ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Christians embark
on Holy Week



Orthodox and Catholic Christians embark Monday on the last week of Easter Lent, also known as Passion Week, a time during which they prepare themselves for the Resurrection. In keeping with tradition, throughout this week, people light up ritual fires, strictly observe Lent, see to their homes, clean their yards, lay out new holiday clothes, cook, go to Vespers and forgive each other’s sins. Holy Saturday is the last day before Easter, when housewives cook most of the traditional dishes, finish cleaning up and add the final retouches to the clothes they are to wear at Easter Vigil and during Easter. According to tradition, a lamb is slaughtered, and people cook tripe, roast meat and mutton borsch. At midnight, Christians set out in silence towards church. After the Service of Light, they go to the cemetery, at the graves of their dead and light candles there as well, so that the latter know it is the Resurrection of the Lord. They give alms for the souls of the dead on Easter Sunday, but also a week later, on Easter of the dead.


Directia 5 launches
new album at TNB



The band Directia 5 will perform two concerts, on May 10 and May 24, at the Bucharest National Theatre, launching their new album, “Romantic”. “It is the most natural artistic moment for Directia 5. ‘Romantic’ is an album recorded in a single breath of inspiration, using natural sounds, without a synthesiser. We’ve paid attention to the record mood, not to its tendency to align to today’s music. We love music and this is made obvious on this album ”, band members say. The ticket prices for the concert range between RON 50 and 100 and can be bought on bilete.ro, myticket.ro. The sound of Directia 5 became a trademark. Numberless record launches, sold-out concerts throughout the country, collaborations with great names in the musical industry made Directia 5 one of the most appreciated Romanian bands. Directia 5 was founded in 1991, in Bucharest. In 1992, they launched the album “La vulturul de mare cu pestele in gheare”, followed by “Seductie”, “Pantofi de lac”, “Ambiental” or, in 2000, “Cantece noi cu Directia 5”, which brought them back in the Romanian charts. The musical genres they approached throughout the years included alternative rock, electronic rock and pop-rock.


Tudor Gheorghe concert within the “Artists for artists” campaign


Tudor Gheorghe gave a charity concert on Moday, at the Great Hall of the Bucharest National Theatre, as part of the “Artists for artists” campaign, organized by UNITER to aid the elderly ailing artists. All the proceeds from the tickets will be donated to the Theatrical Solidarity Fund. Initiated and organized in 2002, the “Artists for artists” national campaign is meant to enhance solidarity within the industry, offering aid to elderly ailing artists and sending a signal to the public and authorities, regarding the artists’ situation and dignity. Every year, the highlight of the campaign is a charity performance given by great artists for their elder colleagues. Tudor Gheorghe is a unique presence in his quest for Romanian originality: his performances draw on old Romanian ballads, on the work of Ion Luca Caragiale and the enchantment of poems by Lucian Blaga, Tudor Arghezi and Ion Barbu.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Radu Stefan, good game for Lazio


Italy’s sports press praised Lazio’s Romanian fullback Radu Stefan as being one of the team’s best players in Sunday’s game against Milan, score 1-1. The Romanian has become an important member of the Italian team and could be a solution for the Romanian national team’s defense. A former Dinamo player, Stefan has high chances of moving to AC Milan this summer.


Buzarnescu loses in Antalya final tournament


Romanian tennis player Mihaela Buzarnescu was defeated by Valentina Ivanenko, score 6-3, 6-0, in the final of the futures tournament in Antalya, a tournament with total prizes of USD 10,000. Buzarnescu (top seed 7) defeated Turkey’s Dilara Yurtkuran in the first round (6-1, 6-0), Romania’s Diana Enache in the last-16 stage (6-2, 6-1), Bulgaria’s Dia Evtimova in the quarterfinals (0-6, 7-6, 6-2) and Morocco’s Nadia Lalami in the semifinals (1-6, 6-3, 6-4). Buzarnescu and Alena Hubacek (Australia) no longer showed up for the final of the doubles event, the event being thus won by Yulia Beygelzimer (Ukraine) and Anna Gerasimou (Greece).


Men’s Gymnastics: Victory against Netherlands


The Romanian men’s national gymnastics team has defeated Netherlands in a training game ahead of the European Team Championships scheduled on April 21-25 in Birmingham. Romania scored 256.85 points, while Netherlands scored 255.50 points. Netherlands’s second team was third (242.25 points). Epke Zonderland and Jeffrey Wammes also competed for Netherlands after recently returning from the World Cup competition in Doha. Carlo van Minde won the individual event with 83.85 points, followed by Cristian Bataga (83.80 pts.), Melvin Ornek (82.65 pts.) and Jorian Ilbrink (79.75 pts.).


