ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Greek poet centennial


The Greek Cultural Foundation of Romania will organize on Tuesday, November 10, at the ‘George Enescu’ National Museum, an event in the memory of famous Greek poet Yannis Ritsos (1909-1990), to celebrate the centennial of his birth. The moment will be marked by presenting the ‘Poetic Anthology,’ a volume by the Omonia Publishing House, in the translation of neo-Hellenist Tudor Dinu. On the same occasion, Aliki Kagialoglou will sing, on piano accompaniment, musical miniatures on poems by Yannis Ritsos – belonging to the poetic cycles Epitaph, Hellenism, and the Moonlight Sonata..


Timok area celebrated in ICR exhibition


The Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) of Bucharest hosts on Wednesday and Thursday a series of events dedicated to the Romanian community of Timoc, Serbia, which will feature the projection of the movie named ‘The ego and the other. Balkan love story’ by Ionut Piturescu. Piturescu’s movie will run on Wednesday, while the documentary ‘Timoc – The other world’ directed by Marius Olteanu is scheduled for Thursday.


Romanian bands
in Freddie Mercury memorial



Romanian music bands Mandinga, Spitalul de Urgenta, Trooper, Cortez, the Acapella Choir and the young singer Julie will bring homage to Freddie Mercury on November 26, at Hard Rock Café in Bucharest. The repertory was thus chosen “to fill with joy and flame the hearts” of Mercury and Queen fans. The reference to “flame” must be taken literally, because the show will also feature the most original band Crispus – The Art of Fire, with a complete pyrotechnic arsenal.

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SPORTS

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Three Romanian rugby players to play
for Europe’s team



Rugby players Alex Manta, Sorin Socol and Ionut Dimofte will play for Europe’s team in its game against the French Barbarians on November 14, the date that marks the European rugby body’s 75 years of existence. The game will take place in Brussels at 4 PM, with Europe’s team consisting of several players from the continental nations that have a well-established rugby tradition. The French Barbarians team will consist of the best players from Top 14. The three Romanian rugby players are also scheduled to play against Italy A in Piacenza on November 13.


No foreign referees
in second half of League I season



The Romanian Football Federation’s Executive Committee decided on Tuesday that foreign referees would no longer be used for the games scheduled in the second half of the 2009-2010 League I season. The Federation’s decision comes after Mircea Sandu agreed with the UEFA Convention on refereeing. The Convention points out that if a Federation uses foreign referees every leg it will no longer receive the CHF 375,000 that the European body offered on a yearly basis. The Executive Committee has thus modified a decision only two months after its adoption, after the FRF had decided several weeks ago to use foreign referees in case both of the teams scheduled to play a game agreed to do so.


Motor racing-Toyota pulls out of Formula One


Toyota withdrew from Formula One with immediate effect on Wednesday, leaving Japan without a team in motorsport’s premier series. Company president Akio Toyoda apologised for the team’s failure to record a single race victory since joining F1 in 2002 despite an estimated annual budget of around $300 million. “It was a very difficult but unavoidable decision,” Toyoda told a news conference in Tokyo. “Since last year as the economic climate worsened we have been struggling with the question of whether to continue in F1. “We are pulling out of Formula One completely. I offer my deepest apologies to Toyota’s many fans for not being able to achieve the results we had targeted.” The decision by the world’s largest carmaker to quit the glamour sport comes as the auto industry starts to stabilise following a sales crunch in the wake of the financial crisis. Cologne-based Toyota’s departure as a team and engine supplier deals another major blow to the sport after Japan’s number two carmaker Honda quit the series last December. It leaves Japan without a team in F1 and continues the drain of Japanese companies from motorsport, which has seen Subaru and Suzuki withdraw from the world rallying championship.


Germany wins ROC
Nations Cup



Germany’s team, consisting of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, has won the Race of Champions Nations Cup on Tuesday for the third consecutive time. This year’s race took place within Beijing’s Olympic Stadium. In the final race Germany defeated the UK by two wins to one. The United Kingdom’s team consisted of Jenson Button, newly crowned Formula 1 world champion, and Andy Priaulx, three times world champion within the WTCC (2005-2007).

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Social

NEWS IN BRIEF

Mures: EUR 3,500 bribery to obtain driver’s license


One of the witnesses heard in the dossier dealing with the driver’s licenses that were fraudulently issued in Arges County has stated yesterday within the Targu Mures Court of Appeals that the person on whose behalf she intervened paid EUR 3,500 in order for Eduard Constantin Dumitrescu, one of the defendants, to issue a driver’s license.


According to Mediafax, Mioara Preda admitted that she intervened on behalf of Mili Stanescu. Eduard Constantin Dumitrescu asked Stanescu EUR 3,500 in return of issuing a category B driver’s license on his name. According to the witness, the talks between the two allegedly took place in her office.


