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Handball: Three Romanian victories


Three Romanian handball clubs have won clear victories on Saturday in the men’s European Cups. Steaua MFA took an important step towards the quarterfinals of the Cup Winners’ Cup after defeating Ukraine’s HC Portovik Yuzhny, score 33-23. The result has virtually ensured the team’s presence in the competition’s quarterfinals. The return leg is scheduled on February 20 in Ukraine. CSU Suceava and HC Odorheiu Secuiesc have also registered clear victories in the last-16 stage of the Challenge Cup. CSU Suceava defeated Ukraine’s SC Time-Burevestnik, score 31-20 (15-12 at half time). HC Odorheiu Secuiesc defeated Poland’s Kwidzyn, score 32-20.


Rugby: Romania 67 – Germany 5


Romania’s national rugby team defeated Germany on Saturday on Constanta’s ‘Constructorul-Cleopatra’ stadium, score 67-5 (20-5 at half time). The game counted for the European Nations Cup. The 11 tries gave Romania a clear win, allowing it to remain on 4th place in its group, the rugby.ro website informs. Romania will next play against Russia on February 27. Georgia tops the group standings, followed by Russia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Germany.


Rugby: France defeats Ireland in Six Nations Tournament


France clearly won what will likely be a decisive game for the current edition of the Six Nations Tournament, defeating title holder Ireland on Stade de France in the presence of 79,289 fans, score 33-10 (17-3). Being superior in all departments but mostly on counter-attacks, the French scored 3 tries (Servat, Jauzion and Poitrenaud), with the other points being scored by Parra (3 conversions, 1 drop goal and 2 penalties) and Michalak (1 drop goal). Wallace scored a try and O’Gara scored a conversion and a penalty for Ireland.


Rudel Obreja, reduced suspension


The Appeal Commission of the International Amateur Boxing Federation (FIBA) has decide this weekend to reduce the suspension ruled against Rudel Obreja, the president of the Romanian Boxing Federation, from 11 to 5 years, Mediafax informs. The Romanian official had been penalized for not respecting a previous sanction and for presenting forged documents in his attempt to build a defense. ‘They keep mocking but I will file an appeal within the Sports Arbitration Tribunal in Lausanne by March 1 when the deadline is set. FIBA accuses me of forging documents but they announced the decision to suspend me based on documents found on the internet. If the internet has ended up being an official source of information I cannot help it,’ Rudel Obreja stated, being quoted by Mediafax.


Italian reinforcements for CFR Cluj


CFR Cluj is one of the most active League I teams on the transfer market, with the former Romanian title holders buying (as a lease until this summer) Felice Piccolo, a former Italian U-21 player, the official website of Chievo Verona informs. Felice also played for Juventus and Lazio. Aged 26, Piccolo can boast with having played 7 games for Juventus Torino in 2007. He is the second Italian player transferred by head coach Andrea Mandorlini after De Zerbi previously signed a contract with CFR. In his career Felice Piccolo played for Juventus (2001-2002, 2006-2007), Luchese (2002-2003), Como (2003-2004), Reggina (2004-2006), Lazio (2005-2006), Empoli (2007) and Chievo (2009-2010).

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Stramaturaru quits Vancouver


Romanian athlete Violeta Stramaturaru has withdrawn from the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver after being injured while training on the luge track in Whistler, the competition’s organizers inform. Stramaturaru was knocked unconscious after the crash she suffered last Thursday and was taken to hospital. The doctors established that the athlete was not in a serious condition but advised her not to take part in the competition any longer. ‘She will no longer compete because of the accident. The doctor did not give his green light,’ Romanian official Florin Misca stated for EFE agency. Violeta (21) lost control of her luge mid-way through the track and violently slammed against the edge of the track, being knocked unconscious. Her crash took place one day before Nodar Kumaritashvili’s deadly crash. The Georgian athlete lost his life after he was thrown from the luge and slammed into a pole.


