ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Best Film Fest between January 22 and 28


The retrospective of the best productions of 2009 will take place in January 22 -28, at Cinema Studio and EuroCinema Tinerimea Romana. The journalists and film critics are those who selected the best films of the past year that will be run at the 10th edition of Best Film Fest from Bucharest. The specialized media will cast their vote during the festival for the following: the best film which was projected on the Romanian screens in 2009; the best European film of the year 2009; the best Romanian film of the year 2009; the best actor of the year in a Romanian film; the best actress of the year in a Romanian film; the best Romanian director of the year 2009. During the festival, the organizers will also present statistical data regarding the film market from Romania in 2009, and will project trailers of the films that will be shown in cinema houses in 2010.


Romanian dancer,
prima-ballerina
in Palermo



Soimita Lupu left the country for personal reasons, and presently she dances on the stages of famous Italian theatres. Prima-ballerina at Massimo Teatro from Palermo, the Romanian danced in highly successful shows from Italy and on the stages of other famous theatres from Europe, Canada and US. Soimita Lupu, aged 42, arrived in Palermo thanks to her boyfriend, a ballet master at the Sicilian theatre, who proposed her to attend an audition. At that time she was dancing at a theatre from Mainz, Germany. Even if she was disappointed with the refusals received from the theatres from Rome and Milan, she conquered the jury, being hired at Massimo Teatro from Palermo. In December 2009, the artist played the main part in “The Sleeping Beauty,” and she is now training for the ballet “Coppelia” by Delibes, which will be premiered in early March 2010. Soimita Lupu dances on Massimo Teatro stage from Palermo since 1992. She had main parts in successful shows such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Tristan and Isolde,” “Swan lake,” and “Le Corsaire.”


Dance-theatre show
at National Dance Centre



The Athens-based Wrong Movement Dance Co. will perform the dance-show ‘The Map’ at the Round Hall of the National Dance Theatre January 9 and 10.


The project, originated by Greek choreographer Konstantinos Mihos, premiered in Athens and involved dancers from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. Since September of last year, the project has been touring Balkan countries, an opportunity for meetings and exchange of ideas with local artistic communities. Bucharest is one of such stops, after the company performed in Sofia in September 2009. Belgrade is the location of the next such meeting, in December of this year. The tour will wrap up with an Athens performance to join dancers from the countries that played host to the show seminars. At the National Dance Centre, Konstantinos Mihos worked with a group of Romanian dancers-actors-students featured on the shows January 9 and 10 alongside the Greek dancers . ‘The Map’ is the chief work published by Rigas Valestinlis-Fereos in the 18th century. It makes a detailed description of the Balkan Peninsula, highlighting Rigas’s pioneering vision of a Balkan confederation peaceful, free and democratic where all the religions and nations can live together in peace and harmony. ‘The Map’ does not have Rigas Valestinlis as its centrepiece.

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SPORTS

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Ski-orienteering world cup in Miercurea Ciuc


From February 8 to February 15, the Romanian Orienteering Federation will organize, in cooperation with the Miercurea Ciuc City Hall, the Harghita County Council and the Karpat Tour Orienteering Sports Club, the Ski-orienteering World Cup, European Championship (both for seniors and juniors), Youths’ World Cup and Veterans’ World Cup, Agerpres informs. 441 participants from 25 countries have signed up for the competitions that will take place around Miercurea Ciuc. World class athletes are among the participants.


This is the first time in the history of this sport (practiced in Romania since 1947) when our country hosts all the European and World ski-orienteering competitions.


Tamas, bad start at West Bromwich


Romanian fullback Gabriel Tamas played his first game for West Bromwich Albion on Friday evening. The team was defeated by Nottingham Forest at home, score 1-3, in a game counting for Round 25 of England’s second league. Tamas, wearing jersey number 26, played the entire game and was shown the yellow card in the 42nd minute. Bednar scored for the hosts in the 64th minute, while Blackstock (18th minute), Majewski (53rd minute) and Cohen (56th minute) scored for the visitors. Newcastle United continues to top the standings with 51 points (24 games), followed by Nottingham Forest with 46 points (25 games) and West Bromwich with 45 points (24 games).


Tennis: Spain wins Hopman Cup


Spain has won the Hopman Cup after defeating Great Britain in the final that took place in Perth, Australia, score 2-1. Spain’s points were won by Tommy Robredo and the Sanchez/Robredo doubles team. Andy Murray was a member of the British team. In the first game of the final Laura Robson defeated Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, score 6-1, 7-6 (8/6), winning Great Britain’s only point. The most interesting game pitted Tommy Robredo against Andy Murray, with the Spanish player winning despite the fact that Murray took the first set, score 6-1. Tommy came back into the game and won the next two sets – 6-4, 6-3.


