SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Argentina demanding USD 1.5 M for South Africa friendly


Bafana Bafana’s intention of completing their World Cup preparation against football giants Argentina may be wrecked by a dispute over money. The South African Football Association (Safa) are apparently refusing to pay Diego Maradona’s team USD 1.5 M to play Bafana at Soccer City in Johannesburg in May, according to SuperSport. It is unclear if there are ongoing negotiations, but the hefty sum may force the tie to be canceled, and this would disappoint many fans in South Africa, where the idea of seeing Messi and the rest of the Albicelestes against the beloved Bafana is of great interest to football lovers in the host nation.


Marica scores decisive goal for Stuttgart


VfB Stuttgart won its away-game against Bayern Munich, in what was the first home-side defeat for Munich this season. Romania’s Ciprian Marica scored the goal that sealed the game in the 50th minute (final score 2-1) and that brought Stuttgart’s first win against Bayern in well over 10 years. After leg 28 Bayern Munich continues to have 56 points but has lost its top position in the Bundesliga.


Romanian Cup:
Brasov 1 – Vaslui 0



FC Brasov has taken a serious step towards qualifying for the Cup final after winning its first leg game against FC Vaslui, score 1-0. Ilyes opened the score early in the game (5th minute). Brasov had several other goal scoring chances in an excellent first half in which FC Vaslui seemed thrown off balance by the early goal it conceded. Ilyes, inexhaustible at 36, and Slavici wasted the home-side team’s significant chances to double its goal lead.


Ice Hockey: SC Miercurea Ciuc wins national title


Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc has won Romania’s Ice Hockey Championship after defeating Steaua Rangers Bucharest in Game 6 of the final, score 6-3 (2-3, 0-2, 1-1). Sport Club won the final with an overall score of 4 games to 2, thus winning its 12th title. This was also Sport Club’s 4th title in a row.


Asian domination
in Turin



The 100th edition of the Figure Skating World Championship ended yesterday in Turin, being dominated by Asian skaters who won 3 of the 4 titles, for the first time in history. Japan’s skaters won both individual events. At the same time, Europe’s decline was more notable than ever (no title won) despite the fact that the competition took place in Europe. Japan’s Mao Asada won the women’s event, while Daisuke Takahashi (24) became the first Japanese to win the men’s world title. China’s Qing Pand and Jing Tong won the pairs event.


Djokovic eliminated
at Miami Masters



Serbia’s Novak Djokovic (top seed 2) was eliminated by Belgium’s Olivier Rochus in the second round of the Miami Masters tournament, score 6-2, 6-7 (7), 6-4. Nadal, Roddick and Tsonga qualified for the next stage. Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru was eliminated by title holder Viktoria Azarenka. Monica Niculescu (Romania) and Elena Vesnina (Russia) were eliminated from the doubles event by Alisa Kelibanova (Russia) and Francesca Schiavone (Italy).

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NEWS IN BRIEF

New bogus bomb threat at Timisoara Airport


Police, gendarmerie and fire crews were mobilized on Saturday evening at the Timisoara Airport after a person called 112 and stated that a bomb is in the airport. The airport was reopened after several hours and the activity returned to normal after the intervention crews discovered that they were dealing with a false threat. ‘We found out it was a false threat. Activity is normal in the airport,’ Cornel Samartinean, the airport’s director, stated for Mediafax. Ten days ago Viorel Anghelescu called the Timisoara Airport and stated a person onboard a Wizz Air flight has a bomb in the luggage. The threat turned out to be false and the author of the call was detained by police. The caller turned out to be suffering from schizophrenia.


Bird flu suspected
in Tulcea



The members of the Central Operational Unit from within the National Sanitary-Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) have identified a possible hotbed of bird flu in Plaur village, Tulcea County. The village is located on the Danube’s Chilia Veche branch near the border with Ukraine. The unit members collected samples from two hens. The samples will be sent to the EU Bird Flu Laboratory in Weybridge, United Kingdom. ‘Prevention measures have been taken immediately, namely the killing and disposal of all birds in the households and the necessary disinfections. No other sick birds have been found, for the time being there is no danger of an outbreak,’ the ANSVSA representatives write. Two weeks ago the Romanian authorities confirmed the existence of a highly infectious H5N1-type bird flu hotbed in Letea commune, Tulcea County.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Geely signs USD 1.8 bln deal for Ford’s Volvo car unit


Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, China’s largest private-run car maker, agreed on Sunday to buy Ford Motor’s Volvo car unit for USD 1.8 bln, the country’s biggest overseas auto purchase.The takeover underscores China’s arrival as a major force in the global auto industry and ends nearly two years of talks with Geely over Volvo — the last sale from Ford’s former premier group, which also held Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover. Geely said in a statement it had secured all the necessary financing to complete the deal and “significant working capital” to fund Volvo’s business. “Today represents a milestone in the history of Geely,” Geely chairman Li Shufu told a news conference, adding that Volvo Cars would remain a separate company with its own management team based in Sweden. (Reuters)


Toyota temporarily halts France
and UK production



Toyota will suspend production for 4 days in France ad 8 in the UK, after a sales dip against the background of technical problems experienced by several car models built by the Japanese group, Kyodo news agency reports, quoted by Mediafax. Toyota’s only plant in France, which manufactures the Yaris model, will discontinue production on April 6-9, while in the UK, assembly process will halt during March 29 – April 1st, then again between April 6 and 9. One of the two British manufacturing lines will once again stop in August this year, as the carmaker will slash 750 jobs by early retirement. Toyota recalled these months almost 9 million automobiles from all over the world, including 1.8 million in Europe, over problems at the braking system and throttle pedal.


