Police roundup in Dolj:
17 suspects searched
for human trafficking

Some 200 police officers of the Rapid Intervention Squad, accompanied by gendarmes, broke into 18 homes of Bailesti (Dolj County) yesterday morning, to apprehend 17 people suspected of human trafficking. According to Adrian Gluga, chief-prosecutor of DIICOT – the Craiova Territorial Service, the trafficking network took its victims to Italy, forcing them to become prostitutes and beggars. According to Mediafax, two suspects were able to escape and police had to bring a helicopter for the search. They were however caught shortly after leaving the town. Out of the 17 suspects, prosecutors were able to catch 11 and are still looking for the missing 6. Prosecutors decided to launch the roundup yesterday morning, because they knew the members of the network would gather in Bailesti for a wedding, and even the groom was taken in custody.

Medical, farming
equipment acquired with Japanese support

Two grant agreements through which the Japanese government is giving Alba County Emergency Hospital and Alba County Association of Livestock Breeders a total of non-repayable assistance of EUR 140,000 were signed by Ambassador Natsuo Amemiya and the two beneficiaries’ representatives at Alba Iulia, yesterday. A press release sent to ‘Nine O’Clock’ shows that, out of the 300 applications made in the framework of the Grant Assistance for Grassroots/Human Security Projects programme in Romania, the Japanese government has selected only three financing applications including the two from Alba and one from Bucharest. “The Japanese Embassy believes the donations will contribute to improved surgical treatment conditions in Alba and will help local farming sector perform better,” the Japanese envoy said.

Premier Boc loses aunt in car accident

An aunt of Premier Emil Boc, Floarea Abrudan, died on Monday afternoon, at the age of 74, in a crash triggered by an inebriated driver. The old woman was leaving the Rachitele village, where she had visited her sister – the prime minister’s mother. According to the village’s deputy mayor, Gheorghe Capota, the woman was hit by a car driven by Viorel Mihut, brother of local Mountain Rescue Service chief Florin Mihut.

S&P revises Transgaz
rating to stable

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) financial rating agency revised Transgaz Medias company’s rating from negative to stable, as a consequence of its similar decision in what concerns Romania’s country rating, Mediafax reports. Transgaz’s rating for long-term RON-denominated credits was confirmed at BBB-, while its rating for credits denominated in foreign currencies was confirmed at BB+, an S&P release shows. “The decision to revise Transgaz’s outlook follows the decision to do the same for Romania, as a consequence of the successful implementation of the state’s financial consolidation program,” S&P analyst Tania Tsoneva said. Transgaz’s rating continues to reflect its solid monopoly position, the predictable flux of liquidity generated by natural gas transport and the company’s robust financial situation.

Supreme Court clears Judge Andreea Ciuca

The magistrates of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) ruled yesterday to clear judge Andree Ciuca of all corruption charges brought against her.

The Supreme Court did not find the constitutive elements of the crime the magistrate is accused of, Agerpres reports. The decision is final. Andreea Ciuca, former president of the Mures Tribunal, was arrested on June 5, 2003, after she was caught in the act of receiving ROL 210 M from the owner of SC Premaco SA company, Alexandru Viorel Tibrea.

Dinu Patriciu’s barristers challenge judge in Rompetrol trial

Businessman Dinu Patriciu’s barristers yesterday challenged Rompetrol trial judge Constantin Marino Marin in the Bucharest Tribunal, Agerpres reported. Solicitors argue that the judge is incompatible with the case as his brother, Stelian Barna, is a prominent leader of Democrat Liberal Party’s Ilfov branch. The defence decided to challenge the judge after he declined an exception they had taken yesterday. Like on previous court dates, barristers tried to have proceedings postponed, claiming the Rompetrol case had not been randomly allocated to judge Marin as procedures require, but rather by decision of the Bucharest Tribunal’s leading college.

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Cirstea vs Venus Williams at Miami Open

Romanian tennis player Alexandra Dulgheru has qualified for the second round of the Sonny Ericsson Open in Miami after defeating Romania’s Ioana Raluca Olaru, 6-1, 6-3. Dulgheru, winner of a WTA tournament (Warsaw, May 2009), will next play against Belarus’s Viktoria Azarenka (winner of the Miami tournament last year). Cirstea, the best-ranked Romanian player in WTA standings, defeated Portugal’s Larcher de Brito, 7-5, 7-6 (9), and will next play against Venus Williams (top seed 3).

