Women’s handball: Russia – world champions

Russia’s women’s handball team, successfully defended their title on Sunday, securing a narrow victory against France, 25-22 (14-11) to win the world champions crown in China. It is Russia’s third successive world title. The bronze went to Norway, who defeated Spain in the small final. Despite a modest start at the 2009 world championship in Beijing, France was the surprise team of the competition, qualifying into the final after beating Russia, among others, in the group stage. The French team nonetheless proved unable to repeat its feat, as the Russians, with Dimitrievna and Postnova in top form, showed their class.

Football: Marica scored for Stuttgart

Romanian forward Ciprian Marica scored the opener for home-side VfB Stuttgart, who won 3-1 against Hoffenheim in a German Bundesliga 17-leg game Saturday evening, Marica earned a yellow card on 61 minutes, after which he was substituted by Cacau. It was Marica’s first point in 10 matches this season. The win helped Stuttgart advance to the 14th slot, on 16 points. Half through the championship, Leverkusen stand tops on 35 points, followed by Shalke, 34, Bayern Munich, 33, and Borussia Dortmund, 30 points.

Swimming: Plenty of records in Manchester

Taking full advantage of the last competition allowing polo players to wear overalls, American swimmers broke 5 world 25-meter pool records, in the so-called Duel in the Pool in Manchester, Agerpress reports. In the 4X100m medley relay, the US men’s and women’s teams clocked 3:20.71 and 3:47.91 respectively to establish new world records. Rebecca Doni (2:14.57) in 200m breaststroke, and Julia Smith (4:21.04), 400m medley, improved their previous records. Also, Nick Thomas clocked 48.94 in his shift to clinch a world record in the 4x100m backstroke medley relay. In the 100m butterfly event, the star event pitting the US team against a European picked team, Michael Phelps was defeated by fellow American Nathan Adrian and by Italian Marco Orsi as well.

Formula One: Mikka Hakkinen cautions Schumacher

Former two-time Formula One world champion Mikka Hakkinen warns his archrival, German Michael Schumaker he should not take ‘success for granted’. ‘I can imagine he will be back in the race, the more so as he pondered over it last summer,’ to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari, Hakinnen told the Auto Bild Motorsport magazine, quoted by Agerpress. ‘Formula One fans will have a super-gift on Christmas…, F1 will be positively talked about worldwide, which is good, mainly that not everything has been alright this year,’ the former McLaren pilot said. ‘If he’s back, things will change and he will have to dedicate himself to F1again, without any guarantee he will be successful,’ the Fin, 41, similar age with Schumi, said.

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Ion Iliescu: If I were imprisoned, the
country would protest

The former president Ion Iliescu declared in an interview for BBC that his possible sentencing in a lawsuit connected with the Revolution from 1989 would stir a general protest in the whole country. “Those who raise such a problem are not normal. If someone tried such a thing, this would prompt a general protest in the whole country,” Iliescu said. About Ceausescu’s lawsuit, Iliescu said that it was actually an act of justice, “a lawsuit,” although it took place in exceptional conditions, given that Romania was in an exceptional situation. However, Iliescu admits that the lawsuit and Ceausescu spouses’ execution, was a “rather shameful” act. Iliescu admitted on this occasion that he was in the group of “six-seven” people who decided the organisation of the lawsuit.

Emil Constantinescu launched book about Revolution

The former president Emil Constantinescu launched on Friday in Bucharest his book about the Revolution called “The primary sin, the founding sacrifice”. “In 20 years I noticed how one by one the authors of a page of heroism were eliminated and their act of heroism is covered by all sorts of comments, generally with a conspiratorial shade. And gradually, with the passing of time, history is rewritten, especially in the media, but also in books, based also on the declarations of the former leaders of the communist regime, of Securitate,” the former president said. He mentioned that guilty of the events from the Revolution was not the Army, but “a group of five from the Army, Securitate and Militia.

