ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Brukenthal Museum gets special
EU heritage award



The “Europa Nostra” European Union Cultural Heritage Award was granted, for the first time in Romania, to the Brukenthal National Museum in Sibiu. The Sibiu museum won this award in the education section, for the museum pedagogy programme titled “Discovering the Museum,” a programme dedicated to school pupils, first to 12th grade, run by the institution in Sibiu since 2008. The award ceremony took place in Istanbul, the 2010 European Cultural Capital. According to the “Europa Nostra” award protocol, the European ceremony is followed by a local festivity, which is to be attended by an official representative of Europa Nostra. The Brukenthal National Museum will propose, for the local ceremony, the date of September 13, the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year, Agerpres informs.


Radio Orchestra concludes season
with nocturnal concert



The National Radio Orchestra reaches out to the wider public by an original initiative for a symphonic orchestra: that of prolonging the season by an open-air concert. Symphonic music-lovers will be able to enjoy genuine classical music hits: from Ciprian Porumbescu’s ‘Ballad’ to Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ or Enescu’s ‘Rhapsody no. 1,’ played by the National Radio Orchestra. The concert will take place on June 25, after nightfall, starting 21:30, at the Herastrau Summer Theatre. The soloists will be two young and charismatic musicians, true stars of the genre: Alexandru Tomescu and Horia Mihail, under the baton of conductor Tiberiu Soare. The venue for the concert is a special one, as the Herastrau Summer Theatre boasts a huge stage, covered by a black canopy, and 2,500 seats for the spectators. The programme which will be presented on June 25 in Bucharest features popular pieces in Romanian and world classical music: Rossini – the Overture to ‘The Thieving Magpie,’ Bizet – the Farandole in ‘L’Arlesienne’ suite, C. Porumbescu – the ‘Ballad,’ Saint Saëns – ‘Introduction’ and ‘Rondo capriccioso,’ Mozart – the Overture to the ‘Marriage of Figaro,’ Gershwin – ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ Strauss – ‘Kaiser Waltz,’ Enescu – ‘Rhapsody no. 1,’ and coincides with the one to be presented on June 29 in Shanghai, on the occasion of the most important Romanian cultural event in EXPO 2010, the National Radio Orchestra concert.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Tennis: Tecau wins in Hertogenbosch


The fourth-seeded pair Horia Tecau/Robert Lindstedt (Romania/Sweden) Saturday won 2-1 (1-6, 7-5, 10-7) against top-seeded Lukas Dlouhy/Leander Paes (the Czech Republic/India in the EUR 450,000 Hertogenbosch tournament in The Netherlands. The winners got a cheque of EUR 21,650 and 250 points in the ATP standings doubles event. Justin Henan won the women’s title, who outplayed German Andrea Petkovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final. In the semis, Henan defeated Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru 6-2, 6-2


Liana-Gabriela Ungur reaches Padua final


Romanian tennis player Liana-Gabriela Ungur, seed no. 8th, made it into round 2 of the USD 25,000 Padua (Italy) challenger tournament, according to itftennis.com website. Ungur cruised past six-seeded Italian Julia Mayr 6-2, 6-4 to reach the final where she will meet France’s Audrey Bergot.


Women’s Handball: Turkish Yeliz Ozel joins Oltchim


Yeliz Ozel, Turkey’s playing coordinator, has been transferred to Oltchim Rm. Valcea , according to the team’s website. The player said she had long wanted to join the team and was sorry she did not do it in 2009, when Oltchim played in the Champions’ League semi-final. Now, she found it easier to reach the decision, as the team treated her quite nice over the past two years and Peter Kovacs, whom she knows and appreciates as a coach, has become the team’s main trainer. The Turkish player expressed her wish to win the Champions’ League with Oltchim, “a beautiful dream to any player.”


