25 million pounds.


New accolades
for “Katalin Varga”



The movie “Katalin Varga,” directed by Peter Strickland and produced by Libra Film, was rewarded with a new trophy, the actress Hilda Peter, who played the main part, winning the Best Actress Award at the International Golden Orange Festival in Antalya that concluded last week, on October 17. “Katalin Varga” participated in the international competition alongside another 11 films, among which “Eastern plays” (director Kamen Kalev), “Ambulance” (director Goran Radovanovic), “Sicak” (director Abdullah Oduz) or “Operation Danube” (director Jacek Glomb). The jury of the competition is formed of the directors Krzystof Zanussi (chairman), Karoly Makk, Canan Gerede, actress Pelin Batu, and Stephen Ashton.

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ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Second edition of Masters of Jazz in Bucharest


Big names of the jazz world, such as Chick Corea, Richard Bona (photo) and Ray Garbarek will meet on the stage of the Polivalenta Hall as of October 23 in the second edition of the Bucharest Masters of Jazz.


The music feast has as special guests well known jazz artists Richard Bona and Eliane Elias, performing on October 23. On October 24, under the title Power of Three, will perform Chick Corea, Lenny White and Stanley Clarke and on the final day of the event Mike Stern Band and Branford Marsalis Quartet will share the stage. During the closing night, jazz lovers will have the opportunity of listening to the successful Jan Garbarek Group. Cameroon based artist Bona is performing for the first time in Romania. Nicknamed Precious Stone by the critics, the artist is currently working in New York. His first album Scenes of My Life, was released in 1999. In 2005 Bona released his fourth album Tiki, which included a collaboration with John Legend on one track, entitled Please Don’t Stop.


USD 15,000 budget indie takes over US box-office


Last weekend’s big box-office surprise was a film that nobody has heard of, made with a peanut budget, that came third place, outrunning big- stars, big- budget Hollywood classic recipes. Paramount and Dreamworks who have been running an abnormally stealthy campaign on a super-low-budget horror film, “Paranormal Activity,” making a ploy for it to be the most successful horror film since “The Blair Witch Project.”


The much-hyped film, shot on a shoestring budget of only USD 15,000, premiered on only 800 screens to a stunning USD 20.2 million weekend gross. Shot three years ago, on a digital video camera, the film is about a couple trying to document and expel spirits haunting their home, used complete unknowns and tried to capture a realistic situation as best as possible.


Swiss court rejects Polanski bid for release


A Swiss court rejected on Tuesday an appeal by film director Roman Polanski against detention pending extradition to the United States for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.


“According to Swiss law, detention is the rule during the entire extradition proceedings,” the Swiss Federal Criminal Court said in a statement. “The court considered the risk that Roman Polanski might flee if released from custody as high.” The 76-year-old Oscar-winning director, who holds dual French and Polish citizenship, was arrested at the request of the United States when he flew into Switzerland on September 26 to receive a lifetime achievement prize at a film festival.

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Mutu’s first victory
in dispute with Chelsea



Romanian striker Adrian Mutu has registered his first victory in the litigation with Chelsea London, the Swiss Federal Tribunal announcing on Wednesday that Fiorentina’s player won’t have to pay a thing to the British club until his appeal against the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is settled, Agerpres informs quoting AP. In July the CAS confirmed the decision taken by FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber, a decision that forced Mutu to pay EUR 17 M in damages to Chelsea as compensations for the canceling of his contract. The verdict in this case is expected towards the end of this year.


Water polo: Dinamo
to debut in LEN Trophy



Dinamo Bucharest will debut on Thursday in the LEN Trophy. Its Group A games will take place in Montpellier, France. Dinamo will first play against Italy’s Rari Nantes Savona on Thursday at 7.30 PM. On Friday Dinamo will play against Montenegro’s Vaterpolo Akademija Cattaro (9.30 AM) and France’s Montpellier Water Polo (9 PM). On Saturday Dinamo will play against Denmark’s Frem Odense (6 PM) and on Sunday against Hungary’s FTC Budapest (11 AM). The teams that finish on the top two places in the group will qualify for round 2 of the competition. Romanian title holders CSM Frigoconti Oradea will also enter round 2 after being eliminated from the Euroleague.


