Football: New players join Steaua

Steaua Bucharest’s new coach, Victor Piturca, looking for a striker, is testing 21-yerar-old Bosnian Adin Dzafici for the job. A very promising forward, Dzafici is the captain of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s under-21 national team. The player is tooted as one of the greatest hopes of Bosnian football, with officials at his current club, FK Velez Mostar saying it will take two years at the longest for the player, currently on training with Steaua in Austria, to replace Wolfsburg VfL superstar striker Edin Dzeko in the national team.

Volleyball: Victories against UK

Romania’s women’s volleyball team won a 3-0 (25-22, 25-11, 25-14) victory against the UK. Romania is toping the standings, on 12 points (8 games), followed by Serbia (11 points from six games, Bulgaria, 11 points from six games and UK, 8 points from eight games. Next, Romania will play two away matches opposite Bulgaria, July 1 and 2. Also Saturday, in Constanta too, Romania’s men’s volleyball squad outplayed the UK, 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 20-25, 30-28, 15-130. Romania is in the lead, on 14 points from eight games followed by the UK, 11 points, eight games, Spain and Slovakia. The Stelian-Moculescu-led team will next take on Slovakia away, July 3 and 4.

Cycling: Tom Boonen forfeits Tour de France

Belgium’s Tom Boonen has forfeited his participation in this year’s Tour de France on account of a tendonitis in his left knee, his team, Quick Step, announced Friday. Boonen, who had been injured in the Tour of California, last month, was caught up in a melee in the Tour of Switzerland last Tuesday. The Belgian, winner of the green jersey in Tour de France 2007 and of six rounds between 2004 and 2007, should have led the Quick Step in this year’s Grand Boucle [ Great Loop]. He expressed his sadness over his being physically unable to go into the race: “I’m very saddened for myself, the team and the sponsors, but also for all the roadside fans waiting for me, mainly in the Tour of Belgium,” the former world champion said.

Brompton bicycles
in Romania

Brompton Romania has recently displayed in Bucharest the Brompton pliable bicycles, the latest in city bikes. The model has recently been awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation and already proved being a success story both in the UK and elsewhere. Among the guests at the event, Dragos Bucurenci, president of the ‘Mai Mult Verde’ [Greener] Organization, Dinul Lazar, a celebrated photographer and one of the most active promoters of the Brompton bicycles in Romania. Tereza Valcan, manager at the Mbike Romania magazine, numerous owners of Brompton bicycles and bicycling fans.

Chess: Magnus Carlsen wins Kings Tournament

Magnus Carlsen, a.k.a the Norwegian Terminator, the world’s best chess player despite his only being 19 years old, won Friday the 4th Kings Tournament in Medias, with 7.5 points out of ten possible. Azerbaijani Teimur Radjabov came second, on 5.5 points, and Boris Ghelfand of Israel, third, also on 5.5 points. Ukraine’s Ruslan Ponomariov ranked 4th, 4.5 points, and Romanian Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, 5th, 4 points. China’s Wang Yue, 4 points, ranked bottom.

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TAROM joins SkyTeam

TAROM officially joined SkyTeam, the second largest airline alliance in the world on Friday, June 25, the company announced in a communiqué. The Romanian flag carrier, which operates flights to 45 destinations, will add 12 more new destinations to SkyTeam’s network, comprising of 898 destinations, in 169 countries. Effective from last Friday, TAROM passengers will gain access to a global network offering more than 898 destinations in 169 countries, they will benefit from convenient and seamless connectivity via SkyTeam’s international hubs and earn and redeem Flying Blue frequent flyer miles, on any SkyTeam airline. TAROM’s joining the SkyTeam Alliance was announced during a press conference in Bucharest, held by Radu Berceanu, the Romanian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Ruxandra Brutaru, President and CEO of TAROM Airlines, Leo van Wijk, Chairman of the SkyTeam Governing Board and Dominique Patry, Vice President International and Alliances at Air France KLM.

Logan conquers Europe

Dacia came second in the German ranking measuring the clients’ satisfaction, and fourth in the French one, Evenimentul Zilei informs. According to the polls conducted by JD Power and Associates, one of the biggest market research companies in the world, Dacia is one of the most appreciated car brands. Launched on the Western market as a low-cost car, targeting particularly “Rabla”-style programs, Dacia seems to have outgrown its condition. This goes beyond the sales, the mere figures, and has to do with the fact that the wide majority of those who “took the chance” of buying a Dacia did not feel cheated. Thus, Dacia is on an exact par with BMW and closely follows Merceds-Benz. The same study, conducted in France, sets Dacia immediately after Honda, Mercedes and BMw. Moreover, Renault, Dacia’s parent-company, ranks much lower in both countries.

Gold and jewelry worth EUR 30 M imported from Italy

Romania imported in 2009 gold jewels worth EUR 30 M from Italy – the country that leads the top of biggest gold exporters to Romania (45 pc), Eurostat reports. “Imports from Italy dropped by 22 pc against 2008, but the decline was not so severe in Romania, as rich consumers continued to buy,” said Mario Iaccarino, who attended last week the opening of the ‘Italian Jewels’ exhibition in Bucharest.