Freestyle-Kearney dashes home hopes in moguls


American Hannah Kearney dashed the hopes of millions of Canadians by winning gold in the women’s freestyle moguls on Saturday, snatching the title from hometown favourite Jennifer Heil. In a race that went right down to the wire, the 23-year-old American who struggled with pressure at the 2006 Olympics displayed nerves of steel after Heil moved into first place and electrified the fiercely partisan crowd. “I heard the roar of the crowd, I heard Jenn’s score and I knew I was going to have to ski the best run of my life,” Kearney, who stood at the top of the hill looking down as Heil finished her run, told reporters. “I know that Canada hasn’t won a gold medal on their home turf. I have a feeling they’ll do it this Games, but I’m pleased that I could stop that for now.” The roaring crowd of about 7,500 had ignored the wind and rain as they stood cheering for Heil after the defending gold medallist completed her run down the mountain and moved into first place. Heil’s clean 360-degree twist and back flip with her skis crossed plus her fast time had the crowd roaring with anticipation.


Short track-Korea’s Lee wins men’s 1,500m gold


South Korean Lee Jung-su avoided a last-corner crash with his team mates to win the men’s 1,500 short track Olympic gold medal on Saturday.


American Apolo Anton Ohno took the silver, while compatriot J.R. Celski picked up the bronze after a thrilling final few metres of action that drew gasps of disbelief from the crowd. The Koreans had been heading for a clean sweep of the medals when 2006 silver medallist Lee Ho-suk crashed into Sung Si-bak and took him down with him, with Lee Jung-su only just escaping being knocked over. “We had expected gold, silver and bronze and I didn’t realise my team mates had collided into the barrier so when I crossed the line it wasn’t the greatest feeling as I’d wished for a South Korean sweep,” Lee told reporters. With his medal, Ohno became the most decorated Olympic short track speedskater and also drew level with speedskater Bonnie Blair as his country’s most decorated winter Olympian with six medals.


Wary lugers train as Swiss strike first gold


Organisers shortened the world’s fastest luge track for safety on Saturday after a crash killed a Georgian Olympian, as Swiss ski jumper Simon Ammann won the first gold medal at a Games plagued by warm, wet weather. Slovakia’s Anastazia Kuzmina won gold in the women’s biathlon 7.5km sprint. Freestyle skiing provided the day’s remaining hope for Canada to break its jinx through athlete Jenn Heil. Another gold was to be decided in the short track. After Friday’s tragedy, the International Luge Federation (FIL) shortened the men’s luge to reassure shaken sliders. Adjustments were planned for women’s and doubles starts as well. “The primary concern we have right now is the emotional aspect of it,” FIL secretary general Svein Romstad said at a charged news conference. At times he could barely speak. Luge training resumed, but there were no major spills in morning training. The medals will be decided on Sunday.


Canada blowout threatens to put game on ice


Canada’s women’s ice hockey team got the Vancouver Winter Games party started with a record 18-0 win over Slovakia Saturday in a blowout that raised more questions about the sport’s place in the Olympics. After an opening day that failed to produce a gold medal for the host country, Canada’s dominance over Slovakia served as the perfect tonic for a raucous flag-waving capacity crowd of 16,496 at Canada Hockey Place. But it was not the result Olympic and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) officials wanted to see with more and more people questioning whether women’s ice hockey has developed enough to belong in the Games. “I don’t think it helps our sport, but at the same time we know moving forward every Olympics the competition gets better,” Team Canada captain Hayley Wickenheiser told Reuters.

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US Embassy and American Cultural Center closed on Presidents Day,
on Monday



The US Embassy and the American Cultural Center will be closed on the Presidents Day, on Monday, according to a pres release by the American diplomatic mission to Bucharest. According to the source, the Embassy will resume regular working hours on Tuesday, February 16. The Presidents’ Day is celebrated in the US every year on the third Monday of February. Up until the mid 1970s, February 22, the birthday of the first President of the United States of America and hero of the American Revolution had been a public holiday. February 12, the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, US President during the Civil War, had been considered as a public holiday in many of the American states. Later on, a single day – the third Monday of February – was chosen to celebrate all the former presidents of the US, the Embassy notes.


