Coronavirus Ro - The Romanian government has approved a decision on extending the state of alert by another month. The decision comes into force on August 16 and was prompted by the persistence of a high rate of contamination with the new coronaviurs across Romania as well as by the identification of new cases of infection on a daily basis. In Romania more than 68 thousand cases of contamination have been reported since the coronavirus outbreak, with almost 32 thousand patients having recovered. The Strategic Communication group has also announced that 473 patients are in intensive care. The total death toll in Romania stands at 2,904.
GDP – Romania’s GDP has dropped by 12.3% in the 2nd quarter of this year as compared to the 1st quarter, and by 10.5% as compared to the 2nd quarter of 2019, the National Institute of Statistics informed on Friday. A drop in the GDP was also reported in the first six months of 2020, when it decreased by 3.9% as against the same period of last year. The National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis also reviewed the estimates regarding the evolution of the Romanian economy in 2020, so, at present, the Commission forecasts a contraction going up to 3.8%, as compared to 1.8% previously estimated. According to the summer economic forecasts, published by the European Commission, Romania's GDP will register a significant drop - 6%, in 2020. Also the Romanian authorities estimate a budget deficit of 8.6% of the GDP. The annual inflation rate went up to 2.8% last month from 2.6% in June. The growth was caused by the increased prices of foodstuffs, services and nonfoods.
Navy Day – The Romanian Navy Day is traditionally celebrated on August 15, when Christians celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This year the events have been adapted to the new context imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, unlike in the previous years, this year's edition, dedicated to the 160th anniversary of the establishment of the Romanian Naval Forces, takes place mainly online. The Naval Forces official Facebook page has already launched thematic contests and virtual projects that offer the public the opportunity to get to know the marines better. Recitals of the Military Music of the Naval Forces were also streamed online, as well virtual tours of Romanian ports. Nevertheless, on Saturday, on Navy Day, there will be ship parades on the Black Sea and the Danube. To prevent the crowding of people, access of the public will not be allowed.
Tennis – The Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, world’s no.2 and top seed in Prague, on Friday qualified to the semifinals of the WTA tournament hosted by the Czech capital which offers total prizes worth more than 200 thousand dollars, after defeating the Polish player Magdalena Frech (174 WTA) 6-2, 6-0. Also on Friday the Romanian Irina Begu qualified to the quarter finals after defeating the Swiss Leonie Kung 7-6, 5-7, 7-6. Another Romanian player Ana Bogdan withdrew from the competition at the score 5-2 against the Czech Kristyna Pliskova who thus goes further to the semifinals. In the doubles, the Romanian players Monica Niculescu and Raluca Olaru have qualified to the semifinals and will play against the Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
Agreement – The Romanian Foreign Ministry hails the announcement regarding the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as well as the relevant role of the US that brokered the agreement. In this context, the Romanian diplomacy expressed confidence that the agreement between Israel and the UAE, two of Romania’s important regional partners, will contribute to the stability and security of the Middle East. This is the biggest progress towards peace between Israel and the Arab world in the past 26 years, being the starting point for the third agreement between Israel and an Arab nation, said the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel also has peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. The Palestinian National Authority labeled the agreement a "betrayal" of the Palestinian cause and called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to denounce this agreement.
MAE – The Romanian Foreign Ministry MAE has categorically rejected Russia’s criticism related intentions to consolidate the American presence in Romania. The Romanian diplomacy on Friday published a response to the recent statements made by the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zaharova who accused NATO and the US of intending to consolidate a north-south axis from the Baltic to the Black Sea, an axis meant to discourage Russia. MAE explained that NATO’s process to consolidate security in the Black Sea region was a legitimate and legal response after the illegal annexation of Crimea and Russia’s aggressive actions on the Black Sea basin. (translation and update by L. Simion)