Men’s handball: Defeats in away-games


CSU Bucovina Suceava lost its away-game against Slovenia’s SD Slovan Ljubljana in the first leg of Challenge Cup quarterfinals; score 23-31 (12-17). The return leg will be played in Suceava on April 3. Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacau lost its away-game against Sporting Lisbon on Sunday in the first leg of Challenge Cup semifinals, score 24-30 (13-15). The return leg will be played in Bacau on April 3.


Eriksson to coach Ivory Coast at World Cup


Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has been appointed Ivory Coast coach for this year’s World Cup finals, the Ivory Coast Federation (FIF) said in a statement on its website (www.fif-ci.com) on Sunday. Ivory Coast have been drawn in World Cup Group G along with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. The 62-year-old Eriksson managed clubs in his native Sweden, Portugal and Italy before coaching the England national team from 2001-2006. He joined Premier League Manchester City in 2007 and had an unsuccessful spell in charge of Mexico from 2008-09. He was appointed director of football at English League Two (fourth division) club Notts County last year but stepped down in February.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

At least three Romanians killed in road crash
in northeast Italy



At least three Romanian citizens, two women and one man, were killed on a highway in northeast Italy after their minibus frontally collided with a lorry close to Treviso, the AGI agency’s website informs. The road crash took place at 2.10 AM (3.10 AM Romanian time) between Preganziol and Quarto d’Altino localities in northeast Italy. According to Italian traffic police, the lorry and the minibus were traveling towards Trieste. The minibus had Austrian license plates and 9 passenger seats and was carrying Romanian citizens. Two Romanians died on the sport and the third in Treviso’s hospital, the Italian authorities informed, being quoted by the AGI agency.

Over RON 170,000 stolen from Bucharest ATM


Four masked men broke into the National Institute for Chemical and Petrochemical Research located in Bucharest’s District 6 and stole RON 170,000 from an ATM within the building. Police commissioner Christian Ciocan, spokesperson of Bucharest Police, said an investigation is underway. According to Ciocan, the thieves, armed with crowbars, tied up the guards then cut open the ATM and stole the money. The thieves seem to have made their way inside the building by breaking a window. The incident occurred around 1.30 AM. The Bucharest Police spokesperson added that the thieves have not been identified but that all police precincts have been alerted.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Blue Air opens operation base in Larnaca


First smart-flying airline Blue Air opened its new operations base in Larnaca (Cyprus) on March 28, a release reads. The Boeing 737 – 800 Next Generation based at the Larnaca Hermes International Airport will operate regular flights to Milan, Bucharest, Vienna and Warsaw. Blue Air anticipates 75 per cent booking rate on its services operated from Larnaca and 160,000 passengers by the end of 2010. “Our activity in Cyprus goes beyond the operations base in Larnaca. We also fly from the Paphos Airport (to Bucharest and Thessaloniki) and we intend to develop the domestic connection network in Cyprus in the next two years,” Blue Air General Manager Sherif Ussama said. “Last year we covered 65 per cent of the total flights on the Romania-Cyprus route,” Blue Air Strategy and Development Director Gheorghe Racaru added.


Greek ambassador visits Chamber of Commerce


The president of Romania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIR), Mihail Vlasov, received a courtesy visit from His Excellency Georgios Poukamissas, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to Romania, a press release reads. “Relations between Greece and Romania are so strong, old and entrenched that it comes natural for ties between the National Chamber and the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic to be just as tight,” the CCIR president said. In order to come to the help of foreign investors in Romania, CCIR has recently set up an Investor Bureau which, along with CCIR’s Foreign Relations Bureau, will maintain a direct link with officials at the commercial bureaus of foreign embassies in Bucharest.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Romania, among EU’s last in terms
of economy confidence



Romania keeps in March its antepenultimate place in the European Union (EU) based on the confidence of population and companies in the economy, though the perception improved, finds a survey conducted by the European Commission (EC). The index used by the EC to measure the confidence of population and companies in the economy rose, in Romania, from 80.9 points in February to 82.3 points in March. The industrial confidence index gained one point, while the services confidence index climbed by as much as three points. Consumer and retail confidence indices went two points up, while the index of the construction sector lost one point. The only states of the EU below Romania in the top of confidence index are Cyprus (80 points) and Greece (69.6 points).