NBA: Lakers win NBA title in Game Seven thriller


The Los Angles Lakers rallied from a big early deficit to win their second successive NBA championship with a cliff-hanging 83-79 Game Seven victory over the Boston Celtics. The triumph gave the Lakers a 16th championship and a record 11th for coach Phil Jackson as they also became the first team to repeat as NBA champions since winning three in a row from 2000. As the final horn sounded, Lakers’ purple and gold confetti fell from the rafters and Los Angeles players charged the court to celebrate victory over their greatest rivals. “This one is by far the sweetest because it’s against them and because it’s the hardest one by far,” Kobe Bryant said after he was presented with the NBA Finals MVP award.

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Social

NEWS IN BRIEF

Babysitter sentenced for physically abusing child


A Bucharest court sentenced, for the first time, a babysitter who physically abused a two-year old girl left in her care. The woman also has to pay a sum as moral compensation. Last year, the case of Eva, a two-year old girl, got in media spotlight – and was also investigated by authorities – after her mother made public some video records that showed babysitter Lovinica Dinu molesting the child. It was Eva’s mother that installed the surveillance cameras after noticing that the child burst into tears whenever she saw the nanny. Dinu, 62, was indicted on April 12, 2010 facing charges of beating and other forms of physical abuse. The court ruling may be challenged at the Bucharest Tribunal.


House thefts dropping, company thefts on the rise


Bucharest thieves moved, in 2010, from home thefts to company thefts, those in trading companies being slightly on the rise in the first five months of the year, shows a Bucharest Police statistics. Home thefts remained, in general, at a constant level compared to the first five months of 2009, with January the most active month, at over 300 thefts, is indicated in the statistics.


Breaking into homes with a view to theft has dropped, however. On the other hand, although thefts at company offices have had, approximately, the same evolution in 2010, compared to the same time last year, the figures reported are higher, namely, over 2,200 instances compared to almost 1,800. Moreover, the number of break-ins at company offices rose, compared to 2009, at 414 cases, as opposed to 316. Furthermore, the number of thefts occurring in the street is rising, Bucharest Police announces.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

Basescu: Romanian institutions need to get reformed in view of EU 2020 Strategy


While in Brussels on Thursday, having attended the European Council meeting, President Traian Basescu said fulfilling the goals of the EU 2020 Strategy, which needs to become part of the Romanian government policy is possible by reforming institutions, reducing bureaucracy, through decentralization and cutting down useless administrative structures. According to President Basescu, economic policy coordination was a ‘hot topic” on the Council’s agenda. “Two major national objectives have been cropping up, for each country: budgetary consolidation – absolutely imperative – and structural reforms. I would like you to know these goals are not Romania’s only. The majority of the European Union member states had to go through this budget consolidation and structural reform process,” Basescu said. According to the Presidential Administration, the head of state mentioned Romania being among the few countries supporting all the five points of the EU 2020 Strategy.

German Foreign Minister to visit Bucharest


The German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle, will undertake an official visit to Romania this Friday, at the invitation of Teodor Baconschi, and the two are expected to engage in “a serious exchange on ways to develop bilateral ties and priorities on the European agenda”.


According to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), the two ministers will approach topics like the evolution of the economic and financial crisis, the EU Danube Region Strategy, the extension process, the Western Balkans, the Eastern neighbours, the Black Sea Synergy and the Eastern Partnership.


Baconschi and Westerweller will also approach the 2020 EU Strategy, the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, as well as the situation in Afghanistan and Iran.


Romania and Germany celebrate, in 2010, 130 years of bilateral diplomatic ties.


According to MAE, Germany ranks first among Romania’s trading partners. German imports in 2008 amounted to EUR 7,269.05 M, and, up to September 30, 2009, they amounted to EUR 4,852.49 M, according to the same source.

