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U Craiova in danger of forfeit


Universitatea Craiova is close to losing at the green table by 3-0 its match with Gaz Metan Medias, counting for League 1’s leg this Saturday, because the team does not have a location for the match. The team said they have not yet received approval to play on a stadium in nearby city of Drobeta Turnu Severin, and they cannot play the match on their own stadium because they don’t have a valid contract. The situation is likely to bring about a green table ruling declaring Universitatea Craoiva defeated by 3-0 in the match with Medias.


Former international referee Mircea Salomir dies


Mircea Salomir, FIFA referee retired from activity, died on Tuesday evening, at the age of 64, after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February last year. Salomir underwent surgery at the Cluj Neurological Surgery Clinic. Born on May 1, 1945, at Turda, Salomir initially played football at Cugir, Gloria Bistrita and Universitatea Cluj, and retired as player in 1977. For 12 years on FIFA list, he refereed over 40 international matches. The Romanian Football Federation and RFR Central Referee Commission expressed their deepest condolences to the mourning family.

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League I: Unirea Urziceni 0 – CFR Cluj 1


CFR Cluj won its away game against Unirea Urziceni on Monday, score 1-0 (1-0 half time). It was the last game of leg 18, the first leg of the second half of the season. Ivorian Lacina Traore scored the game’s only goal in the 42nd minute. This was Unirea’s second defeat at home this season following its defeat at the hands of FC Vaslui in leg 10, score 1-2. Of the 8 games it played against CFR, Unirea lost 5 and drew 3. Nevertheless, this was CFR’s first away win against Urziceni. CFR Cluj tops the League I standings with 37 points, followed by Unirea Urziceni and Steaua Bucharest with 34 points. Unirea’s defeat comes three days before its return leg against Liverpool, a game counting for the last-32 stage of the Europa League.


No training session for Liverpool in Bucharest


FC Liverpool will not take part in any training session in Bucharest before its return leg against Unirea Urziceni, a game counting for the last-32 stage of the Europa League. FC Liverpool will land on Wednesday evening at 8 PM at the ‘Aurel Vlaicu’ Airport in Baneasa, with the team’s press conference scheduled at 9.15 PM at the Radisson Blu Hotel. The game between the two teams is scheduled on Thursday at 8 PM on the ‘Steaua’ stadium. Liverpool won the first leg game, score 1-0.


Decision in Mutu case possible on March 20


Romania striker Adrian Mutu, who twice tested positive for sibutramine, will be heard by the antidoping prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee and a decision in this case could be taken on March 20, ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’ daily wrote on Tuesday. ‘Mutu will be heard by the antidoping prosecutor in the first week of March and the prosecutor will decide whether to suspend him or not. In case of a suspension the prosecutor will propose the duration of the suspension which will then be evaluated by the National Antidoping Tribunal. A final decision in this case could be taken on March 20,’ the Italian daily wrote. Adrian Mutu returned on Monday to Florence from the holiday he spent with his family and he could resume training alongside his teammates.


Nadia Comaneci
tournament in Oklahoma City – second edition



The second edition of the Nadia Comaneci International Invitational women’s artistic gymnastics competition took place in Oklahoma City. Three junior gymnasts from CSA Steaua Bucharest – Georgiana Gheorghe, Andreea Tufa and Diana Rusu – took part in the competition. Georgiana Gheorghe finished the juniors’ competition on third place, behind Riley Cholod (Canada) and Kristina Sankova (Ukraine). 740 gymnasts from eight countries (Australia, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Romania, Ukraine, United States and Venezuela) took part in the tournament.


ASTRA Asigurari, Romanian Athletics Federation sign traditional partnership


The Romanian Athletics Federation (FRA) has recently announced the continuation of its partnership with ASTRA Asigurari, according to a press release remitted to the editorial office. “We are honored by the partnership which is in its third year of existence. We are happy that we had the possibility to be near FRA and the present national champions; they are those who will represent Romania everywhere in the world at the European, world and Olympic competitions,” stressed Radu Mustatea, president Directorate with ASTRA Asigurari. In his address, FRA president, Sorin Matei, declared: “This partnership is indeed particularly agreeable for us, and beneficial for both parties. At the same time, our collaboration synthesizes the idea of performance, if we consider the fact that the champions and their coaches were awarded by the Romanian Athletics Federation the t-shirts offered by ASTRA Asigurari.”

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Women get stabbed in Iasi, attacker caught


Ten women have filed police complaints after a man attacked them on Tuesday evening with a pointed object. The women recount of the same behavior from the man, who would be stinging and stabbing them in private parts and then would run away. One of the women, a student aged 22, is currently in hospital, in serious condition, Mediafax reports. The victims are aged between 20 and 38. The assault took place in the Iasi railway station area. Investigators don’t rule out the existence of a larger number of victims who did not report the aggression. Yesterday evening , the Police announced the suspect has been caught near a local highschool while he was trying to sting a student.