According to the aforementioned source, the candidate did not receive his driver’s license and asked for his money back.


Detained after raping and killing a woman


Two men were detained in Constanta, being accused of raping and killing a woman in Constanta’s Palazu Mare neighborhood. The woman was stabbed 11 times.


The suspects, Mugur Plesca (18) and Viorel Carapcea (46), were the woman’s neighbors and knew that the 59-year-old woman lived alone and was due to receive her pension that day. Consequently the two broke into the victim’s courtyard on November 1. Unable to break through the door of the house, the two forced their way through a window. According to the prosecutors, quoted by Mediafax, once in the two raped the woman, with one of the assailants stabbing the victim in the chest several times while the other hit her in the head with a piece of wood he had broken off from the bed. The two men abandoned their victim in the hallway. The woman’s body was discovered later this week.


Two arrested in Romanian
murder case in Ireland



Two men were arrested yesterday morning over the murder of a Romanian in a Dublin park, ‘The Irish Examiner’ informs, according to Mediafax. The two men, one aged 36 and the other 18, were arrested and questioned at Finglas and Cabra Garda Stations. Investigators found that Eugenia Bratis, 50, from the Romanian Timis County, had been begging in Dublin in the months before her violent death. She was found stabbed to death eight times, on August 5 and the Police established theft as the motive behind the murder


Man issued international APB for card forging caught in Timisoara


A 34 year-old male who had been issued an international All Points Bulletin (APB) by German authorities for forging bank cards was caught in Timisoara yesterday, Mediafax reports.


According to a press release by the Timis County Police Inspectorate, the man, a native of Sanandrei, Timis County, was issued an international APB by German authorities in Wiesbaden, as he was suspected of committing several cyber crimes, the forging of bank cards especially.


According to the said source, the man was caught in Timisoara by police officers with the Criminal Investigations Department. The man is detained in the Timis County Police arrest facility and is going to be extradited to Germany for further investigations.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Price of Romanian natural gas could double within a year


As per their agreements with the European Commission, the Romanian authorities have to align the price of internally produced natural gas to the price of imported natural gas, HotNews informs. That could be done in one year’s time. The alignment means hiking the USD 160 per one thousand cubic meters price to approximately USD 300. The price of imported natural gas currently stands at USD 280 per one thousand cubic meters, however for next year Gazprom announced a price hike of USD 20-30 for the natural gas it exports to Europe. Thus, the price could surpass USD 300. Given these conditions, the price of Romanian natural gas could become twice higher than it currently is. Tudor Serban, secretary of state within the Economy Ministry, has admitted that Romania is pressured to liberalize the natural gas market, something that entails the alignment of prices. ‘It might happen one year from now or it might happen earlier,’ Tudor Serban stated. He pointed out that Romania risks being subjected to the infringement procedure if it fails to liberalize the market on time.


ARB expects bank account switching principles to be adopted in 2010


The Board of Directors of the Romanian Banks Association (ARB) expects that the common principles for the switching of domestic personal current accounts could not be adopted by Romanian banks before 2010, given the complex nature of the issues brought up in the working group debates, Mediafax informs.


The European Commission announced on Tuesday that, in the entire European Union except Romania, from November 1, consumers would be able to switch their personal current accounts among banks in the same member state more easily, also being entitled to assistance during the operation from the new bank. At the request of the European Banking Federation, the Romanian Banks Association is looking at the ways of harmonizing bank procedures and of developing an inter-bank convention in the spirit of the common principles for bank account switching developed by the European Banking Industry Committee (EBIC).


Hidroelectrica negotiates EUR 300 M loans for investment


Hidroelectrica is negotiating loans of EUR 300 M in total for the financing of investment with four different banks, the General Manager of the state-owned company, Mihai David, stated in Ipotesti, Olt County, yesterday. He did not disclose the names of the banks with which negotiations were being held. ‘We have also re-organised a number of existing short-maturity loans because we want to expedite the completion of selected investment projects,’ David said, quoted by Mediafax. He added that Hidroelectrica had signed a EUR 30 M loan agreement with a bank and another agreement, with another bank, for a loan of RON 80 M. The company has finalised the modernization of the hydropower station at Ipotesti where it invested nearly EUR 65 M within a broader investment programme of EUR 350 M. The unit is now back in service.


