ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Director Bobby Paunescu wins award in East End Film Festival


The director Bobby Paunescu won the best international debut award in the London East End Film Festival (April 22 – 30), for the feature film “Francesca”, the Romanian Cultural Institute in London informs. Only a few days after the projection of his debut feature film, “Francesca”, in the East End Film Festival, followed by a dialogue with British viewers, Bobby Paunescu came back to London to collect one of the six awards in the event, rewarding the best international debut.


Stradivarius National tour
reaches third edition



The violinist Alexandru Tomescu and the pianist Horia Mihail will present, during May 3 and 25, the third edition of the Stradivarius National Tour. The event is part of the fifth annual tours series, in which the organizers propose to bring the famous Elder-Voicu Stradivarius on as many Romanian concert stages as possible. The Stradivarius Tour, organized by the Ascendo Cultural Association, will be accompanied by a social campaign to aid hearing-impaired people in Romania, jointly organized with the National Television. Two years ago, on the last day of March, the two soloists gave, at the Operetta Theatre, the first concert of a national tour to promote the Stradivarius, on which occasion a CD was also launched.


Shows at MNLR, on Museum Night


Shows given by the Masca Theatre troupe and a projection of the Berlin double-nominated film “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle” are some of the events to take place at the National Museum of Romanian Literature, on May 15, on Museum Night. The museum will remain open until 3 in the morning. The event series will be opened by a graphics exhibition dedicated to Romanian literature, followed by an open-air performance of the Masca Theatre. The programme will offer, then, poems and music by Traian T. Cosovei, Cornelia Maria Savu, Bogdan O. Popescu, Ioan Es. Pop, Lucian Vasilescu, Ofelia Prodan, Adrian Suciu, Paul Vinicius, Marian Draghici, Ioana Craciunescu, accompanied by Mircea Tiberian and Maria Raducanu. There will also be a concert of Russian music, given by Radu Captari (vocal, guitar) and Igor Caras (vocal, accordion).


Romanian filmmaker selected for Sundance Screenwriters Lab


Sundance Institute announced the 13 projects selected for the two annual labs organized in Sundance Resort, Utah, the residence of the festival founded by Robert Redford. “Lupu”/ “Wolf”, directed by Bogdan Mustata, is one of the 5 projects selected for the Screenwriters Lab. The selection also includes two American directors, one from Spain and another from Israel, a release informs. Written and directed by Bogdan Mustata, “Lupu” is the surrealist tale of a young man who wishes his father could come back to live. Oddly enough, the father is (literally) reborn and becomes part of the family. “Lupu” is director Bogdan Mustata’s feature film debut. A 2001 graduate of the “I. L. Caragiale” University of Theatrical and Cinematographic Art, Bogdan Mustata lived a while in Vietnam and Dubai, where he directed and starred in advertising spots and TV series. Returning to Romanian in 2008, he directed “O zi buna de plaja”/ “A fine day for sunbathing”, produced, as well, by Strada Film, which brought him a Silver Bear in the Berlin International Film Festival, then the Palm Springs Grand Trophy.


Children’s Comic Opera, awarded in Egypt


The Children’s Comic Opera was awarded, for the show “Primavara magnoliilor”/ “Magnolias’ Spring”, the “high recognition for the best show of the year” trophy, in Egypt, where it was touring between April 24 and May 1, a release informs. The Children’s Comic Opera presented, on this tour, besides “Primavara magnoliilor”, the show “Minunita si vrajitoarea”/ “Wonderboy and the Witch”. “Primavara magnoliilor” is a collage of Romanian and international popular songs. Invited for the first time to Egypt, the Children’s Comic Opera troupe, led by Smaranda Oteanu-Bunea, gave several presentations of these shows during a week. These were presented in the huge Open Air Amphitheatre in the Regency Plaz in sharm El Shekh. Egyptian officials, accompanied by no other than the manager of this exclusive resort, having travelled from the United States of America for this occasion, attended all presentations, which were so successful (1,000 viewers from all over the world attended them, on average, every night) that the organizers announced they want the Children’s Comic Opera to start touring there on a permanent basis.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Polo: Romania qualifies for EC


Romania qualified for the 2010 European Championships in Zagreb, after defeating Holland by 13-6 (3-3, 1-1, 6-0, 3-2) on Saturday, in the Oradea swimming pool, in a match counting for the Qualifier Group C. On Friday, the first day of the qualifiers, Romania easily won against the UK, by 17-5, and Sunday’s match with Russia (10.30 AM, aired by TVR1) only counts for the final scoreboard, as the first two teams are qualifying for the European Championships. In Saturday’s match, the Romanians scored through Cosmin Radu – 4, Negreanu and R. Georgescu – 2 each, Kadar, Chioveanu, Josep, Diaconu and Alex. Matei. For the Dutch team, the goals were scored by De Wit – 2, Geritse, Getienmaker, Lindmont and Kramer.


