ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

‘Dexter’ star
battling cancer



US actor Michael C. Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year, and his publicist Craig Bankey reveals the disease is currently in remission, although the star will continue with treatments. The 38-year-old actor said in a media statement that he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a treatable cancer of the lymphatic system. He did not say when the diagnosis was made. “I feel fortunate to have been diagnosed with an imminently treatable and curable condition, and I thank my doctors and nurses for their expertise and care,” Hall said. Hall is refusing to let his treatment ruin his night at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday. He plans to attend with his wife and “Dexter” co-star, Jennifer Carpenter. The actor is nominated for a Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama award and Dexter is up for Best Television Series – Drama.


George Clooney running telethon for Haiti


Actor George Clooney and MTV have teamed up to host a telethon on January 22 for Haiti relief. Haiti was hit with a 7.0 earthquake on Tuesday and MTV and George Clooney have joined forces to help raise money for relief for the Haiti victims. The Oscar-winning actor will appear on all MTV Networks, Friday, January 22, along with a long list of actors, actresses, and musicians to host a telethon in which all proceeds will go toward relief, according to MTV. A list of other celebrities involved in the project will be released within the coming days. Clooney is taking an active role in this telethon, not only is he hosting the show, he has been contacting all his celebrity friends, and approached people at a private reception for his latest movie, “Up in the Air.”


Anne Hathaway to be saluted by Harvard


The Ivy League university will bestow its Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year award on Hathaway at a parade and ceremony Jan. 28, organizers have announced. The actresss, 27, was named to the honor by Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals – the country’s oldest undergraduate drama troupe – for her “contribution to entertainment.” Hathaway, whose other films include Brokeback Mountain, Becoming Jane and Rachel Getting Married, was chosen because of the variety of her roles on screen and on the stage, a spokesman for the group told the The Harvard Crimson student newspaper.


Young soloists on the National Opera stage


Soprano Aurelia Florian and tenor Bogdan Mihai, trained by Mariana Nicolesco, greeted as great revelations by the national and international press, will appear for the first time on the stage of Bucharest National Opera (ONB) on Friday, January 22, in “Don Pasquale,” an opera by Gaetano Donizetti. At ONB, Aurelia Florian has already been acclaimed in the title parts from “Gemma di Vergy” and “Parisina d’Este,” operas by Gaetano Donizetti seldom played, presented as an absolute first in Romania. The “Parisina d’Este” performance was broadcast by the national TV channel and enjoyed a great success in the shows from Peles Castle from Sinaia, and at the master courses offered by Mariana Nicolesco. The first of the opera “Celan” by Peter Ruzicka at ONB, during “George Enescu” Festival, conducted by the composer, was also a triumph for Aurelia Florian, praised by the Romanian and foreign press.


Romania selected for 2010 European Literature Award


Romania was selected to participate in 2010 edition of the European Literature Award which will be granted in November, the website of the European Commission informs. Debutant writers from 11 countries which participate to EU Culture programme will be awarded. Romania is one of the countries selected along with Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain and Macedonia. In a first stage, juries will be set up in all these countries, which will begin the process of selection in January and will send a final report until the end of June. The European Literature Award is meant to draw the attention to the creativeness, diversity and richness of the contemporary European literature, to promote the circulation of literature in Europe, and to increase the interest of the European citizens for the literary works from other European countries.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Mircea Sandu attacks
his competitor



Before the direct confrontation for the presidency of the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) on January 25, the two opponents, incumbent president Mircea Sandu and his contestant Constantin Iacov, are engaged in a duel of statements. In an interview for ProSport, Iacov accused Mircea Sandu of trying to buy votes for a new mandate at the helm of the FRF. The incumbent president of the FRF gave an official and ironic answer: ‘One of his statements (‘Sandu is trying to buy votes’) undoubtedly has a penal undercurrent. We expect Mr. Iacob to publicly prove his statements. (…) Indeed, Mr. Mircea Sandu, the president of the FRF, has proposed to his contestant a job within the federation – that of a security guard. One tasked with securing not the building but the gate and fence that surrounds the House of Football,’ the communiqué reads.


Andone, head coach
of TSKA Sofia



Ioan Andone will coach TSKA Sofia, a team for which Romania’s Florentin Petre and Daniel Pancu play. After transferring Florentin Petre and Daniel Pancu, TSKA Sofia’s officials have insisted that the team be coached by a Romanian head coach. After being turned down by Gheorghe Hagi and Victor Piturca, the Bulgarians signed a contract with Ioan Andone, a head coach also sought by Dinamo. Free of contract after canceling his contract with UAE’s Al-Ahli, Andone has signed a contracted with TSKA Sofia, being set to win EUR 350,000 per season.


