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October 1, 2020
ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Mahala Rai Banda represents Romania in Stockholm


The Stockholm Cultural Festival is a grand-scale event, which takes place in the Swedish capital between August 10 and 15 and brings together, every year, Swedish and international artists. This is Romania’s second participation in the event and it will be represented by the Mahala Rai Banda ensemble, performing traditional Balkan music. The Mahala Rai Banda concert is scheduled for August 13 and is organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute in Stockholm in collaboration with Södra Teatern. Under the already traditional heading of The Gypsy Queens & Kings the open-air stage in front of the Opera will host the likes of the Mahala Rai Banda, Florentina Sandu, Aurelia Sandu and Tantica Ionira (Romania), Esma Redzepova (Macedonia), Jony Iliev (Bulgaria), Lijljana Buttler (Serbia) and Kaloome (France). The event will be preceded by a concert which the Swedish Balkan music band Süperstar Orkestar will offer in front of the ICR Stockholm building in the Old City, a concert which places the Institute on the map of the Festival. The Stockholm Cultural Festival features a series of concerts, theatrical, circus and vaudeville performances, art installations and creative workshops which will be held on especially-set up stages and in various other venues throughout the city.


The first participation of the Romanian Cultural Institute-Stockholm in the festival dates from 2006 and featured the Taraf de Haidouks, in collaboration with the selfsame Södra Teatern. The Gypsy Queens & Kings is one of the most keenly-awaited sections in this year’s programme. The Mahala Rai Banda ensemble is well-known to the Swedish public following a tour organized by ICR Stockholm and Södra Teatern in the autumn of 2008.


Mahala Rai Band is made up of instrumentalists representing several generations, who, playing the accordion, violin and blowing instruments, combine extremely diverse Balkan musical traditions. The band is often present on stages in Europe, as well as Japan, the US, Canada and Brazil.


Irish music festival based on lyrics from Sapanta Merry Cemetery


Next week the village Sapanta, in Maramures, will host an original festival of Irish music based on epitaphs-lyrics from the Merry Cemetery. The first Romanian-Irish festival, titled “The Long Way to the Merry Cemetery”, will run between August 12 and 15, and brings face to face the two cultures. The idea for such a festival started shaping two years ago, when the composer Shaun Davey received a scholarship to study the two cultures, Agerpres informs. Starting from the “Sapanta” concept, the artist composed a musical suite in which he combined traditional components from both areas with elements of classical music, using, as lyrics, epitaphs on the graves in the Merry Cemetery. Shaun Davey’s music will be performed, during the event, by 160 musicians – the men’s choir of the Faculty of Theology in Sibiu, a mixed choir from Maramures, a Romanian chamber orchestra and Irish instrumentalists. The artist Grigore Lese will also take part in the event. The latter will ensure, alongside Shaun Davey, the artistic direction of the festival. Guests in the event include: the Iza Group, Aromanii Faseroti, Rapsozii Gorjului, the Bukovina Brass Band, Mambo Syria, an Ukrainian group, a boy singer from Apuseni Mountains, Rita Connolly, Liam O’Flynn, Seamus Begley, John Brian Masterson, Ian Roderick Mcvey, David Simon Brophy, Neil Martin, Gerry O’Beirne, Noel Eccles, Alyth Catriona McCormack. During the festival, pottery workshops will be on offer, under the guidance of master craftsman Brunar Tanase and his family, wood-carving workshops, hosted by master Stefan and carving master Pupaza, as well as weaving workshops, Maramures dances and traditional music performed by Aromanii Faseroti.

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SPORTS

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Porto beat Benfica to lift Portuguese Super Cup


Goals by defender Rolando and Colombian striker Radamel Falcao gave Porto a 2-0 win over champions Benfica in Aveiro on Saturday to lift the Portuguese Super Cup, their first trophy under new coach Andre Villas Boas. Argentine midfielder Fernando Belluschi’s fourth-minute corner was deflected by Benfica’s Carlos Martins and flew straight to Rolando, who headed in unchallenged to give last season’s cup-winners Porto an early lead. Benfica took some time to react and only approached the Porto box consistently after the half-hour, though without creating clear chances. It was Porto who almost scored a second just before halftime. Benfica rarely threatened and only came close to pulling one back five minutes from the final whistle with Paraguay international Oscar Cardoso putting Javier Saviola through but Helton made a fine save to deny the Argentine forward.