Ellen Tauscher,
at Floreasca hospital for muscle strain



Ellen Tauscher, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, received medical treatment at Bucharest’s “Floreasca’ Emergency Hospital Thursday, for a muscle strain. The hospital’s manager, Radu Alexandru Macovei, told Mediafax that Tauscher came to hospital after she had slipped. Doctors made the medical investigations necessary and established the US Undersecretary suffered a muscle strain in her right thigh, Macovei said. Tauscher was recommended treatment as hospitalisation was deemed unnecessary. Tauscher was in Romania to participate in formal anti-missile shield negotiations.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

China’s new yuan regime looks a lot like the old one


China will keep the yuan’s exchange rate at a basically stable level, the central bank said on Sunday, suggesting that the country’s new currency regime will look a lot like the old one. China announced on Saturday that it would resume making the yuan more flexible, signalling that it was ready to break a 23-month-old peg to the dollar that had come under intense international criticism. Lack of a real rise in the exchange rate would provide ammunition for critics, especially hawks in the U.S. Congress, who say Beijing’s actions will speak louder than its words and that penalties should be imposed if it keeps the yuan artificially cheap. All eyes on Monday will be on the daily reference rate set by the Chinese central bank to manage the yuan’s value.


Germany and France examine ‘two-tier’ euro


Germany and France are examining ways of creating a “two-tier” euro system to separate stronger northern European countries from weaker southern states. A European official has told The Daily Telegraph the dramatic option was being examined at cabinet level. Senior politicians believe their economies need to be better protected as they could not cope with another crisis on a par the one in Greece. The creation of a “super-euro” zone would initially include France, Germany, Holland, Austria, Denmark and Finland. A two-tier monetary system in the 16-member euro zone is being examined as a “plan B”.


New Jaguar XJ, now in Romania from EUR 65.000 net of VAT


Jaguar importer Premium Auto has launched the new XJ model on the local market with prices from EUR 65,000 net of VAT according to versions and features, Mediafax informs. The Jaguar XJ is available in three different engine versions, with average fuel consumption of 5.9 L/100 Km and CO2 emissions of 184 grams/Km. The new model comes in two wheelbase versions – standard and long. The vehicle by the British carmaker is over 150 kilos lighter than other models of its class thanks to its aerospace technology-inspired aluminum body, enabling it to minimise carbon emissions.


TV ad depicting Dacia Duster as ‘green’ model banned in France


French advertising deontology board has urged Renault car maker to terminate a campaign presenting the Dacia Duster SUV as an eco-friendly model, Mediafax informs, citing cartech.fr website. The Dacia Duster model was targeted by a petition filed by the environmental association Agir and accepted by the French board for deontology in advertising. The board backed its decision to sustain the petition that Duster’s average CO2 emissions (159 grams/km in the 4 by 2 version and 172 grams/km in the 4×4 version) are above the current French average of 133 grams/km. Even the new slogan ‘More eco-friendly’ is considered as deceitful and the current advertising campaign for the Duster model will have to be suppressed. The board however notes that the Duster remains ‘a family 4×4 diesel that is well-positioned in terms of CO2 emissions,’ which are not as big as those produced by a Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga or even a Lada Niva GPL.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Euro reaches new peak: RON 4.2448/ EUR


The exchange rate announced on Friday by the National Bank of Romania (BNR) rose by 0.76 ban, at RON 4.2448/ EUR, and reached a new peak in the last six months, in a market with very low amounts of currency exchanged. A higher rate than the one on Friday was reported by BNR on December 16, when the Euro was appreciated at RON 4.2459. The RON depreciated, on Friday, in relation to the dollar as well, the reference rate advancing to RON 3.4299/ USD, that is, 1.03 ban above the Thursday rate, of RON 3.4196/USD. As of this week, Romanians who have credits in Euro or pay rents in this currency will be affected by the rising rate of the Euro. Thus, according to Evenimentul zilei, those who had to pay a credit instalment of EUR 200 used to pay Ron 830. On Monday, a EUR 200 instalment will amount to about RON 860, that is, RON 30 more. On mobile phone bills, differences will be insignificant, especially if they do not surpass EUR 10.