Renault-Nissan, Daimler eye mutual stakes


A tie-up between Renault-Nissan group and Daimler to cut costs and share development spend is moving closer, sources said, although analysts remain unconvinced of the benefits. Car industry alliances have frequently suffered from poor performance, and analysts were subdued about the benefits of a Renault-Nissan-Daimler deal, citing the lack of potential for immediate and quantifiable cost savings. As a result, the firms’ share prices were little moved on Friday. Daimler edged up higher, Renault rose just short of 1 percent versus slight gains among European auto peers. Nissan closed 1.2 percent higher at 777 yen on Friday. Earlier, two sources familiar with the matter said Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, would be willing to take a stake of about 3 percent in Renault in April in exchange for its own treasury shares. People close to Renault said the company’s board would meet on April 6 to discuss the matter. One source said the French carmaker would take a small stake in Daimler although junk-rated Renault, worth less than a third of its German partner, would have greater difficulty financing it. (Reuters)


Bentley, Lamborghini showroom
in Bucharest next year



Lamborghini will formally enter the Romanian market next year, Money.ro reports. Completion of the Lamborghini and Bentley showroom was once again postponed, because of the precarious situation experienced by the local car market. According to officials of the two automakers, 2009 and 2010 were the worst years ever for the sector. British luxury brand Bentley, which was officially launched in Romania in October 2008, will have its own showroom and maintenance shop, together with the supersports models built by Lamborghini. Porsche Romania, the two luxury brands’ importer, has so far delayed the formal opening of a showroom dedicated to these brands twice. “With Lamborghini, we are active in the market, we can sell cars, but the official brand launching will likely take place at the beginning of next year,” said Adrian Pascu, brand manager Bentley and Lamborghini. The new showroom requires an investment of EUR 4 M only for Bentley models, which will be displayed on a surface of 368 square metres, and Lamborghini, which will avail of 230 square metres.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

ANAF can no longer give up fiscal claims


The National Agency of Fiscal Administration (ANAF) will no longer be allowed to cede fiscal claims, Mediafax reports. The current new Fiscal Procedure Code article allowing this to happen will be repealed upon recommendation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under a draft government emergency ordinance. According to the draft, the IMF made its recommendation in a letter sent by regional representative for Romania and Bulgaria, Tonny Lybeck, in view of mitigating negative aspects caused by this measure. Under current legislation, ANAF may cede the main and accessory taxpayers’ fiscal claims it administers. Claims are conveyed by auction, selection of offers or direct awarding.


Credit cards for Easter


Banks are trying to lure clients and compensate the high interests they charge on credit cards – up to 30 pc – by offering clients either longer grace periods for the money they spend, or bonuses on purchase, Realitatea.net reports. Some banks allow clients to use the money for 61 days without paying any interest. Banca Romaneasca extended the grace period by 16 days, while for purchases worth at least RON 100 made by May 31, clients are reimbursed 2 pc of the spent sum. In its turn, Banca Comerciala Romana gives money prizes to clients who make at least two transactions worth RON 100 each, until April 30. The big prize is of RON 5,000. BRD transforms each RON spent on credit card into points that can be used for purchases. RBS returns each month, to credit card owners, up to 2 pc of the sums they spend. However, incentives set aside, interest rates for cards are rather high, going from 18 to 30 pc a year.


BCR launches gold certificates


Private banking customers of the Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) may invest in gold certificates issued by Erste Bank and listed on Vienna and Stuttgart exchanges, according to a BCR release. A certificate’s value is equal to 1/10 of the Erste Group Bank’s quotation value for one ounce of gold. Gold price has been on the rise in recent years. According to Erste Group Bank, latest quotations reached USD 1089.40/ounce, from USD 425.5/ounce five years ago. The certificate produces a yield correlated with the gold price trend. Gold certificates don’t have maturity deadlines, with customers benefiting from the up-trend for as long as they hold them.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Ciolos promises support for dairy sector


European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos has promised to ready by end of the year a package of measures meant to support the dairy sector, considering the price collapse’s effect on farmers in 2009, Mediafax informs. Considering the budget’s lack of flexibility, ‘measures will have more of a regulatory character,’ Ciolos stated during a conference attended by dairy sector experts in Brussels. The new measures will be based on the conclusions of the commission of experts, conclusions set to be delivered in a report this June. According to a report that will be presented on Monday to the Agriculture Ministers of EU member states, the dairy market’s general situation has continued to register positive developments in the second half of 2009, and prices on European and world markets ‘seem to become stabilized.’