Delaying debts without asking
for guarantees – an incentive for companies



Delaying the payment of fiscal obligations might become an incentive for companies only if authorities also refrain from asking them to provide guarantees they usually cannot obtain, writes R&M Audit, which estimates that 20-30 pc of firms, at most, will be able to resort to this measure. “By the end of January, ANAF received 660 applications to delay the payment of companies’ fiscal obligations towards the state, out of which it approved 413, worth a total RON 210 M (EUR 50 M), while ANAF must raise billions of euros,” consultancy firm R&M Audit writes in a release.


CEC Bank slashes base interest on credits
in RON ad EUR



As of April 1st, CEC Bank will lower by 0.5 percent points the base interest on loans in RON and by 0.35 pp on credits in EUR, to 6.9 pc a year, the institution announced yesterday. Thus, the base interest on RON-denominated loans will be cut from 11.25 to 10.75 pc a year for natural persons and from 11.4 to 10.0 pc for legal entities. The fresh interest cut will be effective for all clients whose credit contracts with the bank provide for the Prime Rate base interest. As the new decision refers to an interest cut, CEC Bank does not think it necessary to notify its clients in advance.


Johann Lurf,
new president of Volksbank Romania



Volksbank International has appointed Johann Lurf, the current executive director of the Austrian Group’s Czech subsidiary, as president of Volksbank Romania, sources in banking told Mediafax. Johann Lurf will thus replace Gerald Schreiner. Aged 52, Lurf has been president of Volksbank Czech Republic for almost 14 years and has been directly coordinating retail operations. He graduated the Wiener Neustadt Business Academy and started his career within Raiffeisen Group. Gerald Schreiner took over Volksbank Romania in June 2006 after previously spending three years as Vice President. The bank’s shareholders announced last week that Schreiner and Vice President Herwig Burgstaller were replaced, stating that the new leadership will be publicly revealed in the upcoming days.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Some 400 orders placed for Dacia Duster


Dacia dealers received so far some 400 orders for Duster SUV, with three quarters of clients choosing the 4WD version of the model, Mediafax quotes Paul Schiaucu, vice-president of the Association of Dacia and Renault Concessionaires (ACODAREN) a saying. “Although the cars have not been delivered yet, we already have many orders. The clients who ordered the new model will be able to get their cars as of April 18, following the <> operation, when we will put the automobiles on display in showrooms. Most demands are for the 4WD version, i.e. three quarters of total orders,” Schiaucu explained.


Michelin hikes salaries


More than 3,000 employees of the three Michelin plants in Romania – Silvania Michelin Zalau, Romsteel Cord Zalau and Victoria Floresti – will see their salaries increased by 5 pc since March and another 3 pc since November this year, following negotiations over the collective work contract for 2010. Romsteel Cord Zalau trade union leader Adrian Iliesi told Mediafax yesterday that Easter and Christmas bonuses will remain the same as last year, at RON 650, the holiday bonus will go up 6 pc, to RON 900, and the bonus for the Rubber Worker’s Day will reach RON 240, 40 pc more than in 2009.


Arcellor Mittal Galati under CC inquiry


The Competition Council (CC) has opened an investigation on a possible abuse of dominant position by ArcelorMittal Galati over Comvex port operator, the Council announced. The inquiry follows a Comvex complaint with the competition authority. It refers to ArcellorMittal Galati’s refusal to contract port services with Comvex, amid the operator’s economic dependency on the Galati-based company. CC inspectors have made an impromptu inspection at the ArcellorMittal Galati headquarters to obtain information and documents over alleged anti-competitive practices.


Bogdan Popescu becomes new CEO of Ness Romania


Bogdan Popescu will take over the position of Ness Romania CEO starting April 1st 2010, the global provider of IT solutions and services Ness Technologies writes in a press release. Before joining Ness, Bogdan Popescu worked for eight years with Hewlett Packard Romania, in the position of HP Services Country Manager. During this time, HP held twice the first place among local IT services providers, according to IDC.


Heineken Romania posts 9 pc turnover increase last year


Heineken Romania posted a 9 pc turnover increase last year, to RON 1.048 bln before tax and RON 896 M after-tax, against a 13 pc drop of the local beer market, the brewer announced on Monday. (…) Sales volumes had the same evolution as the beer market in 2009,” Jan Derck van Karnebeek, General Manager of Heineken Romania writes in a press release. According to Heineken, last year the market shares held by price segments stayed roughly the same as in 2008, except for “mainstream” (the most popular segment), which was on a slight increase.

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