ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Bulgaria celebrates Day of Slavic Script, Culture


Statesmen, scientists, teachers, schoolchildren, students and hundreds of citizens will pay tribute on May 24 to the deed of Sts Cyril and Methodius, the creators of the Cyrillic alphabet. Bulgaria celebrates May 24 as the day of the Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slav Letters and it will be marked with nationwide festivities. Since Bulgaria’s accession to EU in January 2007, the creation of the two brothers Cyril and Methodius, the Bulgarian language, has become a language of the European community. The European currency, the Euro, can already be seen written with Bulgarian letters. Bulgarian literature, culture and arts have reached new heights and have got the recognition they deserve on a global scale. The Cyrillic alphabet has been in existence for more than eleven centuries, but it was introduced for the first time in the European Union after Bulgaria obtained full membership on January 1, 2007.


Book fair at the Cotroceni National Museum


The Cotroceni National Museum in collaboration with the Romanian Editors’ Association (AER) organizes, on Saturday and Sunday, the first edition of the “Book AER … at the Palace” fair. The event will be attended by prestigious publishing houses from the Romanian cultural scene – Humanitas, Rao, Curtea Veche Publishing, Ad Libri, Monitorul Oficial, Vremea, Paralela 45, Universitatea din Bucuresti, Vinea, Vivaldi, Ars Docendi, Art, Humanitas Bookshops -, which offer titles and collections from fields and genres like history, the history of Bucharest, art, civilization, memoirs, philosophy, sociology, architecture, museum science, restoration-conservation.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Laurent Blanc to become next France coach


Laurent Blanc will replace the controversial Raymond Domenech as France coach after the World Cup, the French Football Federation (FFF) said on Thursday. A prominent member of France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad, although he was suspended for the final, Blanc will take over from Domenech after the June 11-July 11 World Cup in South Africa. The 44-year-old took over as coach of Girondins Bordeaux three years ago, leading them to a Ligue 1 and League Cup double last season. The Federation said it would make no further comment until Blanc officially signs his contract and did not specify when that would happen.


Sevilla lift King’s Cup


Sevilla claimed their second King’s Cup triumph in four years when Diego Capel’s early strike and a late breakaway goal from Jesus Navas fired them to a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. In a bad-tempered match at a rowdy Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, winger Capel pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area in the fifth minute and smashed a left-foot shot past David De Gea. Atletico forwards Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero went close to equalising before Navas skipped past several lunging tackles, took the ball round De Gea and finished into the empty net in the 91st minute. It was a fifth domestic cup success for the Andalucian club, winners in 2007, and ended their season on a high after they finished fourth in La Liga and qualified for the Champions League. Atletico, who have won the cup nine times, were denied a second trophy of the campaign after last week’s 2-1 victory over Fulham in the Europa League final.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

IMF chief: Europe needs
closer economic coordination



Europe needs stronger economic policy coordination and the idea that countries can share a common currency but act independently of one another is “false”, the International Monetary Fund chief told a German daily. “The idea that you can have a common currency and everyone can do whatever they want is false,” the IMF’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview published on Thursday. “You need an instrument to make policies consistent. The French may call this economic governance and the Germans the Stability Pact. It doesn’t make a difference what you call it.” Policymakers say the debt crisis in Greece, which has put pressure on the euro, has shown that mechanisms in place under existing European Union budget rules are insufficient to enforce fiscal discipline. EU finance ministers meet on Friday in Brussels to come up with proposals on how to toughen EU budget rules and improve economic governance so as to avoid a repeat of the crisis. The EU and IMF have agreed to lend Greece 110 bln euros over three years to help it pay billions in expiring debt after being shut out of financial markets by the high cost of borrowing. Strauss-Kahn said European policymakers had wanted to impose stricter conditions on Greece in return for the loans than the IMF and that the savings programme agreed with Greece had been mostly determined by European policymakers rather than the IMF. “The fund did not really add any conditions, but rather lengthened the timeframe of the programme, saying that it is too harsh for three years and needs to be done in five years,” he said. Strauss-Kahn said the real question for Europe was not so much how to solve the debt crisis, but how to boost growth. In a separate newspaper interview with German daily Handelsblatt, he said growth in Europe was “too low by far”, partly because of weak productivity. “Germany and other states must urgently undertake something to speed up growth,” Strauss-Kahn told Handelsblatt.


