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May 25, 2024 UPDATE

A roundup of domestic and international news

Newsflash
Newsflash

, 25.05.2024, 20:00

ESPIONAGE – A Romanian citizen was arrested on charges of treason, suspected of spying in Russia’s favor. According to the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), the suspect sent to the Russian Embassy in Bucharest images of Romanian or NATO sites in Tulcea (east). He also collected other military information and has been carrying out such activities since 2022. The suspect, Alexandru Piscan, is a young politician from Ploiești, judicial sources say. Prosecutors also searched his home, where they collected several items of evidence. Following this incident, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared a diplomat from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Bucharest persona non grata on Romanian territory. Russia will respond in equal measure, the spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, announced shortly after.

 

DRONE – The first Romanian drone is expected to enter production at a factory in Braşov (center), a subsidiary of the ROMARM National Military Company. A first step in this direction was taken on Friday in Bucharest, on the sidelines of the “Black Sea Defense and Aerospace” international exhibition, with the signing of a strategic agreement with Periscope Aviation, an American manufacturer of military and commercial drones. Economy Minister Radu Oprea said the agreement is a premiere for the Romanian defense industry, being the first strategic partnership a domestic company signs in the field of constructing military and civilian drones. Two other agreements related to research activity in the field were also signed, the Romanian official said. Participants in the “Black Sea Defense and Aerospace” exhibition said the objective of the agreement is the mass production of a 100% Romanian drone, intended for both military and civilian use, such as agriculture.

 

FESTIVAL – Festivities marking the “Day of Romanians Worldwide”, celebrated every year on the last Sunday of May, continue across the country. Saturday saw the official opening of the communication session, with Romanians abroad having the opportunity of talking directly to state representatives to convey the concerns, needs and difficulties they face in host countries and upon returning to Romania, but also to get to know each other, share experiences, best practices and plan joint projects. Over 500 Romanians from the diaspora and historical communities from 34 countries are expected to take part in the 7th edition of the “Here and there” festival. The event brings together Romanian artists from the country and abroad, as well as representatives of associations, academia and the business environment from Romanian communities abroad.

 

EVACUATIONS – Six Romanian citizens who requested support for evacuation have left New Caledonia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest reports. A Romanian citizen was evacuated to Australia on May 22, with an airlift organized by French authorities in cooperation with the Australian and New Zealand authorities. The other five Romanians left French territory on Saturday. Of these, two were evacuated to Australia with an Australian Air Forces military aircraft, the other three being boarded on a civilian flight organized by the French authorities. The French government has declared a state of emergency in New Caledonia following violence that broke out over a bill passed by the French Parliament that would allow French residents living on the Pacific island to vote in provincial elections. Protesters set fire to vehicles and company premises and looted shops. At least seven people lost their lives and hundreds of people were arrested.

 

NATO – 400 MPs from 32 NATO member states and 25 partner countries and parliamentary organizations are attending the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, hosted from Saturday till Monday by Sofia, Bulgaria. Participants will discuss major topics on the Euro-Atlantic defense and security agenda, emphasizing support for Ukraine and the priorities of the upcoming NATO summit in Washington in July. Over the weekend, MPs are taking part in talks in the five committees of the Parliamentary Assembly, discussing draft reports and adopting important political recommendations. In Monday’s plenary session, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will deliver a speech, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov will deliver a message via video conference. MPs from NATO member states will discuss and adopt decisions regarding the requests made by Malta and Kosovo to receive the status of NATO associated states. The Parliamentary Assembly will also tackled challenges from the countries of the Western Balkans, along with strategies to support partners at risk and to strengthen engagement with the ‘Global South’ (low- or middle-income countries in Latin

America, Africa, Asia and Oceania).

 

TENNIS – Four Romanian tennis players will perform in the women’s main draw at Roland Garros, the second Grand Slam of the year. They will all compete in the first round. Sorana Cîrstea (30 WTA), Romania’s best-ranked tennis player at present, was seeded 28th and will take on Anna Blinkova of Russia (45 WTA). Jaqueline Cristian (67 WTA) faces a tougher opponent, 9th-seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia (10 WTA). Ana Bogdan (63 WTA) will face Elsa Jacquemot of France (150 WTA), the beneficiary of a wild card. Finally, Irina Begu (126 WTA), who benefits from protected ranking, will take on Julia Riera of Argentina (93 WTA). In other news from tennis, the pair made up of Monica Niculescu of Romania and Cristina Bucșa of Spain has won the womens doubles final at the WTA 500 tournament in Strasbourg. In the final, the two outperformed Asia Muhammad of the United States and Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia, 3-6, 6-4, 10-6. This is the 11th doubles title for Monica Niculescu and the 23rd final of her career. Her last title dated back to 2021, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. (VP)

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