ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Exhibition dedicated
to UNESCO monuments from Southeast Europe



The Austrian Cultural Forum organizes in collaboration with the Central University Library from Bucharest and the National Library of Romania, the photograph exhibition “Culture Matters,” which presents monuments from Southeast Europe included by UNESCO in the universal cultural patrimony. The exhibition is opened during January 18-28 at Galateca Gallery. On 38 panels of big dimensions are exhibited photos representing historical sites and medieval monuments from Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo. The images come from artists born and living in those regions. The monuments presented in the exhibition show that the region of the Balkans, with its Greek, Roman, Paleochristian, Byzantine, Judaic and Ottoman influences is, to a considerable extent, part of the multicultural European identity. One of these monuments, the bridge from Mostar, was rehabilitated and lavishly inaugurated, after it had been completely destroyed during the most destructive war which raged in Europe at the end of the 20th century. Another monument represented in the exhibition is the medieval city of Dubrovnik, largely destroyed in this war, and which was reconstructed. But, other sites are still left derelict and threatened to be destroyed.


ICR Paris honors
a forgotten philosopher: B. Fundoianu



Sixty-five years after he was deported to Auschwitz, the poet and philosopher Benjamin Fondane (B. Fundoianu) is paid a homage on January 22, by European scholars in a round table dedicated to the philosophical dimension of his work, at the Romanian Cultural Institute from Paris. Disciple of the Russian philosopher Shestov, Benjamin Fondane – a Jewish poet, essayist, film-maker, literary critic and philosopher born in Romania in 1898, and settled in Paris in 1923 – was considered in the ‘30s one of the main representatives of the existential philosophy in France. “I became a philosopher in order to defend my poetry,” used to repeat Benjamin Fondane, whose ambition as a creator was to render philosophy and poetry as an art of living.


The discussions organized by ICR Paris on January 22, 2010, whose host will be the writer Michel Carrasou bring together Ramona Fotiade and Olivier Salazar-Ferrer from the University of Glasgow, Nicolas Monseu from the Catholic University of Louvain, and Jerome Thelot from Lyon 3 University.


Balasa painting
fetches highest price
at GoldArt Auction



Sabin Balasa’s painting ‘Daughter of the Ocean’ was sold off for RON 26,000 at Sunday’s auction, the first organized by the GoldArt auction house this year, the house’s director, Luminita Ghildus, told Agerpres. The auction started with RON 10,000 . Although supposed to sell for between RON 45,000 – 47,000, ‘Peasant Homestead’, a painting by Stefan Luchian, failed to stir bidder interest. Among the works sold off in the GoldArt auction Sunday, ‘Grove’, by Arthur Verona – RON 24,000; ‘Flowers in a Violet Vase’ by Octav Bancila – RON 12,000, ‘In the Fields’ by Rudolf Schweitzer Cumpana – RON 13,000 and ‘Still Life with Fruits’ by Constantin Stahi – RON 10,500.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Mutu scores again
for Fiorentina



Adrian Mutu has cored Fiorentina’s only goal in the home-side game that it surprisingly lost to Bologna, score 1-2. The game counted for round 20 of Serie A. The Romanian international player scored in the 51st minute his fifth goal in four games since the start of this year. Bologna’s goals were scored by Gimenez (27th minute) and Di Vaio (44th minute). The round was marked by Chievo’s home-side win against Juventus (1-0), by the humiliation that Lazio registered at the hands of Atalanta (0-3) and by Luca Toni’s two goals in the game that Roma won against Genoa (3-0).


European basketball tournament in Cluj


Cluj-Napoca will host for the first time the final tournament of an international inter-club basketball competition under the aegis of the Central European Basketball League (CEBL), Agerpres informs. The CEBL Final Four tournament will take place in Cluj from February 9 to February 10. ‘We have received the official confirmation in order to organize the Final Four tournament in Cluj, which is a great honor but also a great responsibility for us. This is the first final tournament of an international inter-club competition organized in Cluj and we want to turn it into a city event,’ Mircea Cristescu, executive president of ‘U’ Mobitelco, stated for the club’s official website. The tournament will include the following teams: Atomeromu Paks (Hungary), Novy Jicin (Czech Republic), BCM Elba Timisoara and ‘U’ Mobitelco Cluj.


Craciunescu in
referees’ all-time table



Former Romanian referee Ion Craciunescu is 41st in the world’s best referees table. The table, consisting of 80 places, was compiled by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). Former international referee Pierluigi Collina (Italy) tops the table. In order to compile the table the IFFHS took into account the activity of referees from 1987 to 2009. Craciunescu totaled 11 points, being in a tie with Mexico’s Arturo Brizio Carter, Sweden’s Bo Karlsso and Britain’s Graham Poll and Howard Webb.


CAF 2010: Cameroon back in the race


Cameroon came back into the race for a place in the quarterfinals of the African Nations Cup 2010. Defeated by Gabon in the first game of Group D, Eto’o and his teammates exacted revenge in their game against Zambia, score 3-2. Gabon drew against Tunisia (0-0) and lost the chance to qualify for the next stage early on. Zambia was close to winning a point in its game against Cameroon after Katongo converted a penalty kick. Thanks to its victory Cameroon is now on second place in Group D, a group topped by Gabon.

