ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

“If I Want to Whistle…” best thriller in Beaunne


After receiving honors in Berlin, Florin Serban’s film “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle” has won the best film award in Beaunne International Film’s New Blood section dedicated to young filmmakers. The thriller festival in France has last year named winner in the same category one of 2009’s most memorable movies, “Bronson” by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring British sensation Tom Hardy. This year, other contenders in the New Blood section were “The Killing Room” (USA), “Slice” (Thailand), “Teheran” (France), and “Walls” (Israel).


Actor George Pistereanu was present in Beaunne, promoting the film and his performance was applauded by both critics and the audience.


“I was invited to go to a party one year before the awards were given, “ Pistereanu says. “ I was surprised to know everyone knew who I was, but I did not believe we could win another award here. “ President of the New Blood section, director Sam Karmann said the award came following “ unanimous decision from the jury, “ and expressed hope that the production will “do very well in France.” “For the moment, I am really glad the film is so well received at home, “ Pistereanu says.


Over the past weekend, the movie gathered an impressive audience in Romania, 28,000 spectators have seen it since its premiere two weeks ago, which is a big number for Romania. The film is a feature by Romanian director Florin ?erban. If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, the debut of 35 year old director Serban, is a Romanian-Swedish co-production between the Romanian Strada Film and the Swedish Film I Vast and The Chimney Pot


Founded by filmmaker Catalin Mitulescu, Strada Film has previously produced The Way I Spent The End Of The World, the first feature of Catalin Mitulescu – awarded with Best Actress Award for Dorotheea Petre in “Un Certain Regard” section at Cannes Film Festival 2006, Ryna, the first feature of Ruxandra Zenide – awarded with 16 prizes.


For the foreigners established in Bucharest, the film can be seen as of April 16 at the Peasant Museum, with English subtitles.


“Balanchine Night” opens at ONB


The ballet company of the Bucharest National Opera will present, in a national première, “Balanchine Night”, on Saturday, April 17, 18:30. The Romanian audience will have the chance to watch two of the best-known works of renowned choreographer George Balanchine, “Valse Fantaisie”, on M. Glinka’s score, and “Serenade”, set to P. I. Tchaikovsky’s music. The ballet dancers are being trained for this event-performance by rehearsal master Paul Joseph Boos, designated by the George Balanchine Trust (New York) to arrange this performance on the stage of the Bucharest National Opera. “Balanchine Night” will be opened by the latest creation of master Ioan Tugearu, titled “The Fugue. The Great Fugue”, set to musical pieces by J. S. Bach and L. van Beethoven, arranged by Alexandru Istrate. “Valse Fantaisie” is based on the second version, created by Balanchine in 1967, for a male dancer and five ballerinas and will be performed on the stage of ONB by soloist dancers Bianca Fota and Ovidiu Matei Iancu. The next representations of “Balanchine Night” will take place on April 18 and April 25, 2010.


ICR New York director, elected chair of EUNIC


The Director of the New York Romanian Cultural Institute, Corina Suteu, was elected chair of the New York EUNIC organization, the network of cultural institutes from the EU present in the United States. According to a release remitted on Tuesday to AGERPRES by ICR New York, Suteu was elected chair of EUNIC New York during the 13th official convention of directors of European cultural centres and institutes. European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) is a network of European national cultural institutes, founded in Prague, in 2006, whose chair position was held this year by the president of the Romanian Cultural Institute, Horia-Roman Patapievici. EUNIC’s New York branch was founded in 2007 and it brings together cultural organizations from 14 EU countries active in the US, among which British Council, Institut Francais, Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Finnish Cultural Institute, Scandinavia House, the Swiss General Consulate, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Slovakian General Consulate, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Czech Institute, the Hungarian Cultural Institute, etc. The Romanian Cultural Institute in New York is one of the founding members of the New York branch of EUNIC and among the most active members of the network, participating in numerous projects during the last 3 years.


