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NEWS IN BRIEF

Berdych stuns Federer
as Miami upsets continue



Roger Federer became the latest upset victim at the Sony Ericsson Open after the world number one went down 6-4 6-7 7-6 to 16th seeded Czech Tomas Berdych in the fourth round on Tuesday. On the women’s side, third seed Venus Williams won her 14th successive match after beating Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3 6-1 in their quarter-final match.


1-year doping ban
recommended for Mutu



The Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping prosecutor has recommended a one-year ban for Adrian Mutu after the Fiorentina forward failed two drug tests this season, coni.it informs. The Romania international tested positive for traces of the banned stimulant Sibutramina after matches against Bari on Jan. 10 and Lazio 10 days later. The stimulant combats hunger. Mutu has admitted that he took the substance, saying he didn’t know what it was at the time and made the mistake of not asking a doctor. Mutu’s agent, Giovanni Becali, said recently he expected his client to be banned for three or four months. The case will be decided by CONI’s anti-doping court.


Ioan Andone signs
for Rapid



Head coach Ioan Andone has signed for Rapid Bucharest after leaving CSKA Sofia, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ informs. Former Dinamo Bucharest and CFR Cluj head coach, Andone will coach Rapid for the next two months. At the end of the season Ioan Andone (50) will be able to extend his contract for three years. Andone will receive EUR 45,000. Rapid is 7th in League I, 8 points behind leaders CFR Cluj.

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‘No Basescu Day’


Replicating the French and Italian movement, several bloggers are taking a ‘No Basescu Day’ initiative today. Ex PM Adrian Nastase yesterday expressed his solidarity with the movement, promising to wear purple too. “I hail bloggers’ idea of founding this . It is a form of protest that I appreciate and I will join. (…) I will wear something purple on April 2. And I know many fellow colleagues in PSD will fearlessly wear the colour, especially now, after the Congress,” Nastase writes in a blog post. The former premier notes bloggers’ protest will have to be taken to the next level as it happened in France and Italy – public protests and street demonstrations to make that day ‘a day for defending democracy and civil rights.’


“A moment like that should not be confiscated by political parties or by political movements. It should be a demonstration of freedom by all those who refuse to spring to attention or to behave like sheep in a herd in front of the , while he and his gang are treading what’s left of Romania,” the PSD leader added.

Gov’t cannot afford Elisabeta Palace upkeep


The State Protocol Patrimony Regie (RA-APPS) is going to ask King Mihai to start paying the expenses for Elisabeta Palace paid by the government so far, RA-APPS sources say, according to Mediafax. ‘The regie anticipates facility management expenses of over RON 750,000 this year, bigger than last year, mainly because of the higher utilities tariffs, and the institution cannot afford paying for it any more’, the sources said. Seven years ago, the Government decided that RA-APPS would meet expenses in connection with utilities, movable goods and staff at the Elisabeta Palace. The palace is currently the stately home of King Michael I of Romania.


In retort, the Royal House’s lawyer, Adrian Vasiliu said they had not been informed on this matter. “It is a unilateral decision. No one informed us officially”, said Vasiliu.

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15 year old beaten
by three Roma ethnics



A 15-year-old boy from Ploiesti was attacked by three young Roma ethnics while leaving school, Antena 3 informs. The 8th grader was just leaving school when he was attacked by three Roma ethnics with ages ranging from 16 to 17 years. Immediately after beating him the three fled in a taxi cab. The teenager was left lying on the sidewalk for several minutes until an ambulance arrived. He was taken to hospital after being given first aid. According to Daniel Radu, spokesperson of the Prahova County Police Inspectorate, two of the attackers have been detained. According to preliminary investigations the three attacked the pupil at the behest of one of his classmates. The student is in a state of shock but his injuries are not life threatening.


Romanian child sets
himself ablaze in Italy



A Romanian child aged 12 soaked his clothes with alcohol and set himself on fire in front of his playmates, in the Salerno province of Italy, ‘Adevarul’ newspaper reports. The child was rushed to the Vallo hospital. The boy was playing with other children in a park of Casal Velino, when some boys had the idea to start a fire in the park. To do so, they went to a store and bought two bottles of alcohol and a lighter. Wishing to amaze his friends, the Romanian boy pretended to be a fire-eater, poured alcohol on the sleeves of his jacket and set himself on fire.


Penalties for ‘rude’ taxi drivers


Taxi drivers in Cluj-Napoca will see their licenses suspended if they eat seeds, listen to ‘manele’ (a type of music preferred by ethnic Roma) or are improperly dressed, local authorities have announced, quoted by Realitatea TV.


The mayor of Cluj-Napoca, Sorin Apostu also warned taxi drivers will be fined for throwing trash in the street. When they accumulate three penalty points, taxi drivers will have their licenses suspended for two years.


