A fire at a nightclub in Bucharest wounds 40 people / The third Romanian hit by the avalanche in Italy has been rescued
FIRE – Over 40 people were wounded in a fire on Saturday morning that burned down one of the largest clubs in the capital city Bucharest. One person is in critical condition. The list of wounded includes Israeli and Bulgarian citizens. Eye-witnesses say they sensed a smell of burned electric wires, others say the people inside were smoking. Prosecutors have started criminal proceedings for aggravated criminal damage. Representatives of the District 2 City Hall say the club did not own a functioning permit, although it had a certified emergency evacuation plan. President Iohannis said that rules and regulations were violated on Saturday night, and society will always be at risk unless everyone observes the law. We recall that in October 2015, some 64 people were killed and over 100 were wounded in the Colectiv nightclub fire in Bucharest, which led to massive anti-government protests.
AVALANCHE IN ITALY – Four people were rescued on Saturday night from under the snow and rubble covering the remains of the hotel in Pescara province, central Italy, which was hit by an avalanche on Wednesday. Rescuers have discovered the bodies of two women, raising the toll victim to four. Rescue teams say another 15 people, both tourists and hotel employees, are still missing. The Romanian Foreign Ministry reports that the third Romanian citizen, a minor, has also been rescued, and will join her mother and brother, who are also alive and well. The three were in the hotel along with some 27 other people when the avalanche hit.
PARTNERSHIP – Romania’s ambassador to Washington, George Maior, said after meeting with members of the Congress, the Congress leadership and Republican politicians, as well as with members of the new Trump administration, that he is confident Romania’s Strategic Partnership with the United States will continue to develop. George Maior made the statement on the public television station on Friday night, after the swearing-in of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Maior also said he had talks with Donald Trump’s new security advisor, General Michael T. Flynn, who knows Romania well, and who promised he would visit the region and Bucharest soon. Additionally, George Maior said that in terms of intelligence services, Romania ranks third or fourth as regards cooperation with the US at international level, adding however that this is an assessment of US intelligence agencies.
TURKEY – The Parliament in Ankara has adopted a draft law on constitutional reform aimed at extending the prerogatives of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also creating the context of holding a referendum in spring. The reform allows the president to issue decrees, declare state of emergency, appoint ministers and other officials and to dissolve Parliament. Erdogan claims the reform is aimed at ensuring stability in Turkey, at a time of great turmoil. Meanwhile his detractors say the draft law will allow him to stay in power until 2029 and will fuel totalitarianism in Turkey, a NATO Member State and an EU candidate state.
TENNIS – Romanian tennis players Irina-Camelia Begu and Horia Tecau on Saturday qualified to the second round of the mixed doubles at the Australian Open, the first grand slam tournament of the year. The two ousted Vania King of the US and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan, 6-3, 6-4. In the next round, the two will go up against Abigail Spears of the US and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Columbia. Also on Saturday, Raluca Olaru of Romania and Olga Savchuk of Ukraine lost to Raquel Atawo of the United States and Yifan Xu of China in three sets, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4. (Translated by V. Palcu)