Dijmarescu:
The formalism
of convergence report
is outrageous



The general manager of the Guarantee Fund for Banking System Deposits, Eugen Dijmarescu, argues that the formalism of convergence reports is outrageous and has disastrous effects on the evolution of economy and on the process to adopt the euro, Mediafax informs. “One of the anchors for the economy could be the euro. The management and the creation of a macroeconomic environment fit for the adoption of the euro. If, paradoxically, there was a quasi-strategy for Romania’s joining the EU, there is no such thing for the euro. The formalism of convergence reports is outrageous. That is why we get the results we get,” Dijmarescu said, within an event organized by the European Institute in Romania. The former deputy governor of the National Bank of Romania added that the second anchor for the economy could be structural funds.


Rompetrol raises prices on fuel


Rompetrol Downstream raised, on Saturday, the price of petrol by 4 ban per litre, and that of gasoline by 6 ban per litre. Following this raise, the Efix 95 type of petrol is sold for RON 4.6 per litre, while the Alto 101 is sold for RON 5.21 per litre. Efix Diesel gasoline costs RON 4.5 per litre, whereas Diesel Alto is RON 4.79 per litre. The prices of fuels sold in Rompetrol Downstream stations may vary by +/- 0.5 per cent compared to reference prices.


Stock market rose by 6.6 pc last week


The stock market dropped, on Friday, by 1.04 per cent, after three consecutive growths, so that the general indicator, BET-C, rose, this week, by 6.62 per cent, after two weeks of adjustments. In the preceding two weeks, the stock market general indicator, BET-C, dropped by a total of 4.5 per cent. Compared to levels reported at the end of last year, the stock market is 11.81 per cent higher. Friday’s downward trend emerged against a RON 19.2 M (EUR 4.5 M) turnover, an amount which is 31 per cent below the Thursday figure, of RON 27.7 M (EUR 6.5 M). Subsequently, as a result of low liquidity, investors who wished to sell found themselves forced to reduce prices to find bidders.


Constantin Tampiza, appointed Lukoil representative in Romania


The general manager of Lukoil Romania, Constantin Tampiza, was replaced from the position of head of the company by Maxim Khitrov and appointed personal representative of Russian group Lukoil’s CEO for strategy and development on the Romanian market. “As of yesterday [Thursday], I was appointed personal representative of the Lukoil CEO, Vagit Alekperov, for strategy and development in Romania,” Tampiza stated, on Friday, for Mediafax. Tampiza was at the helm of Lukoil Romania, a branch of the Lukoil Russian oil group, since November 2001. The Russian group entered the Romanian oil market in 1998, by buying the majority stake of a Ploiesti refinery. Lukoil Romania operates a network comprising approximately 300 gas stations.


Omniasig cuts cost of RCA policies
by 15 pc for pensioners



Omniasig Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) reduced, on Friday, the costs of auto liability (RCA) policies by 15 per cent for pensioners who own cars, the insurance group announced, quoted by Mediafax. Following the enforcement of new costs for pensioners, the premium for a Dacia 1300 in the case of a pensioner living in a rural area, who reported no damages in 2009, amounts to RON 224/ year, and, in the case of an urban resident, to RON 240. On a Dacia Logan 1.6, the one year-insurance premium for a country-residing pensioner starts at RON 276, and, for those in the urban area, it amounts to RON 312.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Tax evasion – rising by 28 pc


Tax evasion crime claims the largest share among economic and financial crimes, and customs fraud is closely bound with tax evasion, continuing to act as the main means of financing underground economy, the Police report, quoted by Mediafax. In order to protect the business environment against illegal acts which affect competition relations and the mechanisms of market economy, the chief of Romanian Police called for professional, integrated, action, and cooperation with the other state institutions with related prerogatives. During 2010, the Fraud Investigation Directorate within the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police will conduct, in all counties, concerted actions to prevent and fight economic and financial crime. In the first five months of 2010, the specialized structures of the Romanian Police reported over 5,900 tax evasion crimes, representing a 28.69 per cent rise compared to the same interval of 2009. Over 4,700 people (29.21 more compared to the first five months of 2009) are suspected of committing such crimes. Moreover, the hidden economy, which includes, first and foremost, undeclared work and VAT fraud, accounted, at the end of the first quarter, for 20.4 per cent of GDP, rising from 19.8 per cent of GDP at the end of 2009 and 19.6 per cent in 2008, according to data supplied by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).