Short feature film “Desert Rain”, selected at the Cannes Festival


Short feature film “Ploaie in Desert” (Desert Rain), directed by Ilinca Neagu, will be included in the Short Film Corner section of the Cannes International Film Festival (May 12-23). Created in 2004, the Short Film Corner is dedicated to supporting short features, the selected films being integrated in a global network of dissemination and promotion. “Ploaie in Desert” tells the story of the modern man ready to sacrifice his life and family for his career. Henry Baftimede (Aloysius Itoka) is a young coloured businessman, relocated from Paris to Bucharest, by the company he works for. On his way to a business meeting, Henry ends up in a typically Romanian village in the Baragan, where he has a life-changing experience. The film brings to the foreground cultural barriers and the effects of globalization on human behaviour, combining drama and situational comedy. “Ploaie in Desert” won the award for sound editing in the 2009 edition of the Cinemaiubit Festival, sound and editing bearing the signature of Bogdan Ionescu. Ilinca Neagu graduated from the Bucharest “I. L. Caragiale” University of Dramatic and Cinematographic Art, the Department of TV and Film Direction, in 2009. The films she directed as a student include the documentary “Megawattora” and the short feature “Dulciuri Nocturne” (Nocturnal Sweets), starring Ion Lucian, Ana Maria Moldovan and Magda Catone, shown at the Independent Producer’s International Film Festival (IPIFF) in 2009. In 2010, Ilinca Neagu took part in the Talent Campus programme, at the Berlin International Film Festival. The young director is currently living in Brussels and working on a new short feature, a Belgian-Dutch co-production, bearing the provisional title “The Incredible Journey of Om”.


Alexandru Tomescu and Florin Croitoru perform at Radio Hall


Violonists Alexandru Tomescu and Florin Croitoru are to concert, on Wednesday evening, at the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Hall, accompanied by the Radio Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Radu Popa. They will play the Concerto in a minor for two violins and orchestra, op.3 no.8 “L’Estro armonico” by A. Vivaldi and the Concerto in c minor for two violins and orchestra “BWV 1043” by J. S. Bach. Both artists will play on violins made by violin-maker Silvian Rusu. The two concertos will be preceded by Brandenburgic Concerto no.4 in F major, “BWV 1049” by J. S. Bach, played by Daniel Manasi (violin), Constanta Cazacu (flute) and Marian Olaru (flute). The evening will close with the Symphony no.1 in C major, “D 82” by F. Schubert, interpreted by the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Chamber Orchestra. Tickets can be bought through Eventim, at the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Hall box-office, in Germanos and Vodafone shops, in Carturesti and Humanitas bookshops and online on www.eventim.ro.


Early music concert,
at Mogosoaia Palace



The public in Bucharest is invited to a concert given by the “Anton Pann” early music singing-and-playing ensemble, led by Constantin Raileanu, on April 18, at 17:00, in the Rug Hall of Mogosoaia Palace. For an hour, in the aforementioned hall, they may listen to works signed by Dimitrie Cantemir, Anton Pann, Gheorghe Ucenescu, as well as fragments from Codex Caioni. The concert is part of the “Music at the Brancovenian Palaces” series, second edition, event organized by the Brancovenian Palaces Cultural Centre. The Anton Pann ensemble was founded in 2004 and it has been involved ever since in the project to retrieve and revalorize 18th and 19th century Romanian music. Its members have given dozens of concerts and have managed to edit four compact discs: “Kalofonica”, “Zaharicale” (Sweetmeats), “Colinde” (Christmas Carols) and “De la lume adunate si la lume iarasi date” (From the people to the people). Optional transportation is offered, from Chibrit Square, 1 Mai metro station, for a round-trip price of 6 lei. Minibuses to Mogosoaia Palace leave at 18:00. Entrance is free.

