KIDNAPPING – The Romanian authorities confirm the information on the existence of a video footage featuring a Romanian citizen who claims to have been kidnapped by a Jihadist group in Burkina Faso and asks to be saved. The Foreign Ministry has announced that a crisis sell is currently investigating the authenticity of the video recording and is also analysing all possible ways to solve the situation of the Romanian national taken hostage in Burkino Faso. According to media sources, the mining company the Romanian was working for announced his being kidnapped in April, but the first images showing proofs of life were released on Saturday. The crisis cell is made up of representatives of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministries, respectively, of the intelligence services and of the Presidential Administration.
RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION – Fresh from an emergency meeting held in Paris, French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has made a thorough presentation of the measures agreed upon by the EU member states in an effort to improve railway transport safety and security, in the wake of last week’s attack on a high speed train running from Amsterdam to Paris. He referred to a thorough control of the passengers’ identity, with visual checks being likely to be introduced again. Furthermore, luggage will be verified both in stations and on board the train. Joint patrols, made up of security officers from various countries will be set up to assure transport security, the French minister has underlined. The perpetrator of the attack on the Thalys train, Moroccan Ayoub El Khazzani, was charged with attempted murder last week. Carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle, nine chargers, a Luger automatic pistol and a cutter, the 26 year old Moroccan bought a ticket for the Thalys train without problems. Later on, he opened fire on board the train, being immobilised by passengers.
DEMOGRAPHY – The total population residing in Romania remains under 20 million people, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Institute. On January 1, 19,861,000 people were residing in Romania, down 85,900 since the beginning of the previous year. The urban and female population account, respectively, for 53.8%, and 51.1% of the total, and the ageing phenomenon is deepening, the difference between the population over 65 and the young population of up to 14 years of age having widened to more than 300,000 people. The survey also indicates that Romania remains an emigration country, with a number of emigrants 42,000 higher than the number of immigrants last year.
MUSICAL FEAST – In the following three weeks, Bucharest is hosting Romania’s most important cultural event, the “George Enescu” International Festival, which has reached its 22nd edition. Nearly 3,000 foreign and Romanian artists will take part in this year’s edition of the Festival. The participating orchestras include the San Francisco Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, conducted by the world famous Zubin Mehta, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bavarian State Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, London Symphony Orchestra, Saint Petersburg Orchestra, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. According to the organisers, the 2015 edition of the world’s leading promoter of the works of the great Romanian composer George Enescu, will consist in 58 indoor concerts and many other outdoor events. Radio Romania will broadcast 36 live transmissions. The rest of the concerts will be recorded and broadcast in the following days. Furthermore, the Casa Radio Publishers launches five albums to mark this edition of the festival.
BEIJING BOOK FAIR – Romania has recently participated for the first time in the Beijing International Book Fair, having its own stand organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute. According to the organisers, the Romanian Cultural Institute designed the events so as to cast light on the Romanian literary heritage and to provide a fresh perspective on the current literary and editorial developments in Romania. Now, in its 22nd edition, the International Book Fair in Beijing is the largest event of its kind organised by China. According to the Director General of the General Department of Romanian Cultural Institutes Abroad, Ioana Dragan, on August 31st, the Foreign Language University in Beijing will host two much awaited events, a conference devoted to the Romanian Language Day and the announcement on the official opening of the Beijing-based Library of the Romanian Cultural Institute.
WEATHER – Meteorologists have issued a code yellow alert against heat valid today for 12 counties in the west, south-west and the east of the Romanian territory, where the temperature- humidity index exceeds the 80 unit critical threshold. An orange code warning valid for Monday and Tuesday has been issued for 10 counties in the west. The rest of the territory will further be under code yellow alert. The highs of the day range between 29 and 36 degrees C. The noon reading in Bucharest was 32 degrees.