Articole scrise de Radu Big

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1.Deputy Arpad Antal: The Hungarian Counties were militarized Romanian deputy Arpad Antal, representing the Hungarian Democratic Union (UDMR), declared in an interview for Hotnews.Ro and BBC that the Hungarian counties (Covasna, Mures and Harghita) have been militarized. Antal says that "it is not normal to have in Sfantu Gheorghe, a city of 70,000 people, thousands of employees in the Gendarmerie, with less than 5% Hungarian ethnics". Social democrat leader of the Cluj county Vasile Dancu claims, in the same debate, that the pro-Kosovo position expressed by UDMR leaders will force him to quit the regionalist speech and take over a nationalist tone, in order to avoid being accused of pro-Hungarian politics.
2.Romanian short film wins Golden Bear award in Berlin The Romanian short feature film " A nice day to go to the beach", directed by Bogdan Mustata after a screenplay by Catalin Mitulescu, won the Golden Bear Award in the Berlin Film Festival (February 7 - 17), the official festival website informs. 
3.Georgia billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili dies in suspect circumstances One of the most important opponents of Georgia president Mikhail Saakasvili, billionaire Badri Patarkatsisvili, died in London on Thursday night because of a heart attack, his counselors announced, quoted by BBC. According to Daily Mail, the police believe that the death of the 52-year old billionaire is "suspect", an investigation being opened in the case. The oligarch recently confessed to his close friends that he is afraid he might be assassinated, Daily Mail adds.
4.What the newspapers say: February 13, 2008 Although all newspapers chose to tell the story of former tennis glory Ilie Nastase, who resigned from his position as head of the Romanian Tennis Federation, most of the news mainly refer to money. Specifically to wasted money (in the Defense Ministry), compensation money (to be paid by the Bucharest City Hall to all those who destroy their cars on the impossible Romanian roads) and to money Romania could earn (a Spanish prepares to invest in wind energy fields). And of course, to the falling national currency, which brought back the entire economy to the 2006 level. 
5.Davis Cup: Gasquet wins 3:0 in front of Hanescu Richard Gasquet kept his promise and won the first match of the France - Romania challenge, against Victor Hanescu, with a minimum sets score: 7-6, 6-4, 7-5. The win in three sets was promised as soon as the drawing of lots. Still, the game was well balanced. Gasquet led all the time, except the very beginning, Hanescu leading 2-0 in the first set. The second game will oppose Romanian Andrei Pavel and French Jo Wilfried Tsonga.
6.Former president Iliescu: Basescu has a pathological obsession with me President Basescu is pathologically obsessed with me: this is the statement made by former Romania president Ion Iliescu about the president in seat, Traian Basescu. The statement comes as an answer to a previous declaration of Basescu, who said that Iliescu and the Social Democrats are, in fact, behind the current Liberal government. "I see that it is an obsession for Mr. Basescu, without any grounds, but it is surprising from several points of view. First, it is of course a pathological obsession, but it show the state of mind Basescu is in", said Iliescu for RFI Romania.
7.Facelift for Dacia Logan Logan, the most successful model of the Renault - owned Romanian car producer Dacia, suffered a new facelift, the WorldCarsFans website informs, publishing spy-photos of the future version of the car. Out of the four pictures, one is software-modified, while the other tree are real pictures taken during the test drive of the future model of Logan Sedan. 
8.Gazprom ready to cut gas provision to Ukraine Gazprom will celebrate its 15 anniversary with more than just a Deep Purple concert: "On February 11, Gazprom may cease its natural gas deliveries towards Ukraine", said the company spokesman, Sergey Kuprianov, who estimated the Ukrainian debt to 1.5 billion dollars. 
9.Germans launch Anti-Nokia song 2008 The head of the IG Metall labor union in Nordrhein-Westfalia, Oliver Burkhard, wants to continue the fight for the Nokia factory in Bochum, still he considers that the boycott against the brand is not an efficient instrument. Taking advantage on the Carnival, when almost anything is allowed, the Germans launched the Anti Nokia Song 2008. 
