SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Razvan Rat to leave
for Real Madrid?



Spain’s daily ‘AS’ has announced that Shakhtar Donetsk’s Romanian fullback Razvan Rat could be ‘the perfect replacement for Real Madrid’s Pepe,’ Agerpres writes. ‘AS’ writes that Razvan Rat is on a list of players that Real Madrid wants, a list that also includes Carlos Cuellar (Aston Villa), Jonathan Cicero (Cruzeiro), Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) and Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield). ‘It’s an honour to be in Real Madrid’s sights. For now there has been no talk about my transfer and I don’t think it is natural to comment on rumors,’ Razvan Rat wrote on his official website, being quoted by Agerpres. ‘I didn’t want to allow Rat to leave for a team below Shakhtar’s level but maybe he will leave now; players have to be ceded when they are in demand. I don’t stand against Rat’s transfer, especially considering his age. Razvan is a player that has a vast international experience, that does not suffer injuries and it would be a huge satisfaction for me to see him leaving for Real Madrid,’ Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar’s head coach, stated.


Tennis: Romania
in Hopman Cup



Romania’s tennis team consisting of Sorana Cirstea and Victor Hanescu has been assigned to group A in the Hopman Cup, alongside the teams of Australia (Samantha Stosur; Leyton Hewitt), Spain (Martin Jose Martinez Sanchez; Tommy Robredo) and the US (Melanie Oudin; John Isner). Romania will play in Perth against Australia on January 2, against Spain on January 5 and against the US on January 7. The final will take place on January 9. Romania last played in the Hopman Cup in 1997 (Irina Spirlea and Adrian Voinea) and in 1998 (Irina Spirlea and Dinu Pescariu). In 2009 the competition was won by Slovakia (Dominik Hrbaty and Dominika Cibulkova), in 2008 by the US (Mardy Fish and Serena Williams) and in 2007 by Russia (Dmitri Tursunov and Nadia Petrova).


Marian Dragulescu,
second in top table
of Balkan athletes



Romanian gymnast Marian Dragulescu is second in the top table of the best athletes in the Balkans in 2009, a table published by BTA after consulting the sports departments of the region’s national press agencies, including Agerpres. Dragulescu (29), winner of two world titles this year (in the floor and vault events), has totaled 38 points in the survey that the Bulgarian press agency traditionally conducts, being surpassed only by Greek basketball player Vasileios Spanoulis, winner of the Euroleague with Panathinaikos Athens last season. World boxing champion Detelin Dalakliev, nominated Bulgaria’s best athlete in 2009, ranked third with 36 points.


Chess: Tie in ‘The clash
of titans’



‘The clash of titans,’ the chess game pitting former world champion Boris Spaski against his eternal rival Viktor Korcinoi, has ended in a tie, score 4-4. The clash took place in Elista, the capital of Russian Republic of Kalmukia, Agerpres informs. Each of the players won two games while the rest of the games ended in a tie. Boris Spaski, a former Soviet and now a French citizen, was the world’s chess champion from 1969 to 1972. Viktor Korcinoi has never won the world title despite being the USSR’s champion 4 times. He currently holds the Swiss citizenship. At the age of 78 Korcinoi is the grand master that has the largest experience. Kalmukia was chosen as a venue for the competition because its President, Kirsan Iliumjinov, is also the president of the International Chess Federation.

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Social

NEWS IN BRIEF

4.2 magnitude quake hits Vrancea


The earthquake was registered yesterday at 1.04 AM local time and was felt in Bucharest. The National Geophysics Institute pointed out that the epicenter was located approximately 40 kilometers away from Focsani. The earthquake had a depth of approximately 150 kilometers and was felt in south-east Moldavia but also in Bucharest. Gheorghe Marmureanu stated on Saturday for Realitatea TV that no earthquake of high magnitude will take place in the following period. ‘We won’t have strong quakes in Vrancea in the following period. Small quakes take place on a daily basis… Basically at this hour Vrancea is not loaded with energy more than 40-50 per cent, so it’s impossible.’ On the other hand, Marmureanu stated that although a tsunami could occur as a consequence of earthquakes within the Black Sea, the effect wouldn’t be catastrophic.