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League I: Steaua Bucharest 2 – Poli Iasi 1


Steaua Bucharest won its home-side game against Poli Iasi on Monday, score 2-1 (0-0 at half time), the final game of leg 27. Steaua’s goals were scored by Surdu (54th minute) and Kapetanos (81st minute), while Paun scored for the visitors in the 5th minute. Approximately 3,500 fans were in the stands. Poli Iasi was cheered by 17 fans that entered the stadium in the 50th minute. They left the stadium two minutes before Kapetanos scored the winning goal. Steaua head coach Mihai Stoichita was not on the bench because he was suspended. Nevertheless he was permanently on the phone with assistant coach Mihai Teja during the match. Razvan Lucescu, head coach of Romania’s national football team, was also in the stands. Lucescu left after Steaua scored the winning goal.


Cycling: 23 teams sign up for Tour of Romania


The 2010 edition of the Tour of Romania will start on June 5 in Deva, with 23 teams that signed up being scheduled to arrive in Constanta on June 12. Here is the tour’s route: Deva – Alba Iulia – Ludus – Targu Mures (first stage); Targu Mures – Reghin – Vatra Dornei (stage two); Falticeni – Suceava (stage three); Suceava – Radauti – Dorohoi – Botosani (stage four); Botosani – Roman – Piatra Neamt (stage five); Bacau – Focsani – Buzau (stage six); Slobozia – Harsova – Constanta (stage seven). Russia’s Alexei Shcebelin (Tablewere) won last year’s edition, followed by Bulgaria’s Vladimir Koev and Pavel Sumanov (Hemus 1896 Trojan).


Karate: 18 Gold medals
in EC-WUKF



Romania’s karate delegation won 18 Gold medals, 8 Silver medals and 8 Bronze medals at the third edition of European Championships Wuko style for seniors and veterans hosted by Santarem (Portugal) from April 7-11, the Romanian Karate Federation informs. Of the 18 Gold medals won by Romania, medals that placed it on top of the overall standings, 8 were won in the kata and kumite team events. Last year Romania topped the standings at the World Championships for Seniors and Veterans hosted by Odessa, winning a total of 37 medals, of which 15 were Gold medals.


Gheorghe Popescu:
Junior Iustin Popescu leaves for Manchester



Former international player Gheorghe Popescu said on Monday that Iustin Popescu, who is enrolled at his school of football and is also the goalkeeper of Romania’s U-17 team, has left for England where he will take part in a week of trials in Manchester. “For me the school of football that bears my name is a project that has brought very satisfying results. Yesterday (Sunday – editor’s note) one of our players left for Manchester, with people there wanting to see him at work for two weeks. I’m talking about Iustin Popescu, goalkeeper of the U-17 national team. He is a very promising player. He is 17 years old,” Popescu told Gsp TV, without pointing out which club wants to test him.


Ungur/Marrero qualifies for quarterfinals in Rome


Adrian Ungur (Romania) and David Marrero (Spain) have qualified on Monday for the doubles event quarterfinals of the Rome tennis tournament, with total prizes of EUR 30,000, atptennis.com website informs. Ungur and Marrero defeated Denis Matsukevich (Russia) and Yuri Schukin (Kazakhstan) in the opening round, score 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 and will next play against the winners of the game that pits Poland’s Tomasz Bednarek and Mateusz Kowalczyk (top seeds 3) against Italy’s Flavio Cipolla and Vincenzo Santopadre.

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Priest arrested after killing woman on street crossing


A priest was placed in preventive arrest for 29 days in Calarasi after he drove under the influence, ran over a woman on a street crossing and fled the scene of the accident. The injured woman died a week later in hospital. Priest Dumitru Nicolae Bogdan was placed in preventive arrest, being charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence. On March 7 the priest ran over a 42-year-old woman on a street crossing located close to the Agriculture High School in Calarasi. He then fled the scene of the accident. The priest was caught but refused to be tested with the breathalyzer, preferring to give blood samples instead. The woman suffered multiple traumas, being hospitalized in Bucharest in a state of coma. She died one week later. According to Calarasi County Police representatives, the priest’s first blood sample pointed to a concentration of 0.65 grams of pure alcohol per litre of blood, with the second sample collected one hour later pointing to a concentration of 0.75 grams of pure alcohol per litre of blood.

