ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Dinner in the Sky
to open first restaurant in Bucharest



Dabid Ghysels, creator of the “Dinner in the Sky” concept will be in Bucharest this week, trying to find a location for positioning a hanging restaurant. According to Ghysels, Romania is an excellent place for such a concept to be put to practice. “Dinner in the Sky” is a hanging restaurant built at 50 meters height, a project basically accommodating 22 people and meant for various events, from weddings and corporate events to friends gatherings. The concept was named one of the top five amazing restaurants in the world by Boston Glove. The project can accommodate a large table weighing up to five tonnes and able to rotate by 180 degrees.


Romanian author guest in Leipzig’s Book Fair


The Romanian Cultural Institute in Berlin has invited several Romanian authors to participate in this year’s Leipzig Book Fair. Writer Ana-Maria Sandu will be among the invited writers, she will hold a public reading session in “Small languages, Big languages” forum. She will read on March 18, together with Ukraine writer Serhij Zhadan (whose latest novel was published in German). The Romanian writer’s novel “Kill Me!” was partially written during a Berlin residence last year and is to be soon released in Germany as well. The writer will also get to read of her first novel, “The Girl in a Wagon House” in a live session at Leipzig’s Book House, where other young authors from Ireland and Malta will read. On March 22, Sandu will feature together with Luxembourg writer Guy Helminger and Serbian Laszlo Vegel in a Berlin writers’ workshop in the famous Kulturbrauerei centre.


‘The Flying Dutchman’ returns to the
National Opera



After almost ten years, National Opera in Bucharest will reprise on March 20 a revamping of an older success with Wagner’s ‘Der Fliegende Holländer’ (‘The Flying Dutchman’) under iconic director Cristian Mandeal’s helm. The original crew of November 2000’s premiere reunites alongside Beatrice Rancea, who was debuting as director nine years ago with this very performance. Also debuting almost a decade ago was then designer Irina Schrotter, who will sign the costumes for this premiere as well. The choir will be conducted by Stelian Olariu. This time, stage design will be signed by famous Helmut Sturmer. Baritone Stefan Ignat will perform the main character, who has been singing Wagner’s Wotan in “The Rhine Gold” in 2006, in Lisbon’s Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos. The Dutchman will be performed by US baritone Gary Simpson, special guest of the performance.


Z.O.B. opens Bloodhound Gang show


Tonight’s Silver Church concert from US punk group Bloodhound Gang will be spiced up by a Z.O.B performance, in the opening. ZOB is one of the oldest and highly respected Romanian punk bands. The Bloodhound Gang is a Collegeville, Pennsylvania-based American alternative/punk rock band, whose current members are Jimmy Pop (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Jared Hasselhoff (bass guitar), DJ Q-Ball (turntables, keyboard), The Yin (drums, percussion) and Denial P. Cartier (lead guitar). Their songs typically have humorous and off-beat, satirical lyrics that often deal with sexual subjects.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Eaton improves Heptathlon World Indoor record to 6499


Ashton Eaton of the University of Oregon set a new World Indoor record* of 6499 points in winning the men’s Heptathlon at the NCAA indoor championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, iaaf.org informs. Eaton, defending the championship he won a year ago, set personal heptathlon bests in every one of the seven Heptathlon events to better the World indoor best of 6476 set by Dan O’Brien on this same weekend 17 years ago in Toronto at the 1993 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Eaton’s marks were: 60m, 6.71; LJ, 7.73; SP, 13.12; HJ, 2.11 (3,561); 60H, 7.86; PV 5.10; 1000m, 2:32.67.


Rugby-Scotland and England draw 15-15


Scotland and England fought out their first draw for 21 years when a try-less, error-strewn Six Nations game ended 15-15 at Murrayfield on Saturday, severely denting the title hopes of the visitors. Scotland, beaten by France, Wales and Italy and seemingly on course for the wooden spoon, produced a spirited performance to please their coach, former England supremo Andy Robinson. England, needing a win to have a realistic chance of their first title since 2003, once again looked desperately shorn of ideas and invention and never threatened a try. Ireland, who beat Wales 27-12 earlier, are on six from four games. England have five, Italy and Wales two points and Scotland one.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

Ambassador to China wins Chinese
press association popularity prize



Romania’s Ambassador to China Viorel Isticioaia received the popularity award given by the ‘Home and Abroad News Press’ Chinese Press Association at the ninth annual prize-awarding gala in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, quoted by Mediafax. This was the second consecutive year that the Romanian ambassador was offered the award, handed to Chinese and foreign figures most popular with Chinese readers. Along with his award, the ambassador also received an engraving reading ‘China-Romania Friendship’ in Chinese characters.


The March 9 prize-awarding ceremony was attended by journalists, Chinese officials, artists and diplomatic corps delegates accredited in Beijing, the ministry said.