Police raids to
dismantle Timis counterfeiting
network



Organised Crime Brigade officers yesterday conducted seven raids in Timisoara, as part of a wider operation to dismantle a group of National Savings Bank (CEC) document counterfeiters. The raids followed a detailed police surveillance operation for several months, which found that members of the group were working in many large cities. Investigators say that, using false identities, group members, most of them from Timisoara, deceived several Romanian firms, buying construction materials and using CEC bank documents without a cover to pay for these materials. The group is believed to have caused over RON 2 M in loses to the deceived contractors, investigators said.

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Romtelecom issues
internet-based video monitoring service



Romtelecom yesterday launched BlueCam – a video monitoring service available online through any internet connection solution sold by the operator, from EUR 6.5 / month for each installed video camera, according to a press release. The installation, cabling and activation of the service are free of charge for an unlimited number of cameras. The maintenance and servicing of the equipment that is in the customer’s custody are provided at no cost for the subscriber. Accessible at www.bluecam.ro from a computer or mobile phone, the portal supports the centralized viewing of all installed cameras divided per location.


Hella to invest EUR 20 M in Romanian plants


The Romanian subsidiary of the German auto component manufacturing group Hella will invest approximately EUR 20 M in equipment for local production facilities in 2010 and 2011, Hella Romania CEO Gelu Murariu told Mediafax. Hella has four production units in Romania, at Timisoara, Lugoj and Arad, and a research&development centre at Craiova, a division that may enter into an agreement with the local Ford plant. The local subsidiary set up end of 2009 by merger of Hella Electronics Romania and Hella Lighting Romania has a total of 700 employees. German group spokesman Markus Richter says Hella Romania records the highest business growth of all 17 European markets where the group operates. The company forecasts 48 per cent up – EUR 71 M – turnover in the fiscal year ending on May 31, 2010. In the fiscal year 2010/2011, Hella expects to have a 12 per cent bigger turnover of EUR 79 M.


Egg dispute moves to lawmakers


Chamber of Deputies’ agriculture committee head Valeriu Tabara, a Democrat Liberal, said allegations that Romanian eggs are laid by distressed hens are “a diversion launched on the market in order to drive consumers away from local goods,” Mediafax reports. Poultry growers, in turn, give assurances that Romanian eggs are perfectly healthy products, during a committee hearing on the ‘egg scandal’ case. Lawmakers questioned sanitary-veterinary, consumer protection, poultry breeders’ association and Agricola Bacau representatives in the case. The eggs’ price will grow with 10-12 pc starting 2012, if the improvement comfort system for chickens will be applied, said Agricola Bacau president, Grigore Horoi. Tabara pointed out that the accusations regarding bad eggs coming from stressed hens kept in inappropriate conditions were made with a very specific intention in mind – that of “hitting a well-performing sector” where prices cannot be raised whenever one wishes. Liberal Deputy Mihai Banu also said that NGOs that voiced the accusations made statements in “ill faith” and asked that their representatives should be taken to court. Union of Poultry Growers of Romania (UCPR) president Ilie Van too said that “no study, no research can prove that battery hens are subject to more stress than those living in an open space.” In addition, Agriculture Minister Mihail Dumitru said all eggs on the market meet food health and safety standards.

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RON 261 M worth of investment
contracts in renewable energy



The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business Environment (MECMA) has finalised the signing of financing agreements for a total of 14 renewable energy production projects worth a total of RON 612 M, Mediafax reports. RON 261 M of the amount is represented by non-repayable funds. “The installed power of all these projects is almost 50.2 MW electric power and around 35 MW thermal power,” according to a press release from the institution. The projects are funded through the Sectoral Operational Programme for the Improvement of Economic Competitiveness. Structural funds combined with national budget funds allocated for renewable energy production investments amount to EUR 263 M, available from 2007 to 2013.


Romania, fifth in EU as regards industry orders’ value drop


Romania ranks fifth in the European Union as regards the decrease rate of new industrial orders’ value in December 2009 – 4 per cent compared to November 2009, whereas the indicator in the EU bloc was 0.6 per cent, according to Eurostat data. New industry orders’ value in November dropped by 2.1 per cent compared to October, when it recorded a 2.9 per cent growth. The indicator dropped in 11 and went up in ten of the 21 states covered by the Eurostat report. As regards the annual decrease of new industrial orders’ value in December 2009 – 12.1 per cent – Romania was overtaken by Ireland (24.8 per cent), Portugal (15.6 per cent), Estonia (13.2 per cent) and Poland (12.8 per cent). The biggest indicator growth rates in annual terms were reported by France (20.4 per cent), Slovakia (18.2 per cent) and Finland (15.4 per cent).


