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COMMEMORATION - A day of mourning was on Saturday observed in Timișoara, western Romania, in memory of the victims of the 1989 anti-communist revolution in Romania. Official ceremonies were held on this occasion, commemorating the first clashes between security forces of Nicolae Ceaușescu's dictatorship and people who took to the streets calling for freedom. The event was also marked by means of exhibitions, film screenings, debates, concerts and a special march. The anti-communist revolution in Romania broke out in Timișoara on December 16, 1989, and expanded to Bucharest and other cities on December 21. Over 1,000 people were killed and another 3,000 wounded in violent clashes. Romania was the only country in Eastern Europe where the transition from communism resulted in bloodshed.
PARTNERSHIP - The governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania on Saturday signed an agreement on creating a strategic partnership in the field of green energy. In a special ceremony hosted by Bucharest, the document was signed by the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, the Prime Minister of Romania, Nicolae Ciucă, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, and the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán. The agreement stipulates the building of an underwater cable that would transport energy from renewable sources from Azerbaijan to Romania, via Georgia and the Black Sea, and from there to Hungary and the rest of Europe. The project represents yet another step whereby Romania consolidates its energy security. On Friday, the national gas providers of Romania and Azerbaijan, Romgaz and Socar, respectively, signed a contract that will allow Romania to access additional volumes of gas, when necessary. Romania is committed to invest in energy production and infrastructure, Romania's Prime Minister, Nicolae Ciucă said on Saturday. In turn, the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, pointed out his country would become a major provider of green electricity for Europe. Attending the signing ceremony were also Romania's president, Klaus Iohannis, and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.
SCHENGEN - The European Commission fully supports Romania's Schengen accession, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said in Bucharest. The EU official said she would work tirelessly to find a solution shortly, as Romania is fully prepared to enter the visa-free travel area. In turn, president Klaus Iohannis said Romania relies on the Commission's support. We recall that last week, on the sidelines of the Justice and Home Affairs council meeting, Austria opposed the Schengen accession of Romania and Bulgaria, invoking arguments that many considered to be false and politicized. The Netherlands also voted against.
BAN - The Republic of Moldova has banned six TV stations that rebroadcast Russian propaganda about Moldova and the war in Ukraine. The country needs to be shielded from propaganda and lies, deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spînu wrote on his Telegram account. The ban takes effect on Monday and will remain in place during the state of emergency, declared after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The six TV stations, some broadcasting in Romanian, others in Russian, are closely tied to Ilan Shor, a controversial politician and businessman who fled Moldova in 2019 after Maia Sandu was elected president. Currently in exile in Israel, Shor has supported the anti-government protests in Chișinău.
WORLD CUP - Croatia defeated Morocco 2-1 in the bronze final at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The two teams were both drafted in Group F. Morocco ranked 1st and subsequently ousted Spain and Portugal in the round of 16 and quarterfinals, respectively. Croatia ranked 2nd and knocked out Japan and Brazil in the next rounds. In the semis, Morocco lost to France, while Croatia lost to Argentina. Croatia ranked 2nd at the 2018 World Cup, whereas Morocco is the first African and Arab team to reach a World Cup semi-final. On Sunday, in the championship final, the defending champions France will play Argentina.
EUROVISION - A national jury has selected 12 songs out of the total of 84 that enrolled to represent Romania at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. A live show will be held on February 11, 2023 where the 12 songs will be performed. The winner will be designated by the public. The 2023 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will be held over May 9-11 in Liverpool, the United Kingdom, which will host the event on behalf of Ukraine, the winner of the 2022 edition, currently still fighting the Russian invasion. Romania's best performances at the Eurovision were third place in 2005 and 2010 and fourth place in 2006. (VP)
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