ECB holds rates, clues on withdrawal steps sought


FRANKFURT – The European Central Bank kept interest rates on hold at 1.0 percent on Thursday and investors are now braced for signs that it will soon start weaning banks off cheap and abundant liquidity. All 78 economists polled by Reuters last week had expected the ECB to leave interest rates at a record low this month, with no change expected until late 2010. The U.S. Federal Reserve made no change to policy settings on Wednesday despite growing confidence of a recovery. The Bank of England also left its rates untouched, but said it would expand its quantitative easing program by 25 billion pounds. The vast majority of analysts expect the ECB to start withdrawing generous liquidity supplies before it raises rates, and futures pricing suggests market rates rising in early 2010.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

TMCTV poll: Budgets for 2010, drafted at an average exchange rate of 4.47 RON/EUR


The business community is rather pessimistic about the evolution of the RON/EUR exchange rate next year. According to a poll conducted by The Money Channel TV (TMCTV) in the Romanian business environment, over 400 out of 500 managers from all economic sectors are drafting their budgets for 2010 at an average 4.47 RON/EUR. This is much higher than the 4.2 RON/EUR used in drafting next year’s state budget. In spite of this forecast, Romanian managers prepare to slightly increase salaries, by an average 4 pc in 2010, because they expect turnover increases near 10 pc next year. This will reflect in salaries, but also in the number of employees, which might grow by more than 4 pc, the poll reveals. Yet the businessmen interviewed by TMCTV are expecting an economic decline next year, as the GDP might fall by 0.05 pc. The National Bank of Romania (BNR) yesterday announced a reference exchange rate of 4.2995 RON/EUR, slightly lower by 0.02 pc from Wednesday, after three days above 4.3 RON/EUR. The reference exchange rate announced by BNR for the US currency stands at 2.8961 RON/USD, down nearly RON 0.02 (0.58 pc) from Wednesday’s level.


MFP to issue bonds worth EUR 400 M


The Public Finance Ministry (MFP) will launch today on the local capital market a bonds issue in foreign currency – the second this year – worth EUR 400 M, Agerpres reports.


“On November 6, 2009 the Public Finance Ministry will launch on the local capital market, through a bidding procedure, a state bonds issue at an announced value of EUR 400 M, maturing in three years,” MFP writes in a press release.


In August, MFP drew from the local market a total EUR 447 M through a bonds issue maturing in 4 years, at a yield of 5.25 pc. This meant an extra EUR 147 M above the sum planned initially. Before th fall of the Boc government, MFP had planned to initiate in October, on foreign markets, an Eurobonds issue worth EUR 500 M to EUR 1.5 bln, maturing in 5 to 10 years.


Videanu: Setting up single energy company – incredible error


Setting up s single national energy company as some politicians suggest would be ‘an incredible error’, interim Economy Minister Adriean Videanu stated at Ipotesti, Olt County, yesterday, according to Mediafax. The authorities are looking at re-structuring the electricity production sector by setting up two national companies bringing together several assets from all relevant companies. ‘No one would have to lose by creating the two energy companies, only the energy system will have to gain. A single energy company as suggested by some politicians is just an election campaign statement made by people who unfortunately are not familiar with the system. It would be an unbelievable error. I would like the political part to play the smallest possible role in energy matters’, Videanu said.


‘River Olt will become a navigable watercourse in 2012-2013, when the Islaz thermal power station is also set to be refurbished. We would be able to irrigate hundreds of thousands of hectares of arable land in the area’, Videanu added.


KLM, first airline in the world to fly passengers using bio-kerosene


KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be the first airline in the world to make a demonstration flight using bio-kerosene, the company informs according to Agerpres. In fact, it will also be the first flight using bio-kerosene in Europe. The flight will take place on November 23, operated with a Boeing 747. One of the engines of the aircraft will use a 50 per cent bio-fuel – 50 per cent traditional kerosene mixture. Together with Air France, KLM has led the aviation industry towards sustainable development for many years.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Orange Romania launches its own blog


Orange Romania launches a blog platform where the fans of the online environment and blogging can create free of charge their personal blogs, the company informs. On such blogs they can write articles, upload videoclips and images, check commentaries and the received messages, interact with their readers. Orange blog also offers the possibility to search and visualize the newest blog and to be posted with the newest messages through the RSS option. Those who create a blog receive automatically also a Share Box account, the content service generated by users, launched by Orange in 2008. The visitors of the site may also vote for their favourite blog in the “top bloggers” classification available on orange platform. The www.orangeblog.ro platform can be accessed directly from the computer, through Internet, or from the phone through the service Access WAP offered by Orange. The blogs can be also updated by sending an image through multimedia message to no. 2564, and thus the image from the message will appear on the blog of the user who sent the multimedia message.