Caritas Hospital patients moved
to other healthcare facilities



The patients of the Caritas Hospital have been moved to have been moved to other medical facilities according to their number of available places and specialities, following an incident involving a fissured gas pipe leaving the hospital without any heat at all, Caritas Manager Dr. Bogdan Jansen reports. We have made the decision because, after a gas pipe broke, we have no more heat, therefore we cannot sterilize items and we cannot cook either. We have moved a total of 110 patients from surgery, cardiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, neonatology, to other hospitals,’ Dr. Bogdan Jansen said. He said Distrigaz had not offered any guarantee as to the date when the fault would be repaired.


The Caritas Hospital is one of the units reclaimed by the Mosaic Community of the Jews and the lease agreement is to be renegotiated in June 2010. ‘The agreement is valid until 2015, with the amendment that contractual terms and conditions must be re-negotiated in 2010’ said Dr. Jansen, adding he was expecting the written offer of the Community in that respect.


Romanian immigrant convicted
for robbery and assault in the UK



A Romanian immigrant has been convicted and sentenced to nine year in prison for assaulting and robbing an old man in the UK, but he was released on bail and fled the country, ‘The Sunday Express’ reports in its web-edition. A 75-year-old farmer, Don Southerd, has toughly criticized the Court decision granting another one of his assailant bail and asking for his deportation while suspecting that Mihai Vasile was the mastermind behind the gang that attacked the old man. A former army instructor, Southerd, was threatened with a knife and with a firearm, was tied up, beaten and dragged around the house by the perpetrators who eventually robbed GBP 10,000 from a safe box in the home. One of his accomplices, Gheorghita Iordache (27), has been sentenced to nine years in prison after admitting to taking part in the robbery. A third man arrested after the attack has been released for lack of evidence.


Tudor Sisu sentenced to four years
in prison for drug trafficking



Tudor Sisu, a member of the hip-hop band La Familia, was sentenced by the Bucharest Tribunal to four years in prison for drug trafficking, on Friday. The Sentence can be appealed at the Bucharest Court of Appeal. In the 2006 case, the Court also denied some rights to the defendant. Sisu and 15 other individuals are co-defendants in a case where they were charged with setting up a criminal group. They were all remanded in custody awaiting trial back in 2006 and referred to Court in November the same year. The Prosecutors with the Directorate Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) of the High Court Prosecutor’s Office accused the 16 that, in the course of a year, they had distributed nearly 40 kilos of heroine in Bucharest.

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Lifting diplomatic
immunity of Embassy driver not considered



The Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) pointed out on Saturday that lifting the full diplomatic immunity of the driver of the Romanian Embassy in Singapore was not considered at any point in time. Nevertheless, the Ministry has decided that the driver can take part as a witness in the procedures that precede the trial. ‘MAE has expressly decided that the driver of the Romanian Embassy to Singapore can take part as a witness in the procedure that precedes the trial,’ Lucian Rosenfeld, the spokesperson of the MAE, stated.


Nevertheless he pointed out that lifting the full diplomatic immunity of the driver was not considered at any point in time. Singapore’s ‘Straits Times’ daily wrote on Saturday that Romania allegedly lifted the diplomatic immunity of the driver after the local authorities had asked him to stand as a witness in the preliminary investigation. Aurelian Neagu, the Romanian Ambassador to Tokyo, received on Thursday two verbal notes from the Foreign Ministry of Singapore, with one of them inviting Silviu Ionescu himself to take part in the final part of the investigation into the car crash that took place on December 15 and that left one person dead. The other asks for the Embassy driver’s presence as a witness. MAE pointed out that it decided to notify Silviu Ionescu about the content of the first note, but underlined that it cannot decide for Ionescu in what concerns the exercise of judicial rights nor can it impose a certain line of behavior on him.


Two teenagers are
constructing a 3D model of Romania for Google Earth



Two high-school pupils are reconstructing Romania for Google. They remodel the famous buildings of the country for the most famous virtual map in the world. They are working hard on these projects, but they have reason to be proud: their artworks can be seen by everybody on the internet. Ciprian Nutescu and Razvan Mitre collaborate to the creation of the virtual planet. Ciprian is a pupil of the Traian Technical College, while Razvan is in the ‘George Cosbuc’ Bi-lingual College. Since 2007, they are building modelers for Google Earth. “They realized what we are doing and that we have an inclination for this, they got in touch with us and invited us to join their group of elite model builders,” Razvan said. The two teenagers learned 3D modeling by themselves. They have virtually rebuilt the People’s House in almost 7 hours of work and the CEC Palace in 6 hours. The two high-school pupils are working for Google Earth from passion, for free. So far, they have modeled over 100 buildings from Romania, that anyone, from anywhere in the world, can visit online.

