ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Orchestra da Tre Soldi, special guest at EUROPAfest 2010


One of the most anticipated music presences in Romania will be during the EUROPAfest in May, will be the famous jazz group Orchestra da Tre Soldi. The group was nominated as best jazz act in 2008 by the prestigious Jazz Magazine. Created in 2002, the orchestra has brought together several well-known names of Italy’s jazz and classical stage. Reminding of Kurt Weill and Montsalvatge pr VillaLobos, their music is closer to the sounds of early 20th century. The musicians have accompanied such iconic names as Luciano Pavarotti and Ricardo Muti in RAI Symphonic Orchestra’s concerts. EUROPAfest is the only festival in Europe reuniting in a single event jazz, classical and pop under a most promising slogan: “Your choice of music”. The festival, beginning on May 7 and ending up one week later will offer several competitions such as Jeunesses International, Bucharest Jazz competition, and Europe Day concerts.


Meet& Greet tickets on sale for Phoenix concert


The fans of legendary group Phoenix will be able to purchase special Meet& Greet tickets for the band’s performance on April 28, Agerpres informs. For RON 200, 200 fans will be able to meet with the band before the concert and be part of a special autograph session. Tickets can be purchased in Carrefour shops and online on vreaubilet.ro. Phoenix will perform at the Palace Hall in a unique symphonic rock concert marking 45 years of existence and aligning 100 musicians. Among special guests for April 28’s concert are tenor Vlad Mirita, soprano Tina Munteanu and sax virtuoso Adrian Petrescu. The symphonic orchestration for Phoenix’s songs was especially arranged in London.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Ioan Andone no longer coaches CSKA


Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia announced on Tuesday that Romanian head coach Ioan Andone will no longer coach the team, without offering other details. According to the Bulgarian press, the club’s leadership allegedly has a debt of EUR 50,000 towards the Romanian head coach who seems to have resigned following a meeting with the club leadership, a meeting also attended by Giovanni Becali. According to the same sources, Bulgarian head coach Hristo Stoicikov is his likeliest replacement. Andone had been appointed head coach of CSKA on January 17.


Gheorghe Popescu, World Cup trophy ambassador


Former football star Gheorghe Popescu, who played in World Cup 1990, 1994 and 1998, was appointed FIFA World Cup trophy ambassador to Romania. The World Cup 2010 trophy, presented by Coca-Cola, will arrive in Bucharest on April 6, 2010, with the fans from all over the country having the chance to watch and take pictures of the trophy displayed in Bucharest’s Palace Hall on April 8. This is the first time when the authentic trophy travels to 84 countries on 5 continents.


Romanian football losses


Sevastian Iovanescu, the president of Farul Constanta, died on Monday evening because of complications that developed after he went through heart surgery on March 11. Aged 56, Iovanescu played for Steaua, FC Constanta and FC Arges, winning the title in 1979. On the other hand, the Romanian Football Federation announced on Monday the death of former football player Petre Mihaescu (90). In 1947 Mihaescu was playing for ASA Armata Bucharest, the club that later became Steaua. He was a lieutenant. Subsequently, after retiring he worked within the Football Federation, at one point being a member of FRF’s Competition Commission.


EU study: Romania, last
in sports practice



According to a Eurobarometer survey published by the EU early this week, Romania is last among European nations when it comes to practicing sports. Hungary, Greece and Bulgaria outrank our country. 69 per cent of Romanian respondents stated that they do not practice any kind of sport. Sweden and Finland top the list of European countries whose citizens regularly work out (72 per cent of respondents), while Denmark is third (64 per cent of respondents).


Adrian Ungur reaches last-16 stage in Naples


Romanian tennis player Adrian Ungur has qualified for the last-16 stage of the challenger tournament in Naples, a tournament with total prizes of EUR 30,000, after he defeated Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn (top seed 5), score 6-0, 6-4. Ungur will next play against the winner of the game that pits Chile’s Jorge Aguilar against Italy’s Filippo Volandri. Last week Ungur was defeated by Volandri in Barletta, score 7-5, 6-2. For his unexpected win against Kunitsyn, Ungur will receive a check for EUR 530 and 6 ATP points.