Divorced or remarried priests can
no longer hold liturgy



Romanian Orthodox Church’s Synod has decided that divorced priests can no longer hold liturgies. The widower priests that have decided to remarry are also targeted by the decision. The priests that have broken God’s commandment are also no longer allowed to hold leadership offices or to teach within the theological education system. The priests should be an example for the faithful, the representatives of the Romanian Patriarchy argue. However the Holy Synod does allow them to remain within the Church administration ‘if they show missionary qualities.’ It seems the decision will affect more than 1,000 priests from all over the country. According to Antena 3, the Holy Synod in fact worries about the high number of priests. Statistics show that there are over 17,000 priests and almost 20,000 non-clerical employees in Romania. Over 10,000 students graduate from theology faculties and institutes every year.


Fires kill two Romanians in Italy


Two Romanians, one of them a 13-year-old child, lost their lives in two fires that took place in Rome and Milan in the last 24 hours, according to Italian press reports. AGI agency said at least four people, including a 24-year-old Romanian, were killed in a fire that started in a Rome club owned by a cultural association on Saturday night.


The club was hosting a party attended by 40 people. Firefighters believe the fire started because the club’s electricity network overheated. In another case, a 13-year-old child lost his life on Saturday morning in a nomad camp fire on the outskirts of Milan. Separately, three Romanians were arrested in Rome after they were caught stealing coins from Trevi Fountain.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

PDL advisor dies while
on holiday in Egypt



Ioan Sighiartau, advisor within PDL Bistrita-Nasaud, died on Saturday while on holiday in Egypt with his wife, Mediafax informs. According to preliminary information, the death was caused by a heart attack.


Ioan Oltean, President of PDL Bistrita, pointed out that, before leaving on holiday Sighiartau apologized for not being able to take part in the County Council meeting in which the budget was voted this month, arguing that he is very tired and he needs a holiday. ‘I told him not to worry, to go on holiday because we can manage without him. He was an extraordinary man. He had a heart attack and he died. It’s a terrible loss for us as a party, it’s a terrible loss for everybody,’ Ioan Oltean stated. Ioan Sighiartau (60) was Vice President of PDL’s Bistrita-Nasaud branch, County advisor and a member of the Territorial Public Order Authority (ATOP).


Young man injured
by tiger at Sibiu Zoo



A 28-year-old man from Sibiu was taken to hospital on Saturday afternoon after his right leg was mauled by a tiger at the local Zoo.


According to Adela Negoi, spokesperson of Sibiu Police, the young man tried to tease the animal but the tiger caught him by the leg. The young man is in a stable condition. ‘The tigers’ cage in the Zoo is surrounded by a fence located one meter away from it. The fence has numerous warning signs. The animal couldn’t have reached the young man; it means he placed his foot in the animal’s cage,’ she said.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Ikea parent company takes over Romanian
franchise



Swedish group Ikea directly enters Romanian retail market, having purchased operating and franchise rights of its Bucharest store, according to an Ikea Romania press release. As of March 8, Ikea Romania has become part of the Ikea Group, after three years as local franchise given by Inter Ikea Systems, global franchisor of the Ikea concept, the document reads. Antena 3, quoting industrial sources, reported that Romanian businessman Puiu Popoviciu opened the Ikea store, a EUR 25 M investment, at the Baneasa mall, in 2007, only to sell the Ikea operations in Romania to the Swedish namesake group for over EUR 30 M. The only Ikea store in Romania listed in 2009 a turnover of RON 349.24 M, EUR 83.2 M, down 9 per cent from previous year.


Record price petrol


The three petrol companies on the Romanian market have raised the price of motor vehicle fuel every few days lately, by a similar RON 0.06 for both petrol and diesel oil, according to an analysis by the ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ daily newspaper. The lowest-priced petrol has exceeded the level in July 2008, when a barrel of petrol was priced at the all-time high of USD 147, and that, while petrol is being traded now for USD 80 a barrel, as it also did earlier in the year. The situation is caused by a 33 per cent RON/USD depreciation, but also to a 13 per cent and 20 per cent hike in taxes levied on diesel oil and petrol respectively, Petrom officials said. The lowest-priced unleaded petrol varieties range from RON 4.2/liter, Petrom’s unleaded Premium, to RON 4.39 for one liter of Rompetrol’s Efix 95 and RON 4.31/liter for LukOil’s COR 95 unleaded. And yet, European Commission data show Romania is the country with some of the lowest fuel prices EU-wide.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

EC claims no accord
was reached to support Greece



Euro states have reached no accord yet over providing financial support to Greece, but technical talks go on and the Commission is ready to act, if necessary, a spokesperson for the European Commission announced on Saturday, quoted by Reuters. The explanation comes after British daily The Guardian wrote Saturday that the states of the Euro zone agreed on providing financial support to Greece. The newspaper quotes sources in Brussels saying that the Finance ministers of Euro states will complete on Monday a financial package aimed at saving Greece from the severe crisis it is experiencing of late. Adding to this, the criteria for the Euro zone will become stricter, in view of strengthening the financial discipline of member states.