Roddick beats Stepanek to win Brisbane International


American Andy Roddick recovered from a second set slump to win the Brisbane International title with a 7-6 7-6 victory over defending champion Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic on Sunday. The top seed, playing his first tournament since a knee injury cut short his 2009 season, won the opening set in a tiebreak after all games had gone with serve. He was on course to race through the second after opening up a 5-1 lead, but twice failed to serve out the match then wasted five match points in the tiebreak before finally sealing victory. Roddick’s hard-earned win provided the world number seven with his 28th career title and his first success at senior level in Australia, although he won the Australian Open junior title in 2000.This year’s Australian Open starts in Melbourne on Jan. 18.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

6th Balc hunting party is over


The 30 guests at the annual hunting party held on the Balc hunting domain owned by businessman Ion Tiriac relaxed themselves partying after being busy hunting Saturday. The hunting was carrying on yesterday, with guests later on embarking on planes at the Oradea airport. This hunting party at Balc, in its sixth year, lived up to the reputation acquired in previous years, with hunting guests including 30 millionaires both Romanian and foreign. Among the latter group, the Porsche heir, the mayor of Monte Carlo, the president of Daimler Chrysler, but politicians and bankers as well. All of them are familiar with the Balc domain, as they are Ion Tiriac’s guests for two days in mid January each year for six years now. Some of them, such as Klaus Mangold, a former president of Daimler Chrysler, are even better acquainted with the place, as they have been going hunting there for years before.


Flight canceled due to fog conditions
in Iasi airport



The flight Bucharest- Iasi that was scheduled to takeoff at 11.30 AM yesterday, from the Henri Coanda airport in Bucharest, was re-scheduled due to fog conditions in Iasi. Among the passengers who didn’t make it to Iasi was PNL deputy Cristian Adomnitei. According to Adomnitei, some tens of passengers were asked to board the b us leading to the plane and, the moment the bus got to the aircraft, they were sent back to the airport, and told the flight was rescheduled.


Nati Meir remains another 30 days
in custody



Bucharest tribunal decided on Saturday to extend 30 days the preventive arrest in Nati Meir case. The latter is charged with fraud, holding forged assets and circulating them, Mediafax informs. In front of the court, Nati Meir declared that he had filed two denunciations with the National Anticorruption Division (DNA), one against PSD senator Catalin Voicu, and the other against the son of questor Bujor Florescu, deputy general director of DGIPI, Razvan Florescu. The magistrates of Bucharest tribunal had decided on October 20 to arrest preventively Nati Meir for 29 days. The prosecutors say that during September-October 2009 Nati Meir tried to pay two persons using 596 notes of EUR 500 each which were actually forged. The money was given as a loan, for the payment of some artistic services, being put into packages, and at the middle of each package putting transversally a strip of white paper, similar to those used by the banking units.


Woman dies after being sent from one hospital to another for three days


A woman from Giurgiu was sent from one hospital to another for three days without being diagnosed, daily ‘Jurnalul National’ writes in its Friday edition. The woman was taken to the county hospital, a private medical practice and her family doctor and eventually died. The woman was 59 and started having severe chest and throat pain three days before,. Seeing that her condition was getting worse, she went to the Giurgiu hospital on Thursday morning. But the intern who consulted her sent her home, telling her that she was not suffering from something serious. Then the woman was sent from one hospital ward to another and eventually was taken to Bucharest, to a private practice. Her body could no longer fight the ailment and she died before being able to get to a doctor who could diagnose her, the newspaper said.


UK exhibition accused of putting
executed Chinese prisoners on show



The bodies of executed Chinese prisoners are being used in a ghoulish exhibition of ‘plastinated’ corpses, it was claimed, according to Mail on Sunday. Human rights activist Dr David Nicholl is demanding the Human Tissue Authority – which granted a licence for the Bodies Revealed show in Birmingham – should shut it down because it is a ‘crime scene’. The controversial event is organised by US-based Premier Exhibitions, which insists all the cadavers came from individuals who chose to donate their bodies to medical science. But Dr Nicholl, a consultant at Birmingham City Hospital, says he is convinced the body parts – preserved in polymer – come from executed Chinese prisoners or victims of torture. He accused the organisers of taking ‘blood money’ by charging a £14 entrance fee for the show. Dr Nicholl said: ‘We are asking a simple question – “Can you guarantee the bodies are not those of people executed in China?”. If the organisers are unable to answer this, then we think the authorities should be looking to close this exhibition.’ On Saturday, the British Liver Trust, a charity that fights liver disease, withdrew its previous support for the exhibition. Chief executive Dr Alison Rogers said the organisers had not been able to give her an ‘unequivocal’ guarantee that the bodies had not been victims of execution or torture.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Over ten companies eager to be
granted 11 Black Sea oil concessions