Cycling: Armstrong
challenges Contador



America’s Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, has stated that he is ready to challenge his former teammate Alberto Contador (Spain). The latter won the 2009 edition of the Tour de France. ‘This rivalry will generate a lot of talks in 2010, especially since we’ve left in order to create a new team,’ Armstrong stated for an Australian news agency quoted by Agerpres. Armstrong will race for the first time for the RadioShack team at the Down Under Tour (January 17-24). ‘I warn you, I am ready,’ the American said. The 38-year-old cyclist is displaying an ever greater confidence in his capacity to defeat Contador in order to win the Tour de France for the 8th time. ‘I truly believe I am capable to win,’ Armstrong said.


CAF-2010: Egypt in
the quarterfinals



Egypt, the winner of the previous editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, defeated Mozambique on Saturday evening in Benguela’s Ombaka stadium, score 2-0 (0-0 at half time). The game counted for Group C of the Africa Cup of Nations, a football tournament that is taking place in Angola. The victory sees Egypt through to the quarterfinals. The goals were scored by Khan (own goal, 47th minute) and Mohamed Nagy Gedo (81st minute). In the other Group C game Nigeria defeated Benin, score 1-0. Thanks to this victory Nigeria has chances to qualify for the quarterfinals. On Friday evening Cote d’Ivoire defeated Ghana in Angola’s Cabinda enclave, score 3-1 (1-0 at half time). The game counted for Group B.

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Social

NEWS IN BRIEF

Swine flu toll reaches 107


The latest death count from the Health Ministry shows that 107 people died following AH1N1 infection in Romania, three more deaths were recorded over the past 24 hours. The number of infected people currently reaches 6, 597, the Ministry confirms. Meanwhile, in Bucharest, all the vaccination centers were closed on Sunday, following a dramatic decrease in request from the population. The people requesting inoculation will have to address their family physician, the hospital administration in Bucharest says. Thus, all the centers that were under the Mayor Office’s administration are no longer functioning for vaccination, the only center in the capital still open to the public is the one within Matei Bals Institute, belonging to the Health Ministry. Last week, the number of people willing to ask for the antiviral vaccine raised exponentially, following the death of actor Toni Tecuceanu from AH1N1 caused complications. According to statistics from the Health Ministry 516, 905 people were inoculated since the campaign start, most of them without any side effects.


Member of Romanian-Turkish Chamber of Commerce, accused of kidnapping


The Prosecutor’s Office of the Bucharest District 1 Tribunal accused Simsek Mehmet Salih, a member of the Romanian-Turkish Chamber of Commerce, and one of his employees, of illegally restraining a Moldovan citizen for a few hours, in order to recover a debt, ‘Ziua’ newspaper quotes court sources as saying. According to prosecutors, Salih – an ethnic Turk who also has Romanian citizenship – and his employee Osdemir Baris held the Moldovan under lock for seven hours, at the premises of Salih’s company, for a debt of RON 25,000. The Moldovan citizen was set free only against the promise that he will repay the debt and after a friend of his guaranteed for him. When he returned with the money, he also brought the prosecutors, who caught Salih red-handed.


Young man shot himself in the head


A man accidentally shot himself in the head with a handgun in Bucharest, the Bucharest Police informed yesterday. The man lost his life. Following a call, the policemen found the body of a 30-year-old man in a house in District 2. The preliminary investigation revealed that the man was with four other youngsters in the apartment. At one point he drew out a handgun with the intention to show it to the ones present. According to the Bucharest Police, the man disassembled the gun and showed the others that it had real bullets. Afterwards he reassembled it and pointed it to his head. Without realizing that he had left a bullet in the chamber, he pulled the trigger killing himself. The victim was not authorized to carry a lethal gun. The source of the handgun is currently unknown, the Bucharest Police added.


Two tankers carrying LPG overturned in Bucharest and Dolj County


A tanker truck carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has overturned on Sunday morning on the Chitila road in Bucharest, blocking traffic for several hours, Mediafax informs. After clearing the tanker truck of its cargo the authorities worked on removing it from the road. According to the Traffic Police, the tanker truck overturned after its driver collided with the bus stop refuge located on the boulevard. There were no victims. Two cranes were sent at the site in order to put the truck back on its wheels. The other 15-ton tanker truck carrying LPG overturned on a county road in Dolj because of the silver thaw. The LPG was transferred to another truck. The traffic was not blocked in the area.


Dambovita Center gets in court


The ‘Dambovita Center’ project went in court, where the local authorities of Bucharest District 1 are trying to overturn a decision by the city’s General Council allowing three 34-floor towers, a mall and a huge Ferris wheel similar to that of London to be built on the land now occupied by ‘Casa Radio,’ Jurnalul National newspaper reports. From its very beginning, ‘Dambovita Center’ was a most controversial project, which sparked much debate during General Council meetings. NGOs and architects with the local administration argued it will only choke traffic through the zone, flood the basements of neighboring buildings, and destroy the surrounding green areas. Yet, the general counselors passed the project and the District 1 Municipality reacted, with Mayor Andrei Chiliman taking the matter to court.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Tax on fast-food to lead to explosive price hike


Food industry companies reject the Health Ministry’s intention to introduce the new tax on food, a communiqué issued by Romalimenta shows. Sorin Minea, the president of Romalimenta, considers that this legislative proposal is to the population’s detriment and that it will have negative economic and social effects, Money.ro informs. Romalimenta, the Romanian Federation of Food Industry Employers, rejects the Health Ministry’s tax initiative. According to the text of the draft law proposed by the Health Ministry, all processed food products will be targeted, with the exception of water and fresh fruits and vegetables.