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Social

NEWS IN BRIEF

Romanian sailor freed by Somali pirates,
in good condition



The Romanian sailor who was part of the crew of a Greek oil tanker held by Somali pirates was released yesterday and is in good condition, according to press reports, quoting the Romanian Embassy to Greece. “On January 18, Maran Centaurus oil tanker, captured by Somali pirates on November 29, was freed. The Romanian citizen on board the ship is in good condition and so is the entire crew,” the Foreign Ministry said in a release quoted by Mediafax news agency. The Maran Centaurus crew, made of 16 Filipinos, nine Greeks, two Ukrainians and a Romanian, received USD 500 each for “good behaviour” and cooperation while being held captive, according to organization Ecoterra International. The oil tanker was released after Somali pirates received a ransom of between USD 5.5 M and 7 M, one of the highest ransoms ever paid.


Armed robbery
at Galati bank



An armed robbery took place yesterday afternoon within a Bancpost branch in Galati. According to the police, a masked man waving a gun left off with RON 8,000 and EUR 2,000, Mediafax informs. No person was injured in the incident and no gunshots were fired. According to Stefan Gohoreanu, the spokesperson of the Galati County Police, the robbery took place around 2.15 PM. The area was immediately cordoned off by police officers and gendarmes, with the investigators looking for fingerprints. A police investigation has started.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Euroministorage invests EUR 8 M
in Bucharest storage facility



Euroministorage have invested EUR 8 M in developing a facility in Bucharest offering old furniture, winter-summer tyres or bicycle storage area of minimum 1 sq m, Mediafax informs. The centre standing on a total of 7,500 sq m lets storage space to both companies and individuals for a wide range of items like old furniture, bicycles, motorbicycles, or winter/summer tyres. The company also provides supplies such as cardboard boxes, adhesive tape, padlocks, shelves or hangers. ‘It is a self-service ministorage facility based on an existing Western European concept. It practically lets storage space of various sizes from a few square metres to large rooms or even halls’ the company representatives added. Euroministorage Romania is fully owned by Cyprus-registered Euroministorage company.


EUR 7 M invested in Targu Mures
private hospital



A private hospital of almost 6,000 sq m total area will open in Targu Mures at the end of the month. The new facility will provide medical services ranging from neurology to ATI, plastic surgery or occupational medicine. The total investment exceeded EUR 7 M, Mediafax informs. According to a press release issued by the Nova Vita Medical Centre yesterday, following last year’s investments and expansions in the amount of over EUR 7 M, on January 28, the centre will open a private hospital with a total area of 5,800 sq m on nine floors. The hospital seeks to cover all medical and surgical specialities. It will have a birth department and a neonatology wing with ten beds. The source reports the investor, businessman Virgil Mailat, intends to develop the medical project in view of implementing an integrated private medicals service system.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

OTP and Intesa lower interest rates to RON deposits to 8 pc


OTP Bank lowered 0.25 – 0.5 per cent the interest rates to the deposits in RON for companies, the bonus granted to the deposits below RON 25,000 with maturity over two months falling to 7.5 per cent per year, according to Ziarul Financiar. For the remaining maturities, the interest rates are mostly in the interval of 8-9 per cent per year. For Euro, the interest rates were largely maintained at the same level, around 3 per cent per year. The Italians from Intesa Sanpaolo Bank also reduced the interest rates to the deposits in RON with maturity over one month by 0.5 to 0.8 per cent. For the other maturities, the bonuses were either reduced by 0.25 per cent or maintained.


Direct transfer into CEC Bank accounts


CEC Bank is offering Romanians who remit money to the country the option of sending sums directly into CEC Bank accounts, through specialized company Transfer Rapid.


‘Transfers will be directly operated in the accounts indicated by the sender – current or card accounts, own accounts or accounts whose holders are expressly indicated, opened with a CEC Bank unit on Romanian soil’ reads a bank press release. The Transfer Rapid service from CEC Bank is a low-cost money transfer service launched in 2006 and developed exclusively for Romanians sending sums from abroad. CEC Bank asset value grew by 43.2 per cent to RON 19.4 bn in the first 11 months, the bank having increased the balance of granted loans by 13.5 per cent and its deposit portfolio by 21.3 per cent.


Higher bread making tax evasion in 2009


Bread market tax evasion in 2009 was up nearly 10 per cent, leading to a loss of two kilos down to 23 kilos of bread/capita/, said the President of the employers’ association in the bread making industry, Aurel Popescu, quoted by ‘Romania libera’.


According to him, in 2008, the official bread consumption was about 25 kilos/capita. However, the real consumption is around 105 kilos/capita/year. ‘In 2009, taxed bread consumption was smaller by 7 – 8 per cent than in 2008. We assume the decline can be explained by the fiscal evasion that keeps growing every year. To a small extent, the decrease of consumption could be explained by the economic crisis as well. However, we are certain that 5 – 6 per cent of the decrease was generated by tax evasion’ Popescu explained. According to him, based on official figures, bread consumption in Romania is over three times smaller than the EU average. The Rompan president says the real bread market in Romania is worth EUR 1 bln, while the taxed market is just EUR 250 M. ‘Tax evasion on the bread market is growing continuously, having been up 10 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008’ Popescu also said.