More than 10 companies, among which ExxonMobil, the MOL Group, Melrose Resources, Midia resources and Total, are keen to drill for crude oil and gas in the 30 perimeters up for concession by the National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM), of which 11 with an overall surface area of 11,000 square kilometers on the continental plateau of the Black Sea, HotNews reports. ‘Each of the 30 perimeters that ANRM put up for concession in Round 10 of concessions has a surface area of about 1,000 square kilometers and total 30,000 square kilometers. Twelve of them are located in the Pannonian Plain, seven in Dobrogea, and the remaining, with an overall surface of 11,000 square kilometers, on the continental plateau of the Black Sea. Five of them are in the area Romania won following the trial in The Hague,’ ANRM President Alexandru Patruti said, adding that 10-plus large companies are interested to participate in Round 10 organized by the Agency for exploring those 30 oil perimeters. Patruti also said the deadline for submitting bids is on May 19 and for beginning negotiations over adjudicated perimeters, on July 19, 2010, or, depending on the case, after potential contests are dealt with.


Romania, the country where life is
the worst in EU



Romania is at level 53 in the top best places to live, out of 194 countries, but it is the last among the European Union states, according to the daily Romania Libera. The most recommended countries to live in are in 2010 France, Australia and Switzerland, shows the Life Quality Index published this week by International Living. Romania dropped six places in this top. The 2010 Index classified Romania on place 53 in the world, with a score of 65 points, obtained, like in the case of the other evaluated countries, according to the criteria: cost of life, leisure and culture, economy, environment, freedom, health, infrastructure, security and climate. The lowest score obtained by Romania was for the economic criterion – 48 points, while the biggest score was obtained for freedom – 83 points. In terms of freedom, our country is rated similarly to Brazil, Mongolia, Botswana, Trinidad-Tobago, Namibia and South Africa. In terms of infrastructure, our country is at the same level with Moldova and Cuba, but exceeds by a few points Bulgaria. That health is not good in Romania is proved also by the following classification: we are on place 93, with 65 points, equal with Guatemala. States like Nicaragua, Moldova, Ukraine, Albania and Bulgaria have a much bigger score in this respect.


Low real-estate transactions in 2010 too


The real-estate market will remain gridlocked in 2010 too in what concerns the transactions, the ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ daily writes. Moreover, the first 11 months of last year saw the closing of a number of sale contracts 28.9 per cent per cent smaller compared to the one registered in the same period of 2008. According to the Union of Public Notaries, January was the slowest month, registering approximately 22,000 transactions. In what concerns the price developments, the analysts contacted by ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ claim that the prices could continue to fall but not by more than 5-10 per cent, depending on the owner’s need to sell. The specialists state that in 2010 we will reach the ‘bottom threshold.’ ‘I believe this year we will reach the lowest level but the date isn’t known. We will get closer to the real value, as happened everywhere, including in Dubai. At first, in the Burj Dubai tower the apartments were sold for USD 25,000 per square meter. Two days ago the prices stood at USD 14,000 per square meter,’ Adrian Sischin, the director of Re/max Romania real-estate agency, stated.


Public auctions under Competition Council focus


The Competition Council (CC) will examine the public auctions sector where very important amounts of money are spent, and there are suspicions of irregularities, the president of the institution, Bogdan Chiritoiu, declared, according to the daily Evenimentul Zilei. Thus, CC will try to identify the understandings between the firms which participate to auctions and share this market.


These companies may form the object of unexpected controls, and all the relevant internal documents may be copied. CC president wants a modification of the legislation, in order to have big powers in the relations with the public administrations and have the possibility to fine these institutions. Chiritoiu also declared that in his opinion the taxi market should be liberalized, because there are firms which want to cut tariffs, but the state does not allow them. If the restrictions from the notary services and other services related to the real estate market are eliminated, the users could save over EUR 250 M per year. “We don’t need a minimum tariff, this is a cartel,” CC chief mentioned.

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Ilie Serbanescu: Inflation could reach explosive levels


Economic analyst Ilie Serbanescu has stated that this year will be a difficult one for the world economy, Realitatea.net informs. Although the developed states have announced the end of the crisis the unemployment rate has remained high. The analyst considers that the fact that the problem of the banks has not been solved will lead to serious repercussions. According to Ilie Serbanescu, there are two scenarios in store for us this year, both of them with unfortunate effects: the states’ financing will be withdrawn, something that will surely lead to recession, or the financing will not be withdrawn and the inflation rate will reach explosive levels. ‘We could return to the inflation rates of 13-15 per cent registered in the 1970s and 1980s, something that could happen at any time,’ Ilie Serbanescu said. Simon Johnson, the IMF’s former development director, has stated that the banks are the ones that endanger the economy but Ilie Serbanescu disagrees. ‘The danger is not what Johnson says it is, but the fact that the boat doesn’t know where to head. The states lacked the courage to solve the problem of the banks and the markets abound with money that they don’t funnel towards real economies,’ Serbanescu underlined.