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PM Boc blames PSD Gov’t for negotiating short period for agricultural subsidies


Premier Emil Boc accused the PSD Government that back in 2004 it negotiated with the European Union a far too short period for agricultural subsidies, namely a period of only three years after the accession, a fact that forces the current Government to look for other financing solutions, Mediafax reports. ‘The negotiations were improperly done in 2004; they should have negotiated for a longer period of subsidies,’ Boc recently stated. He pointed out that the Government is preparing a new plan in order to support farmers, including by subsidizing the diesel fuel used in the agricultural sector. Romania acceded to the EU in 2007 and had a three-year transition period during which it was allowed to offer agricultural subsidies. Thus, the state’s financial support for pork and fowl, eggs, sugarcane, rice, flax, hemp, soy and tobacco and its subsidies for diesel oil used in the agricultural sector and for the electric energy used in irrigations, have ceased on January 1, 2010, as per the EU norms.


New car registrations, down 84.5 pc in January


January did not bring good results for the car industry. According to the statistics of the Office for Driver’s Licenses and Car Registration, 2,134 new cars have been registered in January, down by 84.5 per cent compared to January last year and by 93 per cent as compared to January 2008, HotNews reports. Volkswagen topped the table of new registered cars with 443 registrations (a market share of 20.7 per cent), followed by Ford with 259 registrations (market share of 12.1 per cent), and Dacia with 201 registrations (market share of 9.4 per cent).


Compared to January 2009 the number of car registrations dropped by 72.1 per cent for Volkswagen, by 73 per cent for Ford and by 94.2 per cent for Dacia.


CNADNR: EUR 3 M flyover in Mehedinti


The National Expressway Company (CNADNR) has recently signed with a Romanian consortium a contract of EUR 3.21 M, plus VAT, for the finalization of the flyover from Ciochiuta, Mehedinti County, on DN6, Mediafax informs. The works will be carried out by the association Societatea de Constructii in Transporturi Bucuresti/Tehnologica Radion/CCCF Drumuri si Poduri Timisoara, within 12 months, plus the period of grace of two years. The contract is financed in a proportion of 75 per cent from non-reimbursable community funds, through ex-ISPA facility, the remaining of the amount coming from the state budget. On the other hand, The Management Authority for Transport Sectorial Operational Programme (AMPOST) and CNADNR signed two financing contracts for the modernization of several sectors from DN24, DN24B and DN1H, with a total value of RON 1.12 bln.


Monroe and Lennon front for Citroen


Twentieth century icons Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon star in a new Citroen TV campaign which breaks this weekend in the UK on ITV’s Dancing on Ice. Created by Euro RSCG London, the ad for the DS3 classic premium brand ironically shows the duo arguing about dwelling on the past for inspiration, according to ‘Jurnalul National.’ Lennon says: “Once a thing’s been done, it’s been done, so why all this nostalgia? I mean, for the Sixties and Seventies, you know, looking backwards for inspiration, copying the past. How’s that rock ‘n’ roll? Do something of your own. Start something new. Live your life now.” The campaign carries the strapline ‘Anti Retro’. The revived Citroen DS, which originates from the French word ‘deesse’, meaning goddess, was first launched in 1955 but was phased out in 1976.

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ArcelorMittal: Investment worth
EUR 2.7 M to repair a furnace



ArcelorMittal Galati steel mill announced it will begin repair works at a furnace, that will cost an estimate EUR 2.7 M and will run for about two weeks, Mediafax reports. The repairs are part of a company program aimed at improving the technical performance and ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the steel works, ArcelorMittal writes in a press release. “We invest not only in repairing furnace no. 4, but also in training our teams so that operations are conducted in optimum conditions,” the CEO of ArcelorMittal Galati, Thierry Le Gall writes in the release. At mid-January, the steel mill announced investments worth EUR 53 M in overhauling furnace no. 5 – a project that will last at least 12 months.


