Covid Romania – On Saturday, Romania exceeded 400 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours. 408 cases have been reported and 5 associated deaths. 707 COVID patients are hospitalized of whom 108 are in intensive care. Experts are firm and warn that next month the incidence of new cases is going to increase sharply. Despite warnings, the pace of the national vaccination campaign remains fairly low – a little over 9,500 people have been vaccinated in the last 24 hours. In an attempt to increase the number of vaccinated people, the authorities are organizing new vaccination actions across the country, in places where festivals and concerts are held.
Afghanistan – The Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a speech to the nation that consultations were taking place with political leaders and international partners aimed at finding a political solution that would guarantee peace and stability in the country, Reuters and AFP report. In the past eight days, Taliban insurgents have managed to conquer half of Afghanistan's provincial capitals. The capital, Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, the main northern city, and Jalalabad (east) are the only three major cities still under government control. The Taliban launched their offensive in May, with the start of the definitive withdrawal of US troops and other NATO countries from Afghanistan, an operation scheduled to end on August 31. The Taliban's rapid offensive led to emergency measures. After a crisis meeting with NATO ambassadors, the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed deep concern about the high level of violence caused by the Taliban offensive, including attacks on civilians and targeted killings, and said that NATO would support the Afghan government "as much as possible." A contingent of US forces arrived in Afghanistan on Friday to secure the evacuation of the US embassy staff. The Romanian Foreign Ministry has reassessed and raised the alert level for Afghanistan and urges Romanian citizens to urgently leave the territory of that state.
Jazz - Sibiu, in central Romania, is hosting the oldest jazz festival in the country and one of the oldest in the world. The first show of this edition took place on Friday night, featuring the group Péter Sárosi-AZARA from Hungary and the Italian quartet Motel Kaiju, led by Niccolo Faraci. There will be a total of three days of jazz in Sibiu, and admission to all concerts in this edition of the Festival is free of charge. The first edition of this jazz festival was hosted by Sibiu in 1974.
UK - More than one million Romanians have applied for UK residency, and their contribution is extremely important in several sectors of the British economy, Radio Romania’s correspondent in London reports. According to professional associations, tens of thousands of Romanians work in the health and elderly care sectors as well as in agriculture, and estimates show that one in four construction workers is Romanian. Canary Wharf is Europe’s third largest financial center and is run by a Romanian, George Iacobescu, while the financial sector in the British capital employs about seven thousand Romanian citizens. All in all, more than six million EU citizens have been granted the right to remain in the UK after Brexit.
Finance – The Liberal MP Dan Vîlceanu is the proposal of Prime Minister Florin Cîţu for the position of Finance Minister, the PM announced on Saturday in a press conference. According to the CV posted on the website of the Chamber of Deputies, Dan Vîlceanu is an economist, with a PhD degree obtained in 2016, at the West University of Timişoara. We remind you that the Prime Minister Florin Cîţu dismissed Alexandru Nazare from the position of Finance Minister last month, and serves as interim finance minster until the appointment of a replacement for the vacant post.
Clarifications - Prime Minister Florin Cîţu made some clarifications on Saturday in connection with a fine he received in the USA 20 years ago for driving under the influence, a crime for which he was detained for two days. The information has appeared recently in the press, causing tensions within the ruling center-right coalition in Romania. Florin Cîţu said that he regretted the incident, that at the time of his appointment as prime minister the legal procedures were observed, and that he was not considering handing in his resignation. (LS)