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Social

NEWS IN BRIEF

Satu Mare civil servant facing probe over false statements


The National Integrity Agency (ANI) has asked the Satu Mare Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the false statements made by Erdelyi Dionisie Carol, a public servant within the Satu Mare County Pensions Office. The public servant did not file his wealth statement for 2008.


ANI took note of the fact that Erdelyi did not fill in and file his statements of wealth and interests for 2008 before the deadline set by law, Mediafax reports.


After the information included in the public servant’s statements of interests for 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 was checked and compared with data sent by the relevant institutions, it was revealed that in his statement of interests for 2003 Erdelyi did not mention the fact that he had been an associate within the Oul SA Company ever since 1996. The fact that he was an associate generated a conflict of interests under current legal provisions.


Satu Mare Prosecutor’s Office was notified since the aforementioned fact represents strong evidence of false statements, a crime included in and punished according to Penal Code’s Article 292. Erdelyi’s guilt will have to be proven by judicial bodies.


Police agent probed over deadly car accident


A police agent in Dolj County is being probed by Dolj Tribunal prosecutors after he killed a woman while driving his personal car through Poiana Mare.


The woman, who was riding a bike at the time of the accident, was already dead when doctors arrived at the scene.


“The woman, 51, was riding her bike in the incoming lane, the police agent did not notice her and hit her from behind. The woman died right away,” Dolj Police County Inspectorate spokesperson, agent Amelia Caprin, was quoted as saying by Mediafax. The police is being questioned by prosecutors and is facing charges related to manslaughter. Legal sources say the Piscu Vechi police agent was driving under the influence of alcohol.


False doctor detained
in Bucharest



A man passing himself off as a doctor was detained in Bucharest. A girl’s parents called the police after receiving from him a text message announcing their girl was the victim of a road crash. In reality the alleged road crash did not take place. According to a Romanian Police press release, criminal investigations officers aided by officers from the General Directorate for Intelligence and Internal Protection (DGIPI) detained Laurentiu A. (27) on Monday. The young man was detained based on a warrant with the Husi Court now set to rule on the preventive arrest proposal.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

CFR lays off 60 more workers


The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure put the Romanian Railway and Tourism Company (SFT CFR SA) on the list of companies to operate layoffs, Mediafax reports. Sixty company employees are earmarked for unemployment, bringing to 10,361 the overall number of staff laid off. The Transport Ministry said the move is necessary for the company to carry on operations. CFR Marfa provides the bulk of layoffs, 6,700, followed by CFR Calatori (1,100) and carriage maintenance and repair operator ‘CFR IRV’, 800. Aside from basic unemployment allowance, upon discharge, laid-off workers will also receive an amount double the average salary on the date their work contract is terminated, and also a monthly complementing income for a period of 12 to 15 months.


Transport Ministry raises Tarom capital by RON 64 M


The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MTI), the controlling shareholder in national air carrier operator Tarom, rose the company’s share capital by RON 63.96 M, from RON 1.974 bln to RON 2.038 bln, in order to allow for some credit reimbursements, and the payment of interest and resultant commissions, according to Mediafax. Tarom has issued 25.58 M shares, with a face value of RON 2.5/apiece, which resulted in the Transport Ministry holding 96.95 per cent of the Tarom stock, and the Henri Coanda Otopeni International Airport, 1.6 per cent respectively. The Romanian Air Traffic Service Administration (ROMATSA) holds 1.36 per cent of the capital, and Muntenia Financial Investment Fund, 0.09 per cent. Shareholders passed the capital increase at a March 3 meeting, with the operation to be concluded later this year. Tarom aims to turn a profit this year, staking its bet on gross gains matching RON 19.8 M, after posting RON 91 M in losses last year. Moreover, Tarom will operate twice a week flights from Cluj-Napoca to Bucharest and Constanta, between June17 and September 26.


Romtelecom optimises costs


Romtelecom has held this month, via the cosmoONE platform, a number of 53 electronic tenders for civil works in Romania, making savings equal to over 20 per cent of the couple million euro project’s value, the communications operator said in a press release sent to ‘Nine O’Clock’.


The procurements process led to 32 companies meeting the business and technical criteria needed to take care of the 53 civil works at stake in six Romanian regions.