Videanu: Coal company to remain active, needs restructuring


The National Coal Company (CNH), the state’s largest debtor, will remain active but has to be restructured and rendered efficient, Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said, quoted by Mediafax. CNH will sack 1,600 miners on April 1 as part of a process meant to reorganize and restructure its activity, so as to make it more efficient. However, Videanu said authorities are considering hiring personnel and making investments in the near future. Thus, according to the minister, in 3-4 years’ time CNH will draw in investments worth approximately EUR 80 M. Videanu said on Friday that an investment programme worth approximately EUR 21 M has been discussed, a programme meant to generate heat and electricity by using mine gas. In what concerns mechanised centers for underground exploitation, this year will see the start of an investment estimated at EUR 28 M.


Zoltan Lacatas, president of the League of Mining Trade Unions in Jiu Valley, asked the minister to enter a mine next time he visits the region.


Romania, second hub in hacker world countries


China was the source of 28.2% of global targeted attacks, the American internet security company Symantec reveals, according to Sunday Times. Researchers found almost 30 per cent of “malicious” emails were sent from China and that 21.3 per cent came from the city of Shaoxing alone. They were able to identify key targets for the hackers as experts in Asian defence policy and human rights activists, strongly suggesting state involvement.


The findings show China is followed by Romania, with 21.1 per cent, presumed to be mostly attempts at commercial fraud. The United States came third, followed by Taiwan and then Britain, with 12 per cent of attacks. Cyber-espionage uses emails sent in small volumes with legitimate-looking attachments or documents to fool the user into letting a malicious code infect their computer.


Dan Bulucea resigns from Microsoft Romania


Microsoft Romania marketing and business manager Dan Bulucea resigned from this position, but will stay with the company until April 30, Mediafax reports. The local branch of the US software giant will recruit someone else for the job.


Bulucea said the opportunities open by the experience he gained with Microsoft are the main reasons for his decision to renounce the position held in MS Romania. For the future, Bulucea envisages managing an IT&C business, but does not rule out other possibilities as well. “I consider and appreciate Dan’s decision to achieve a complex and diversified career in life, and I believe we should all think about new experiences every now and then. We will certainly meet again in the IT market and I wish him the best luck in whatever he will do,” said Calin Tatomir, CEO of Microsoft Romania.


Tax authority sells off cars


Dacia 1310 cars can be sold at prices starting from as low as RON 600, along with import cars, at Tax Authority-organised car auctions, Realitatea.net reports. The auctions will include various items, from luxury cars to stables or shirt buttons. A Ford Fiesta or an Audi costs about EUR 4,000, and those interested can have a Mercedes S500 for a bargain price of about EUR 15,000. At Botosani, mobile phones are for sale for RON 180 apiece, and in Bihor, tree-cutting equipment is sold for no more than RON 1,400. In Arges, a stable costs RON 61,000, and if you need cattle too, they are yours for 82,000 each. If you need new furniture, Suceava Tax Authority is the place for you, where a set of living room and bedroom furniture will cost you just about RON 5,000.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Becali, Vadim and Traian Ungureanu – EP’s top truants


Romania is the champion of truancy in the European Parliament, according to a survey conducted by VoteWatch.eu. Gigi Becali ranks 1st in a top of Romanian EP truants, as the Steaua football club owner only attended 27 pc of EP proceedings so far. To be more precise, Becali was present in just 10 of the 37 European Parliament sessions. Corneliu Vadim Tudor (Greater Romania Party) attended 40.54 pc of proceedings, while Traian Ungureanu (Democrat Liberal Party) had a “score” of 62 pc, followed by Adina Valean (National Liberal Party) with 65 pc. Three Democrat-Liberals – Oana Antonescu, Iosif Mantula and Cristian Preda, a conservative – Sabin Cutas, and Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania’s member Sogor Csaba attended all plenary meetings. Actually, Romania ranks last in terms of presence, out of the 27 EU member states, with an average of 83.46 pc, behind Slovakia and Hungary. Slovenia leads the top, followed by Luxembourg and Austria, with scores above 90 pc.

FM Baconschi
in Georgia



Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi will pay a two-day visit to Georgia starting tomorrow, the Georgian Foreign Ministry announced in a release published on its website, Mediafax informs. During the visit Baconschi will meet President Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgian PM Nikoloz Gilauri, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of State for Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze and Georgia’s Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze. According to the release, the Romanian Foreign Minister will lay wreathes at the monument dedicated to the soldiers killed in the fight for Georgia’s unity.

Foreign Ministry spokesman resigns


Lucian Rosenfeld resigned as spokesman for the Foreign Ministry on Friday, citing personal reasons, the ministry’ Communication Department announced. Until a new spokesman is appointed, journalists accredited with the Foreign Ministry should address their requests to the Communication Department. Rosenfeld was appointed to this position by Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi, on January 20 this year. Previously, he coordinated the public communication and diplomacy activity of the NATO summit held in Bucharest, in April 2008. At the Foreign Ministry, Rosenfeld replaced Alin Serbanescu, who was sent to Romania’s diplomatic mission in Beijing.

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