Valentin Ceausescu told his father that things must change

Valentin Ceausescu, the only son alive of the former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, told his father on December 21, 1989 that the situation must be changed immediately, The Irish Times reports in its electronic edition of Saturday, quoted by Mediafax. He also speaks about the execution of his parents. “That evening I was taken to a military complex and I watched the lawsuit and the execution on TV. (…) I was ashamed to be Romanian (…).” He says that actually the revolution was not a revolution or a putsch, it was “a disorder.”

Hillary Clinton
congratulates Romania

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated the Romanian people for the 20 years of democracy, on behalf of President Barack Obama and of the citizens of the United States, shows a message published on the site of the State Department, quoted by Mediafax. “Twenty years ago nobody knew what would come out of the ruins of communism. But, thanks to the determination and the courage of the Romanian people, today their country is a powerful democracy, a new vibrating member of the European Union and a praised member of NATO (…)” reads the message.

Gorbachev for CNN: Ceausescu was complicate

“Ceausescu was a complicate man. He used to give my advices, a lot of advices,” this is how the former leader of USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, described the former dictator in a documentary broadcast on Saturday on CNN. The documentary was the first of a series through which the US TV channel marks the anniversary of 20 years since the Romanian Revolution.

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Border officer dead in hunting accident

A border officer from Nadlac, Arad county, aged 33, died on Saturday afternoon, in a hunting accident, shooting himself in the leg, the death occurring further to the massive loss of blood. According to Mihaela Les, spokeswoman of Arad Border Police, the officer having some time off participated in a hunting party close to the city of Ineu. The participants in the hunting reported to the investigators that the officer had shot himself accidentally in the knee, but the bullet reached the femoral artery, the man dying on his way to hospital due to the loss of blood.

CNS adopted a proclamation for autonomy

The Conference of the National Szekler Council (CNS) took place on Saturday at Targu Mures, when a Proclamation of Autonomy of the Szeklers’ County was adopted, the arguments in favour of it being provisions from the European legislation. “The Szekler people (…) wants to appeal to the UN legislation about the right to freedom and autonomy of the peoples. This is the basis of CNS Statute of Autonomy and based on it we request to observe the democracy and the liberties of the human rights, to adopt a law that would proclaim the local administration the Autonomy of the Szekler County, which can be a justified method, in order that the democratic traditions may be observed here, and the population from the region may feel that they live in a democratic state and community,” reads the text.

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EUR 1 bln, the state contribution
to Petrom capital increase

The Romanian state could participate in the increase of the capital of the oil and gas producer Petrom (SNP), an operation estimated at around EUR 12 bln, governmental sources, quoted by Mediafax, declared on Friday. “The contribution of the Ministry of Economy and of Proprietatea Fund to this operation would total over EUR 400 M, related to everyone’s participation. The money will be allotted for investments in 2010,” the quoted sources say.Mariana Gheorghe, general manager of the oil and gas producer Petrom, has recently declared that she would carry discussions with the representatives of the future Government to convince them to participate in a possible increase of the capital of the company, in view of running investments. “I hope that the future Government will take into account the participation in an increase of Petrom capital. The capital will be increased for investments,” Petrom official said. Besides the increase of the capital, Petrom considers also other solutions to attract funds, namely the financial and banking market and the aligning of the price of gas from the domestic production to that of the imported gas. “For three and a half years we have carried discussions over the liberalization of the price of gas. The liberalization of the price of natural gas has to occur, it is a European demand,” Petrom general manager said. The company announced that the investments will rise to around EUR 1 bln in 2010, most of them being for exploration and production.

Ukraine stops electricity export to Poland and reduces it to Romania

Ukraine has stopped export of electricity to Poland chairman of the board of director of the Korlea Invest Holding AG, Switzerland, Vasyl Danyliv, told according to Kyiv Post, Mediafax informs. He did not specify the date of the export termination. Danyliv also drew attention to the reduction of the export from the Burshtynka thermal power plant island to Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania due to sudden cut in the consumption of electricity in Europe and reduction of its cost in the European markets due to the economic crunch there. In the mean time, Europe’s Energy Community, an organisation seeking to liberalise the sector, provisionally accepted Ukraine as a member on Friday, a move that could help the country modernise its gas transit system. The group, created in 2005 to ensure close cooperation within the EU and neighboring countries, said Ukraine and R. of Moldova would be able to join when and if they make their gas laws compliant with those of the European Union. “The gas crisis at the beginning of this year taught us all clear lessons,” Slavtcho Neykov, director of the Energy Community Secretariat, said in a statement.