Digital TV and radio licence taxes unchanged


Despite Finance Ministry’s push for the highest price possible to be charged for digital terrestrial television and radio licence taxes, no changes have eventually been brought to the current levels charged, which reach EUR 2.5 M for the first two multiplexes, Hotnews reported Communications Ministry State Secretary Marius Fecioru as saying. The Finance Ministry set the proposed level of charges after comparing current ones with the USD 75 M paid for GSM licenses and USD 35 M for their 3G counterpart respectively. According to the Communications Ministry official, the finance minister gave his go-ahead to a government draft resolution on the terms, taxes and procedures required for licences to use digital terrestrial radio and television frequencies, with the tax level remaining unchanged. Under the said document, the first two digital multiplexes will have been assigned by July 1, 2010.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

BNP Paribas: Investment to further decline in 2010


Capital spending will further decline this year in Romania, putting extra pressure on the labor market. Meanwhile, consumption will stay low, at a moment when recession and problems on the credit market will keep domestic demand down for some more time, finds an analysis by BNP Paribas.


The Romanian crediting crisis was “by far” the most severe in Central and Eastern Europe, as it had a strong effect upon investment, say the analysts of the biggest French bank. Thus, although the economy will grow by more than 7 percent points this year, domestic demand will stay at crisis levels. BNP Paribas estimates that Romania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will increase by a modest 0.5 pc this year, but will pick up by 2.5 pc in 2011 and 2.9 pc in 2012 – the year when Romania will have to trim its budget deficit under 3 pc of the GDP, as demanded by the European Union. Budget deficit will thus drop to 6.8 pc in 2010 and 5.2 pc in 2011, according to BNP analysts, but it will still reach 5.1 pc in 2012, far above the limit accepted by the EU. The crediting institution sees the annual inflation rate in 2010 down to 3.4 pc, under the BNR target of 3.5 pc, but within the plus/minus one percent point corridor targeted by the Central Bank. According to the BNP Paribas forecast, the country will be able to curb its current account deficit to 3.1 pc of the GDP this year, while the exchange rate at end-year will reach 4.2 RON/EUR.


Popa: Romania rate cut decision was unanimous


Romania’s central bank decided unanimously to cut interest rates by 50 basis points on Monday, a central banker said on Tuesday, a rarely released detail analysts said likely heralded further easing. The decision, which the bank called “prudent” and brought the key rate at a record low of 6.5 percent, was in line with forecasts and aimed to help the ailing economy recover after a painful contraction of 7.1 percent last year. “It was unanimous,” deputy central bank governor Cristian Popa told reporters on the sidelines of a financial seminar. The Romanian central bank does not publish minutes of its meetings and rarely comments on the vote breakdown and analysts interpreted Popa’s comments as a dovish signal on rates. “He sends a pretty clear message that it is possible to see another 50 basis points cut in May,” ING Bank’s chief economist Nicolaie Alexandru-Chidesciuc said. “Unanimity means that there is no reason to switch to 25 basis points cuts at this point.” “We have changed our forecast from 25 basis points to a 50 basis points cut in May because the press release was very dovish … and this statement was dovish as well. The leu currency traded at 4.071 per euro at 1004 GMT, slightly weaker than the 4.0650 level recorded before Popa’s statement and down 0.3 percent on the day. The bank has cut 375 basis points in rates in about a year, but Romania still has the highest rates in the European Union.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Eurobarometer: 57 pc of Romanians deem agriculture, rural development crucial


A total of 57 per cent of Romanians think agriculture and rural development issues are crucial at European level, while the respective average proportion in the EU is 46 per cent, a Eurobarometer survey released by the European Commission yesterday reveals, according to Romania Libera online. Meanwhile, 77 per cent of Europeans think agriculture will be largely affected by climate change in years to come, while 61 per cent of Europeans do not consider agriculture to be one of the main causes of climate change.


Deadlines set for building Brasov ANL flats


National Defence Minister, Gabriel Oprea, the Minister of Regional Development and Tourism, Elena Udrea, and Brasov Mayor, George Scripcaru, yesterday signed a protocol of collaboration, having as object building houses, for youngsters to rent. The houses will be built on a ground in Brasov, owned by the state and under the custody of MoD, according to a press release to our editing office.