Handball: Steaua loses Cup qualifier


Steaua MFA Bucharest lost the qualifier in the men’s handball Cup Winners’ Cup final, after losing Sunday’s match against the Spaniards of Fraikin BM Granollers, at the score of 32-23 (15-12), in the second leg of the semi-final. In the first leg, the Romanians won in Bucharest at 32-28. The hosts preserved an advantage of 3-4 goals throughout the whole half game, but Steaua was able to close at just two goals difference (11-9) in minute 25. At half-time, Granollers were three goals ahead (15-12). The second half brought no surprise, as Granollers increased their advantage at 5 goals in the 50th minute. Ionut Georgescu was red-carded in minute 51, which left the Spaniards at a clear advantage, so they won by 32-23 and will play the final.


Fiorentina to sell
Adrian Mutu?



Fiorentina are looking to sell striker Adrian Mutu following his nine-month drugs ban sentence, according to Il Corriere dello Sport Stadio, quoted by goal.com. Mutu is said to have had a meeting with club patron Andrea Della Valle on Friday while the rest of the squad trained. Both men spoke about the future with Mutu’s current deal running until 2012. But he is unlikely to see out his contract. His nine-month ban has taken its toll on the player who is unhappy about the club’s proposal to slash his wages by up to 50 percent while the suspension is in force. And Pantaleo Corvino is getting ready to find a buyer. The Viola will sell him for around EUR 5 M, and there has been a reported interest from Besiktas, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and clubs from the Major League Soccer in America.


Biking to seaside


No fewer than 250 enthusiastic amateur cyclists were on the start line in Bucharest of the Constanta-bound race Saturday morning, the fourth ‘Biking to the Seaside’ by-now traditional event, a project coordinated by TV host Lucian Mandruta, along with two partner associations. Contestants arrived safely at Amara, a health resort near Slobozia, 130 kms off Bucharest, where they spent the night. The next day, enthusiasm alone was not enough to offset the gusty wind blowing throughout the day that forced organisers to cancel the race with only 40 kilometres to go, on grounds of much delayed schedule. The race has nonetheless met its goal to promote biking to Romanians as a healthy alternative of spending leisure time.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

UAL, Continental to form largest airline


UAL Corp, parent of United Airlines, said it will buy Continental Airlines Inc for about USD 3.17 billion in stock, forming the world’s largest carrier and further shrinks the U.S. airline industry. Continental shareholders will receive 1.05 shares of United common stock for each Continental common share they own. Based on United’s stock price of USD 21.60 on Friday afternoon, and Continental’s 139.6 million outstanding shares as of April 21, United would pay USD 3.17 billion for Continental, or USD 22.68 a share. That represents a 1.5 percent premium over Friday’s closing price. The name of the combined airline will be United Airlines. The name of the holding company will be United Continental Holdings Inc. (Reuters)


Air passenger traffic declined last year


The air passenger traffic stagnated last year in Romania to 2008, to 9.09 million people, according to the National Institute of Statistics published by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. Last year were transported 9.07 million passengers. The plane was used mostly for external routes, so that 7.85 million people chose this means of transport, 2.6 times more than in the previous year, when their number was 2.92 million. Domestic traffic doubled from 616,000 to 1,230,000 passengers. The number of aircraft movements (arrivals and departures) raised 6.6 pc to 160,047.


ING Life Insurance launches ING Selectis


ING Asigurari de Viata is launching a unit linked single EUR premium life insurance that insures net invested capital. ING Selectis also allows access to the growth potential offered by derived financial instruments reflecting the performance of major eurozone companies, according to a release received by ‘Nine O’Clock’.


There is but a one-time minimum uncapped EUR 1,000 premium, paid upon the conclusion of the contract. A customer may hold several Selectis-type contracts, with the overall insured amounts not to exceed EUR 7,500.


BCR lowers interest in personal unsecured loans


As of yesterday, the Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) lowered by more than 2 per cent the interest charged on unsecured Divers Extra first-time personal loans, which now range between 7.5 per cent year and 11 per cent per cent, from the previous 9.9-13.25 per cent. The interest cut is related to the downward trend in the bank’s finance costs and the National Bank of Romania’s monetary policy interest rate. Divers BCR is a RON or foreign currency no nominal loan of up to EUR 20,000 (or its RON equivalent). The up-to-ten-year loan is given out without any down payment, collateral or mortgage being required.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

BRD’s net profit reached RON 199 M in the first quarter


The Romanian Bank for Development – Groupe Societe Generale (BRD) earned, in the first quarter of 2010, a net profit of RON 199 M, 5 per cent lower than the profit obtained in the same interval last year, while the bank’s net revenue rose by 12 per cent, at RON 915 M, Mediafax informs. The financial results obtained by BRD – Groupe Societe Generale during the first quarter of the year reflect the sharp decrease of economic activity and the strong, persistent, reduction in the demand for banking products and services, particularly on the credit market. The bank’s total assets amounted, at the end of March, to RON 45.7 bln, 4.1 per cent lower than their level in December 2009. The net risk cost rose in the January to March interval by 61.2 per cent, at RON 324 M, compared to RON 210 M in the first quarter of 2009, but represents a moderate advance from the level reported at the end of last year. The total amount of credits granted to clients in the mentioned period slumped by 1 per cent compared to March 31, 2009, at RON 32.8 bln.


