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Culture Day. On Sunday, National Culture Day and 173 years since the birth of the national poet Mihai Eminescu were marked all across Romania. Concerts, recitals and exhibitions were organized, and access to many museums was free. A gala performance was hosted by the Bucharest National Opera, attended by political personalities and diplomats. Romanian Culture Day was also celebrated abroad. The Romanian Cultural Institute has organized events in 20 cities abroad, until January 20. The events in Budapest, Warsaw, Stockholm or Beijing focus on the presentation as an international cultural landmark of the city of Timisoara, which this year is a European Capital of Culture. Brussels is hosting a book exhibition titled "Romanian cultural presences in the collections of the Royal Library of Belgium", and in Paris, a debate was organized that brought together over 20 professionals from the publishing world, translators of Romanian literature, representatives of French publishing houses and booksellers.
Infections. The wave of respiratory infections could reach its peak this week in Romania. Specialists' estimates show a peak of infection cases could be reported until February 10, after which a decrease will follow. The latest data from the Ministry of Health indicate over 100,000 cases of respiratory infection, flu and pneumonia, detected by doctors in the first week of this year. The number is much higher than the figure from the previous interval and almost double compared to the period before the pandemic. Doctors have confirmed, in recent days, even more cases of multiple infections, with the flu virus and the coronavirus.
Schengen. Greece has decided to follow its own initiative regarding Romania's and Bulgaria's joining the Schengen Agreement. After talks in Vienna with the Chancellor and his Austrian counterpart, the Greek Minister of the Interior, Notis Mitarakis, has scheduled talks this week in Sofia and Bucharest on the coordination of migration policies and the protection of external borders. Athens believes that the accession of the two countries to Schengen will bring direct benefits for Greece as well, given that the area will be unified for road and commercial transport and will contribute to stimulating the country's economic activity through a land link with the Schengen area, and will also help strengthen the security of the EU's external borders. The Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum recalls that, while Croatia's application for Schengen accession was accepted at the JHA Council in Brussels on December 8, 2022, Romania and Bulgaria were faced with the opposition of Austria and the Netherlands, although both countries concluded successfully the procedures for joining the free movement area.
NATO. NATO will relocate some of its planes to Romania, from the air base near Aachen, in Germany, to be closer to the war started by Russia in Ukraine. The three surveillance aircraft are due to arrive in Bucharest on Tuesday to support the enhanced presence of the Alliance in the region and to monitor Russian military activity. Also, at the Otopeni base, near Bucharest, 180 soldiers will be deployed to operate the planes. The spokeswoman for the Alliance, the Romanian Oana Lungescu, stressed that the planes can detect aircraft from a distance of hundreds of kilometers, being a key instrument for NATO's deterrence and defense posture.
Ukraine. Ukraine and the European Union have signed a memorandum on the allocation of macro-financial assistance worth 18 billion euros in 2023 - announced the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denis Shmyhal, has announced. According to him, Ukraine expects to receive a first installment of three billion euros this week. On the ground, the fighting continues. Russia launched an attack on the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia overnight, injuring civilians and destroying residential infrastructure, according to regional official reports. At the same time, dozens of civilians are still missing after a Russian missile hit, on Saturday, a high-rise apartment block in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro (center). More than 35 people lost their lives. The city of Kherson in southern Ukraine is still under Russian attack, local authorities said. On Sunday, the headquarters of a local Red Cross unit, a rehabilitation center for disabled children, an area around a student dormitory, as well as a critical infrastructure facility were targeted.
Refugees. So far, 565 million euros have been allocated in Romania for the management of the refugee crisis triggered by the war in neighboring Ukraine, of which 200 million euros came from international partners, reads the Bucharest government's report on efforts in the field humanitarian assistance. Of the over three million Ukrainian citizens who crossed the border into Romania, 100,000 have settled here temporarily, and 4,000 have requested asylum.
Donation. The Minister of Health, Alexandru Rafila, announced on Monday that Romania will receive from South Korea a donation of medical and IT equipment worth approximately eight million dollars. The donation includes complex equipment for the control of water, the control of tobacco and substances contained in tobacco, the surveillance and control of communicable diseases, which means diagnostic and sequencing equipment, stated Minister Rafila, in a joint press conference with the ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Romania, Rim Kap-soo. According to the minister, South Korea's gesture comes in 'counterpart' with a donation of vaccines against the new coronavirus made by Romania to that country. (MI)
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