Mueller and Klose give Bayern Supercup win


Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose were on target in the last 15 minutes to give Bayern Munich a 2-0 win over Schalke 04 in the German Supercup on Saturday. Mueller, who on Friday extended his contract with the club until 2015, opened the scoring in the 75th minute as coach Louis van Gaal chose to field five of the seven Bayern players in the Germany World Cup squad, even though they only started training this week. Bayern substitute Andreas Ottl sent a long pass forward which Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer failed to clear and Klose left the ball to Mueller — joint topscorer in South Africa with five goals — who steered it into the empty net from the edge of the area. Six minutes later, Ivica Olic twisted past his marker to deliver a low ball which Klose converted from close range. The German Supercup, between the winners of the previous season’s Bundesliga and German Cup, was officially reinstated by the German federation this year after a 14-year absence. As Bayern won the double last season, they met Bundesliga runners-up Schalke 04.

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900,000 people, 88,000 houses could be affected by floods at any moment


According to data included by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in the medium and long-term national strategy for the management of flood risks, over 900,000 persons live in areas characterized by high risk of flooding, and more than 88,000 houses could be taken away by flood waters at any moment. Lowering the number of persons exposed to flood risk to 350,000 and gradually lowering the potential damages caused by floods from 86 houses destroyed per 1,000 hectares flooded down to at most 40 houses destroyed per 1,000 hectares flooded by the year 2030 are two of the main goals of this strategy, a release remitted to Mediafax by the Insurance Monitoring Commission (CSA) shows. “This June the floods and extreme weather affected 37 Counties, killing 25 people. The floods affected over 7,200 households – 6,112 houses were flooded and 246 destroyed – and forced the evacuation of 12,500 persons,” the CSA communiqué adds. The government analyzed the flood situation on Monday during a working meeting convened by Premier Emil Boc. “The balance sheet will be completed on Tuesday during a new working meeting” official sources stated for Mediafax.


Crin Antonescu, “incensed” that his wage was cut by 25 pc


The president of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Crin Antonescu, stated, on Monday, that he was “incensed” because his pay was cut by 25 per cent, as he is a mere public sector employee. “I want to say that this 25 per cent cut obviously, greatly affects those with small incomes, but it also affects those with average or bigger incomes, as is the case of MPs, because the portion cut in their case is larger. I don’t know for sure where I will start making adjustments, I’ll figure it out as I go along,” Antonescu told journalists.


Election results canceled within PDL Constanta


Members of PDL’s Ethics and Litigations Commission have decided to cancel the county and local Coordination Council meeting that took place within PDL Constanta, the municipal branch’s leadership set to return to its former holders. PDL Vice President Gheorghe Flutur pointed out on Monday following PDL’s National Permanent Bureau (BPN) meeting that BPN members were informed about the Commission’s final decision. The meeting in which the leadership of PDL Constanta had to decide whether the election of MP Maria Stavrositu as head of the Constanta branch was in line with the party statute ended on August 2 without a clear result since the two camps – that of Stavrositu and that of Mircea Banias, the leader of the County branch – voted in favor of contradictory decisions.

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Two people in serious condition after motor glider crash


Two men were admitted in serious condition to hospitals in Craiova and Ramnicu Valcea, after the motor glider containing them crashed a short while after takeoff, onto a field near the Valcea town of Dragasani. The pilot was taken to the Craiova Emergency Hospital, where he was diagnosed with closed intracranial polytraumatism, chest trauma with rib fractures, left elbow dislocation, a broken leg and vertebral column traumatism. The other victim was taken to the Valcea County Emergency Hospital with closed cranial-cerebral polytraumatism, vertebral column traumatism, chest trauma and fractures. Early investigations point to the crash being due to engine stoppage during takeoff.


21-year-old female student savagely killed by paroled convict


A 21-year old female student from Fagaras was beaten and stabbed with a knife, raped and then set ablaze by a thief who broke into her apartment. The murder was committed Saturday evening, and by the next evening the police managed to apprehend the killer. According to Chief Commissary Liviu Naghi, spokesman for the Brasov County Police, the murderer is a 28-year-old convict released on parole in 2008, who had served time in prison for several crimes, including aggravated theft, robbery, break-in and bodily harm. The man admitted his guilt and is liable to be sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder, robbery, break-in and rape.