10.What the newspapers say: February 8, 2008 President Traian Basescu and the Constitutional Court have an increased role in the way the Government is shaped - this is the main conclusion in all newspapers, after the Constitutional Court decided that Basescu may refuse a nomination for a minister seat, only once and only if well justified. And, since it is Friday, the news is a bit more relaxed than usual. The Central Bank governor warns on the Swiss franc credits, after pointing at all international currencies, the gay marriages may be forbidden by the new Senate regulations, but Europe sees it with a critical eye and Romanians may, at some point, use the TGV (high-speed train) to visit France.
11.Constitutional Court: Prime Minister must suggest another Justice Minister candidate The endless conflict between president Basescu and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu on who should be the next Justice Minister has finally came to an end: the Constitutional Court (CCR) decided that the president has the right to refuse a nomination, therefore PM Tariceanu has to make another suggestion.
12.Central Bank governor: Strict monetary policy instead of revising the 3.8% inflation rate The inflation rate prediction for 2008 was increased by the Romanian Central Bank (BNR) from 4.3% to 5.9%, but the institution decided to maintain its 3.8% annual inflation target for the year. BNR governor Mugur Isarescu declared on Thursday that the institution opts for harsher monetary policy, in order to maintain the inflation target. According to Isarescu, BNR intends to make more difficult the credit offering conditions and to make bank loans more expensive for employees with income calculated in Romanian lei (RON).
13.Romania involved in the children-killing hormones scandal Some of the biological material used to create the growth hormones that killed over 100 children in France comes from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, the Focus news agency informs in its online edition. Bulgarian Parliamentarian Health Commission vice president Atanas Chterev admitted that such material was exported by his country. Even more, Bulgaria exported hypophysis hormones drawn from dead bodies, not only towards France, but also to Switzerland, Sweden and Italy.
14.Central Bank Governor: Higher inflation rate is temporary The higher inflation rate recorded during the past six months is temporary, said Mugur Isarescu, governor of the Romanian Central Bank (BNR) in a press conference on Thursday. Still, he says, the lack of measures may lead to a spiral of this growth, which will lead to the loss of all things accomplished lately.
15.One quarter of verified judges - collaborators of the Communist political police Out of 118 judges verified by CNSAS (the body that should unveil the collaborators of the Communist political police, Securitate), 25 received verdicts of Securitate collaborators, said Germina Nagat, manager of the Investigation Department within the institution, in an interview for BBC. Nagat says that the verification of judges became a priority in 2007. The judges in the Constitutional Court shut down CNSAS at the end of January, claiming that it functions as an extraordinary instance.
16.Two million euro for making Romania a tourism brand The campaign to put up a tourism brand for Romania saw a 2 million euro budget approved on Wednesday by the Government. Other 9 million euro will be spent on promoting Romania in Spain and Italy, also using state funds. At least four attempts to create such a brand took place in the past few years, proving each time to be completely worthless.
17.What the newspapers say: February 7, 2008 Except for the CNSAS problems (the body that should unveil the collaborators of the Communist political police, Securitate), it is all about money in the headlines on Thursday. Cut from an already weak budget to make electors smile again (not for long, most analysts say), stolen without any restriction from international ecological interest sites or obtained by tearing down Bucharest landmarks in the name of real estate development, the cash makes it to all front pages.
18.Romanian traditional products - registered and recognized by EU The traditional attributes of Romanian products will be registered and protected both in Romania and in the European Union. The Agriculture Ministry is due to release the registration procedures within a week. All registration costs will be supported by producers.
19.Civil society pressure makes Govt. step back in CNSAS case The ordinance regulating the attributions of CNSAS - the body enabled to research the archives of the Communist political police, Securitate - suffered significant changes compared to its shape on Tuesday night. Under the pressure of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), CNSAS will once again be enabled to verify the past of all people in seat in dignitary positions. State officials will be verified by the Investigation Department in CNSAS, whose verdicts may be challenged in Court. Citizens allowed to see their own Securitate surveillance files can no longer demand the unveiling of Securitate informers who signed the notes on them. 
20.VAT for food drops to 5% Romania Senate approved on Wednesday the decrease of VAT from 19 to 5% for basic food products, although the Government representatives participating in the session indicated that this would cause a budget loss of some 200 million RON (some 55 million euro). The funds to cover the loss, it was decided, will come from a 50% growth of taxes and excises for personal yachts, planes and helicopters, as well as a new growth of the tobacco taxes.
21.Nokia will not refund Bochum factory construction subsidies Finland-based company Nokia emphasized that it will not refund the subsidies it received for the construction of its production facility in Bochum, Germany. The factory is about to be shut, Nokia deciding to outsource the production to Romania, Forbes informs.