The exhibition is an itinerating event that debuted in 2008, in Warsaw, and moved to Budapest last year. Exhibitors come from the three large regions of Italy famous for the production of jewels: Valenza (Piedmont), Vicenza and Arezzo (Tuscany). “We estimate that they got in touch with some 200 companies, including over 100 from Romania. These are operators that produce for the middle segment, facing competition from Turkey, China and India,” Iaccarino explains. The event enjoyed a budget wroth over EUR 100,000, 80 pc of costs being sustained by the Italian state. About 15 tons of golden jewelry is sold each year on the official market, but the total market is far more developed, given the important – though hard to estimate – quantity sold on the black market.

BCR extends credits to farmers

BCR signed a collaboration protocol with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Payment Agency for Rural and Fishing Development and the Rural Credit Guarantee Fund, aimed at easing the access to bank loans for the beneficiaries of the National Rural Development Programme (PNDR). The protocol provides for a standard model of comfort letter issued to those who solicit credits for projects selected by the Management Authority as part of the National Rural Development Programme that will make the subject of grant contracts. So far, BCR extended over 3,400 credits worth about EUR 600 M, in view of financing the agriculture and rural development sector. Moreover, BCR debit card owners are now allowed to withdraw money from the bank’s ATMs in Chisinau, without any bank fee.

Romania and South Korea – new round of talks on nuclear energy

Romania wants to continue its collaboration with South Korea in the nuclear energy sector, officials of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and the Business Environment announced (MECMA), on Friday, quoted by Mediafax.

A delegation including representatives of Nuclearelectrica, the National Commission for the Control of Nuclear Activities and ROMATOM, led by the state secretary in the Ministry of Economy, Tudor Serban, was, from Monday to Thursday, on an official visit to South Korea, at the invitation of the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power company.

Work meetings and visits to Korea had, as a main target, identifying ways of cooperation, especially in the nuclear sector. The two parties agreed to continue collaboration by means of experts in the design and exploitation of plants and installations for the storage of nuclear waste, according to MECMA officials.

The Romanian delegation also met with officials representing the Doosan, Daewoo and Hyundai nuclear plants and equipment builders.

Tourism Ministry to take over state shares in Youth Tourism Office

The government will transfer the majority stake held by the state in the Youth Tourism Office (BTT) from the State Assets Resolution Authority to the Tourism Ministry, with the argument that AVAS was unable to privatise the company so far, Mediafax reports.

In 2006, the Youth Tourism Office was transferred from the State Protocol Patrimony Administration (RA-APPS) to the State Assets Resolution Authority, in view of privatisation. At that moment, the top management of AVAS claimed it will attempt to complete the privatisation procedure by sale of shares or assets, despite the company being taken from RA-APPS with an unclear legal situation and many leasing contracts. AVAS however was unable to sell the 87.9 pc stake in BTT and the government intends to transfer the shares to the patrimony of the Tourism Ministry.

Orange customers can purchase tube tickets via mobile phone

Orange Romania customers can purchase underground train tickets by means of their wireless phones, as a result of a partnership between the mobile phone operator and Metrorex, according to a statement remitted to ‘Nine O’Clock.’ Tickets can be requested by writing a message sent to a short number, which is then scanned by a special device at the stations participating in this pilot programme, the bar code being received on the phone through a multimedia message. Orange customers need to send the written message to the 801 number (EUR 0.36 charge) and then to 802 (EUR 0.63 charge) to request a roundtrip ticket, or 810 (EUR 1.83 charge) for a 10 trip ticket.

Microsoft selling seven Windows 7 copies every second

Microsoft has announced that it is selling seven copies of Windows 7 every second, making it the fastest selling operating system in the company’s history, Mediafax informs. The company has sold over 150 million Windows 7 licences in the past 8 months, and Microsoft senior security technologist David LeBlanc says that 75 percent of enterprises are either deploying it or actively evaluating the operating system. But Microsoft may still have its hands full trying to convince IT managers to move from XP Pro to Windows 7, as the memory (or nightmare some would say) of Vista is still fresh, the news agency writes. Vista left many concerns of application compatibility and stringent hardware requirements, and who could forget about the UAC. Windows 7 has addressed most of those issues, however, including the implementation of XP Mode for compatibility.

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Media: Boc proposed Lazaroiu to become TVR chief, he turned down offer

Premier Emil Boc proposed Sebastian Lazaroiu on Saturday to become president – general manager of SRTv public television operator, PDL sources told the ‘Gandul’ newspaper. According to Gandul, the premier proposed Lazaroiu to take over the job of president – general manager of the public TV Company, at least for an interim period, but he turned down the offer, on grounds that appointing a presidential counsellor to this job would deprive of credibility any effort to depoliticise TVR. “I do not want to damage the institution’s credibility, because this will make some say that <>” Lazaroiu allegedly told the PM, according to the newspaper. Formally, Lazaroiu stopped short from commenting the news, saying that he was made no proposition of the kind.

Preda, Voinescu voice fresh criticism against PDL leadership

Things are far from calming down inside the Democrat Liberal Party, where the “wing” of intellectuals continues to criticise the old guard of the party. MEP Cristian Preda complained, on Friday, that PDL is censoring its members’ opinions and even resorts to threats. “PDL – censored opinions, double-meaning statements, threats, contempt for expression forms such as voicing one’s opinions in a blog, public interventions by fellow party members who consider anything you say as a potential threat for the party you belong to,” Preda said during a debate held by one of the party’s youth organisations, drawing a comparison between the Democrat-Liberals and the European People’s Party (EPP) family PDL belongs to. In his turn, Deputy Sever Voinescu said, during the same debate, that he will propose scratching from the next Constitution the provision that allows MPs to also become ministers.

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