Concrete transport truck kills woman in Iasi


A woman was killed on a street crossing after she was hit by a concrete transport truck, antena3.ro informs. The shocking moments were caught on tape by surveillance cameras. The woman, aged 57, was trying to reach the train station and ran across the street. However she was hit by the concrete transport truck. The driver needed medical assistance because of the emotional shock he suffered. Police have started an investigation. According to preliminary findings, the victim is at fault for crossing the street on the red light for pedestrians. The area where the accident took place is very busy so unpleasant road accidents are frequent. Several months ago an old man was killed by a lorry in the same area.

Romanian in Illinois charged with conspiracy for federal funds fraud


A Romanian living in the town of Skokie, Illinois, has been charged with fraudulently obtaining federal funding worth over USD 1.3 M, by filling out over 200 fake application forms in the name of some Romanian citizens, Chicago Sun Times reports in Friday’s online issue. Ovidiu Isac, 28, has been pressed charges for allegedly participating in March 2008 in a conspiracy towards making undue tax claims equal to over USD 2.1 M. The charges rely on information provided by a witness who admitted to the federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to have participated, along with others, including Isac, in the scam, with Isac getting 70 per cent of the money obtained, the source quoted states. The Romanian risks going to prison for up to 10 years and paying a USD 250,000 fine.


Mehedinti village hall accountant beaten by deputy mayor


Titel Popa, a village hall accountant from Salcia, Mehedinti County was admitted to hospital on Monday evening. The man had suffered serious head and chest lesions as a result of punches and foot kicks administered by the village deputy mayor and his brother, according to police accounts. Popa told doctors the deputy mayor had taken him to task for only checking the deputy’s wife in eight working days of the overall 24 in March. In his turn, the deputy mayor explained the accountant allegedly hurt himself while running into an office drawer. Officers with the Criminal Investigation Deparetment of the Mehedinti County Police Inspectorate say they opened an investigation into the case. Chief Commissary Pantelica Bobarsc said evidence shows Deputy Mayor Adel Sava and his brother repeatedly kicked the accountant with their fists and feet.

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Basescu’s tests incomplete as MRI scanner out of order


President Traian Basescu said in a show on B1 TV Monday night that he would have been happy to publish results of his medical tests but he could not do that as the MRI machine was our of order. “The hospital appointed by the Supreme Defence Council to look after the president’s health has one MRI scanner that is currently out of order. They cannot complete the medical checks before they have received the needed spare parts. I started it in January or February, I cannot remember exactly,” the president said. Basescu noted that the Defence Council had decided that the president would have his tests done at the Military Hospital. He underlined that he was already examined by 13 different specialists, that the medical report was complete, except for the missing MRI scan results.

2011 census to cost EUR 50 M


Government will spend about EUR 50 M on the census of population and buildings in Romania in 2011, Administration and Interior Minister Vasile Blaga told a relevant videoconference with the prefects yesterday. According to the minister, EUR 17.8 M of it will go to the National Institute of Statistics for distributing materials, IT services of storing data, training censors, calculation equipment and the licensing rights required. The Interior Ministry will use EUR 30.3 M of the overall census funds on censor allowances, renting storage areas, travels and calculation equipment.

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Romanian new car
market down 70 pc in Q1



New car registrations in Romania dwindled by 70 pc in the first quarter of the year, down to under 9,000 units, according to data provided by the Driving Licenses and Car Registration Department (DRPCIV). The ‘Cash for Clunkers Programme’ had only marginal effects in March, as the market halved compared to the third month of 2009. Dacia registrations went down 78 pc in Q1, those of Ford lost 43 pc, Volkswagen saw a 65 pc decline, while BMW dropped by 13 pc. Statistics also feature two Duster vehicles. In total, 4,027 new cars were registered throughout Romania in March – half the number reported a year ago. In Q1, new car registrations topped 8,819 units, compared to some 29,000 in the first quarter of 2009.