Financial Squad
contributed EUR 530 M
to state budget in 2009



The Financial Squad (GF) contributed around EUR 530 M to the state budget last year, the money coming from the recovery of the arrears reported by the firms which did not pay their obligations in time, as it arises from the 2009 balance sheet of the institution, Mediafax informs. As a result of the controls carried out by the institution, the tax evasion deeds identified last year prejudiced the state budget by RON 2.25 bln. Therefore, GF forwarded to the criminal pursuit authorities 5,070 notices for the continuation of the investigations, reads a press release of the institution. At the end of 2009, the Financial Squad reported a growth of 15 per cent of the number of criminal notices, from 4,392 in 2008 to 5,070 last year, a growth of 3 per cent of the total value of the prejudices, from RON 2.19 bln to RON 2.25 bln, and a total value of the seizures up 2 per cent, from RON 131.4 M to RON 134.59 M.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

PwC: Romania must provide incentives for a bigger market share in outsourcing


Romania will have to provide incentives to the level of other countries from Central and Eastern Europe, to increase its share on the global market of outsourced services, as the economic crisis brought down costs, reveals a paper released Thursday by PricewaterhouseCoopers Romania, quoted by Romania Libera. “We should not ignore the fact that there is a global competition over attracting investment and, to this view, governments and local authorities grant fiscal incentives, or other kind of stimulants, to the providers of outsourced services,” said Dan Iancu, Partner, Advisory Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Romania.


CC analyzes anti-competition effects of Electra


The Competition Council (CC) analyzes the possible anti-competition effects of the merger of the energy complexes from Oltenia with Nuclearelectrica, Oltenia National Lignite Company (SNLO) and several Hidroelectrica branches, through the setting up of the national energy company Electra SA, Mediafax informs. Further to the merger of the energy complexes, Rovinari, Turceni, Craiova with SNLO, Nuclearelectrica, Hidroserv Ramnicu Valcea SA and Hidroelectrica branches Ramnicu-Valcea, Sibiu and Targu Jiu, a national company will be set up for the production and supply of electricity and thermal energy, called Electra.


The second company will be called Energetica and will be made up through the merger of Termoelectrica branches Electrocentrale Deva and Electrocentrale Bucharest, of Termoelectrica branches Paroseni and Termoserv Paroseni, with Hidroelectrica branches from Bistrita, Buzau, Cluj, Curtea de Arges, Hateg, Portile de Fier, Oradea, Sebes and Slatina, and with sectors of the National Pit-coal Company. The two companies will hold 90 per cent of the electricity production market.


ArcelorMittal counts on profit
in 2010



Galati-based steel mill owned by world’s biggest steel player ArcelorMittal foresees profit in 2010 after major issues caused by the economic crisis in 2009, ‘Financiarul’ newspaper informs. Company General Manager Thierry le Gall says profitability will be generated by a bigger maintenance budget from EUR 40 to EUR 65 M and by the decrease in energy consumption, while electricity will be also cheaper. Moreover, Le Gall said, production is beginning to come back compared to the beginning of last year. ‘There are improvements compared to where we were standing at the beginning of 2009. At that time we had 60 per cent production fall ahead of crisis, now we are at minus 35 per cent, level that we reached as early as October 2009’ the ArcelorMittal official stated at a press conference at the end of last week. Company officials plan to produce 2.2 M tons of steel next year, compared to the average of 4 M, tons in the last years before the crisis. In order to reach its 2010 production target, the company will need to spend 50 per cent more on maintenance.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

President passes Moldova border traffic accord


President Traian Basescu yesterday signed a decree to promulgate the law ratifying Romania’s border traffic accord with the Republic of Moldova, which was signed in Bucharest on November 13 last year, according to the presidential administration. The law was unanimously passed by the Senate on January 14, after its adoption in the Chamber of Deputies. The accord, signed by PM Emil Boc and his Moldovan counterpart Vlad Filat, provides the opening of three new border check points and regulates the access of people living in a 30-km radius of the border into the two countries.


PDL takes first steps
to enforce referendum



The Democrat Liberal Party’s parliamentary groups were delegated by the National Permanent Bureau yesterday to step up the creation of a constitutional review commission to enforce the results of last year’s referendum, PDL vice president Gheorghe Flutur said yesterday. The move will be made at the beginning of the spring parliamentary session, he said. The constitutional review commission has to be called to analyse the results of a November 22 referendum called by President Traian Basescu, under which Parliament will become a one-chamber assembly and the number of MPs will be cut from the current 471 to 300 at most.


PDL leaders yesterday also decided to call a session of their Leading College on January 30, in order to set up a special commission for the party’s statute, in view of its upcoming internal elections and the new ruling coalition it made together with the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, national minorities and a group of independent lawmakers.

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