Tourism layoffs


Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism employees will be facing layoffs in the near future, Minister Elena Udrea told HotNews.ro yesterday. It is not known how many people will become unemployed, but what’s certain is that the ministry has more workers than it needs, Udrea said. The high number of employees resulted from the merger of the Tourism Ministry and the Development Ministry into the current institution. “We have a total of 893 employees, too many for a ministry. We will try to keep the number of workers that we need for our ministry’s activity. We do not have an accurate evaluation yet. People in the ministry are working to find the correct formula, the right person in the right place. And we want to make sure they each have work to do because everybody knows that, in the public sector, people generally spend more time being idle than working,” Udrea explained.

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EUR 340 M loan for Victoriei – Otopeni new subway line


The government has decided to kick off procedures needed to contract a EUR 340 M loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, in view of financing construction works on a subway line running from Victoriei Square to Otopeni Airport. The decision was made during a government session yesterday, through the adoption of a memorandum, cabinet sources told Mediafax news agency. The document provides the signing of a simplified agreement between Romania and Japan over the loan.Last summer, Transport Minister Radu Berceanu said his ministry had finalised details needed to contract a EUR 300 M loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency in order to build the subway line. Back then, he pointed out that Romanian authorities are looking for financing solutions for another EUR 500-600 M, considering that the total cost of the Gara de Nord train station – Victoriei Square – Otopeni Airport subway line stands at approximately EUR 1 bln. The subway line will have a length of 15.79 kilometers, 19 stops and one depot. The new line will be serviced by 21 trains with 6 carriages each and will have a transport capacity of 50,000 passengers per hour in a single direction.


Another EUR 200 M needed to complete Bucharest beltway


The National Company of Highways and National Roads in Romania (CNADNR) needs an extra EUR 200 M in order to complete works on the Bucharest beltway, as the current funds will run out at the end of June, a CNADNR director, Marin Ionescu, said. He also told Mediafax that works are currently focusing on the northern part of the beltway, namely on the 21-kilometre segment from Chitila to Voluntari. In order to complete these works this year CNADNR needs another EUR 25 M. This segment also includes three underpasses: in Stefanesti and Tunari (EUR 3.5 M each) and in Otopeni (EUR 11 M). “We have tried to obtain co-financing for these underpasses from local authorities too, but we were unsuccessful. We have no debts to construction companies working on the northern part of the beltway but they have started to work and the first bills will soon come,” Ionescu added. The beltway contains two segments for which construction works are yet to be contracted – the one between National Road 2 and Highway 2, and the one between National Road 7 and Highway 1. The company will try to obtain EUR 50 M financing from the European Investment Bank to complete these projects.

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Carpatair to launch direct flights from Craiova to Italy


Flight company Carpatair will launch direct flights from Craiova to Milan and Rome on May 24, with return flights twice a week, the operator said in a press release. The flights will be operated by Fokker 70 aircraft, which recently became operational with a capacity of 72 places, including 12 in the business class. Prices start from EUR 49, plus taxes. Currently, the company has daily flights to Milan (Bergamo) and Rome (Fiumicino) from its Timisoara hub. By launching direct flights to Craiova, Carpatair extends its presence on the airports of Milan and Rome with four flights a week, thus reaching a total of eight flights a week to each destination.


Blue Air opens five new destinations to Italy


Blue Air will start operating flights to five destinations in Italy and outside Europe as of May, under a codeshare partnership made with Italian Blue Panorama airline, Mediafax reports. Blue Air passengers can book tickets to Bangkok and Havana – flights operated by Blue Panorama on a weekly basis – and to three Italian destinations: Palermo, Turin and Lamezia. These three flights will be operated by the Blue Express low-cost carrier which is part of the Distal Group alongside Blue Panorama and airport handling company ITR. Blue Air anticipates a total of 20,000 passengers on the five routes in the first year, which represents a four to five per cent rise for the Italian market. The low-cost airline also counts on EUR 2-3 M turnover from the new destinations.


BA Cabin Crew Vote For Strike Action


British Airways faces a costly strike after a ballot of the carrier’s cabin crew staff gave overwhelming backing for industrial action. The Unite union balloted some 13,000 cabin crew members on industrial action as part of a dispute over job losses and changes to working practices. It said 81 percent of the 9,000 crew who returned the ballots voted in favour of strike action. “By all standards that is an extraordinary result especially given the type of pressure and intimidation that our members have faced over the past weeks both from BA management who have threatened to withdraw staff travel concessions and also from other individuals within the company,” Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite told reporters following the result of the ballot. Unite said no dates for the strike had been set but reiterated that crew would not strike over the Easter holiday at the start of April. BA wants three quarters of its crew to accept a pay freeze this year, and for 3,000 staff to switch to part-time working, along with a reduction in onboard crewing levels from 15 to 14 on long-haul flights from London Heathrow.