Three spare car part
factories to open in Craiova



Spare car part manufacturers from Germany, Belgium and Italy are negotiating rental of industrial park zones, to open new production centres in Craiova, Realitatea.net reports. The three companies are Kirchhoff Automotive, specialized in body parts and chassis, Afmech NV – a company from Genk, Belgium, which produces hydraulic equipment, and Rochling Automotive Italy – manufacturer of plastic parts for the automotive industry. “We received from a Gendarmerie unit the acceptance in principle to take over the administration of 8.6 hectares of land adjacent to the industrial park. In exchange, we will give them 6 hectares of land near the airport. On April 22, the people of Kirchhoff will come for preliminary talks in this regard” park administrator Marin Nicoli said yesterday.

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ABB completes Ploiesti Nord transformation
station refurbishment



ABB has completed upgrading of the 110/20/6kV Ploiesti Nord station for the beneficiary FDEE Muntenia Nord – the Ploiesti-based Muntenia Nord Electricity Distribution Branch, a release states. The project consisted in replacement of the existing primary and secondary equipment with modern, last-generation parts. The ABB technology embedded in the newly-fitted 110 and 20 kV gears and equipment pose a low running risk and the revamping of the protection and control system by using protection relays enhances safety and availability of power networks to the majority of the industrial consumers in Ploiesti and to residential consumers based in the surrounding areas. ‘The project is just another demonstration of ABB’s dedication to providing its clients with energy saving and environment protecting state of the art solutions’, said Peter Simon, Country Manager ABB Romania, Bulgaria and R. Moldova. The equipment was made at ABB plants in the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland. ABB is a leader in energy and automation technologies helping utility and industrial clients improve performance with a minimum impact on the environment. The ABB Group operates in nearly 100 different countries and has a total of 117,000 employees.


Rompetrol raises fuel prices by up to
4 RON per litre



Rompetrol Downstream raised, Tuesday, April 13, the petrol price by 4 RON per litre and the gasoline price by 3 RON per litre, the Rompetrol division of fuel distribution announced. Thus, Efix 95 and Alto 101 petrol cost 4.53 RON per litre, respectively, 5.14 RON per litre. The new prices for Efix and Alto 55 gasoline are 4.32 RON, respectively 4.61 RON, per litre. The prices of fuels sold in Rompetrol stations may vary +/- 5 per cent from reference prices.


RON, lowest value in the last 11 weeks – RON 4.1425/ EUR


National currency continued to depreciate towards mid-session, so that the Romanian National Bank (BNR) announced for Tuesday a 1.2 ban higher reference exchange rate, of RON 4.1425/ EUR, the highest figure since January 21. In its Monday session, BNR announced an exchange rate of RON 4.1305/ EUR, close to the one on Friday, when the rate reached the highest figure in the last 6 weeks. The BNR exchange rate for the American currency rose by 1.67 ban, reaching a RON 3.0528/ EUR rate. Subsequently, the rate climbed to RON 4.1350 – RON 4.1370/ EUR, following the slight depreciation of currencies in the region and adjustments made at international mature stock markets after the announcing of the lower than estimated results of Alcoa, the greatest aluminium-producer in the US. Merchant banks showed a slight growth in interests on one day-term investments, which varied between 2.3 pc and 2.8 pc, after remaining for months in the 2.29-2.79 pc range.


EUR 300 M investment fund targeting Romania as well, initiated by EBRD, IFC, FMO Netherlands and ADM Capital


EBRD, IFC and Development Finance Company (FMO) from the Netherlands launched, in partnership with ADM Capital Hong Kong, a fund for investment in medium-capital companies in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Turkey, with an initial estimated value of EUR 300 M, according to Mediafax. Initially, the fund would target companies in Kazakhstan, Romania, Turkey and the Ukraine, by credits and investments of capital ranging between EUR 10 and 30 M. The fund aims to support, by investments administrated by ADM Capital (Asia Debit Management Hong Kong), medium-capital companies which are confronted with difficulty following the recession, a release remitted yesterday by International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, informs.