Unit 1 of Cernavoda nuclear power plant – shut down for repairs


Unit 1 of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant was subject to a controlled shutdown Friday, to repair a steam leak in the conventional piping of the generator. “The unit will be restarted and synchronized with the national power grid after repairs and the checks provided by procedures are completed, which will take an approximate 72 hours,” power plant operator Nuclearelectrica announced. The Cernavoda NPP operates with two nuclear generators, which jointly cover about 18 pc of the national electricity needs.


Carrefour sales in Romania drop by 4.6 pc
in 2009



Carrefour’s sales in Romania dropped by 4.6 pc last year, to EUR 1.14 bln, against 2008’s level, following a 12 pc decline during the last three months of the year, to EUR 326 M, the French retailer recently announced, quoted by Mediafax. In 2008, Carrefour reported annual sales of EUR 1.19 bln, and of EUR 370 M during Q4 of the year. At a steady exchange rate, Carrefour’s sales on the Romanian market declined by 14 pc in 2009 and by 9.9 pc during October-December 2009, according to a financial report issued by retailer. At group level, Carrefour reported sales lost 1.4 pc, down to EUR 96.17 bln for the whole 2009, with a 1 pc increase during Q4, at EUR 26 bln. In Europe (France excluded), sales went 5.4 pc down last year, to EUR 34.15 bln during the year, while Q4’s result declined by 4 pc, to EUR 9.2 bln.


Howard Johnson Hotel forecasts 10 pc turnover increase in 2010


The five-star Howard Johnson Hotel in Bucharest reported last year a turnover of EUR 8 M, down 40 pc from 2008, but estimates to return on the growth this year, with a 10 pc increase to almost EUR 9 M, against the background of higher demand for hotel services. Economic crisis that took the hotel’s turnover down to EUR 8 M last year from EUR 13.4 M in 2008, also damaged the total hotel market of Bucharest. The accommodation segment accounted for 55 pc of the total, with the remaining 45 pc covered by food&beverages. “(…) It would be no use to take 2007 and 2008 as reference, because these were years of maximum dynamism. We will take 2009’s results and will try to improve them in 2010,” Howard Johnson general manager Sonia Nastase told Mediafax.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

FM meets Moldovan counterpart


Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi met his Moldovan counterpart Iurie Leanca on Friday in Lithuania.


According to a communiqué issued by the Foreign Ministry, during the talks the Romanian official reiterated Romania’s support for promoting the goals that the Republic of Moldova has in its relations with the EU. The two Ministers have reconfirmed their desire to consolidate the two states’ political, economic and cultural cooperation, with the joint conclusion of the talks being that the time is ripe for a new, more dynamic stage in bilateral relations. The two officials talked about the upcoming priorities on the bilateral agenda, listing several palpable projects that will be discussed in-depth during an official visit that will be established through diplomatic channels. The Romanian Foreign Minister underlined that Romania supports the intensification of cross-border cooperation and the creation of the highest possible number of cooperation projects.


Baconschi reiterated Romania’s support for promoting the Republic of Moldova’s goals in its relations with the EU. The Moldovan Foreign Affairs Minister also announced that Romanian President Traian Basescu will visit Chisinau from January 27 to January 28. Leanca added that the schedule of Basescu’s visit is currently coordinated by the two sides. According to the draft schedule, the Romanian President is set to meet interim Moldovan President Mihai Ghimpu, Prime Minister Vlad Filat and Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca.

Row between French embassy and District 1 authorities


Representatives of the Embassy of France in Bucharest called on the authorities further to a decision that they call “illegal” of District 1 mayor, Andrei Chiliman, through which the latter authorized the construction of a terrace, opened non-stop, close to the building of the diplomatic mission, at 19, Biserica Amzei Street.


“Besides the impact on the quietness and security required to exert the diplomatic mission, the incriminated construction should have considered also the quality of historical monument of the building which hosts the diplomatic mission, and the decision to authorize it should have been made by the mayor general of Bucharest. Moreover, this decision is affected also by other illegalities,” reads a press release of the Embassy of France, released to HotNews.ro.


The Embassy notified the Foreign Affairs Ministry which, in its turn, notified the Prefect of the City of Bucharest. Concurrently, the representatives of the French Embassy appealed also to Justice. The reaction of Prefect was not late to come. Mihai Cristian Atanasoaie announced on Saturday that mayor Chiliman has allegedly exceeded his attributions in this case, in the conditions in which competent to issue the construction authorization was Bucharest City Hall. Chiliman denied the accusations and charged the diplomatic mission of France with “authoritarian, ungrounded and tendentious behaviour” and with the fact that it “tried to denigrate without reason the credibility of the institution of District 1 City Hall.”

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