INTEREST The 3-month ROBOR index, based on which the cost of consumer loans in lei with variable interest is calculated in Romania, rose on Thursday from 8.05% to 8.11% per annum, the highest level in the last 12 years. In early 2022, the index was 3% per year. Rates on mortgage loans and "First house" loans have increased by 50% since the beginning of the year and almost doubled as compared to a few years ago. IRCC, the reference index for consumer loans, is 2.65% p.a., up from 1.86% three months ago. In the last three months, more than 10,000 beneficiaries of the "First house" programme have requested to switch from ROBOR to IRCC for calculating loan interests.
AIR FORCES As of August 4, the Canadian Royal Air Force is conducting an air policing mission in Romania. According to the defence ministry, a unit of 180 troops and 6 CF-188 Hornet aircraft, will operate under NATO command in the next 4 months, jointly with Romanian Air Force units, while another 2 aircraft will take part in drills organised jointly with NATO allies. This is the 6th rotation of Canadian troops at Romania's Mihail Kogălniceanu air base since 2017. Canadian forces were also deployed in Câmpia Turzii in central Romania in 2014. The presence of the CF-188 Hornet aircraft in Romania is part of the action plan for ensuring NATO operational capability in the eastern flank, and proves the Alliance's unity and determination in response to recent security challenges, the Romanian defence ministry said.
COVID-19 Three military hospitals in Romania have reopened wards for treating COVID patients. In Sibiu (centre), patients have five beds available, with another five available in Cluj Napoca (north-west). The Emergency Military Clinical Hospital in Timisoara (west) also reopened the Modular Medical Isolation and Treatment System, where patients have already been admitted. More than 4,000 people infected with coronavirus are currently hospitalised in Romania, and the number of those in Intensive Care is around 300. On Thursday, more than 8,600 new infections with SARS-COV-2 were announced in 24 hours. The authorities also reported 27 deaths.
TAIWAN The Chinese army Thursday fired missiles towards the Taiwan Strait, shortly after the start of military drills around the island, France Presse and Reuters reported. China initiated large-scale live-fire drills around Taiwan in response to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei. Pelosi is the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in the last 25 years. She assured Taipei of the US's commitment to supporting the democracy of the self-governed island claimed by Beijing. Taiwan has condemned the Chinese drills.
UNTOLD Cluj-Napoca, in north-western Romania, is hosting until August 7 the UNTOLD electronica festival, currently at its 7th edition. For the opening night on Thursday, the organisers have brought to Romania, for the first time ever, a unique show by the German DJ and producer duo Claptone and 100 dancers and animators. The crowd will be welcomed by fantastic characters, international acrobats, animators, cheerleaders, dancers from Romania, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany and Ukraine, with parades, fireworks and laser shows. UNTOLD takes place in several locations, with the main stage placed in the Cluj Arena. The line-up includes the world's best DJs, and the organisers expect nearly 400,000 people to attend. UNTOLD is one of the largest music festivals in the world. (AMP)