Fitch: BB+ rating for Romania’s EUR 1 bln Eurobonds issue


Fitch Ratings on Friday rated BB+ the Eurobonds issue to be floated by Romania, worth EUR 1 bln, in compliance with the country rating for long-term debts in foreign currency, BB+ with a stable perspective, agency sources announced, quoted by Mediafax. The budget program for this year provides for a 5.9 pc budget deficit, down from 7.8 pc in 2009. Fitch considers there are risks related to the enforcement of the measures provided in the 2010 budget, such as freezing salaries in the public sector and slashing jobs. The agency estimates Romania’s general governmental debt (guarantees included) at 33 pc of the GDP by end-2010, compared to 21.8 pc at the end of 2008.


Government postpones payment of salary claims won in court during 2010


The Government passed an ordinance that schedules over a 3-year interval (2011-2013) the payment of salary claims won in court by civil servants for this year, Mediafax reports. The ordinance became effective on Friday night. Under the new act, the sums provided by court order as salary rights in favor of public sector employees, which become enforceable during January 1st – December 31st 2010, will not be integrally paid this year. Instead, they will be scheduled to payment during the next three years, based on the procedure used by the Government for the claims during 2009, which was then justified by the need to keep budget deficit under control. Thus, in 2011 authorities will pay 34 pc of the enforceable claims, followed by a further 33 pc in 2012 and by the remaining 33 pc in 2013.


Transylvania Motorway becomes matter
of discussion in the USA



The CEO of Bechtel Romania, Michael Swinford left for the USA on Saturday, to discuss with the company management the continuing of works on two segments of the Transilvania Motorway and the promises made by the Romanian Government about paying its debts for 2009, Mediafax reports. With regard to the announced collective layoff that should left 1,915 people jobless, things can still change until the beginning of April, when the first employees are due to leave the company.


Mutton and eggs imports – notified to ANSVSA


The National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) issued a plan of measures covering the time left until Easter that will have it notified about any import of mutton, eggs, pastry and food additives. If certain products will cause suspicion, the Agency will ask importers to provide fiscal and commercial documents that will be confronted with those held by the Customs Authority, the National Agency of Fiscal Administration, or the Ministry of Administration and Interior.


OSIM gets
new management team



Gabor Varga (UDMR) was appointed as general manager of the State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM) – an institution he also led last year, until September 2009 – through a decision signed by Premier Emil Boc. The UDMR leadership nominated Gabor Varga for the post of OSIM general manager early in February. Since September 2009, the Office was led by Horatiu Dumitru Racuciu, while Varga Gabor acted as counselor with the institution.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

PDL takes aim
at Liberals



An internal memo of the ruling Democrat Liberal Party, written by Valeriu Stoica and obtained by Hotnews, shows the party’s strategic priority is solving the Liberal problem. “The PDL vs. PNL competition is not over. Moreover, Crin Antonescu’s recent stances are basically a declaration of war against PDL and PNL’s announced adoption of doctrinaire pluralism is a strategic move that seeks to undermine the very identity of the PDL project,” the memo reads. In Stoica’s opinion, there are two ways to solve this problem: cooperation or competition. “All cooperation formulas have been boycotted, ignored or categorically refused by PNL leaders. Moreover, the party’s leaders have recently said their goal is to destroy a party – PDL – a rare situation in a democratic system. As long as both PNL and PDL say that they are and act like they are centre-right parties in Romania and PNL leaders refuse any form of cooperation, the competition was and continues to be inevitable,” the document reads.

Minister Udrea
sues PSD senator
for RON 100,000



Regional Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea Friday announced she had filed a court application against Social-Democrat Senator Olguta Vasilescu for her allegations about the minister’s alleged involvement in the arrest of Craiova mayor Antonie Solomon. ‘Given Olguta Vasilescu’s extremely seriously accusations against me in the mass-media, lacking any grounds whatsoever, yet, which brought me some major moral damage, I have tendered an application against her with the District 5 Court of Law,’ Udrea said, adding she will demand RON 100,000 for moral damages. The trial is due to begin on June 8.


Vasilescu retorted she would bring some ‘surprise witnesses’ at the trial, also saying that lawmakers are granted immunity for their political statements.

Mayor suspended
from PSD backs Oprea’s group



Voluntari mayor Florentin Pandele, recently suspended from the opposition Social Democrat Party, said yesterday that he backs the group of independent MPs led by Gabriel Oprea, adding that “PSD no longer represents the true Romanian left wing.” “I want the group’s initiative of creating a new party that would represent a new Romanian left wing to be successful. Moreover, I back the idea of reforming the state, an idea promoted by Romanian President Traian Basescu,” Pandele said in a statement to Mediafax. On February 8, Pandele was suspended from PSD for one year. Pandele had been involved in a long dispute with Marian Vanghelie, president of PSD Bucharest. Pandele blamed Vanghelie for transforming the PSD leadership in a clique that acts only for its own benefit. In his turn, Vanghelie accused Pandele that he acts at Oprea’s and Democrat Liberal Tourism Minister Elena Udrea’s commands, pointing out that last year, he found coats with PDL’s election markings in PSD Voluntari’s headquarters.


PSD spokesperson said yesterday the party would discuss today Pandele’s case.”Those who believe in Traian Basescu’s projects and support the head of state should join the independents group”, said Radu Moldovan, quoted by Mediafax.

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