Lufthansa: About 15 Romania outbound flights cancelled by strike


On the first day of German pilots’ strike, Lufthansa cancelled six Bucharest outbound flights – two to Frankfurt and four to Munich – of a total of ten scheduled flights, Mediafax informs. In addition, about 15 flights departing from Romania could be cancelled for the duration of the industrial action. Flights from Sibiu, Timisoara and Cluj-Napoca have not been yet affected, and neither have the Lufthansa Italy services from Bucharest to Milan Malpensa. ‘Fewer flights will be cancelled in the next period, the total number of expected cancelled flights from Romania being about 15 until the end of the strike. However, it is difficult to make estimations for the upcoming period because there is a variety of factors that may influence current plans and contribute to changes’ an airline company spokesperson said. The strike of the Cockpit German pilots’ union was announced for February 22-25, but pilots announced on Monday they had suspended protests until March 8, midnight.

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Raiffeisen sheds 12pct
on possible merger with parent



Investors dumped Raiffeisen International shares on Tuesday after news that it was considering merging with its parent in a deal to create a slower-growing, less profitable bank. Shares in emerging Europe’s second-biggest lender traded down 8 percent at 36.56 euros by 0847 GMT after dropping as much as 9.4 percent, the highest daily decline since March 2009 following Raiffeisen’s surprise statement late on Monday. Raiffeisen’s 70 percent parent, cooperative bank RZB said it was considering merging with Raiffeisen International in a deal that would break with a long-cherished tradition and result in a listing of the mutually owned group.It would add RZB’s mature Austrian business with the fast-growing franchise Raiffeisen International has built in 17 countries of the former Communist bloc, diluting the growth and profitability that investors thought they had been buying into. RZB and Raiffeisen International provided only scant detail of how a deal would work, apart from saying that the combined entity would still be listed. The most likely option would be an upstream merger under which RZB’s owners — eight regional cooperative banks — and Raiffeisen International’s free float would end up owning the combined group.


Vilau & Mitel, official sponsor of “Chambers of the Year” award


Thanks to its reputation and position on the market, Vilau & Mitel was the only law firm in Romania in the last 20 years which attended the Legal Business Awards 2010 event, being at the same time official sponsor of the “Chambers of the Year” award, a press release reads. The award was granted to the team of lawyers from Fountain Court Chambers, as recognition of the legal performances obtained at the highest level of professionalism. “The distinctions and the awards obtained in the last three years demonstrate the quality of the services and the excellent business relation that we have developed with our clients. This acknowledgement on local and international levels pleased us and we are proud we were sponsors of an international event attended by four law firms acknowledged for the quality of their services,” Dragos Vilau, Senior Partner Vilau & Mitel, said.

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Bucharest, Sofia undertake Schengen accession plan


Romania’s Administration and Interior Ministry signed with the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior a plan of action regarding accession to Schengen Space, further to a working meeting between the two institutions’ representatives in Ruse, Bulgaria. The signing of the action plan of action was brought about during a meeting of state secretary Marian Tutilescu, chief of Schengen Department, and Pavlin Dimitrov, Bulgarian deputy minister of interior, reads a MAI press release, quoted by Mediafax. The main measures stipulated in the plan of action are legislative, operative, for the development of communication means and of technical equipment, for intensification of practical cooperation, for preparation of competence.

Anti-Romanian
posters in France –
‘no diplomatic incident’



A political advisor from the Romanian Embassy in France, Maria Ibram said the offensive poster issue raised two days ago was not a “diplomatic incident.”


Ibram explained the French National Railway Company (SNCF) has already presented its excuses in the matter, France Soir writes in its online edition. According to Human Rights League vice-president Malik Salemkour, the anti-racial posters were sign of “instigating racist and hateful feelings.” Salemkour also said it was sad and embarrassing the fact that a SNCF employee could have posted such a message in a public train. “I thought it was a joke, not a real thing.” According to France Soir, a poster reading “Romanians are not welcome here” advised TER train passengers to be careful and protect their own belongings from “theft from Romanians.” The company later presented its excuses and withdrew all the posters from trains. In spite of excuses, France Soir qualified the company’s position as “embarrassing.”

Senate opens
souvenir shop



Leadership of the Senate has decided to promote the institution’s already torn public image by opening a souvenir shop for Palace of Parliament visitors. Inspired by the already implemented model of their Deputy Chamber colleagues, the senators are opening a souvenir and customized promotional gift shop next to a conference centre. They also want to open the plenary sitting hall of the Senate to the public. Currently, the above mentioned location may not be visited. “Senate leadership has, in principle approved our proposals. We intend to raise extra-budgetary funds because, in our opinion, we have a space that will be quite attractive for the public and also because our budget is a very small one. Obviously, we will also need the necessary consent of the Ministry of Finance” Senate Deputy Secretary General Gheorghe Constantin informs.

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