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CHRISTMAS – Orthodox and Greek Catholic Christians in Romania celebrate the Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God. Emerged in the 5th century, this is one of the oldest feast days observed by the Christian Orthodox calendar. The word ‘synaxis’ is Slavonic for ‘gathering’, in this case referring to the gathering of the saints around the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his Christmas address, Romanian Orthodox Church Patriarch Daniel urged people to seek the peace of the soul that may bring about social order. At the Vatican, his holiness Pope Francis in his Christmas address launched an appeal to peace and condemned the terrorist atrocities and the evil in the Middle East that has forced people out of their homes.
EARTHQUAKE – A 6.3 Richter-scale earthquake shook northern Afghanistan, with aftershocks reaching as far as India. According to the US Institute for Geophysics, the epicentre of the tremor was located in the northern province of Badakhshan, close to the Pakistani border. Tens of people have been reportedly injured. Press agencies recall that hundreds of people died following a massive earthquake that occurred in the same region on October 26.
REFUGEES – Europe must regain control of its borders, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday, in response to emerging information according to which Islamic State militants would have counterfeit passports. The German official has warned that refugees should not be included in the same category with those suspected of terrorism, adding that many militants originate from Europe. Minister Steinmeier went on to say that the European Council’s proposal to extend the remit of the European Agency managing cooperation between national border guards securing its external borders – FRONTEX and the EU’s aid to Turkey so that this country might contribute to curbing the flow of refugees to Europe are vital to secure a better control of EU borders. Over a million refugees, fleeing conflicts and wars in the Middle East, have arrived in Europe this year, mostly in Germany.
SURVEY – Over 70% of Romanians have confidence in the institution of family, although less than half trust in the institution of marriage, according to a survey conducted by IRES. The survey also reveals that Romanians share the same social tendencies, moral standards with their partner, although not necessarily their political affinities. Regarding the image of the ideal marriage, respondents referred to aspects such as mutual respect and communication, time spent together, appreciation, faithfulness, understanding, tolerance and the existence of children as key to a happy marriage. The study also shows that divorce is seen as the acceptable solution in cases of violence from one of the partners, infidelity, lack of love or alcohol abuse. Over 90% of Romanians argued against polygamy and are extremely conservative regarding same-sex marriages, 82% of respondents arguing against this form of marriage.
INVENTIONS – 2015 was rich in inventions. Some of the breakthroughs that have helped change the face of our lives over the last year include a modified wheelchair for people with disabilities, allowing them to climb stairs unassisted. Also this year a new generation of bendable smartphones was released, as well as a pocket scanner, a 3D pen, a palm-sized printer, and the 3D printer that can print prosthetics in less than 42 hours. Adding to the list is a robot capable of solving the Rubik cube puzzle and the 128 GB memory-card.
(Translated by V. Palcu)