‘Romanian British Expo’ Fair begins in London


Over 25 exhibitors representative for the Romanian economy are attending the ‘Romanian British Expo’ Fair at Olympia Exhibition in London, on November 4 and 5, 2009 the Romanian Embassy in London announces, quoted by Agerpres. The fair is organized by Publications UK, with support from the Romanian Embassy in London, the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce (BRCC), the UK Trade and Investments Organization (UKTI), British Expertise and the Regional Development Agency of Bucharest and the Ilfov Agricultural District.During the fair, seminars will be held with the role of informing, educating and answering the questions of investors interested by Romania. The event targets the financial and legal sectors, tourism, energy, oil&gas, environment and renewable energy, agriculture and food industry, construction and real estate, infrastructure and transport, defence, bilateral trade exchanges.Stewart Lee, the CEO of Publications UK, said it is important that new products and investment projects can be presented to the British market.The event will also be attended by Lesley Batchelor – President for International Relations, Institute of Export (UK), Richard Harris – Director for International Relations, ITS UK, Brian Davies – President, BRCC, Doina Ciomag – Executive Dirctor, the Foreign Investors Council, Joan Hoey – Analyst for Eastern Europe, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Elsa Fairbanks – Expert, UKTI.


Skoda chief: Romania and Ukraine,
the markets worst affected



Romania and Ukraine will be the markets where the Skoda sales will continue to be affected by the crisis also in 2010, but the Western markets will compensate for the fall from the East, Reinhard Jung, Skoda chief, said in Berlin, HotNews informs. He added that in two-three years the company will come up with a sedan that will cost EUR 10,000-12,000. However, Skoda chief said that the decrease will be compensated by the good evolution which looms in countries like Great Britain, France and Italy. Jung also confirmed that Skoda will launch in two-three years a family sedan which will cost between EUR 10,000 and 12,000. The media has written long ago on this theme, mentioning that the car will be positioned between Fabia and Octavia and will use components from both models. The model will be a competitor for Logan, but the Czech model will have a starting price around EUR 3,000 bigger.


Germany regrets GM’s Opel decision, wants money back


The German government regrets a decision by the board of General Motors Co to retain Opel, a government spokesman said. Germany expected GM to repay 1.5 billion euros in bridge financing provided by German state banks, the spokesman said, adding that the takeover plan made by a Russian-backed group led by Canada’s Magna had a convincing industrial logic. Germany had backed Magna’s plan. “The government regrets the decision of the General Motors board to restructure Opel itself and to keep it in the group,” government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said in a statement.


Gold sets new record


For a second day, spot gold ran to a record high above USD 1,090 per ounce, latching on to a weaker dollar with continued support from the IMF’s sale of gold to India’s central bank, according to economictimes.ro site. Oil topped USD 80, extending Tuesday’s 2 per cent jump following a US industry report showing an unexpected fall in crude stocks and supported by the dollar’s weakness. A weaker dollar makes commodities like oil cheaper for those holding other currencies.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

CURS opinion poll: positive and negative changes after 1989


Democratic elections, freedom of speech and the right to travel abroad including for work, are the top three positive changes registered after 1989 that the Romanian respondents listed in a CURS opinion poll conducted exclusively for ‘Jurnalul National’ daily. Asked to name the greatest evil that appeared in Romania after the Revolution, their answer was corruption.


In 1989 the Romanians got rid of the cold in their apartments, of food rationing, of queues, of whispering and of the fear that anything they said could have been used against them, but they faced uncertainty and found out that they have to find their way about without expecting anything from the state.

Mitrea: Hrebenciuc is lying shamelessly


The Social-Democrat whip in the Chamber of Deputies, Viorel Hrebenciuc, accused fellow party member and Senator Miron Mitrea of having made ‘a secret deal’ with Traian Basescu.


Miron Mitrea’s answer was swift: ‘Hrebenciuc is lying shamelessly.’ The war of words between Hrebenciuc and Mitrea has been going on for quite some time, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ reports. Viorel Hrebenciuc said that at the 2008 legislative election, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) decided to make a parallel count which Miron Mitrea should have coordinated. Only that, Hrebenciuc says, Mitrea announced party leaders the day before the ballot that he could not do it. ‘It was a betrayal,’ Hrebenciuc told Realitatea TV, adding that Miton Mitrea’s attitude may have also involved ‘an electoral rigging’. Hrebenciuc’s argument to make his case was that despite exit polls saying PSD was 6 per cent ahead of the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) when the ballot boxes were sealed closed, the next morning that gap ‘was no longer there’.

Radu Campeanu hospitalized


PNL Honorary President Radu Campeanu is in hospital at the Fundeni Urological Surgery and Kidney Transplant Clinic. Campeanu has told Mediafax he had been hospitalized that he was feeling fine and that he might have a little surgery performed on him today. Radu Campeanu also said his only problem was his inability to move because of a probe. Professor Ionel Sinescu, the head of the Fundeni Urological Surgery and Kidney Transplant Clinic, said he was unable to disclose any information on the condition of the patience for confidentiality reasons.

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