SPORTS

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Hanescu and Dulgheru in round three at Wimbledon


Romanian tennis player Victor Hanescu won 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 against Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan to qualify into the third round of the Wimbledon, a repeat of his performance in 2003 and 2009 in the grass-court tournament. Hanescu will next face German Daniel Brands, 98th ATP), who defeated Nicolai Davidenko of Russia, 5th in the ATP ranking, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8), 6-1. On Thursday evening Alexandra Dulgheru won 6-2, 6-0 against Italy’s Romina Oprandi to qualify in round three.


Isner, Mahut locked
in 10-hour freak show



American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut staggered off court as darkness fell on Wednesday after taking a chainsaw to the tennis record books on an unforgettable day at Wimbledon. When darkness interrupted their first-round match for the second consecutive day with the score at 59-59 (yes, fifty nine – fifty nine) in the fifth set they had been hammering away at each other for an unbelievable 10 hours. In a match of truly freakish proportions, towering 23rd seed Isner could barely stay upright as the crowds on Court 18 and those scrambling for every available vantage point chanted: “We want more…we want more”. The two players, providing they can revive themselves, resumed the game on Thursday evening (after the closing of this editiont – e.n.) to complete a mind-boggling match that brought Wimbledon to a standstill on Day Three and will become one of the great “I was there moments” in sporting folklore.

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German foreign
minister, in official visit to Romania



The Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chancellor of the German Federal Republic, Dr. Guido Westerwelle, is today on an official visit to Romania. According to a release by the German Embassy to Bucharest, this is the minister’s first visit to Romania and reflects the Federal Government’s wish to strengthen ties with Eastern partners in the EU. According to the same source, the Federal Minister will visit Bucharest and Sibiu. In the capital, he is due to meet the president Traian Basescu and the Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi and, in Sibiu; he is to meet the mayor Klaus Iohannis and representatives of the German minority and to visit the city’s historical centre. The Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs is accompanied by deputies of the German Bundestag.


President meets Romanian
community
representatives in Germany



Traian Basescu received, on Thursday, at Cotroceni Palace, the representatives of the Romanian community in the German Federal Republic. He said that he wished to meet, in the near future, members of the Diaspora in other Western states.


“I’ve made a habit of meeting representatives of the Romanian minority in each country. Today it’s Germany’s turn. It is true, you may have read it in the press, I’ve started with countries in the region and it is only now that we’re moving to Western Europe, but I think the meeting is most welcome, I take great pleasure from exchanging ideas on how Romania is seen from your side, rather than from our own, because sometimes we may be losing perspective in the turmoil of daily life back home,” the head of state said, quoted by Agerpres. Traian Basescu welcomed them to Bucharest, voicing his hope that a similar meeting may take place next year.


Mayor Oprescu, called as witness in detained journalist case


Bucharest General Mayor Sorin Oprescu was present on Thursday afternoon at the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), where he had been summoned by prosecutors to make a statement, as witness, in the case in which OTV channel owner Dan Diaconescu was preventively arrested, Mediafax informs. On entering the DNA headquarters, Oprescu stated he did not know for sure what this was about, explaining that, as far as he knew, he was expected to make a statement, as witness, in the case in which Diaconescu is under investigation on blackmail charges. On leaving the DNA, Oprescu stated that he was not the “mayor” referred to in Dan Diaconescu’s statements before the prosecutors. “I’ve never been blackmailed by the press. Not only by the press, by anyone,” Oprescu said.

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BUSINESS

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Romania, 7th in EU by annual new order growth in April


Romania ranks seventh in the EU by new industry order growth in April compared to the same period of 2009 at a rate of 26.5 per cent as gross series, higher than the EU average of 21.8 per cent, according to Eurostat data. In Romania’s case, April is the forth consecutive month of annual new industry order growth following the 12.8 per cent downward revision in December 2009. Orders in March grew by 29.5 per cent. Of all 22 states considered in the report by the EU statistical office, only Denmark and Ireland registered a fall of the indicator (down 11 per cent and 14.7 per cent), and the other three reported a growth. The most obvious positive developments were in the Netherlands (up 45.3 per cent), Latvia (up 37.5 per cent) AND Slovakia (up 34.1 per cent). The poorest growth was found in Greece (up 6 per cent) AND Spain (up 6.7 per cent).