Azomures business down 35 pc
in 2009



The turnover of chemical fertilizers producer Azomures (AZO) fell by 35 per cent to RON 743.3 M (EUR 175.4 M) and profit was 20 times smaller – just RON 2.4 M (EUR 576,000) last year. In 2008, the company had registered RON 1.144 bn turnover and RON 50.5 M profit. Revenue was down 45 per cent to RON 737 M (almost EUR 174 M) last year, according to the preliminary financial results Azomures submitted to the Bucharest Stock Exchange on Friday. Company’s expenses dropped by 42 per cent from RON 1.263 bn to RON 734.5 M (EUR 173.3 M). The operating profit of the company was RON 9 M (EUR 2.1 M), over ten times smaller than the one posted for 2008 – RON 95.2 M. However, on the financial side, Azomures recorded a total loss of almost RON 6.7 M (EUR 1.5 M), 16 per cent smaller than the RON 7.8 M sustained in the previous financial period. At the end of 2009, the company had total debts of RON 125.5 M, a value that was 22 per cent higher than the debt registered by December 31, 2008 – RON 102.8 M. Accounts payable were also up 30 per cent from RON 61 M to RON 79.6 M. The number of employees suffered a slight decline from 2,494 in 2008 to 2,489 in 2009.


ANAF approves 413 company
applications for postponement
of tax payments



By the end of January, ANAF had received a total of 660 applications for the postponement of the payment of taxes from companies, having approved 413 with a total value of RON 210 M (EUR 50 M), ANAF President Sorin Blejnar has stated, according to Mediafax. According to Blejnar, most companies have applied fro six-month derogation, under Emergency Ordinance no. 92 / 2009 which allows companies to postpone the payment of debts as a result of the consequences of the international financial crisis. Debts that may be postponed are only those run after September 30, 2008 in the context of the financial crisis, and eligible companies should have paid their dues on time prior to the mentioned date.

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UDMR does not give up nomination for Tarom CEO


UDMR President Marko Bela recently declared in Targu Mures that he will not nominate someone else, instead of Gombos Csaba, to take over the position of Tarom CEO, Mediafax reports. Asked what he will do if Transport Minister Radu Berceanu will reject Gombos Csaba as Tarom manager, Marko Bela answered that UDMR assumes a responsibility by taking over the administration of Romania’s national air carrier, and the person that will become its top manager will have to bring Tarom back on profit. “I submitted Mr. Gombos’ nomination, he will have a talk with Mr. Minister (Radu Berceanu) and they will draw o conclusion. You must be aware that, with respect to Tarom, we take a real responsibility, as we assume a loss-making institution that has certain problems, and the person who will go there will first have to get Tarom out of the red,” Marko Bela said. The UDMR leader added that Gombos has the management expertise required by the position he was nominated for. Asked whether UDMR will nominate someone else, if Berceanu does not accept him, Marko Bela answered: “No, for now, I am waiting.”


Price of new dwellings in Dorobanti, Baneasa over 50 pc down
in 2009



The new dwellings from Dorobanti, Sisesti-Straulesti and Baneasa registered last year the biggest decline of prices – over 50 per cent, while the prices of those from Aviatorilor-Kiseleff fell the least, such area becoming the most expensive in Bucharest, according to CB Richard Ellis-Eurisko (CBRE). Thus, the prices of the new dwellings from Aviatorilor-Kiseleff range between EUR 3,000-4,000 per sq m built, against EUR 3,500-4,500 in 2008, a survey of the real estate consultancy company shows.


Biofarm swings back into profit in 2009, with earnings of RON 20 M


Pharmaceutical producer Biofarm Bucharest (BIO) went back into profit last year with net earnings of over RON 20 M, compared to the RON 21.3 M loss suffered in 2008, the company having cut expenses by over 40 per cent, Mediafax informs. ‘Through a process of making expenses more cost-effective, Biofarm obtained a net profit of RON 20.079 M, RON 6.064 representing revenue from updating long-term stock portfolios held by Biofarm in companies listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange’ reads a statement the company sent to BVB on Friday. Biofarm’s revenue was up 4 per cent from RON 70 M in 2008 to RON 73.35 M in 2009, according to preliminary financial results.