Andone could leave CSKA

Romanian head coach Ioan Andone is mulling leaving Bulgaria after only four official games at the helm of CSKA Sofia, Agerpres reported, quoting the Sofia-based ‘Top Sport’ daily. According to the daily, Andone’s fate will be decided after his team’s games against Pirin Blagoevgrad and Levski Sofia. CSKA has to win these games at any cost in order to keep its chances alive in the race for the title. The daily adds that if he does not win the title Andone will clearly leave CSKA without the right to ask for damages. On Wednesday, TSKA – Pirin: 1-1.

FC Sevilla sacks
Manolo Jimenez

Spain’s FC Sevilla has sacked head coach Manolo Jimenez at the end of the home-side game against Xerez (1-1), Agerpres reports quoting EFE agency. The Spanish club points out in a press release that Ramon Tejada, head coach of Sevilla Atletico (the club’s second team, which plays in League III), will replace Jimenez until a new head coach is appointed.

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Romania – more orders placed
with industry in January

New orders placed with the industry were surprisingly on the fall in January 2010, against a year ago, both in the Euro zone and in the European Union as a whole, but Romania ranges among the eight member states where industrial orders increased, according to data released by the European Statistics Office (Eurostat). New orders placed with the industry rose by 8.3 pc in January against the previous month, placing Romania on the second place among EU states, behind Ireland (31.3 pc). In the Euro zone, industrial orders dropped by 2 pc, while in the EU it declined by 0.2 pc. According to the National Statistics Institute (INS), new orders received by the industry in January gained 13.9 pc in nominal terms over the same month of 2009.

Intesa Sanpaolo Bank
releases credit card
with EUR 30,000 overdraft

Intesa Sanpaolo Bank has launched a MasterCard credit card with EUR 30,000 overdraft limit and additional services compared to the Gold classic cards, destined for premium customers, the bank informed yesterday, quoted by Mediafax. Some of the extra services coming with the new Platinum card are the Concierge assistance (travelling counsel) provided by Axa Group via MasterCard. In addition, the Priority Pass programmes gives card holders access to over 500 VIP or Business airport lounges in a total of 275 cities in nearly 100 countries, the bank’s release says.

MasterCard Platinum is an embossed credit card with double function (credit and debit), attached to a RON current account. The card has 4 years validity allowing for successive automated extensions. It may be used both online and offline, locally and internationally, with merchants, banks and ATMs displaying the MasterCard logotype.

23rd Tourism Fair opens today at Romexpo

The 23rd edition of Romanian Tourism Fair will be unfolding at Bucharest’s Romexpo exhibition complex as of today, through Sunday. The event joins 240 exhibitors from 18 countries, including travel agencies and tourism employers’ associations, in-field professionals and tourism advertisers. The spring edition will be opened by Minister of Regional Tourism and Development Elena Udrea. The Tourism Ministry will be present with a 100 square-meter stand where visitors can buy discount travel packages for Easter, May Day and the summer season.

Carpatair adds new Timisoara – Bucharest flights

On April 12, Carpatair will add more flights on the Timisoara-Bucharest route at prices starting from EUR 9 + taxes (one way), a release informs. The new Timisoara-Bucharest (Otopeni) morning flights will depart from Timisoara at 7:30 and will arrive to Bucharest at 8:25. The evening flights, operating Monday to Friday, will depart from Bucharest at 16:00 and arrive in Timisoara at 16:50. ‘By introducing the Timisoara-Bucharest morning flight, our intention is to offer our customers the option of flying at a reasonable time of the day while also being able to spend their time in the most efficient manner. The new time-table will be of interest especially for passengers who travel to and from Bucharest for business and who want to return home on the same day’, Carpatair Marketing & Sales Vice-President Paula Ardelean said. Carpatair operates on 10 domestic airports in Romania. With the new flights from Timisoara to Bucharest, the air operator is increasing its number of flights on the specified route to a total of 22 per week.

Electrica Serv –
possible privatization

Electrica Serv, Electrica’s repair and maintenance branch, will be reorganized by being split into companies afferent to the energy distribution areas, Mediafax informs. Nevertheless, if the company does not become profitable at the end of a process calling for the sacking of 1,500 employees, its privatization will be a possibility. ‘We want to make this reorganization as soon as possible, this year. The reorganization means transforming the Electrica Serv branches located in energy distribution areas into companies. If we do not manage to make them efficient we will consider the privatization option,’ Electrica’s general director Ioan Folescu stated. Approximately 1,500 employees will be sacked out of a total of 8,000 employees. Last year almost 1,800 employees left Electrica Serv. The authorities’ intentions to make Electrica Serv efficient, to reorganize it or to privatize it date back to 2007 but were never fulfilled. Electrica’s activity consists of electricity distribution. The company is state-owned, being controlled by the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business Environment.