Floreasca Hospital manager gets dismissed


The manager of the Floreasca Emergency Hospital, Mircea Beuran was dismissed last week by interim Health Minister Adriean Videanu. His place was taken by Prof. Dr. Radu Macovei, a former occupant of the job. The list of sacked hospital managers also includes Prof. Dr. Gheorghe Iana, from the University Hospital in Bucharest, who was replaced by University Lecturer Catalin Carstoiu. Iana was the first manager who lost his position, nearly 10 days ago.

Romanian detainee breaks out of Belgian prison


A Romanian, arrested for store robbing, broke out of prison last Thursday, was issued an APB by police, which deployed a helicopter in the manhunt, according to levif.news.be. Nicu Chiriac, who was arrested in Haversin (Ciney) by the Condroz-Famenne Police, evaded from the Dinant prison where he was detained under the charge of store robbing. Chiriac, along with an accomplice, stole tools and other equipment from a store in Ciney, which they robbed thrice, causing damage estimated at EUR 15,000. The source quoted also reports that Nicu Chiriac and his accomplice, Constantin Mitrophanes, allegedly stole the goods in the name of a criminal ring set up outside Belgium.


5,434 cases of new flu infection


The Center for the Prevention and Control of Transmissible Diseases has confirmed four new cases of new flu infection, with the total number of infections with the A/H1N1 virus in Romania reaching 5,434, while the number of deaths stands at 42, the Health Ministry informed yesterday. The latest cases have been reported in Ialomita County. Among the special cases was that of a child from Calarasi County, a child that was taken on Christmas Eve to the ‘Victor Babes’ Infectious Disease Hospital in Bucharest because he underwent surgery prior to him being confirmed as infected with the A/H1N1 virus.


Director of hunters’ association shot and killed while out hunting


The director of the Turnu-Magurele Hunters’ Association lost his life after he was accidentally shot by a policeman with which he was out hunting. The accident took place at the end of a session of shooting pheasants. The shotgun of a policeman accidentally went off. The 33-year-old victim died instantly after being shot in the head. ‘We’re talking about a caliber 16 mm hunting shotgun with pellets. The victim was hit by the pellets in the head and died on the spot,’ Alexandru Ilicea, the spokesperson of IPJ Teleorman, stated. The preliminary investigations reveal that the policeman did not follow the rules when handling a gun: the gun’s safety was not on and the gun itself was improperly handled. The policeman is now charged with involuntary manslaughter.


22 year prison sentence for murderous maternal assistant


The maternal assistant from Bistrita who tortured a four year-old boy to death received a 22 year jail sentence. ‘Not enough!’ the boy’s natural mom said, who is serving a prison sentence for theft. Her son, four year-old Lucian, sustained cigarette burns, scissors cuts, was beaten with a board and prodded with a knife by a maternal assistance. She was paid for being an adoptive mother to the boy. It was also she who killed the boy while trying to force-feed him. ‘What did the boy do to her to torture him for three and a half months, to even cut his toes? She deserved a life sentence,’ Antena 3 news television channel quoted the boy’s mother as saying.


Restaurant destroyed by fire in downtown Bucharest


A fire has completely gutted on Friday a coffee house located on Victoriei Boulevard. Luckily nobody was injured because the coffee house was closed at the time. The fire was noticed by an employee of a restaurant located nearby. The fire spread rapidly and engulfed the first storey of the building, a storey where apartments and offices are located. Five fire trucks had to intervene in order to put the fire out. The intervention was dangerous because the existence of several gas cylinders within the building created a risk of explosion. The firefighters stated for Antena 3 that they do not exclude the possibility that the fire started from an electric panel.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Giurgiu-based Voestalpine factory works to begin in May 2010


Voestalpine is due to open a steel product plant in Giurgiu in May of next year, according to The Money Channel, and production in 2011, despite the factory being slated for completion this year. Local authorities say the Executive furnishes EUR 5 M to the EUR 19 M project. The plant will take up 40,000 sq ms on the premise of the former Chemical Works in Giurgiu.


