MEETING - The Executive
Committee of the Social-Democratic Party met on Sunday in Bucharest. The top
issues on the agenda were the 2019 budget bill and preparations for the
European Parliament elections due in May. Social-Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea
said he called on the Prime Minister and Finance Minister to analyse the
possibility to reduce the budget earmarked to the secret services, which he
argues could be relocated to healthcare, for instance a program to grant
Vitamin D free of charge to children. Bucharest District 3 Mayor Robert Negoita
asked for additional funds to local administrations, as they are expected to
cover some of the social spending so far provided in the budget of central
authorities. Additional funds will go to healthcare, transport and education
while the ministries of the business sector, communications and energy will
receive fewer funds. The bill is based on a 5.5% economic growth rate, a 2.8% inflation
rate and a 2.5% deficit of the GDP.
ELECTION - The Save
Romania Union in opposition and the Liberty, Unity and Solidarity Party (PLUS)
decided to form an election alliance ahead of the European Parliament elections
due in May. The decision was taken on Saturday by the two parties' executive
committees. PLUS leader Dacian Ciolos, a former European Commission for
Agriculture and Prime Minister of Romania, is top of the joint list for the
ballot in May. The final list will be announced over the coming period, Save
Romania Union Dan Barna said. The Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians has
also designated its candidates for the European Parliament elections, and will
decide on the final order in March.
FLU EPIDEMIC - The death
toll of the flu epidemic in Romania has reached 69. The latest victim is a
41-year-old woman infected with the type-A flu virus. She also had a history of
pre-existing medical conditions and hadn't taken the flu vaccine. Health
Minister Sorina Pintea said the flu is extending nationwide and expects the
virus to be widely circulated in February as well. Some of the measures to
counter the epidemic are harsher hospital access restrictions, antiviral
medicine restocking, prophylactic treatment of people who come in contact with
the sick and the vaccination of all unvaccinated medical staff.
UKRAINE - The Foreign
Ministry hails the celebration of 10 years since the International Court of
Justice issued a ruling in the "Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea"
(Romania vs. Ukraine). According to a release issued by the Ministry, ICJ set
the line of delimitation between the continental plateau and the economic areas
of the two states, giving Romania 9,7000 skm of the 12,200 under dispute. The
resolution of the ICJ was beneficial to both states, favouring the approach of
a bilateral agenda constructively, also contributing to regional stability.
According to the Ministry, the decision, which put an end to a 42-year-old
dispute, became a reference point for subsequent maritime delimitations, being
quoted extensively in the jurisprudence of the ICJ and other international
courts of law, as well in the doctrine of international law in this matter.
AWARDS - The winners of
the 2019 BBC Audio Drama Awards are announced on Sunday as part of a ceremony
venued at the BBC Broadcasting House Radio Theatre in London. The production of
the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation's Radio Drama Department "The
Confession", Doina Papp's adaption of Dostoevski's "The Demons", directed by
Ilinca Stihi, is one of the three finalists selected for the Best European
Drama section. The BBC Audio Drama awards celebrates the originality and
qualify of on air and online radio drama shows as well as the actors, writers,
producers and sound engineers' creativity.
POPE FRANCIS - Pope
Francis on Sunday left for the United Arab Emirates, as part of the first visit
a Roman Catholic Pope pays to the Arab Peninsula. During his two-day visit,
Pope Francis will meet with Government officials and Muslim clerics. The Pope
will also celebrate mass on a stadium in Abu Dhabi. Over a million Catholics
await the Pope's visit, despite criticism for the timing of the visit,
coinciding with the Emirates' implication in the war in Yemen, as members of
the coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Unlike other Arab countries, in the United
Arab Emirates Christians are free to practice their religion, provided they do
so in private and avoid propaganda.
TENNIS - The Romanian pair
made up of Irina Begu and Monica Niculescu on Sunday won the doubles
competition at the WTA tournament in Hua Hin, Thailand, totalling 250 thousand
dollars in prize money. In the final the two defeated Ana Blinkova of Russia
and Yafan Wang of China, 2-6, 6-1, 12-10. This is the second trophy for Begu
and Niculescu, after the title won in Hobart. The two players also played the
Wuhan and Moscow finals in 2015 and the one in Luxemburg in 2012.
HANDBALL - Romanian
champions CSM Bucharest on Saturday defeated 32-26 Krim Mercator Ljubljana of
Slovenia in Group 2 of Champions League. CSM is now third-placed with 8 points,
after Hungary's Gyor with 12 and Vipers Kristiansand of Norway with 8 points.
(Translated by V. Palcu)