Romanian gymnasts and athletes decorated at Cotroceni


Mihai Covaliu, Marian Dragulescu, Ana Porgras and Nicoleta Lenuta Grasu were among the gymnasts that President Traian Basescu decorated on Tuesday for the special results they obtained in international competitions this year. The ceremony took place at the Cotroceni Palace.


Bornescu signs three-year contract with Rapid


Manager Ana Maria Prodan stated on Tuesday evening that goalkeeper Mircea Bornescu has officially become Rapid’s player after signing a three-year contract with the club. ‘We met Mr. Copos tonight and Mircea Bornescu signed a three-year contract. From now on he is fit to play for Rapid. Everything is fine, the player is content and so is the club, I hope that Mircea Bornescu will have only satisfactions at his new team,’ Ana Maria Prodan stated. The player, who started training within the Pro Rapid sports center the summer that just ended, was wanted by head coach Viorel Hizo, the latter pointing out that his team needs an experienced goalkeeper. Bornescu became free of contract on Tuesday following a decision taken by the Professional Football League’s Dispute Settlement Commission.


Alexandru Tudor:
I don’t have chickenpox, I have skin allergy



Referee Alexandru Tudor stated on Tuesday that he suffers from skin allergy. The statement comes after the Central Commission for Referees decided to stop Tudor from delegations because of the errors he committed during the Rapid vs. CFR Cluj game but also because of his state of health, the referee being suspected of chickenpox infection. ‘I was accused of having chickenpox, but that’s false. I still have skin allergy,’ Tudor stated for GSP TV.

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Simona Halep qualifies for second round in Saint Raphael


Romanian tennis player Simona Halep has qualified on Monday for the second round of the challenger tournament in Saint Raphael (France), a tournament with total prizes of USD 50,000, the itftennis.com website informs. Halep qualified after defeating Germany’s Angelique Kerber (the top seed) in the opening round, score 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. Halep will next play against France’s Bremond Beltrame. The latter defeated her fellow national Karla Mraz (wild-card) in the opening round, score 6-3, 6-4. In the doubles event, Elena Bogda/Elora Dabija lost its first round game against Irina Kurianovici (Belarus)/Valeria Savinik (Russia), score 6-7 (3/7), 6-7 (5/7).


Alexandru Tudor stopped from delegations


Vasile Avram, the president of the Central Commission for Referees (CCA), has stated on Tuesday during a press conference that referee Alexandru Tudor will no longer be delegated because of his errors in the Rapid vs. CFR Cluj game and his state of health, with the referee being suspected of chicken pox infection. The CCA official pointed out that Tudor would no longer be delegated to League I games until he gets the doctor’s green-light. ‘He won’t be delegated until we find out his exact state of health and get the doctor’s green-light. Because at this moment we are not certain he has chicken pox, we’re talking about conjecture,’ Avram added.


Tennis: Olimpia and Dinamo win national championships


Olimpia Bucharest and Dinamo Bucharest have won the team tennis national championships, with the former winning the women’s championships and the latter winning the men’s championship. The championships took place within the National Tennis Center but because of the rain the seniors played the final two games indoors on greenset, the Romanian Tennis Federation informs.


France draw Ireland, Portugal v Bosnia in playoffs


France will have to get past the Republic of Ireland to reach next year’s World Cup finals after they were drawn together in the two-legged European playoffs on Monday. Portugal, who scraped into the playoffs after clinching runner-up spot in their group in their last fixture against Malta, face Bosnia, Euro 2004 champions Greece tackle Ukraine and Russia will play Slovenia. France, the 1998 world champions and beaten finalists in 2006, will have the advantage of playing the second leg on home soil against an Irish side coached by Italian Giovanni Trapattoni. Portugal, Greece and Russia, the three other seeded nations in the draw, will all have to play the second legs of their ties away from home. The first legs take place on Nov. 14 with the returns on Nov. 18.