Tibor Pandi,
new Citi Country Officer for Romania



Citibank announced the appointment of Tibor Pandi as the new Citi Country Officer (CCO) for Romania, effective April 6, pending regulatory and other approvals, a press release informs. He takes over from Shahmir Khaliq, who was appointed Division Head for Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia and Citi Country Officer for Czech Republic. Tibor Pandi has over 15 years of banking experience and before this appointment has served as Citi’s Head of Central Europe Non Present Countries Region, covering 12 countries across Central Europe. As CCO for Romania, he will lead Citi’s efforts to meet the needs of local clients by providing them with a full range of innovative and comprehensive products and services across all segments in this increasingly competitive market, as well as serving as a liaison to the country for Citigroup’s international network.


Dacia launches its limited edition – Black Line – in Romania as well


Dacia will launch today, in Romania, a special, limited edition of serialised models, titled Black Line, a line of black cars, offering options above the standard equipment, which has been available on the French market since the beginning of the year, Mediafax informs. The Black Line edition offers, besides the usual features of standard models, electrically-activated windowpanes on front, centralized locking or assisted direction, new upholstery with visible, black sewing, leather-bound steering wheel and an audio system with controls on the steering wheel. The market director of Dacia Motorcars, Fabrice Cambolive, announced, in January, that, if the Black Line special series, available for Logan, Sandero and Logan MCV models, proved a success, they may be delivered on the Romanian market as well. Standard prices for the Black Line edition launched din France start at EUR 9,600 for Sandero, EUR 10,950 for Logan and EUR 13,350 for Logan MCV. Meanwhile, Dacia received over 20,000 orders in France for the Duster SUV in the first six weeks since the launch, according to Autonews. Moreover, Dacia ranks first in France in terms of the raising number of new licensed vehicles in April, at 109 per cent, compared to the same time in 2009, according to the French Car Builders’ Association. Dacia is preparing to launch a small class car model, with four seats, called Dacia City, the price will not exceed 5,000 euros, according to German publication AutoBild. Dacia Mini will have four seats and four doors, it will take elements of the Logan model and the platform to the second generation Renault Clio. The front of the car will resemble that of Sandero.


Rombat reported a growing rate of
26 pc in Q1



The car batteries producer Rombat reported, in the first quarter, a turnover of EUR 15.8 M, 26 per cent higher than the same interval in 2009, the company announced, on Monday, in a release. The company delivered, in the first three months, 525,733 car batteries, 55.4 per cent of which went to exports. “We anticipate sales will continue to grow, surpassing the figures of 2009, which was a good year for Rombat. It won’t be easy to reach this target, given that the car industry is still lagging,” the general manager of the company, Ioan Repede, said in the release. The car batteries producer announced in February that it aimed, this year, at a turnover of RON 264 M (EUR 64.5 M), 22 per cent higher compared to the RON 215 M-amount reported in 2009, while exports are expected to rise at 32 per cent. The company’s output capacity is over two million batteries a year. Rombat supplies batteries for Dacia and Peugeot-Citroen, in Slovakia, and is nominated in Renault’s panel of regional suppliers.


Carrier Romania targets EUR 10M for next three years


Romanian subsidiary of US group Carrier – world leader in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigerating equipment systems’ industry – targets total revenues of EUR 10M in the next three years and will continue to constantly develop its partner network, Branch Manager Carrier Romania Fabio Vello has stated recently. Carrier Corporation opened its Romanian subsidiary in 2008, and, since then, it has expanded its client portfolio with key companies and institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bucharest, Sala Polivalenta, the Antipa Museum, the National Art Museum of Romania, the Cocor Shopping Center, the Iulius Mall in Iasi and Timisoara, the Lake View and Asmita Gardens residential developments in Bucharest, etc.


Prestigious buildings around the world benefit from Carrier solutions and equipment: the White House, Washington DC, the Sistine Chapel of Rome, the British Museum, London, the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, the Alexandria Library or the Kremlin Palace.


ProLogis extends its Poland portfolio by over 200 pc


ProLogis (NYSE: PLD), world leader in the supply of distribution spaces, signed, in Poland, between January 1 and March 31, lease contracts for over 173,000 square metre worth of modern storage sites, which represents a 200 per cent growth compared to the same time last year. This result allowed ProLogis to remain the leader on the Polish storage sites’ market, in terms of supply (35 per cent market share), as well as in terms of the number and amount of contracts signed (47 per cent of all lease contracts). “The high standards and the strategic position of buildings in our extended portfolio allow us to offer our clients optimal solutions that would satisfy their requirements,” Ben Bannatyne, Managing Director ProLogis for Central and Eastern Europe, said.

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