Several stranded tourists, retrieved by mountain rescue


Five mountain climbers that remained stranded in Podu Dambovita area, Arges County, on Sunday night, were recovered by mountain rescue teams after an intervention that lasted for well over two hours, Mediafax reported. The head of Campulung Muscel mountain rescue, Puiu Holbosan, told the agency that the climbers – three men and two women – were blocked in a very dangerous canyon area and could not get out because heavy rain in the last few days had caused a two-metre high flood wave in their path down. “It was a very difficult operation, we were barely able to reach them. There were five climbers, all of them from Brasov, with proper equipment, but they weren’t able to leave the area. There had been ten, but five of them left before the flood wave came through the canyon,” Holbosan said. One of the women on the team needed medical attention from the Arges Ambulance Service.


In a separate incident, a female tourist was severely injured after falling down a 30-metre deep precipice in Fagaras Massif. The woman, 39, was taken over by a medical helicopter and was transported to Floreasca Emergency Hospital in Bucharest, Mediafax said. “The patient suffered severe head trauma (…). She was stabilised and is being transferred to Bucharest,” said the head of Curtea de Arges mountain rescue, Nicolae Plesita.


In Bucegi Mountains meanwhile, mountain rescue were looking for a tourist who had suffered a leg injury after slipping down a slope. The tourist called emergency number 112 and mountain rescue teams went to look for him, in the second incident of the kind in the area over the past weekend. On Saturday, two tourists who had suffered various injuries were recovered by local mountain rescue teams.

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Tourists rescued from Bucegi mountain ravine


Mountain rescuers saved on Saturday evening two tourists who had fallen into a ravine, in the Valea Alba area of Bucegi Mountains, Mediafax reports. One of the tourists has an open leg wound, while the other suffered a few minor concussions, but their lives are in no danger. In a separate incident, two Czech tourists – a man and a woman – had to be rescued after they got injured at the end of the week, while hiking in the area of the Zanoaga Lake, in the Retezat Massif, at an altitude of nearly 2,000 metres, Agerpres reports. As it was raining, both tourists slipped on the wet rocks and suffered leg fractures.


Three youths injured in Danube jet-ski accident


Three youths aged 20 were injured Saturday night, when they were hit by a jet-ski that dragged an inflatable beach float, on the Borcea Branch of the Danube, in Calarasi, Mediafax reports. The victims were taken to the Calarasi County Emergency Hospital. Later, the boy and one of the girls were moved for investigations at the ‘Bagdasar-Arseni’ Emergency Hospital of Bucharest.


The young man who was riding the jet-ski will be charged with bodily injury, police said.


WW II projectile found on Mamaia beach


Authorities were alerted, on Saturday, to the finding of a projectile in the sand on Mamaia beach by a tourist, Agerpres informs. The pyrotechnics team was dispatched to the scene to pick up the metallic object in maximum safety conditions. A pyrotechnics analysis indicated that the projectile dates from World War II and may still be active. According to the spokesperson for the Dobrogea Emergency Inspectorate (ISU), Paula Anghel, the shell projectile, 82 mm long, was found by a tourist.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Finance Ministry sells Treasury Certificates worth 1.27 bln RON


The Ministry of Public Finance (MFP) Monday managed to sell RON 1.27 bln worth of Treasury Certificates due to mature in February 2011, at an average yield of 6.99 per cent. The highest yield accepted by the institution was of 7 per cent. A number of 12 primary dealer banks participated in the auction, whose bids exceeded RON 1.87 bln, according to a release from the National Bank of Romania (BNR).


A few days ago, BNR Governor Mugur Isarescu said he saw banks’ reaction as “absolutely normal” to claim higher interest on RON bonds, given inflationist expectations, while the Finance Ministry disputes the claim.


Romania puts armoured vehicles on sale for RON 9,000


Romtehnica organises on August 20 an open bid, in which it offers for sale 13 Armoured Personnel Carriers, 23 planes and 22 anti-tank guns, all out of use, at starting prices ranging between RON 2,600 and 9,300, VAT not included, according to documents posted on the company website, Money.ro informs. According to the specification, the bid can only be attended by specialised, authorised operators, whose activity domains include manufacturing, modernisation and fixing of identical or similar goods and/or the processing of recyclable industrial waste. The weapons and military items, all out of use, belonged to military units in Beius, Sibiu, Deveselu and Medgidia.


