FIRE INVESTIGATION – The Romanian authorities have initiated criminal investigations, involving charges of wanton destruction of property, in relation to the fire that Friday night destroyed one of the best known nightclubs in Bucharest, Bamboo. According to the Healthcare Ministry, 44 people received assistance for smoke inhalation injuries, hypothermia, and fractures, but none of the patients reported burns. Only one person is currently in a serious condition. The victims include foreign citizens, most of them from Israel. The causes of the fire that destroyed the building are yet unknown. The owners of the nightclub had not yet obtained the premises license and the fire safety permit for the nightclub. Several witnesses have been heard and fresh inspections have been initiated in all buildings that host activities involving large attendance. We remind you that in October 2015, a fire taking place during a rock concert at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest killed 64 people. The tragedy sparked large-scale protests to denounce corruption in the public administration.
PROTESTS – Fresh protests against the Romanian Government’s plans to table a pardons and amnesty law are announced for later today in the capital city Bucharest and other cities in Romania. Rallies are also planned abroad, such as in front of the Romanian Embassy in Paris, the Romanian Embassy in Copenhagen and in Haugesund Square in Norway. On Wednesday night, thousands took to the streets in Bucharest and other Romanian cities, to protest the Government’s intention to pass an emergency order granting collective pardon and amending the provisions of the Criminal Code. The protesters fear that the amendments are designed to help influential politicians or public administration officers get away with corruption. Similar accusations were made by the Opposition parties, civil society organisations and magistrate associations. In turn, the Government claims the changes are necessary in order to solve the problem of penitentiary overcrowding and to bring the relevant legislation in line with rulings passed by the Constitutional Court.
MOURNING – Hungary has announced a day of national mourning on Monday, to commemorate the victims of the crash that took place in Italy on Friday night and which killed 16 people and injured another 26. The coach was taking students and teachers from a Budapest high school back home from a ski holiday in France, and near Verona it crashed into a bridge pillar and burst into flames. The causes of the accident are still to be determined.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION – The US President, Donald Trump, is to receive the British Prime Minister Theresa May at the White House on Friday, the presidential spokesman Sean Spicer announced on Saturday. This is the first foreign leader to visit Trump after he has taken office. Sean Spicer also announced that the President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, will be received by the new President of the USA on January 31. Meanwhile, millions took part on Saturday in anti-Trump protests organised by women organisations around the world. Trump is criticised, among other things, for his anti-immigration rhetoric and sexist statements. In Los Angeles, organisers estimate 750,000 people took part, including dozens of Hollywood stars. 400,000 people took to the streets in New York, 200,000 in Boston, 150,000 in Chicago, and rallies were also held in New Zealand, Japan, Australia and major European cities. The largest protest took place in Washington, where nearly a million people attended the anti-Trump rally, including, among others, the former Secretary of State John Kerry.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN – The Romanian tennis player Sorana Cîrstea (78 WTA) has been outperformed today by Spain’s Garbine Muguruza Blanco (7 WTA), in two sets, in the eighth-finals of the Australian Open. Also today, the Romanians Horia Tecău and Florin Mergea, playing with separate partners, were eliminated from the eighth-finals of the men’s doubles competition in Melbourne. Tecău and the Dutch Jean-Julien Rojer, seeded 11, were defeated in 2 sets by the Australians Marc Polmans/Andrew Whittington. In turn, Florin Mergea and Britain’s Dominic Inglot, seeded 16, lost in 3 sets to the top seeds of the doubles event, the French Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)