Saint-Gobain Glass ramps up presence in Romania with new investment


Leading global glass producer Saint-Gobain Glass is set to ramp up its presence in Romania by investing another EUR 6 million in an industrial production line for laminated safety glass at its existing facility in Calarasi. While preparatory work has already begun on the site, main construction will take off in the second half of this year and the unit shall be commissioned around middle of 2011. “Our Romanian production platform was meant from the very beginning to have a regional approach, supplying markets throughout the Balkans and beyond. From our perspective, the growth potential of Romania and the surrounding markets remains intact despite the current economic difficulties. It therefore makes business sense to add new capabilities and to continually expand our locally-manufactured product range. This is a part of the long-term commitment we made to Romania and regional markets” says Ovidiu Pascutiu, General Manager of Saint-Gobain Glass Romania.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Dacia January-April exports – EUR 820 M


Exports by Automobile Dacia rose nearly 45 per cent, to 103,000 car units worth EUR 820 M during January through April of this year, according to local auto market statistics, and equals roughly 90 per cent of the overall production of its Mioveni plant, a record high for the company. In the first quarter, Dacia exports, EUR 620 M, accounted for 8 per cent of Romania’s exports, according to ‘Ziarul Financiar.’ Also, car sales on the local market dropped by about 20 per cent in April, and 24 per cent during the first four months of the year against the year-earlier period, to 10,400 units. April exports rose over 12 per cent, to approximately 26,000 motor vehicles, unlike the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) same-month reported drop in car registrations Europe-wide. “April saw slightly ‘flat’ Dacia sales, yet, we should say the benchmark, April 2009, the first month when the car scrapping program made its effects felt in Germany, was quite high,” Automobile Dacia Commercial Manager Fabrice Cambolive said. Separately, a source close to Renault told British magazine Autocar the French automaker might sell the Duster SUV as a Nissan, according to Realitatea.net.


Number of foreign tourists to grow by 18 pc by 2014


The number of foreign tourists will grow by 18 per cent to 9.6 million by 2014, acording to Euromonitor International market study company, quoted by Mediafax. Thus, from this point of view Romania will continue to rank fifth in Eastern Europe, trailing behind Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Croatia. Last year foreign tourists spent an average of EUR 334 per person in Eastern Europe, down 5 per cent compared to 2008. When it comes to this indicator, Romania was last but one surpassing Lithuania with an average expenditure of EUR 125 per person.


“The sums that foreign tourists spent in Eastern Europe last year dropped by 21 per cent to USD 167 per person. Britons spent the most, approximately USD 1,100 per person,” Mantas Kaluina, Euromonitor analyst, stated on Thursday during a forum organised by the ‘HRB Expert’ Magazine.


Of the total number of foreign tourists who visited Romania last year, 25 per cent were from Hungary, 15 per cent from Moldova and 14 per cent from Bulgaria. Business tourism was severely hit by the crisis. In Romania the company estimates that the number of business tourists will grow to 3.6 million. In what concerns air traffic, the drop was not dramatic, mainly because of the low-cost segment that doubled in size in the last five years, reaching a market share of 30 per cent.


GED acquires “Paravion.ro”, the largest online agency in Romania


GED has acquired Paravion.ro as part of the Build-up strategy in the tourism sector that started in December 2007 by acquiring Happy Tour, aiming to consolidate a leading travel services provider in Romania able to extend operations to other Eastern Europe countries, a press release informs. Paravion will remain as the online company of the group offering air tickets, hotel bookings and rent a car reservation services, keeping its brand name and operating independently of Happy Tour, which is operating at the corporate level. Paravion.ro has reported EUR 5 M turnover in 2009 and expects to increase up to 7 M in 2010. “As in the rest of the world, the on-line reservations are increasing drastically in Romania and if we want to be really prepared to serve our clients, the acquisition of Paravion.ro was a critical step for us. (…) Paravion.ro is fully operational and has behind it the booking engine of Amadeus, the world’s largest Global Distribution System which is also a guaranty for us, as it will allow us to further develop this tool”, Happy Tour officials indicated. The transaction is subject to the Competition Council approval, with the expected closing in the second part of June.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Altex and BRD issue credit cards with facultative life insurance


