EASTER - Christians around the world, including in Romania, which is a predominantly Orthodox country, celebrate Easter. At midnight, they received the holy light and sang 'Christ is Risen'. This year, Easter, which symbolizes the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is celebrated by all Christian denominations on the same days, which is quite rare, given that western churches celebrate it in keeping with the Gregorian calendar, while eastern churches use the Julian calendar. Orthodox believers today attend a mass known as 'the second Resurrection'. The Resurrection of Christ is the very foundation of Christian faith and the celebration of this event symbolizes the victory of Christ's merciful love over sin, hell and death.
REFERENDUM - Some 55 million Turks are expected to cast their vote today in a constitutional referendum. The outcome of the referendum might give the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan enhanced power and trigger the most radical change in modern Turkey's political system. The president and his supporters say that amendments must be made to the current Constitution, written by generals after the coup of 1980. The opponents, however, argue that these changes will lead to authoritarianism, in a country in which 40,000 people were arrested and 120,000 fired after the failed coup of July 2016. If the amendments are endorsed by the population, the office of prime-minister will be abolished and the president will appoint the Cabinet and the vice-presidents, whose number is not certain. Also, he will be able to declare a stage of emergency, without having to ask for the Cabinet's approval and will also be in charge of drafting the state budget. Changing the Constitution would also allow Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stay in power for another two 5-year terms. Polls show that 50-51% of the voters will say 'yes' to amending the Constitution.
ATTACK - At least 112 people died in Rashideen, Syria, on Saturday, in a suicide bomb attack on buses that were carrying people evacuated from two besieged government-held towns, according to an updated toll made public by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "The suicide bomber was driving a van supposedly carrying aid supplies and detonated near the buses", the Observatory said. The attack has not been claimed yet. The revolt against Bashar al-Assad's regime, which started in March 2011, has in six years turned into a devastating war, which has claimed 320,000 lives.
NORTH-KOREA - The North- Korean army have today unsuccessfully tried to launch a missile from a shooting range on the country's east coast, according to South-Korean and US officials. The attempt came just one day after the military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the birthday of the state's founder, during which what looked like new ballistic missiles were presented. According to the US Pacific Command, the missile exploded within seconds after launch. In another move, the US vice-president Mike Pence has today arrived in South Korea, as part of a 10-day Asian tour. According to his advisers, the tour is proof of the US's commitment to it allies with regard to the growing tension relating to Pyongyang's military programmes. The tension has escalated in the region against raising concern that North Korea might soon conduct the 6th nuclear test.
MEASLES - 700 new cases of measles have been reported in Romania in the past week. According to the Romanian Microbiology Society, the epidemics, which broke out last year, is the result of the severe drop in the rate of vaccination against this virus. So far, 21 people have died, and the number of the sick has risen to 4800. In order to prevent the measles from spreading even further, authorities continue the vaccination of children aged 9 months to 9 years.
HANDBALL - The Romanian women's handball champion CSM Bucharest on Saturday qualified for the Champions League's Final Four. On Saturday they defeated the Hungarian side Ferencvaros 27-26. In the Final Four in Budapest, on May 6-7, CSM Bucharest will take on Buducnost Podgorica of Montenegro, Vardar Skopje of Macedonia and the Hungarian squad Gyor. These are the same three teams that CSM played against in 2016, when it won the trophy for the first time.
TENNIS - The pair made up of the Romanian tennis player Monica Niculescu and the Taiwanese Su-Wei Hsieh is today taking on the Swiss pair Timea Bacsinszky/Martina Hingis in the doubles final of the WTA tournament in Biel Bienne, Switzerland, with 250,000 dollars in prize money. In the semifinals, the pair defeated Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland and Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-4. This will be the first doubles finals for Monica Niculescu in 2017, after the one in the singles in January, in the Hobart tournament.