Hingis rules out
comeback



Martina Hingis will not join fellow former world number one players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin in making a return to top-level tennis. “No, no, no, sure,” the 29-year-old Swiss told Tuesday’s issue of French sports daily L’Equipe when asked whether she planned another comeback. “You can’t just snap your fingers and say ‘let’s go and play the Australian Open’”. Hingis came out of retirement in 2006 and in January 2008 she was handed a two-year ban starting from Oct. 1, 2007 after testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. She is now eligible to play again.

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Vintu, unpunished in “BID” case


Businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vintu, allegedly guilty of forgery and use of forgery in the file regarding the setting up of the Investment and Development Bank (BID), has not yet been punished. The deeds fell under the law regarding the limitation of the actions, “Evenimentul Zilei” writes. On Monday the magistrates from Bucharest Court of Appeal requested the cessation of the criminal lawsuit and a gave the solution to exempt Sorin Ovidiu Vintu from criminal pursuit in “BID” file, subject to some provisions of art. 10 and 11 of the Criminal Procedure Code. “The ruling of discharging issued by Bucharest Tribunal in this case does not involve the acknowledgement of SOV’s innocence, but only that the businessman cannot be punished because his deeds were prescribed,” explained the law specialists who were consulted by “Evenimentul Zilei.” In this file, Vintu was charged with the false declaration, at the moment of the setting up of the bank, that the amounts brought as social capital to the bank were personal revenues.


Elderly woman froze to death in Iasi


A 60-year-old woman that lived in Letcani locality, Iasi County, was found in a serious condition by her relatives and was taken to hospital. ‘When she came here she had a body temperature of only 25 degrees Celsius and could no longer be rescued. Judging by what her relatives said the woman was inside the house but there was no fire in the fireplace,’ Diana Cimpoesu, doctor within Iasi’s ‘St. Spiridon’ Hospital, stated for ‘Adevarul’ A 45-year-old woman that was found collapsed on the street was also hospitalized. The patient had a body temperature of only 26 degrees Celsius but she is now in a stable condition.

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Ex Interior minister contests
dismissal decision



PSD vice president Dan Nica asked Bucharest Court of Appeal – administrative litigation section, to suspend the presidential decree through which he was removed from the head of the Ministry of Administration and Interior, Mediafax informs. The date of the trial was set on November 6. On October 1, President Traian Basescu signed the dismissal decree and the appointment of development minister Vasile Blaga as interim minister of interior and vice premier. Nica deems illegal the presidential document. His dismissal, as a result of statements regarding the possible rigging of elections, conducted to the PSD’s ministers pull out from the government, and, subsequently, to the fall of Emil Boc Cabinet.


PSD wants to eliminate special
MPs pensions



Spokesperson for the Social-Democrat Party Bogdan Niculescu Duvaz said on Monday that in two weeks at most, MPs will cancel a provision in lawmakers’ status, under which pensions for parliamentarians are placed on the same level with magistrates’ pensions. The article will be abrogated in a joint session of Parliament’s chambers, he said, quoted by Mediafax. After Duvaz also added that President Traian Basescu and acting Prime Minister Emil Boc’s attempt to make it look like the government was ousted by Parliament precisely because lawmakers did not want to loose the privilege of having higher pensions was wrong. The Social-Democrat also accused Boc of having lied to Parliament when he spoke of MPs that allegedly have pensions amounting to over RON 8,000.


Deputies’ legal commission rejects sanctions against Speaker


The legal commission of the Chamber of Deputies rejected yesterday the request of PSD and PNL groups to sanction Roberta Anastase, Speaker of the Lower Chamber of Parliament, according to Agerpres.


