RALLY - A rally is scheduled to take place on Saturday in front of the Government headquarters in Bucharest, exactly one year since the large-scale protest rally against the Government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, when the gendarmes intervened brutally and people were wounded on both sides. Some 25,000 people are expected to participate in Saturday's protest, including the German pianist Davide Martello, known for his performances held in conflict areas around the world. Protests have been announced in other cities across the country but also abroad. This week, the interim Interior Minister Mihai Fifor has twice called on the participants to protest peacefully and to observe the law. He has also said that Romania is a European state and its citizens have the right to freely express their views. The Bucharest Gendarmerie has announced that, for safety reasons, the participants are asked to not carry luggage and to move away from individuals or groups that intend to endanger the smooth running of the event. Road police will temporarily restrict traffic on the roads around the square where the protest will take place, and the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations will deploy firefighting equipment in the area and provide emergency medical assistance.
CARACAL INVESTIGATION - Searches continue at the Caracal home of Gheorghe Dinca, the 66-year old man who confessed, after being apprehended more than 2 weeks ago, to having killed and incinerated 2 teenage girls. New evidence is searched with respect to 18-year old Luiza Melencu, who went missing in April, after hitching a ride in Dinca's car. On Thursday, genetic tests on the bone fragments found in a bag in a forest near Caracal were completed, and results indicate that the bones belong to 15-year old Alexandra Măceşanu, whom Dincă said he had killed in late July. Also on Thursday, the search on the suspect's laptop, camera, mobile phones and memory stick was completed, with the data to be processed by forensic IT experts. The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has called for more efficient measures to prevent murder and other violence against women, in a Twitter response to the Caracal case.
TRADE - In the first half of this year, Romanian exports totalled nearly 35 billion euros, while imports stood at over 42.5 billion, taking the trade balance deficit to around 7.7 billion euros, the National Statistics Institute announced on Friday. The largest share in traded commodities was accounted for by vehicles and transport equipment and other manufactured products. According to the Statistics Institute, the trade deficit in the first half of this year is over 1.3 billion euro deeper than in the corresponding period of 2018.
NAVY - Events devoted to the Romanian Navy Day, traditionally celebrated on August 15, have started in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanţa. On Saturday, the Constanta Military Port organises an Open Door Day, with thousands of people expected to visit 14 Navy vessels, 2 Coast Guard ships, a Puma Naval helicopter, a submarine and mobile missile launchers. The event begins with a performance by the Navy Band, and participants will also be able to take part in workshops, presentations and exhibitions and interact with officials for navy education institutions, marines, military divers and hydrography experts. Until August 15, other Danube and Black Sea ports in Romania will also host concerts, book launches and interactive workshops.
NATO - NATO announced on Friday that the upgrade of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system at the military base in Deveselu, in southern Romania, has been completed. The operation was carried out as part of a step-by-step approach to US missile defense in Europe, announced in September 2009. According to a NATO press release, the upgrade did not render the Aegis Ashore system offensive. The system targets only potential threats outside the Euro-Atlantic region and is exclusively defensive. In another move, the USS Porter destroyer was sent on a mission to the Black Sea on Friday, to help maintain maritime stability and prove the US's support for its NATO allies and regional partners. It's the sixth military vessel to enter the Black Sea this year. USS Porter was preceded by USS Carney, which last month took part in an American - Ukrainian exercise, alongside military ships from 19 countries, including Romania.
ANONIMUL - The 16th Anonimul International Independent Film Festival comes to a close on Saturday in Sfântu Gheorghe, in the Danube Delta, south-eastern Romania. Six Romanian and foreign feature films took part in the official competition. The Ukrainian director Sergey Loznitsa, the winner of the 2018 Cannes "Un Certain Regard" award, is the guest of honour in this year's festival. He received the "ANONIMUL" Trophy for his contribution to world cinema.
UNIVERSITY - The 17th edition of the Izvoru Mureşului Summer University is taking place between August 12 and 17 in Harghita County, central Romania. This year's theme is Romania and the Romanians abroad, one year after the Great Union Centennial. The topics approached will include preserving the identity of the Romanians in Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova in the context of regional geopolitical development and the Romanian national interest, the policies of parliamentary parties and public institutions with respect to the Romanians abroad and the Romanians in the multi-ethnic regions in Romania. Attending the works will be participants from Romania and from the diaspora, as well as from the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, and Bulgaria, mass media and civil society representatives, and members of the academic community in Romania and abroad.