PM Boc: Indolence in investments delays recession emergence


Prime-minister Emil Boc summoned local authorities to accelerate auction procedures to contract investment projects and to cease postponing the initiation of programs for which funding contracts have already been signed, warning that each day of “indolence” delays our emergence from the recession, Mediafax informs. He added, in a video conference with prefects organized yesterday, at the Ministry of Administration that central authorities would start this week a new analysis of the stage of contracting for European funds. The prime-minister also urged for the implementation of de-centralization projects, underlining that the transfer of responsibilities towards the local community would include necessary funding.


Piraeus Bank enters factoring market


The Romanian branch of Piraeus Bank enters the factoring market by launching a product targeted at companies involved in business partnerships with state authorities and firms under the state command, by which it will finance up to 80 per cent of the companies’ claims. “‘Cash Flow Factoring’ is a traditional factoring product, which enables the bank to finance 50, 65 or 80 per cent of the claims of the companies in question, according to the financial reliability of the payers in whose name the accounts to be financed by the bank were issued,” a release from the credit institution informs. For this factoring product, with a reimbursement term of up to three years, Piraeus Bank does not apply an interest or monthly administration fees, and the payment for the facility and corresponding commissions is made the moment the claim is cashed.

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Foreign investors, net buyers
at BVB



Foreign investors were the most active players at the Bucharest Stock Market (BVB) during the first quarter, bringing RON 218.2 M (EUR 53 M) on the market, mainly following the take-over offer by Rompetrol group under way at Rompetrol Rafinare (RRC), while Romanians took out RON 210.6 M (EUR 51.1 M). The figures for the first three months are in sharp contrast to the same time last year, when Romanians made net investments of RON 13.5 M, while foreigners sold by RON 14 M more than they bought. Non-resident investors bought, during the first three months, shares amounting to RON 643.2 M (EUR 156.3 M) and bought deeds worth RON 424.9 M (EUR 103.3 M), according to data published yesterday on the BVB website. The acquisition amount was three times bigger compared to turnover for the first quarter of the preceding year, namely, RON 170.9 M (EUR 40.1 M). Moreover, amounts cashed by foreigners from selling deeds this year was twice bigger than they were for the same interval last year, when foreigners cashed stocks amounting to RON 185 M (EUR 43.3). On the other hand, acquisitions made by Romanian investors totalled RON 1.244 bln (EUR 302.6 M) in the January-March interval, while transactions made on the selling market amounted to RON 1.455 bln (EUR 353.8 M). The value of deeds bought by Romanians was 2.5 times higher than in the first quarter of the preceding year, of RON 494 M (EUR 115.8 M), while sales tripled, from RON 480.4 M (EUR 112.7). In March, Romanian investors were net sellers for the fourth consecutive month and withdrew RON 43.1 M (EUR 10.5 M) from the market, while non-residents bought RON 53.9 M (EUR 13.2 M)-worth of deeds more than they sold. Moreover, local investors bought from 7,842 accounts, reaching a level unprecedented since October 2008, a month during which transactions were made from 9,319 accounts.


Fitch downgrades Bancpost and Banca Romaneasca ratings to BB+


Financial rating agency Fitch yesterday downgraded Romanian banks Bancpost and Banca Romaneasca from BBB- to BB+, after Friday’s similar decision concerning their mother banks from Greece – National Bank of Greece (NBG) and EFG Eurobank, respectively. The two credit institutions’ ratings were put under monitoring, with negative implications, Fitch writes in a release.


The agency also downgraded from F3 to B the short-term credits rating of NBG subsidiary Banca Romaneasca, while moving down its support rating from 2 to 3. In the case of Bancpost, Fitch downgraded the short-term credit rating from F3 to B and the support rating from 2 to 3.

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