The president of the legal commission, the Democrat-Liberal Daniel Buda, announced that the commission headed by him rejected with 9 votes for, an abstention, and 14 votes against the request to sanction Anastase by prohibiting her participation for a period of 30 days to the proceedings of the Chamber of Deputies.
Aircraft makes emergency landing because of drunken passenger


A Blue Air flight from Madrid to Bucharest made an emergency landing at the Arad Airport Monday night because of an inebriated passenger the captain surrendered to the authorities. Arad Airport Manager Dan Balacel told Mediafax that the plane had to make an emergency landing because the man had started a conflict with another passenger on board the aircraft. In Arad, the man was fined for disturbance of public order and then released.


OMV Petrom is the new name of Petrom


The Austrian group OMV changed on Tuesday, in the General Meeting of the Shareholders (AGA), the name of Petrom (SNP) into OMV Petrom, and added the export of natural gas to the object of activity of the company. “The name of the commercial company is OMV Petrom,” reads a report of the company conveyed yesterday to Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB). The object of activity of the company was completed with activities of export of natural gas. The decision was made on Tuesday in AGA Petrom with the vote of 76.073 per cent of the shareholders. The changes become effective as of January 1, 2010.


ANL dwellings might be sold
at inventory price



The Senate recently passed in plenum, with 44 votes against 29, a draft law that modifies Law 152/1998, which provides the possibility of selling the dwelling units built through ANL at their inventory price, Mediafax reports. In addition, it provides that the resulting money will be used exclusively for the construction of new dwellings in the localities where the transfer of the property right has been concluded. The Commission for Public Administration passed a report that rejects the draft law, by 6 votes to 3, but the plenum dismissed the report. During debates in the Senate, Valentin Iliescu, state secretary in the Department for the Relation with the Parliament said the draft law signed by PSD senators Alexandru Mazare and Eduard Martin proposes the money resulting from the sale of ANL homes to be exclusively used for building new ANL blocks, in the localities where the transfer of the property right was completed.


Valentin Iliescu announced that the Executive is against the draft law and did not give green light to the act.

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APIA: Dacia, leader on a decreasing market


The sales of new cars in Romania dropped 2.8 per cent in September vs. the previous month, to 9,342 new cars, and 54.3 per cent in the first nine months, vs. the same period of the past year, to 101,770 units, according to the data of the Association of the Car Makers and Importers (APIA), Mediafax informs. The total Romanian motor vehicle market, including cars, commercial vehicles and buses, dropped 0.8 per cent in September against August, to 10,981 units.During January-September, the total deliveries amounted to 114,573 vehicles, down 57.2 per cent against the same period of the past year, when 267,757 units were sold.Dacia remains the leader of the car market, subject to the number of units sold, with 31,283 cars in the first nine months, down 54.4 per cent vs. the same period of the past year, and a market share of 30.7 per cent. Hyundai ranks second, with 8,716 cars sold in January-September, down 12.2 per cent, a level which corresponds to a market share of 9.2 per cent. Third is Volkswagen, with 7,203 units (-55.3 per cent), equivalent to a market share of 7.1 per cent, while the next is Renault, with 7,184 units sold in the period under review.


Millennium Bank launches factoring
service for companies with minimum EUR 500,000 turnover



Millennium Bank is launching a factoring service in RON, addressed to companies with a minimum annual turnover of EUR 500,000, financing up to 80 per cent of the value of eligible invoices, the bank informed yesterday.


‘Besides financing, the factoring gives the client the advantage of outsourcing the invoice collection process, therefore reducing the time allocated to cashing invoices from clients’, the bank explains in a press release.


Millennium Bank Corporate Product Development Director Dana Feher says that, through factoring, companies in fact ‘sell’ outstanding invoices to the bank and raise the cash they need for their current operations.


‘In the current economic context, companies are often confronted by a shortage of cash, because their partners do not always pay their invoices on time. With its main components – financing, collection and monitoring – the factoring is an advantageous solution that provides financing according to a company’s sales volumes’, Feher said.


The new product completes Millennium Bank’s portfolio of corporate goods and services which now covers all types of operations: current accounts, loans, credit/debit cards, deposit accounts, currency exchange, leasing, factoring, trade finance, internet banking and call centre.