200 Romaero employees to be laid off in 2010


Romaero (RORX) will make up to 200 employees redundant, under certain terms, next year, under a downsizing program passed by the Economy Ministry at the December 22 General Assembly meeting, which also decided to refinance a loan from Transilvania Bank. The ministry holds 51.9 per cent if the company, SIF Muntenia, 25.85 per cent, and Proprietatea Fund, 21 per cent.The streamlining program will be implemented only if the defense production capacities are not affected, and warranty and post-warranty services continue being provided for the products delivered to the Ministry of National Defence and if the sums required for implementing restructuring measures will be within the company’s budget. Romaero has a share capital of RON 15.6 M divided into 6.2 M shares with a face value of RON 2.5 each. Romaero shares were traded at RON 20.5/unit at the end of Wednesday’s session, down 18 per cent from the standard value. The company’s capitalization stands at RON 128.04 million.


RCS&RDS takes over 30 pc of Hungarian cable operator


Digi Telecommunications company, part of the RCS&RDS group indirectly controlled by Romanian businessman Zoltan Teszari, purchased a 30 pc stake in Hungarian cable TV and internet operator TvNetWork, through a transaction made at an undisclosed value, Mediafax reports. Digi Telecommunications acquired 5.2 million shares in the Hungarian firm, writes a release submitted by TvNetWork to the Budapest Stock Exchange. The Hungarian operator has a capitalization of 5 bln Forint (EUR 18.3 M), split into 17.3 million shares. The 30 pc stake would thus be priced at 1.5 bln Forint (EUR 5.5 M). Following the operation, Digi Telecommunications has become the most important shareholder in TvNetWork.


Geely will keep Volvo running as is


China’s Geely would barely lay a finger on Ford Motor Co’s Volvo if it succeeds in acquiring the Swedish luxury car brand, the firm’s top executive was quoted by state media as saying on Friday. The value of the deal, which Ford said it expects to sign in the first quarter and close in the second quarter of 2010, has been estimated at USD 1.8 billion — far short of the USD 6.45 billion Ford paid for Volvo in 1999. Volvo’s current production, research and development facilities, union agreements and dealer networks will all be left intact, said Li Shufu, the founder and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the parent of Geely Auto. (Reuters)


Romtelecom and Cosmote to provide ANCOM with communication services worth 23,721.5 EUR/month, until 2011


The consortium formed by Romtelecom and Cosmote Romania won the bid held by the National Administrative and Regulatory Authority for Communication (ANCOM), for providing the institution with communication services, worth 23,721.5 EUR/month (VAT included), until year 2011. The bidding was also attended by Vodafone Romania and Orange Romania, ANCOM announces.


Currency exchange rate hits new low


Home currency lost some of the headway made at the start of Thursday’s session as a result of increased demand for euros, with the National Bank of Romania (BNR) announcing a RON/euro rate down 0.19 RON, to RON 4.2028/euro, the lowest level since September 30, when the rate stood at RON 4.1981 against the euro. The RON/USD rate was of 2.9165/USD, RON 0.341 down from Wednesday’s rate of RON 2.9506/USD.


New production lines at former ARO platform


Four foreign companies, of which two in the auto sector, might open production centers at the Campulung-based former ARO platform next summer, with relevant talks being in advanced stage, the industrial park’s general director, Sergiu Filip. (…) ‘We have signals that by the end of the first half next year we could clinch contracts with four of the companies set to open production lines, of which two in the auto sector,’ the Landmark Management, the company holding the industrial park in Campulung. He also said a 25,000 sq m production hall, a nearly EUR 15 M investment, will be erected on the industrial platform.


S.Korea says wins USD 20 bln nuclear deal
from UAE



South Korea said on Sunday it had won a USD 20 billion by jointly operating the reactors for 60 years, deal from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to build four nuclear reactors, one of the world’s biggest nuclear power contracts. The first reactor will be completed in 2017 to produce power and the others will be completed by 2020, the Korean presidential Blue House also said in a statement. The Korean consortium includes Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Samsung C&T Corp and Doosan Heavy Industries.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Biden-Basescu
conversation on additional Romanian troops
in Afghanistan



US vice-president Joe Biden and Romanian President Traian Basescu conversed on the telephone last week about Romania’s plans to increase its military presence as part of the NATO effort in Afghanistan and to boost bilateral military cooperation.