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Predoiu, German envoy discuss Justice Ministry’s priorities in 2010


Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu met on Friday with the Ambassador of Germany in Romania, Andreas von Mettenheim, the two discussing about the priorities of the Ministry of Justice in 2010. The Justice Ministry informed on Friday that the issues discussed by the two were the codes, the impact studies, the enforcement laws, the modification of the Law regarding the Constitutional Court. In his turn, Andreas von Mettenheim voiced the availability of Germany to further support the reform of the judicial system in Romania, and the interest for the development of new joint projects.


C.V. Tudor: US antimissile shield – a serious danger for Romania


The president of the Greater Romania Party (PRM), Corneliu Vadim Tudor, considers that the location of the components of the antimissile shield on the territory of Romania is “a serious danger” for our country. “The anti-missile shield represents a serious danger for Romania. God forbids us to feel the furious reaction of Russia,” the PRM MEP declared on Friday in a press conference. He added that his stand against the location of the American antimissile shield is connected neither with alleged pro-Russian sympathies, nor with possible anti-American antipathies. “It is a matter of national security. We bother without needing,” Vadim Tudor said, adding that the theme of the antimissile shield “concerns us all.” PRM president stated that a first warning from Russia would have been the lower pressure of gas.

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Buzau PNL, PDL branches seal “gentlemen’s agreement”


Leaders of the opposition National Liberal Party’s Buzau branch sealed a “gentlemen’s agreement” for collaboration with county councilors of the ruling Democrat Liberal Party, PNL secretary general Radu Stroe said on Friday, quoted by Mediafax. The agreement is not an official one, he said, adding that the two sides agreed to work together and solve various problems of the local community. “This is not a political alliance on county or national level,” he added. Stroe also said that central leaders of both parties were informed of the agreement. The head of PDL Buzau, Cezar Preda, meanwhile voiced hope that such agreements would spread to other counties as well and attacked central Liberal leaders who urged local members to stay away from PDL. Preda said PDL Buzau will help Liberals reclaim the County Council vice president post which is currently held by a Social-Democrat. He added that PDL and PNL can offer political stability in the Buzau County Council.

Historians clash over Communist Crime Institute top post


The head of the Communist Crime Investigation Institute (ICCR), leading historian Marius Oprea accused the government of wanting to replace him on the post in order to force the institute under political supervision. Oprea, a member of the opposition Liberal Party, told HotNews that Vladimir Tismaneanu, who is heading the presidential commission in charge of analyzing communist crimes and who developed a famous report by which the head of state publicly denounced communism, wants to have him replaced by all means. Oprea said Tismaneanu asked him to name him honourary president of the ICCR, but that he refused and instead named a famous dissident on the post. The historian also insisted that he has information he would be replaced simply because he is a member of the opposition Liberal Party. He added that if he is replaced, he will organize a fund raiser and set up a new institute to continue ICCR’s job. The allegations were rejected by ruling Democrat Liberal MEP Cristian Preda, a former presidential adviser, and by Tismaneanu as well.

Magistrates say
president’s coat
of arms, illegal



The national coat of arms at Cotroceni Palace is illegal, as its background colour was modified from blue, as the law requires, into violet, Romanian Magistrates’ Association honourary president Viorica Costiniu said on Friday, during a session of the Bucharest Court of Appeals. Costiniu said the presidential staff thus violated legal provisions which establish the shape, size and colour of the national coat of arms and insisted that prosecutors should begin an investigation into the case. Her comments came as earlier last week, satirical weekly ‘Academia Catavencu’ revealed that the coat of arms put up on President Traian Basescu’s rostrum at Cotroceni Palace has violet background, while the law clearly states the background should be blue. The discovery comes amid speculation that the head of state might have got esoteric support in last year’s presidential campaign. One particular esoteric concept brought up was the so-called “Violet Flame,” as both the president and members of his staff were often seen wearing clothing or accessories in this colour.

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