Millennium bank, a subsidiary of Portugal’s biggest privately-owned financial group, has been operating in Romania since October 2007 when it simultaneously opened 39 branches, in Bucharest and in eight major cities.


Danube Delta Ecotourist
Centre to be modernised



Tulcea County Council yesterday adopted a decision on the participation of the institution as a partner in a project for the modernization of the Danube Delta Ecotourist Museum Centre, Agerpres informs. The objectives of the ‘Danube Delta, closer to you!’ project initiated by the ‘La Drum’ [On Our Way] association are to increase the attractiveness of the delta for tourism by using either very modern or period means, and the promotion of defining elements of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. The total value of the project will be nearly EUR 3,335,000, of which EUR 3,000,000 have been applied for with the European Commission via the 2007-2013 Romania-Ukraine-R. Moldova Joint Operational Programme and EUR 335,000 co-financing by the main applicant and Ukrainian partners. Tulcea County Council will only have a logistic contribution to the implementation of the project.


BNR: Payments refused by banks increased 2.6 times after 9 months


The payments through promissory notes, checks and bills of exchange turned down by banks totaled RON 6.52 bln after the first nine months, being 2.6 times bigger than in the same period of 2008, in the conditions in which in August they reached a record monthly level, of RON 931 M, according to National Bank (BNR) data, Mediafax informs. The refusal to pay the promissory notes totaled in the first nine months RON 5.7 bln, up 2.9 times compared to the sum from the same period of 2008, while the rejected checks totaled over RON 780,000, up 45.4 per cent. The amounts refused to be paid on bills of exchange remain at a low level, of RON 137,100, but it is noticed that the rate of growth registered for these instruments is high, 384 per cent. The banks reported 368,458 cases of refusals to pay at the BNR Office on Default in Payment, more than double compared to the same interval from the past year. Most of the reported cases, namely 81 per cent of the total refusals, are considered major defaults, which totaled after the first nine months RON 5.3 bln, being 2.5 times bigger than the amount from the period of reference from 2008.

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LG brings first smartphone with Windows Mobile 6.5 to Romania


LG Electronics brings on the local market the smartphone LG GM750, a Windows phone featuring the newest version of Windows Mobile 6.5, the company writes in a press release. The new model will be available exclusively with Vodafone. LG GM750 is very user-friendly and incorporates functions and services allowing a fast connection to the internet. GM750 is the first handset in a series of 13 smartphones with Windows Mobile 6.5 that LG plans to bring on market until the end of 2010. By the end of this year, LG will launch two more handsets in Europe – a Qwerty touchpad slider and a model with full-Qwerty keypad. The first three models address different market segments, from premium to affordable smartphones.


Rompetrol fuels get more expensive


Rompetrol Downstream, the fuel retail division of Rompetrol group, upped the price of gas with RON 0.08 per liter and of diesel with RON 0.07 per liter. Following the move, Efix 95 and Alto 101 gasoline will cost 3.93 and 4.54 RON/liter respectively, while Efix and Alto 55 diesel will respectively cost 3.79 and 4.08 RON/liter. The prices of fuels sold in Rompetrol stations may vary by +/- 5 pc around reference prices. The price hike decided by Rompetrol follows a similar move by Petrom, which added RON 0.07 per liter to its fuels.


Almost 20 pc of EU youth are jobless


An approximate 5 million youth – 18.3 pc of the people aged between 15 and 24 – across the states of the European Union are jobless, compared to an 8.2 pc unemployment rate for the total population, Agerpres quotes the state secretary with the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection, Mariana Nedelcu as telling the Youth Forum of the Central European Initiative. “Romania does not make an exception to this pattern. The top of social categories most exposed to poverty is led by children and youth from rural areas, followed by self-employed people and by the jobless. Education and occupancy are the keys that can secure the social inclusion of underprivileged people,” Nedelcu explained.