Euro coins could be minted at Brasov


The Euro coins could be minted at the commercial company “Metrom” from Brasov, Brasov senator Titus Corlatean declared on Friday in a press conference. The same stressed that the project with which he deals is in progress, and together with the management of the company, he has already approached the National Bank and the State Mint. “The accreditation procedure is in progress and includes two stages. First the accreditation is necessary to produce the coins of Lei, which is in progress and the set of disks for the coins of 50 bani and those for the other coins are already submitted to accreditation to the National Bank. The accreditation opens very clearly the possibility for Metarom company to produce the Euro coins, which would be a great success for the Romanian economy,” Titus Corlatean said. He stressed that Greece did the same thing, and he took inspiration from it in connection with this project, because the procedure allows any EU member state to do it.

Law on mandatory house insurance – operational this summer?


In 2010 the owners of houses will be forced to insure their buildings against natural catastrophes, Realitatea.net informs. Apart from taxes, fees and other things designed to lighten our pockets that are light as it is given the crisis, in mid-2010 the owners of apartments or houses will be forced to insure them even if they already have optional insurance. The application of the mandatory house insurance law has been previously postponed several times. Early last year the date of January 1, 2010 was rumored, however the president of PAID recently estimated that the companies will be able to issue this type of insurances only as early as July 1, 2010. The mandatory insurances will cover three risks: earthquake, landslides and floods.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Dacia sold 85,000 cars
in Germany



The past year was the first one when the domestic market was not the most important market for Dacia, ranking only third, preceded by Germany and France, Hotnews reports. Thus, Dacia sold 85,000 cars in Germany last year, reaching the record share of 2.1 per cent of the market. In Romania the sales were below 45,000 units in 2009, half of those from 2008, but the regression from our country was compensated by countries like France and Italy, where Dacia sales exceeded 60,000 and, respectively, 20,000 units. The most spectacular evolution was without any doubt that from Germany where, thanks to the “Junk” programme (in German Abwrackpramie), the sales of the Romanian brand have more than tripled: almost 85,000 units, the equivalent of a market share of 2.1 per cent, vs. less than 0.8 per cent a year ago. Dacia had a record year also in France where the sales rose 40 per cent, to over 61,000 cars, the equivalent of a market share of 2.7 per cent. In Italy there was also a record year for Dacia, whose registrations rose 150 per cent, to 20,800 units, the equivalent of 1 per cent of the market.


AVAS could be dismantled


The Executive will discuss, in the next governmental meeting, the future of the Authority for State Asset Resolution (AVAS), the proposals being either to dismantle the institution as a department of the Ministry of Economy, or to transfer AVAS to the Office for Privatisation from the same ministry, governmental sources declared, Mediafax informs.


The proposals are to liquidate AVAS, which will become either a department in the Ministry of Economy, or to transfer it to the Office for Privatization and Participations in Industry (OPSPI), subordinated to the same ministry. If the activity of privatization could be significantly reduced, considering that the privatization process which started in the ‘90s is drawing to an end, Romania would be the only country in EU which would remain without an institution specialized in the recovery of receivables, activity which is performed in Romania only by AVAS, and thus AVAS may be maintained, with an emphasis on the recovery of receivables. Presently AVAS has in its portfolio receivables of RON 10.82 bln, 418 companies to be privatized, of which 36 with majority capital, 382 companies with minority capital and seven companies with special status. Moreover, 448 companies are in the process of liquidation.


Romania, country
of economic gridlocks



2009 was a year of gridlocks for Romania: the blocking of crediting, of privatization, of the Justice system during the magistrates’ labor strike, of the real-estate market, of the listing on the stock market, of setting up the giant state-owned companies, of returning the VAT tax to exporters or of paying the bills for the works contracted by the state, jurnalul.ro writes. Most of the gridlocks and their effects will continue in 2010 too, with nefarious consequences for the economy. At first, in the first months of last year, the politicians were stating that the IMF loan was ‘a seatbelt’ for Romania’s economy. After that they reached the conclusion that the EUR 20 bln are borrowed in order to unblock the crediting and the infrastructure works. But the loan arrived in two tranches, with neither the crediting nor the infrastructure works registering any notable success.

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