Ombudsman notifies Constitutional Court over gov’t salary ordinance


Ombudsman, Ioan Muraru, announced that he notified, on Wednesday, the Constitutional Court of the unconstitutionality of an article in a government emergency ordinance, which suspends for the course of this year the payment of salary rights obtained by state employees and set by court rulings. Muraru added that he made the notification at the behest of two trade union confederations, namely, Cartel Alfa and Spiru Haret. “This cannot be done. It is a serious violation of the Constitution. In our constitutional system, a court ruling can only be annulled by another court, whereas the Government, by this ordinance which redistributes the payment of this debt to the employees, wants to dodge court rulings,” Muraru argued.


European green
legislation cannot be enforced in Bucharest



European legislation that provides for the existence of 26 square metres of green area for each inhabitant of a locality cannot be enforced in Romania and must therefore be changed, because cities like Bucharest simply do not have the space needed for more green areas, claims the head of the National Environment Guard, Silvian Ionescu. The mayor of Bucharest 6th District, Cristian Poteras, and Ionescu attended a Forest Month event and planted 30 trees in ‘Drumul Taberei’ Park. According to the mayor, District 6 currently has only 6 square metres of green per inhabitant, instead of the 26 sq.m. that are norm in the European Union.

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Pogea appointed to CEC Board


Ex-Finance Minister Gheorghe Pogea has been appointed to CEC Bank’s Board of Directors, Mediafax reports. His term is due to expire in May next year, together with the bank’s current President Radu Gratian Ghetea. The appointment was sanctioned by the CEC general assembly of shareholders on January 14 and published in the Official Journal on March 29. Since February, Pogea has been also a member of the Proprietatea Fund Oversight Board. Wholly state-owned CEC Bank has a Board of Directors consisting of 11 members, chaired by Radu Ghetea.


Sibiu Prefect – appointed as Economy Ministry state secretary


Sibiu Prefect Constantin Trihenea was appointed as state secretary in the Ministry of the Economy, Mediafax reports. Horatiu Racuciu will replace him in Prefect’s seat, Senator Ion Ariton informed yesterday. According to Ariton, Trihenea will leave his current position in the county administration about one week from now. “Our colleague Constantin Trihenea was appointed as state secretary in the Ministry of the Economy. (…) He has worked for 14-15 years in the sector and we are sure he will successfully represent us in the Government,” said Ion Ariton, the president of PDL Sibiu. The next Prefect, Horatiu Racuciu is the acting manager of the State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM).


VIG makes EUR 24.2 M profit in Romania


Vienna Insurance Group (VIG)-owned companies in Romania have posted EUR 24.2 earnings before tax and EUR 598.2 revenue for 2009, the results being 11 per cent below those scored in 2008, the annual report of Austrian insurance group states, according to Mediafax. VIG’s earnings before tax in Romania in 2008 had been of EUR 57.5 M, but a comparison would be irrelevant as the group’s performance on the local market was notably boosted by the extra funds raised by selling Unita that year. Vienna Insurance registered revenue of EUR 671.9 M in Romania in 2008. The group-owned companies in Romania subscribed gross premiums totalling EUR 606.66 M in 2009, up about 15 per cent in local currency and down 0.3 per cent in Euro, the difference emphasising how important exchange rate volatility can be. The gross premiums subscribed by Romania-based VIG companies in the general insurance segment were down 8.7 per cent from EUR 569.2 M to EUR 519.4 M.

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EBRD loan for BCR to promote sustainable energy


The EBRD is supporting further the implementation of sustainable energy projects in Romania with a new EUR 10 million loan to Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), for on-lending to private companies seeking to improve their energy efficiency, a press release informs. The loan is supplementing a similar EUR 20 M credit line offered by the EBRD to BCR in 2008. BCR is the leading bank in Romania, majority-owned by the Austrian Erste Group. Extended under the EU/EBRD Energy Efficiency Finance Facility framework, the loan will be used to finance energy efficiency investments undertaken by Romanian businesses with long-term loans worth up to EUR 2.5 M each. The project will enable Romanian companies to maximise energy savings, mitigate the impact of rising energy prices and to improve their overall competitiveness. With the support of the initial loan from the EBRD BCR financed 14 energy efficiency projects, which enabled BCR clients to reduce their energy bills and cut emissions by up to 60 per cent per year and improve their overall productivity.


Delta Nature Resort closes 5-star hotel complex in Danube Delta


Lack of clients forced Delta Nature Resort, owner of the homonymous five-star hotel complex in the Danube Delta, to close it for the summer of 2010. The company will however use the respite to expand the complex with a spa and reopen it in the spring of 2011, Mediafax reports. Hotel CEO Virgil Munteanu said the project has already started, but stopped short from disclosing the sum to be invested in the spa centre. The employees of Delta Nature Resort will be jobless while the spa is being built. “In November, Delta Nature Resort employees have been made redundant and next year, when the company will recruit once again, it will consider those who worked in the complex, as they are experienced people and will be hired once again,” Munteanu added. The Delta Nature Resort tourist complex, located on the banks of the Danube Delta’ Samova Lake, opened in 2005 upon investment worth some USD 7 M.

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