Danone Romania invests EUR 4.5 M in modernising farms


In the last four years, Danone Romania has invested EUR 4.5 M in the modernisation of 79 farms, said Danone Nutrition and Science Communication Director Bogdan Ioachim, according to a press release. The money paid for milking equipment and for milk cooling and storing installations. ‘Three or four years ago, Danone had 130 suppliers who were very dissipated and also very small ones, meaning higher costs for the company. Therefore, in 2005, Danone started the implementation of its ‘Westward’ project for the support of partner companies, investing in selected breeds of cattle, as well as in milking and milk cooling and storage installations,’ Ioachim said. He added that investment would continue this year in the logistic, transportation and storage segments.


1,300 German mobile phone workers (NOKIA) to receive help from EU Globalisation Fund


The European Commission has approved an application by Germany under the Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for EUR 5.5 M to help more than 1,300 workers made redundant by Nokia back into employment. The application will now be put before the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union for decision. The application was submitted to the Commission on 6 February 2009. “I am happy to put this application forward because it will help over 1,300 workers to return to employment,” said Employment Commissioner Vladimír Spidla, in a press release.

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The first WB loan to enter Treasury in a few days


The amount of EUR 300 M from the first loan for development policies approved by the World Bank will enter the account of the Public Finance Ministry in a few days, the state secretary in the Finance Ministry, Bogdan Dragoi, declared for Mediafax. “We have fulfilled some time ago the conditionality for the first loan of EUR 300 M from the World Bank, which was approved by the Board of the institution, the money being expected in a few days. This statement comes as a retort to the declarations of some sources from the Bureau of the international financial institution from Bucharest that, according to Ziarul Financiar, Romania will miss the EUR 300 M because of the present political crisis. More exactly, the institution has postponed the evaluation visit to Romania scheduled for the end of October until the formation of the new government, four days after a similar decision of the IMF. By mid July, the Managing Council of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, member of the World Bank, approved the first loan for development policies of EUR 300 M, granted to Romania, and the country partnership strategy of the World Bank in Romania for the period 2010-2013. The maturity of the loan is over 14 years, with a period of grace of 13 and a half years.


Deloitte: 6 Romanian IT companies among Central Europe’s most dynamic


Romania is ranked forth in the standings of the most dynamic technology companies in the region, having a double representation compared with last year’s, HotNews informs. Romania has six companies in the final Deloitte Central Europe Technology FAST 50 rankings. Two of the Romanian companies are among the top ten: TeamNet International Bucharest (second place) and AROBS Transylvania Software from Cluj-Napoca (number eight). The list of Romanian finalists includes software developers: TeamNet International (number two, with a growth rate of 3.317 per cent), AROBS Transilvania Software (number eight and a growth rate of 1.663 per cent), LASTING Software from Timisoara (number 29 and a growth rate of 487 per cent), The RED Point from Iasi (number 45, growth rate 350 per cent) and Romanian Soft Company (number 47 and a growth rate of 312 per cent). The Romanian technology industry is ranked the forth after Hungary (11), Poland (9) and The Czech Republic (8). ‘Romania keeps a growth rate higher than the average growth rate of the relevant industry, on a long term,’ said Ahmed Hassan, a partner in the Audit Department of Deloitte Balkans.


EUR 500,000 grants for economic projects
from Chinese Government



The Chinese Government is granting Romania approximately EUR 500,000 as non-repayable funds for the implementation of co-operation projects in the economic sector, under agreements that were signed at the Victoria Palace by representatives of the two Governments yesterday. The parties signed a protocol of co-operation in the economic and technical fields, bilateral agreements for the support of SMEs and farming, as well as a memorandum on starting negotiations for the opening of a Romanian cultural institute in Beijing and of a similar Chinese institute in Bucharest. Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping stated that the authorities in Beijing would support Chinese companies to continue to invest in Romania, primarily in the metal and chemical industry, in the automotive and aeronautic sectors, in furniture and wine production. According to the foreign official, Chinese companies will also look for business opportunities on the market of electric home appliances, travelling, research, infrastructure and constructions. China’s Vice-President Xi Jinping visited Romania during a two-week diplomatic tour calling on five EU member states: Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