E.On Gaz invests RON 11 M
on infrastructure in Moldavia

E.On Gaz Distributie conducted, this year, various infrastructure works in Moldavia, worth a total RON 11 M, Agerpres reports. The company replaced pipes and fittings, with some 30 kilometers of new, more resilient polyethylene pipes, at an investment value of about RON 6.3 M. E.On Gaz Distributie also installed the cathode protection to approximately 53 km of natural gas pipes in the towns of Bacau and Bicaz. This modern technical solution protects steel pipes, makes them safer in operation and significantly extends their life. The value of these investments amounts to RON 400,000. In view of securing natural gas supply at high standards of quality, the investment program enforced by E.On Gaz Distributie in Moldavia also included installing new regulation and measurement stations, along with upgrading a number of existing such stations in the counties of Iasi, Suceava, Neamt and Bacau. The program targeted a number of 45 regulation and measurement stations, upon investments worth some RON 4 M. In addition, the company has under way, in Iasi County, several important projects for expanding with 27.5 km the natural gas distribution grid, by connecting new consumers from the surroundings of Iasi Airport and from the localities of Valea Adanca, Uricani and Horpaz.

Expert Petroleum to invest
USD 20 M in 2010 in oil and gas fields from Romania

The company Expert Petroleum SRL will allot USD 20 M next year for investments in the rehabilitation of the depleted Romanian oil and natural gas fields, declared David Martinon, founding partner and executive manager Expert Petroleum SRL, quoted by the Money Channel TV. David Martinon also said that they do not intend to extend the sector of activity. “For the coming year, the company has two operational priorities. After two years of study and data acquisition, we have just started to re-commission old wells from Moinesti area, and we shall continue to do so, increasing significantly our activity and that of the operational capacities from this region in 2010. The second priority is to bring back under focus an important (from a reserve point of view) and challenging (from the technological point of view) field in Craiova area, bringing new drilling technologies in the country,” David Martinon stressed. Asked what measures were taken on the background of the economic crisis, the executive manager of the company stated that Expert Petroleum SRL was not affected dramatically by the crisis.

EIB and Pirelli financing agreement

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Pirelli have signed a financing agreement for EUR 50 million last week. According to a press release, the loan will finance an increase in tyre production for cars and light commercial vehicles in Pirelli’s production facility in Slatina, Romania. It will be used within the context of the EUR 250 million in investments previously announced by the Group for its Romanian activities for a three-year period from 2009 to 2011. The new loan consolidates the relationship between Pirelli and the EIB, which in the past has accompagnied the Group’s consistent commitment.

Spyker Cars renews offer for GM’s Saab

Dutch luxury carmarker Spyker Cars NV submitted a new offer to fast-track a buyout of Saab from General Motors, two days after last-ditch talks to rescue the Swedish manufacturer collapsed. GM said on Friday it would start shutting down the loss-making firm after talks with Spyker ended. The move to abandon the 60-year-old Swedish auto brand would eliminate 3,400 jobs in Sweden and drop 1,100 Saab dealers. But Spyker said on Sunday it has submitted a renewed offer including an 11-point proposal addressing each of the issues that arose during the due diligence process. GM Europe was not immediately available for comment.

New car sales in Romania plunge 52.71 pc in the first eleven months

The number of new cars sold in the first eleven months drove down 52.71 percent versus the similar period in the previous year, to 121,931 units, according to data of the Association of Car Producers and Importers (APIA). Romania’s largest automaker Dacia saw sales drop 53 percent compared to the period January-November 2008 and 39.1 percent from November last year. As many as 37,016 Romanian cars were sold in the first eleven months, of which 2,592 in November. Sales of imported cars reduced 52.6 percent year-on-year in the similar period, to 84,915 units. The best selling imported car in the first eleven months was Hyundai, with 10,104 units. It was followed by Volkswagen, with 8,680 units, Renault (8,381), Skoda (8,381) and Ford (7,870).