Electronics and IT&C retailer Altex and BRD Finance – part of Groupe Societe Generale – jointly issued the credit cards MasterCard Altex and Media Galaxy, dedicated to clients who want to purchase durables. “We are launching this card because we consider we have the necessary expertise to do it. Since 2004, along with the no guarantee credit, we started issuing various financing products. The well-known <> was next to follow, then in 2005 we put on the market the card co-branded with Altex, then in 2007 there was the product named <> with Annual Effective Rate (DAE) zero,” said Cristian Moanta, the marketing manager of Altex. The two cards give the owners of MasterCard Altex and Media Galaxy cards certain financial advantages, like 0 pc early repayment fee, 0 pc annual management fee and no commission fee for purchases from retailers in Romania that display the MasterCard logo.


VES posts Q1 financial growth


Vase Emailate Sighisoara – VES, an enamel dishware and stove manufacturing company listed at the Bucharest Stock Exchange as VESY, closed the first quarter of this year with the majority of financial indicators higher than estimated, according to a VES release remitted to Nine O’Clock. The best news refers to the evolution of the EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxation, Depreciation and Amortisation), which exceeded by 32 per cent the level forecast for the first three months of the year, showing company operations becoming more profitable. “I the current economic context, VES commercial and financial performance in the first quarter of 2010 is encouraging. After a difficult 2009, when the company faced many challenges, we have begun to be in control of the company’s profitability. We hope the next quarter will confirm the fundamental suppositions on which the recovery model set earlier in the year relied on,”said Alexandru Farcas, chairman of the VES Board of Directors.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

PDL submits
nomination for Constitutional Court



The Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) nominated Stefan Mircea Minea to the Constitutional Court bench, according to Mediafax. Minea is a university professor, head of department at the “Babes-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca. The PDL nomination and the one submitted by the Social-Democratic Party (PSD), which proposed Valer Dormeanu for this position, were sent to the Law Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, following a decision made yesterday by the Permanent Bureau. According to legal procedures, the Law Commission will draft a report, to be presented before the assembly of this legislative body. Dormeanu was nominated on Monday, by the Permanent National Bureau of PSD, the PSD candidate to the Constitutional Court bench.


The terms of three Constitutional court judges expire in 2010, two of whom are appointed by Parliament, while the other is appointed by the head of state.

CSM to elect new members in September


The High Council of Magistrates (CSM) set September 17 as the date for summoning the first General Assembly to organize elections for the new make-up of the Council. The second General Assembly is to take place on November 1, and elections are to be completed by December 18, according to Agerpres. The term of CSM members expires on January 11, 2011, by which date the Senate will validate the new Council members. The future members of CSM will be required compulsory fulltime activity, according to the legislative modifications of 2005. In keeping with legal stipulations, only the 14 members who come from courts and prosecutors’ offices in the land and the two representatives of the civil society will be elected. According to the Constitution, the High Council of Magistrates comprises 19 members, of whom 14 are elected in the general assemblies of magistrates and validated by the Senate, two representatives of the civil society, specialized in law, elected by the Senate, and three members by default: the minister of Justice, the president of the High Court of Cassation and Justice and the general prosecutor from the High Court’s prosecuting office.

PNL notifies Court of Accounts of the state of decentralized institutions


The National-Liberal Party (PNL) called on the Court of Accounts to initiate an evaluation of unjustified expenses caused by “the chaotic state of decentralized institutions”, the Party announced, quoted by Mediafax. The chair of PNL’s Justice Commission, Alina Gorghiu, announced they had notified the Court of Accounts of the need to look into the financial losses and unjustified expenses, resulting from the wages allotted to two or three executives in the decentralized institutions, as well as into documents signed by PDL executives, who hold management positions in defiance of the law. “This is the result of the Boc Government’s practice of replacing people on political grounds and subsequently being forced, by court rulings, to re-instate former managers, which created the doubling of management positions,” is stated in a release from the party. PNL’s Justice Commission states that “by the illegal measures taken in the case of public servants, the Government led by Emil Boc violated the rule of law and constitutional order”.

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