KING MICHAEL I On Saturday, December 16th, the coffin carrying the dead body of the last sovereign of Romania, King Michael I, will be conveyed by hearse to the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest. After the mass held at the cathedral, the coffin will be carried by the Royal Train to Curtea de Arges, where the former king will be buried. According to the program announced by the Royal House of Romania, on Wednesday, December 13, the coffin will arrive at the Otopeni Airport. Bucharest authorities have declared three days of national mourning on the 14th, 15th and 16th of December. Michael I died on December 5th at his residence in Switzerland, aged 96. The Romanian Parliament will gather on solemn session on Monday, to honour the memory of the last sovereign of Romania.
COOPERATION On Saturday in Belgrade, Romania's Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and his counterparts from Bulgaria and Greece, Boyko Borisov and Alexis Tsipras, voiced their support for Serbia's joining the EU. The three prime ministers and the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic talked about the process and also about interconnecting their countries' electricity and gas networks. This is the second four-party summit this year, after the one in Varna, Bulgaria. The four leaders have decided to also invite the ministers of transport and internal affairs to participate in the next five-party meetings.
MEASLES More than one hundred new cases of measles have been reported in the past week in 16 counties in Romania, and the total number of cases has exceeded 10,000 since the outbreak of the epidemic. Most of those affected had not been vaccinated against measles, and 36 of them have died. Statistics show that for one in 1000 people infected, the disease is deadly, and the vaccine protects children against developing the disease.
ISRAEL On Saturday, Israel launched new strikes on Gaza Strip, in response to rocket fire from the enclave. The Palestinian Islamist Hamas group claims two of its gunmen were killed in the bombings, Reuter reports. Militants fired at least three rockets towards Israeli towns from the Hamas -controlled strip on Friday, which was declared "a day of rage" by Palestinian factions protesting US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, some of the US's European allies issued a joint statement expressing their opposition to Trump's move. According to them, the decision was made before reaching a final common decision on the status of the city and was by no means helping the peace process in the region. In Bucharest, the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu has stated that Romania maintains its view on the existence of two states, Israel and Palestine, living as good and prosperous neighbors. According to Melescanu, Trump's announcement is a clear signal that the US wants to get involved in finding a solution.
HANDBALL Romania's national women's handball team will take on the Czech squad on Monday, in the round of 16 of the World Championships hosted by Germany. On Friday night, the Romanian team lost to France, but they had already secured first seat in Group A, after four wins in their fixtures against Paraguay, Slovenia, Spain and Angola. If they manage to win the match against the Czechs, the Romanian handball players will be further playing against the winner of the game pitching the Netherlands against Japan. The Dutch are world and European champions. At the previous edition in 2015, Romania walked away with bronze. Romania is the only side that has so far participated in all the 22 editions of the world championship.