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Culture Day. On Friday, President Klaus Iohannis decorated artists, personalities and important cultural institutions on the occasion of the National Culture Day, marked annually on January 15. The distinctions were awarded as a sign of appreciation for the work done and the major impact on the cultural space in the country and abroad. Among those decorated are the well-known film critic Irina Margareta Nistor, the Peles National Museum, the Hungarian State Theater in Timisoara (west), the National Theater in Târgu Mureş (center) and the "Moldova" Philharmonic in Iași (east). In the last two centuries, the cultural elites have inspired Romanian society to step on the road to Western modernization and democratization - said President Klaus Iohannis, who added that Romanians are proud of personalities whose works have enriched national and universal heritage and spirituality.
NATO. NATO is moving to Romania some of the AWACS radar jets, currently stationed in Germany, to watch more closely the war started by Russia in Ukraine. The planes are scheduled to land on Tuesday at the Otopeni military base, near Bucharest. NATO and the Ministry of Defense announced that they will carry out surveillance flights exclusively on the territory of the Alliance, will strengthen the presence of allied forces in the Black Sea region, but they will also monitor Russian military activity. AWACS aircraft can fly at altitudes of 12,000 meters and detect enemy aircraft, ships or ground vehicles from 400 kilometers away. They can transmit information to all NATO combat aircraft, which means they can theoretically be used as flying command posts.
Schengen. The Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, has recently presented in Austria, an initiative to support the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area, and will visit the two countries next week - according to a press release from the Greek line ministry. Notis Mitarachi met in Vienna with the Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and the Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner. In Athens' view, the extension of Schengen through the accession of Romania and Bulgaria will be directly beneficial for Greece, as it will be connected by road with other EU member states. At the same time, Greece claims that the enlargement of the Schengen area will help boost economic activities. The Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum recalls that, while Croatia's application for Schengen accession was accepted in the JHA Council in Brussels, on December 8 last year, Romania and Bulgaria were faced with the opposition of Austria and the Netherlands, although they successfully completed the evaluation procedures for joining the free movement area as early as 2011.
Ukraine. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), already present at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant occupied by the Russian army, will, in the coming days, send experts to other Ukrainian nuclear sites, including Chernobyl - according to a press release . IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi will personally travel to Ukraine next week to launch the new mission. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal had announced, in December, after a meeting with Rafael Grossi, the organization of missions aimed at securing the country's five power plants, without, however, giving details about the size of the missions or the timing of their deployment. In another development, key infrastructure points in the capital Kyiv were targeted, this morning, by a new Russian attack.
Refugees. More than 3 million Ukrainian citizens have crossed the border to Romania since the outbreak of the war in the neighboring country in February last year. Also, over 100,000 have temporarily settled in Romania, and 4,000 have applied for asylum - according to a report made public in the presence of Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă. At Government level, six working groups were set up by fields of activity, which, together with the UN partners and civil society, allowed a good management of the situation arising from the Russian aggression. At the same time, they facilitated the accommodation of the Ukrainians in a very short time. To manage the humanitarian crisis, so far, the Romanian Government has allocated 565 million euros, of which 200 million euros came from international partners. The aid materialized in free transport, food, clothing, shelter, long-term accommodation, free medical and social interventions and services, access to the labor market and schools. (MI)
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