Service and constructions,
biggest contribution to Q1 GDP drop



With 1.2 per cent each, services and constructions were the sectors largely responsible for the overall 2.6 per cent slump in the January-March Growth Domestic Product (GDP) against the year-earlier period, according to the National Institute of Statistics. The industry sector was the only one with a positive input, 1 per cent, to GDP in the first three months of the year, while agriculture brought in a zero effect. Net taxes per product were another negative contributor, -1.2 per cent. The Romanian economy was still in recession in the first quarter of this year, as the seasonally adjusted GDP contracted 0.3 per cent from the last three months of 2009, and 2.6 per cent against the first three months of last year. Work productivity, in terms of both individual worker and hourly work, fell 1 per cent in the first quarter, a correction a great deal lower than the negative adjustment in previous quarters, the INS President Vergil Voineagu said. INS-released first quarter data show a sharp decline in work productivity, 4.9 per cent per person employed, and hourly work, 4.7 per cent. The work yield began to drop in the first quarter of last year, when it dived 4.7 per cent, having climbed 2.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008 for both occupied individuals and hourly work, by 2.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Ponta, at the New York meeting of the Socialist International


The president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Victor Ponta, attends, today and tomorrow, the New York summit of the Socialist International. “Challenges facing the global economy will be the main topic in our debate, which precedes the Toronto G20 Summit, in which important decisions will be made, especially as regards a stricter regulation of the financial and banking sector, both to prevent a new crisis, as well as to avoid situations in which governments resort to the people’s money to bailout banks,” Victor Ponta stated. According to Ponta, the meeting’s agenda also includes the problem of climate change, recent evolutions in disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the tense situation in the Middle East.

Minister Udrea fears enforcement if she fails to pay her loan


Regional Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea stated yesterday on ProTV, that her family businesses are faring worse than those of other companies during recession and that she had taken a EUR 3 M-loan which she finds hard to pay, arguing there was even the risk of enforcement on the assets used as guarantee.The minister took, in 2007, a loan of EUR 3.3 M from the Romanian Development Bank (BRD), whose maturity term was adjourned last year for 2010. “They (e.n. – the family businesses) are faring, probably, worse than other companies faced with recession. However, I’ve never mentioned that. It is important that I am able to do the things I believed in,” Udrea said. She added that she hoped she would be able to pay this loan because, otherwise, as in the case of any other debitor, the assets by which she guaranteed the credit would be subject to enforcement. Udrea claimed that her family and she did not have any properties or accounts abroad and that, even if affected by recession, she is the kind of person who can afford to donate her minister’s wages and “to survive nonetheless.”

CC: Lustration
law violates right
to be elected



The Constitutional Court (CC) argues, in motivating the ruling by which Lustration Law was declared unconstitutional, that article 2 of the law, which bars former members of certain communist structures from running for public office, violates the right to be elected, enshrined in the Constitution. Moreover, the judges of the Court argue, in the quoted document, that the aforementioned provision in the Lustration Law “exceeds the constitutional frame, stipulating a ban on the right to accede to public office which is in contradiction with article 53 in the Constitution”. Moreover, judges claim that limits imposed on the right to be elected, by the contested law, are disproportioned in relation to the aim pursued, as “it affects the very existence of the said right and is unjustified in a democratic society”. Furthermore, Constitutional Court judges argue in their motivation, Lustration Law also trespasses the principle according to which laws can only set stipulations for the future. Thus, CCR underlines, in motivating its ruling of June 7, that Lustration Law was adopted 21 years after the fall of communism. The lustration law was adopted on May 19 in the Chamber of Deputies, the decisional body.

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