Octavian Graure, new general manager of Turceni Energy Plant

Turceni Energy Plant has, starting today, a new general manager, Octavian Graure, so far the chief of a department of the plant, Ionel Mantog, economic manager of the company and former personal adviser to minister of economy, Adriean Videanu, declared for Mediafax. According to him, Videanu signed on Friday the order of installation in office of Graure. Graure has been until now director of the Division on budget and accounting of Turceni plant. He will be interim manager of the entity for a period of three months, as Marian Motocu, whose mandate finished on Friday, also did. Graure becomes the fourth general manager of Turceni plant this year, the energy plant being headed previously, in turn, by Ionel Mantog, Eugen Tunaru and Marian Motocu.

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EUR reaches 11-week minimum against the RON

The Romanian currency appreciated on Friday to a reference exchange rate set by BNR at 4.2057 RON/EUR, which is the minimum level of the Euro during the last 11 weeks, against an increased demand for RON in the market, before winter holidays. Friday’s reference rate is the lowest since September 30, when the Central Bank had announced an exchange rate of 4.1981 RON/EUR. On Thursday, the Central Bank has posted a rate of 4.2232 RON/EUR. “The exchange rate is testing the level of 4.20 units/EUR, it is quoted at 4.2010 – 4.2030, against an increasing demand for Lei during this period. I do not think these are interventions by BNR, these are just big sales of foreign currency,” a dealer told Money Channel TV. Against the US dollar, the reference rate posted by BNR decreased by more than 2 Ban on Friday (0.8 pc), down to 2.9214 RON/USD, from Thursday’s 2.9454 RON/USD. Also on Friday, the European currency fell under the level of 1.43 USD for the first time since early September, continuing the depreciation trend that started at the beginning of December. This downward trend is caused by fears about the financial situation of Euro states, analysts say. The main factor that damages the Euro today relates to the concerns about the economic situation of Greece, a Euro zone member state, which saw its rating recently downgraded by Standard & Poor’s. Some economists fear a possible contagion at EU level.

Eurostat: Romania, the sixth-largest trade deficit in the EU

Romania’s total trade deficit, which amounted to EUR 7 bln during the first nine months of the year, is the sixth-largest in the European Union (EU), according to data released Friday by Eurostat. The member states that reported the highest values of the trade deficit during the given period are the United Kingdom (EUR 69.9 bln), France (EUR 38.6 bln), Spain (EUR 36.8 bln), Greece (EUR 21.6 bln) and Portugal (EUR 13.5 bln). At the opposite end, the highest trade surpluses were registered by Germany (EUR 91.7 bln), Ireland (EUR 29.7 bln), the Netherlands (EUR 27.9 bln) and Belgium (EUR 11 bln). On the other hand, the real income per agricultural worker lost 15.1 pc this year in Romania, against year 2008, which is the 11-th steepest decrease rate in the EU, against an average 12.2 pc across the Union, Eurostat reveals. The biggest decline rates are anticipated in Hungary (-35.6 pc), Italy (-25.3 pc), Luxemburg (-25.1 pc), Czech Republic (-24.1 pc), Ireland (-22.3 pc), Germany (-21 pc), Austria (-20.4 pc) and France (-19.8 pc).

In 2010, UniCredit will focus on products with high incomes from commission fees

For the next year, UniCredit Tiriac Bank plans to focus on the products that generate higher incomes from commission fees, like cash management, commerce financing, payments and treasury products, said the bank’s CEO Rasvan Radu, quoted by Mediafax. According to Radu, the first quarter of 2010 will be dominated by uncertainty over the macroeconomic evolution and the way governance will be stabilized. The bank CEO considers that the first part of 2010 will continue to be dominated by loan restructuring processes, while crediting activities will progressively pick up, compared to 2009, especially in the corporate segment starting with Q1, leaving the consumer segment to recover in the second half of the year. The savings process will continue to grow next year, at a faster pace than crediting, the UniCredit Tiriac Bank CEO estimates.

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