CEC reduces basic interest on loans for companies by 0.4 – 0.5 pc


CEC Bank reduced the basic rate by 0.5 pc on loans granted to firms in RON and 0.4 pc for financing in EUR and decreased by 1 pc rate loans for projects co-financed from EU funds, a press release informs.


Thus, the Prime Rate (PR) on CEC Bank credits in RON becomes 9.4 pc per year, compared to 9.9 pc, and 6.5 pc versus 6.9 pc per year for loans in EUR.


Number of mutual fund investors exceeds historic threshold of 200,000


The number of investors in open investment funds reached 202,057 in July, beyond the historic threshold of 200,000, according to data released yesterday by the Fund Managers’ Association, Agerpres reports. Most investors put their money into low-risk monetary funds and bond funds. The rest entrusted closed-end funds with their money.


War rages between state and Kazakh-owned Rompetrol


The Romanian state has challenged in court the capital booster of 100 M euros going on at Rompetrol Rafinare, the most important company of the Rompetrol Group, aimed at paying a portion of the historical debt owed to the Romanian state. Unless Rompetrol pays a minimum of 93 M euros against overall arrears worth 565 M euros due in late September, the Romanian state again becomes the controlling shareholder in Rompetrol, not a bad business after all, considering it would take over a company with a turnover of 1.5 bln euros, from the few million euros posted at the time it went private in 1993.


However, the Romanian state would lose a major amount of money it relied upon for this year’s budget, as Romanian authorities were hopeful to cash in at least half of the debt owed by the petrol group. Last week, Traian Basescu said the company was going to undergo forced execution unless it pays the state-owed debt. Kazakh officials replied, saying they have three alternatives available, to pay the debt in full, to pay a portion of it, or nothing at all, of which they said they would most likely choose the second.


Oil prices will continue to grow, brokers estimate


Oil prices reported significant hikes lately against the backdrop of a slower than expected economic recovery in Europe and the US, according to a press release sent to our editorial office. The price hike was caused by USD depreciation and because investors reoriented themselves towards merchandise, particularly towards oil. Thus, the price of oil will remain volatile in the upcoming period, according to an analysis authored by X-Trade Brokers, one of the largest brokerage houses in Central and Eastern Europe. Europe and the US are recovering from the crisis in a slower than expected rhythm and China’s economy reported a slowdown in its growth rhythm in Q2 despite surpassing Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy. In its turn, Japan reports fragile economic growth and faces a high level of debt. In conclusion, macroeconomic developments do not justify an oil price hike like the one seen last week. Thus, the latter has to be explained mainly through investors’ reorientation towards oil, at the expense of the USD which finds itself in a process of depreciation. “The mechanism is natural and appears almost every time the USD drops. The problem is that, in the context of a global economic recovery that has lately proven to be fairly fragile, a high oil price becomes an extra brake in the path of a stable and consistent economic growth,” Victor Safta, director of the Romanian branch of X-Trade Brokers, explained.

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Construction works volume falls 15.7 pc in H1


The volume of construction works (unadjusted series) dropped by 15.7 pc in H1 against the same interval of last year, driven by the decline of new constructions and capital repairs, the National Statistics Institute (INS) announced on Friday. In June, the volume of construction works rose by 46.7 pc against the previous month, but fell by 5.2 pc year-on-year. The same data released by the INS reveal the fact that the turnover of wholesale and retail activities dropped by 11.9 pc in H1, despite of a 15 pc increase in June – both evolutions being driven by the trade of motor vehicles. Compared to May, the turnover of vehicle sales was 21.1 pc higher in June, with a decline of 18.8 pc during H1 this year. The turnover of services to population (unadjusted series) rose by 17.6 pc in June from a year ago. In H1, the increase reached 17.4 pc in series adjusted with seasonal factors and the number of working days. On the other hand, less bovines and poultry, but more pigs, sheep and goats were culled in June, against a year ago. The amount of processed meat decreased in the case of beef, but rose in that of pork, mutton and poultry. The quantity of milk collected from farms and sent to processing units dropped in June against both May 2010 and June 2009, by 3.8 pc and 6 pc.