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Company to provide Gendarmerie with over RON 19 M worth e-learning platform

Asesoft International will provide the Romanian Gendarmerie with an e-learning platform deployed to the 62 units of the institutions situated in a total of 53 areas. The value of the contract awarded on March 15 is RON 19.12 M including VAT, Mediafax informs. Only one other bidder participated, apart from Asesoft International. The new project is for the development of training courses consisting of a total of 690 four-hour training sessions broken down into seven different specializations on five levels of difficulty, addressing specific themes such as induction, career development (change of specialisation, specialisation, improvement, promotion in rank), foreign languages and other lines of training (psychology, project management). The programme will be financed through the European Regional Development Fund.

Asesoft International is one of the most important local IT system integrators with a business of RON 140.28 M and net earnings of RON 8.81 M in 2008.

British car dealers
postpone potential Dacia partnership

Members of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders are not currently interested in forming a partnership with Dacia, despite the fact that the Renault Group had announced it will enter the British market in 2012.

‘We have checked with the relevant departments within SMMT and for the time being none of our members is interested in developing a dealership with Dacia on the British market,’ Jonathan Visscher, head of the Society’s press bureau, told Mediafax.

Although there are no partners interested in forming a dealership with the Romanian brand, Dacia could enter the British market through the Renault network. Patrick Pelata, Renault’s operational director, stated in early March that Dacia will enter the British market with the Duster model with right-side steering wheel, at the end of 2012. Last year Automobile Dacia exported 269,420 units (over 85 per cent of its production). In January this year Dacia exported 25,118 units, a level three times higher than the one reported in January 2008.

Post manager to get 500 percent salary increase

The manager of the Romanian Post is currently paid a monthly wages of RON 4,800, the same as a state secretary, but starting July, his salary will increase to RON 30,000, reports. This is possible because the Government passed the budget of the state company and, meanwhile, the effects of the ordinance that caps salaries end on June 30. “The ordinance, in effect by the middle of the year, puts a limit to these expenses.

The moment the Government revisits this ordinance and extends the salary capping, the budget will no longer be executed as provided by the draft budget, and this is what I hope to happen,” said Andreea Paul Vass, counselor of Premier Emil Boc.

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Mega Image to open 16 stores this year

Mega Image will open 16 stores in Romania this year, six of which will be operated under the ‘Red Market’ brand, while the others will bear the name of the company, Raluca Pavel, marketing manager with Mega Image announced for Mediafax. The move comes after the retailer opened 11 stores last year.

The company official disclosed neither the towns that will host new stores, nor the total volume of investments, but market sources hinted two of the new units will open in Bucharest – Crangasi and Ferdinand Boulevard areas – while others will be located in Constanta, Slobozia, Targoviste and Brasov. The retail chain currently operates in Romania 49 stores branded as ‘Mega Image’ and 4 as ‘Red Market.’

Bongrain acquires majority stock
in Delaco

Bongrain has acquired the majority stock in Brasov-based dairy producer and distributor Delaco, controlled by Tudor Comaniciu, informs the solicitors company that assisted the French group in the transaction, Biris Goran. ‘The transaction is to be completed in Q2 this year, after obtaining the approval from the Competition Council’, a Biris Goran release states.

The solicitors firm does not indicate how much of Delaco Bongrain has taken over, or how much it has paid for it. The Delaco stock acquisition has been recently announced by cheese industry player Bongrain group. The Bongrain group is already present on the Romanian cheese market, has almost 18,000 employees and reported EUR 3.27 in sales last year. Bongrain goods are sold in more than 110 different countries.

New jobs hint to economic recovery

Romanian companies are seeking IT specialists, engineers, sales consultants, as well as skilled and unskilled labourers, recruitment company Trenkwalder Sobis said in a press release. “During the first two months of the year, we placed twice as many people in jobs than in the same period of 2009, with most demands coming from sectors like electronics and automobile manufacturing, information technology, and banking,” said Bogdan Florea, CEO of Trenkwalder Sobis. According to the company manager, the increased number of available jobs is a sign that economy is picking up. Most job offers came from companies located in Bucharest, Sibiu, Cluj Napoca and Timisoara.

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