MoD will initiate and advance a Government Resolution regarding the transfer of the said ground from the public property of the state and moD custody to the public property of the City of Brasov and the custody of the Brasov City Council. The condition is ensuring homes for the MoD staff in the Brasov garrison. In its turn, the Ministry of Development will provide the annual necessary subsidies, guaranteed by the National Housing Agency, for construction of housing units.


Emilia Bunea, Chief Financial Officer at ING Insurance Central Europe


ING Fond de Pensii CEO Emilia Bunea is becoming Chief Financial Officer of ING Insurance Central Europe on April 1, the bank informs in a release. The office vacated after Bunea’s promotion will be taken over by current ING Investment Management CEO Marius Popescu subject to approval by the Private Pension System Oversight Board (CSSPP). ‘The promotion of a member of the ING Romania team to the group’s regional top management proves once more the Romanian specialists’ high level of expertise and the good results obtained locally’, CEO ING Asigurari de Viata and Chairperson of the Board of ING Fond de Pensii Cornelia Coman said.


Millennium Bank launches programme for start up businesses


Millennium Bank launched a lower cost current account for start up businesses, according to a press release. The aim is helping entrepreneurs to develop their operations in the first year of activity. For one year, start up operations with annual turnover of less than EUR 500,000 can benefit from Millennium Bank’s Start Account, with zero administration fee, free access to Internet Banking and Call Centre services, zero issuance and first year administration fees for Visa Business Silver debit card and zero fee for debit card withdrawals at Millennium Bank’s ATMs. The Start Account also offers benefits for several types of transactions, such as zero fees for low value RON payments made through the Internet Banking service and no fee for RON cash deposits made at teller desks in the bank’s offices. The new account is available in RON. Clients can benefit from several other products and services attached to it, such as a current account in foreign currency or direct debit service.


‘First Home, Ready Made’ from Alpha Bank Romania


Clients who take out an Alpha Housing First Home loan may win some of the prizes offered within the ‘First Home, Ready Made’ promotion, the bank informs in a release.


Any individual person who has applied for an Alpha Housing – First Home loan in either RON or EUR, from March 22 to May 21, 2010, has signed the loan agreement by the promotion ending date and has made at least one draw from the loan amount before June 4, 2010 may participate. The Alpha Housing – First Home loan may be of up to EUR 71,250 according to the type of the property that is being financed, allowing individual customers to buy and pay for their home in the course of 10 to 30 years without paying bank commissions and with 5 per cent down payment.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

MPs reject Basescu’s referendum
deadline ordinance



The Legal Commission of the Senate yesterday rejected a request by President Traian Basescu to pass the Government Emergency Ordinance that instates a deadline for the Parliament to give green light to the head of state’s demand of holding a nationwide referendum.


The Parliament already rejected the Ordinance last year, but on November 27 President Basescu asked for the rejection law to be reconsidered.


In the re-examination request, the president evokes the provisions of the Venice Commission, which ruled that a deadline should be set for the Parliament to pronounce over such an initiative taken by the head of state. If the Legislative does not observe the deadline, the text may be submitted to population’s vote without Parliament green light.

Defence minister: F-16 acquisition
to be decided
by Parliament



Gabriel Oprea said yesterday that a final decision on the acquisition of F-16 multi-role fighter jets would be made by Parliament. “The aircraft has been recommended by Air Force specialists who would be flying them. I trust their judgement, but the final decision is with the Parliament. It will be a strategic decision made by the Romanian people through Parliament,” the defence minister told a press conference in Brasov yesterday. The minister noted that he submitted the matter of F-16 aircraft acquisition to the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) for discussion and that the proposal would be tabled to the two chambers of Parliament’s defence committees. The committees’ decision would then be forwarded to the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.


According to Oprea, an argument in favour of buying the jets is that all NATO member states’ armed forces use them in the Black Sea region and over 25 armies are equipped with F-16, after successfully testing them in combat. At the same time, Oprea added that the Ministry of Defence would also step in to help Romanian defence industry and that the Romanian Army would need to become its best customer by procuring locally-made ammunitions and armaments.


CSAT last week passed the Defence Ministry’s proposal to acquire a total of 24 used F-16 multi-role fighter jets, with the document now pending debate and decision by Parliament.

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