Palm Sunday - Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Christians in Romania are today celebrating Palm Sunday, commemorating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem prior to his Crucifixion. On Saturday, many believers and priests took part in processions in Bucharest and other cities. Palm Sunday marks the start of the last week of Lent, known as Passion Week, which remembers the most dramatic events in the life of Jesus. On Palm Sunday, as many as 1.4 million Romanians bearing names of flowers celebrate their name day. In another development, Catholic and Protestant Christians are celebrating Easter today, the biggest holiday in the Christian world. Today Pope Francis holds a Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican and will read the ‘Urbi et Orbi’ message (To the City and the World).
Message – The Romanian President Klaus Iohannis addressed Catholic and Protestant Christians the traditional Easter wish “Christ is Risen!” and made wishes to all those who are celebrating their name day on Palm Sunday. Also on Sunday, the PM Viorica Dancila conveyed a message to Orthodox Christians, recalling the significance of Palm Sunday and of the Passion Week, when people should show more empathy to each other. The PM also made good wishes to those Christians who are celebrating Easter on Sunday.
HMS Echo - HMS Echo multi-role hydrographic survey ship arrives today in the port of Constanta (south-eastern Romania) for a 4-day stopover – the Chief of Staff of the Romanian Navy announced. During the stopover, the ship representatives will have working meetings with experts from the Maritime Hydrographic Directorate in Constanta and will have official meetings with public authorities, civilian and military officials. The presence of HMS Echo military ship in the Black Sea is part of the NATO measures meant to provide the security of Allied members on the eastern flank, according to NATO’s commitment to collective defence.
Colombo – The explosions occurring on Sunday, on Easter Day for Catholics and Protestants, on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka have killed almost 160 people among whom 35 foreign citizens. Over 300 people have been injured. The PM of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe has condemned the attacks and has given assurances that the government is taking immediate action to control the situation. The Romanian President also condemned the attacks in Sri Lanka and said that religious freedom and faith need to be defended. Sri Lanka, an island country in South Asia, has a majority Buddhist population, Catholics accounting for almost 1.2 million of a total population of 21 million.
Tennis – Romania’s and France’s teams have equal scores, 1-1, in the Fed Cup semi-finals, after Simona Halep, world’s no.2 player, defeated Kristina Mladenovic (66 WTA), and Mihaela Buzărnescu (30 WTA) was defeated by Caroline Garcia (21 WTA) in Rouen. Sunday will see 3 matches: Caroline Garcia - Simona Halep, Kristina Mladenovic - Mihaela Buzărnescu and Caroline Garcia / Kristina Mladenovic - Irina Begu / Monica Niculescu. For the 2nd time in history, after 46 years, Romania goes as far as the Fed Cup semi-finals. France’s performance in this competition is notable: two times champion in 1997 and 2003, finalist in 2004, 2005 and 2016, semi-finalist several times, most recently last year. If Romania defeats France, it will take on the winner of the match pitting Australia against Belarus in the final scheduled for November.
Elections – As many as 30 million people are today expected to the polls in Ukraine to vote for the president in the final tour pitting the current president Petro Poroshenko against comedian Volodimir Zelenski, who runs as favourite in the surveys and who obtained a landslide victory in the first round. According to France Press new agency the slow pace of the anti-corruption fight and the deadlock in the conflict in eastern Ukraine made the Ukrainians vote for Zelenski. On the other hand, Poroshenko is credited by his supporters with getting the country closer to the West, redressing the army and saving the country from collapse, although no high official was indicted for corruption, France Press also writes. (translation by L. Simion)