Alro, EBRD sign loan agreement for USD 180 M


The EBRD is providing a USD 180 million syndicated refinancing package to Alro, an important European aluminum producer, helping the company move into higher value added products and improve energy efficiency, reads e press release. On the other hand, EBRD has issued a statement in response to recent reports in the Romanian media that suggested the bank is unwilling to consider financing of the Comarnic – Brasov Motorway Concession Project. The EBRD reiterates its interest to support viable private transport infrastructure projects in the country. Specifically, the EBRD was very keen to consider funding the aforementioned project.


Rompetrol demands USD 50 M in damages from Securities Commission


Rompetrol Group demands damages equal to USD 50 M from the National Securities Commission (CNVM) for the losses incurred to the company by the Commission blocking delisting of Rompetrol Rafinare, according to a release from the oil company, quoted by HotNews. Rompetrol also states it lodged a complaint with the CNVM, slamming the “repeated abuses by commission officials and its grossly exceeding its legal duties, from forcing the Rompetrol group into making a takeover bid and up to the ordinance suspending the delisting of Rompetrol Rafinare.” Also, Rompetrol calls for the CNVM ordinance to be revoked on suspending the group’s right to delist Rompetrol Rafinare, given its infringement of capital market law provisions. CNVM will decide whether to unblock the delisting only after the company-announced capital increase comes into effect.


?OMV Petrom’s petrol prices up 0.09 RON/litre


OMV Petrom Saturday raised the price of petrol by 0.09 RON/litre, given market conditions, Mediafax reported the company as announcing. Premium unleaded 10 ppm and Top Premium unleaded 99+ cost 4.42 RON/litre and 4.8 RON/litre respectively.

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POLITICS

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Liberals to renegotiate IMF deal if they join government


The deputy president of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Dan Rusu Rusanu, stated, on Friday, in a press conference in Arad, that PNL would renegotiate the IMF agreement if they join the Government, to ensure reduction of taxes and to obtain other tax facilities, Mediafax reports. “We would ask for the reduction of taxes, given that countries around us already have lower taxes than Romania. When we introduced the flat tax, neighbouring countries had a 25 per cent tax, and, today, Bulgaria has a 10 per cent tax,” Rusanu said. The deputy president of PNL stated that “the appeal of a country does not lie in extraordinary resources or in an extraordinary infrastructure, but in tax facilities”. “We’ve reached the point in which Romanian companies in border counties move shop in neighbouring countries, in Hungary or Bulgaria, to benefit from the facilities over there,” Rusanu added.

Ex PM Radu Vasile reportedly seeking cancer treatment in Israel


The former prime-minister Radu Vasile was released, Thursday afternoon, from the Bucharest Emergency University Hospital, and is to seek treatment in an Israel clinic, where he was operated upon for colon cancer, sources close to the family stated, quoted by Mediafax. The spokesperson for the Bucharest Emergency University Hospital, Doctor Bogdan Popescu, confirmed that Vasile left the hospital on Thursday, around 16:00, stabilized, but couldn’t say for sure whether the former prime-minister would pursue treatment in a hospital abroad.


“It was there that he was operated upon, he is in the records of doctors over there, it is natural that he should return there to seek further treatment. He came to the City Hospital because he had certain problems,” the quoted sources stated. The ex-prime-minister checked in the Bucharest Emergency University Hospital on July 30, with a gastrointestinal complaint resulting from a cytostatic treatment, after having been diagnosed with colon cancer a while back.

BNR head orders special commission for controversial patriarch coin


The governor of the National Bank of Romania (BNR), Mugur Isarescu, summoned a special commission to analyze and come up with solutions in the case of the coin commemorating the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) patriarch Miron Cristea, according to Agerpres.


“I received a letter from the Holocaust Museum, signed by Mr. Ioanid [Radu Ioanid, the director of the Holocaust Museum]. I called for the forming of commission which would analyze the situation and come up with solutions,” the governor stated, on Friday. He explained that the coins issued by BNR “definitely and by no means” are intended to hurt anyone’s feelings, so much less to send a xenophobic, racist or anti-Semitic message, but, on the contrary, aim at promoting national and democratic values. The patriarch Cristea, who also held the office of prime-minister between 1938 and 1939, is responsible for the revising of the citizenship law, following which 225,000 Jews (37 per cent of the Jews living in Romania at the time) lost Romanian citizenship.

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