22.Low cost routes make Romania real estate attractive for UK citizens The measure of a good overseas investment property is not always how much the sun shines or how low prices are. Increasingly, we look at budget airline routes, The Telegraph notes in its Tuesday online edition, as quoted by Rador. 11 low-cost companies open 29 new routes in 2008. At the end of the runway, real estate agents wait anxiously for second home buyers. Following this logic, Romania seems to be destined for success, the British paper comments. 
23.Higher wages for countryside priests One day after the prime minister and the Central Bank governor shook hands on promoting an austerity budget, the Senate decided to increase 25% the salaries for rural localities priests, a professional category which, despite the theoretical political neutrality, has a rather wide influence on the peasants' political decision-making process. The initiative was voted in favor with 61 votes and only 3 abstentions. The law draft also includes modifications for high-ranked clergy, up to some 2,500 euro per month for the Patriarch. The draft still has to be approved by the House of Deputies, which has the final word.
24.What the newspapers say: February 6, 2008 French president Sarkozy wants France to participate in the Nabucco project - a natural gas pipeline to provide Caspian resources towards Europe, but would also provide Romania with nuclear technology, for a second plant. Meanwhile, the state budget for 2008 spells austerity, as prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Central Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu agreed on Tuesday. The Parliament is as busy as usual, trying to relocate the construction of the largest Cathedral in Bucharest, so that parliamentarians would keep their tennis courts. Just another day in Romania.
25.Street protest against Securitate cover-up 23 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) managed to gather some 500 people in the Universitate Plaza, protesting against the decision in the Constitutional Court, according to which CNSAS will cease its activity. CNSAS is the body that was enabled until last week to research the archives of the Communist political Police, Securitate, and to unveil the collaboration of dignitaries, clergy and civil society members with the institution. The demonstrants booed the prime minister, the Constitutional Court members, former president Ion Iliescu and Dan Voiculescu, the Conservative leader that sued CNSAS, leading to the current blockage. 
26.23 civil society NGOs threaten daily street protests until CNSAS problems are solved 23 non-Governmental organizations signed on Friday a "Protest against restoration", demanding the Government, the Parliament and the President to urgently adopt the necessary measures to continue the unveiling of the former Securitate members. The NGOs also demand the immediate revoking of the Constitutional Court judges and the People's Advocate. The organizations want to issue a street protest everyday, starting on Sunday, February 3. "The NGOs consider that the Romanian Constitutional Court's decision undermines that principles and the very grounds of the state of law, representing a return to the Communist regime practices".
27.Romanians in Italy suggest Diaspora Ministry set up in Bucharest Romania Interior Minister Cristian David met representatives of the Romanian community while visiting Italy. During the meeting, held at Accademia di Romania, the Romanians came up with an innovating suggestion: a Diaspora Ministry being set up in Bucharest. The suggestion was made by the Romanians in Italy Party, but enjoys the support of other Romanians as well. 
28.Constitutional Court explains decision on body studying Securitate archives The Constitutional Court (CCR) decided yesterday that some of the articles in the law for the functioning of CNSAS (the body enabled to study the archives of the former political police, Securitate) come against the Romanian Constitution. After the decision caused endless negative comments on the victory of the former Securitate officers, the Court published a 27-page document justifying the decision. On of the main problems was that CNSAS and its college define themselves as extraordinary court, which is anti-Constitutional.
29.Microsoft makes $ 44 Bn offer for Yahoo! Microsoft announced that it made an offer to buy Yahoo! for 44.6 billion dollars, informs. The company founded by Bill Gates offers 31 US Dollars per each Yahoo! share. The transaction would be one of the largest in the industry and it is seen as an attempt from both giants to deal with newcomers like Google. The stakes are high, the Internet advertising market being expected to grow from 40 billion dollars in 2007 to 80 billions before 2010.
30.Romania criticized by Human Rights Watch for CIA prisons, Kosovo incident and Mailat case The Human Rights Watch organization tells in its annual report about the Kosovo incident in February, when Romanian gendarmes killed to demonstrant, claims once again that Romania hosted illegal CIA prisons and also mentions the crisis in Italy caused by the Mailat case (the Romanian accused of raping and killing an Italian woman), NewsIn informs. 

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