Carrefour opens 4th supermarket
in Bucharest



The Carrefour group continues to expand with a forth supermarket it is opening in the Ghencea district of Bucharest. The new Carrefour supermarket will have a retail area of 1,200 sq m and will sell a range of approximately 8,400 goods, of which some 1,000 will be Carrefour private label items at the same price as the ones at the hypermarket. This category of products costs at least 20 per cent less compared to national brands. ‘Satisfaction or money back’ is the motto of the new Carrefour supermarket who promises to replace or refund an item that fails to satisfy customers’ expectations from a qualitative point of view. Carrefour Market Ghencea will also sell bio and diet products. The fruits and vegetables are among the products that will be checked for quality on a daily basis. The Carrefour Group is present in 32 countries where it operates 15,500 hypermarkets, supermarkets, hard discount and convenience stores and has 475,000 employees.


TransFonD and APERO launch single telephone line to report lost/stolen cards


TransFonD and APERO have launched a single telephone line where customers can report lost or stolen cards, Mediafax reports. The service is available to all card issuers in Romania, including those that are not members of the Electronic Payments Association of Romania (APERO). The service is currently used by five banks – BCR, BRD, Bancpost, Banca Transilvania and CEC Bank – that hold together over 60 per cent of the local bank card market. APERO President Adrian Apolzan says the number of stolen cards is of 20,000 – 30,000 with a rough total number of cards in Romania of 12 M.


H&M opens first Romanian store


Swedish fashion retailer H&M (Hennes&Mauritz) is opening its first store in Romania, in Bucharest, next spring, Mediafax informs. ‘Croatia and Romania will become new markets in the H&M portfolio, with openings in Zagreb and Bucharest scheduled for the spring of 2011,’ a report reads. H&M is one of the most popular fashion retailers in the world with an annual business of EUR 10 bln. In H1 of 2010, H&M sales were up 3.9 per cent to EUR 5.4 bln.

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EU mulling 12 years more state aid for coal – draft


Europe’s competition chief will next month propose another 12 years of state aid for coal mining as part of a gradual phase-out, a draft European Commission document shows. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia this week told European Union lawmakers he expected to table the proposal around July 6, Reuters informs. “This type of aid may only be granted to coal mines in the context of a definitive closure plan,” said the draft document. “It proposes … a maximum duration of the closure plan of 12 years.” The plan would take effect from January 2011. Poland accounts for more than half of hard coal production in the EU, but Germany and Spain hand out the biggest subsidies, expected to be worth around EUR 2 billion and EUR 1bn respectively in 2010. The Commission believes that 10,000 jobs are at stake, mainly in Germany’s Ruhr valley, north-western Spain and the Jiu valley in Romania. Six countries give subsidies to their hard coal industry. Of these, Spain, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania are in favour of prolonging subsidies, while Poland wants a new regulation to allow new investment. Germany has passed a law to phase out subsidies by 2018.

Gas flows from Russia via Belarus returning to normal


The European Commission said on Thursday it understood a dispute between Russia and Belarus over gas supplies had been resolved and the flow of gas to the European Union via Belarus was returning to normal. “We have received aural confirmation from Gazprom that the dispute has been resolved… although we do not have any official confirmation from the Russian government yet,” the EU’s spokeswoman on energy issues, Marlene Holzner, told reporters. “We understand that the flows of gas to Europe via Belarus are getting back to normal.”

Toyota chief apologises
for recalls



Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda apologised to shareholders for the car maker’s recall troubles and promised a fresh start with a growth strategy built on emerging markets and environmental leadership. Chairing the annual shareholders’ meeting, Toyoda opened his remarks on Thursday with an apology for what has become the worst quality crisis in Toyota’s history involving recalls of more than 10 million cars since late last year, mostly for problems of unintended acceleration. “I would like to apologise once again for all the worries we have caused our shareholders,” Toyoda, grandson of the automaker’s founder, told the more than 3,000 shareholders who made the trip to Toyota’s headquarters in Toyota City. “But we’ve managed to post a profit after a year of losses and I feel like we are finally at the starting line this year,” he said. In contrast to Toyoda’s own first year at the helm, the two-hour-long shareholders’ meeting ended with few ripples. Some shareholders voiced words of encouragement even as Toyota faces potential civil liability estimated at more than USD 10 billion from lawsuits in the United States. Toyoda and other executives recapped the steps Toyota was taking to prevent a repeat of the recall debacle, including giving more autonomy to its regional operations to speed up the process of quality fixes. After a USD 2 billion hit to its earnings last year from the recall fallout, Toyota has forecast a much slower-than-expected recovery in earnings this year, held back as a stronger yen. It expects an operating profit of 280 billion yen for the year ending in March 2011, up from 147.5 billion yen posted last year.

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