Mediafax quoted a White House website release saying Biden telephoned Basescu to congratulate him on his being re-elected president and the stage reached by Romanian democracy on the 20th anniversary of the Revolution. Biden, who visited Romania last October, when he said Romania ‘made headway’ since his previous visit in September 1999, expressed his appreciation at the activity of Romanian troops in theaters of operation, expressing the gratitude of the American people, President Obama and his too for the effort made by Romanian troops. ‘Your troops are extraordinary, they fight unconditionally,’ the US vice-president said.


Phone talk between Romanian and Moldovan ministers of Foreign Affairs


Romanian minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Baconschi had a phone talk, last Thursday, with Iurie Leanca, deputy premier and minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, writes a press release quoted by Agerpres. According to the source, Minister Leanca declared himself convinced all conditions are met to develop the bilateral political dialog and achieve joint projects. The two ministers also approached the main priorities of bilateral relations, with the Romanian side expressing its full support for the European aspirations of R. of Moldova. The head of the Chisinau diplomacy extended an invitation to the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit the Republic of Moldova early next year.


CC: Education Law should have been debated in Parliament


The Constitutional Court (CC) explained it declared the Education Law as unconstitutional because it considered passing this act through responsibility assuming in Parliament as inopportune. In CC’s opinion, the Law should have been debated in the two chambers of the Legislative, which would have allowed the civil society to have its say over the matter. The motivation posted on the Court’s internet site admits the Government may assume responsibility over two or more draft laws, or a package of drafts, but the existence of a ruling majority that supports the Executive makes the responsibility assuming inopportune, especially as the law will only come into effect at a later moment, for the 2010-2011 school year, which would have left enough time for debates.


Gov’t – authorized
to issue emergency
ordinances for Finances, Economy and Justice



The Executive last week passed a draft law that allows it to issue ordinances during the Parliament`s recess, until the Legislative resumes its proceedings in the first regular session of 2010, governmental spokeswoman Ioana Muntean announced. “The draft law sets the fields where the Executive is authorized to issue ordinances: Public Finance and Economy, Justice, Health, Transport, Environment, and prorogating or modifying deadlines provided by official acts,” Muntean explained.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Antonescu: Basescu won elections with help of SRI, SIE, STS, Prosecutor’s Office and DNA


PNL President Crin Antonescu stated on Saturday on Realitatea TV that he warned Mircea Geoana’s people before the public debate ahead of the Presidential run-off that Traian Basescu is a feared opponent that has ‘many political qualities.’ Antonescu also said that compared to the previous elections this year Traian Basescu won because of the party that backed him but also with the help of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), the Special Telecommunications Service (STS), the General Prosecutor’s Office and the National Anti-corruption Office (DNA). ‘I have noticed Traian Basescu’s numerous political qualities. Before the debate I had a word with people that were close to Mircea Geoana and I drew their attention to certain things, things that don’t have to do with the Vintu episode but with the precision with which Traian Basescu handles economic data. He doesn’t simply talk about them in a TV show. I drew their attention to his capacity to correlate that data and to formulate it intelligently, efficiently,’ Antonescu stated. He did not forgive PDL either, accusing it of ‘taking over the entire power in Romania – prefectures, mayoralties – in a month and a half through pressures and blackmail.’


Iliescu: Consolidating
an efficient team – more important than the next PSD president



For PSD, it is more important to consolidate a credible and efficient team, rather than who will be the next president of the party, PSD honourary president Ion Iliescu said. In a post on his personal blog, quoted by Agerpres, the former leader wrote that his negative answer to PSD Senator Tony Grebla’s request to become the interim leader of the party for one year and prepare the Congress means neither abdication, nor lack of commitment to a necessary process of politically consolidating PSD.


“This will have to be the joint effort of all responsible people within the party and will have to begin early in 2010, by a thorough analysis starting from local organizations, going to county branches and ending at the party Congress. This will actually be the main topic of the National Council, in January. For PSD, I believe it is more important to consolidate a credible and efficient team, rather than who will be the next president of the party, a team that will give new vigor and credibility to PSD’s political activity – as the main opposition party for the years to come (…),” Iliescu wrote on his blog.

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