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Blaga: MAI will ‘buzz’ with activity in organizing the elections


The interim minister of Administration and the Interior, Vasile Blaga, yesterday said that the ministry “will buzz with activity” in view of organizing the presidential elections and that all the measures dictated so far to prefects have been strictly observed. Blaga gave assurance that the electoral process will be very well organized, Mediafax reports. According to the minister, “this will stop the demagogy of some politicians who said this ministry might rig the elections.” “This ministry deserves more respect,” he added. The minister said he gave his colleagues from MAI the advice to prove they are unbiased, to have less meetings with politicians in the coming months and to resist intimidation attempts through political speeches. Referring to how the ballot will be organized, Blaga announced that the mayors already received the permanent electoral lists, which will be modified only if President Traian Basescu decides to call a referendum. MAI was accused of trying to rig the presidential ballot by parties within the new parliamentary majority, after ex Social Democrat minister Dan Nica was sacked by PM Boc for speaking about the possible rigging attempts. Some 63 per cent of Romanians believe elections will be rigged, according to a survey earlier this week.

Predoiu issues MAE guide for Romanian voters abroad


Interim Foreign Minister Catalin Predoiu yesterday issued a guide for the Romanian expats who will vote in the presidential elections, in two versions – online, on the internet page of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), and printed, as a booklet.


“We launch this guide of the voter abroad, as main source of information, which we distribute as part of our strategy to inform citizens on the presidential elections. I believe providing our citizens who live abroad with correct information about the voting procedure is a decisive factor in view of securing the correctness of elections,” Catalin Predoiu declared, quoted by Mediafax.


According to the minister, the guide provides expat electors with key information about the voting procedure, explained in simple and practical terms, easy to understand, focusing on matters like the documents that allow them to cast their ballot outside Romania, what they can do if their documents are not valid, and the program of polling stations.

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PSD, PNL fight
over Iohannis



Liberal Crin Antonescu and Social-Democrat Mircea Geoana, the main leaders of the opposition, are struggling to transfer to their benefit the popularity that Sibiu Mayor Klaus Johannis enjoys. The latest opinion polls have shown that the current candidate for the Prime Minister’s office, a candidate proposed by the new majority, enjoys support among Romanians. According to Antena 3 that is precisely why Johannis has become an important stake for the politicians. Geoana recently accused Crin Antonescu of trying to use Johannis as an ‘electoral agent.’ In the same line, Geoana stated on Monday evening on the aforementioned television station that he asked Johannis to back him in the runoff because he is ‘an influential leader that brings a lot of votes.’

Antonescu wants President-Patriarch duo for ‘moral
regeneration’



National Liberal Party leader Crin Antonescu said yesterday in an online interview with HotNews readers that the Orthodox Church should have a more active role in Romania’s moral regeneration and proposed a President-Patriarch tandem for this purpose. “I think that behind all the Romanian crises – political, economic, institutional, there is a huge moral crisis. (…) The Patriarch is a spiritual leader for most Romanians and he can act together with the Romanian president in this direction,” Antonescu said.


PNL’s presidential candidate also spoke about Romania’s wish of obtaining the Agriculture portfolio in the next European Commission. In his view, Bucharest authorities should have had more options for an EC post. He admitted that Dacian Ciolos, who was nominated by Romania, is a good specialist, but the fact that Romania “put its money on a single card” – the agriculture post, greatly reduces the country’s chances. “We should have come up with more suggestions. For instance, people with a very strong resume, ex prime ministers, ex foreign ministers, such as Petre Roman, (Calin Popescu) Tariceanu, Adrian Severin, to focus both on agriculture and other portfolios.” Antonescu also said that in his view, ex PNL vice president Bogdan Olteanu is not the most appropriate choice for Central Bank deputy governor. He underlined that PNL’s first choice for the job was Daniel Daianu, but he did not get the approval of parliament’s budget-finance committees.

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