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ELECTIONS – The National Union for the Progress of Romania does not rule out an alliance with another political party ahead of this year’s elections. The party’s executive committee is today deciding on its future alliance policy. In another development, the Social-Democratic Party has firmly opposed the change of the election law, which provides for a two-ballot vote in local elections. Conversely, the Liberals claim the law gives small or newly-founded parties a chance to win votes at local level. Local elections are scheduled to take place in early June. Legislative elections will be held later this year in Romania.
MIGRANTS – Ten migrants, including five children, lost their lives on Saturday in a new shipwreck in the Aegean Sea, after their boat capsized, a Turkish coast guard official has announced. The migrants left from Cankkale in Turkey trying to reach Lesbos Island. On Thursday, 24 migrants, including 10 children, drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of the Samos Island. The head of FRONTEX Fabrice Leggeri told Der Spiegel that approximately 1 million migrants are expected to arrive in Europe this year via Turkey. The FRONTEX official said the Government in Turkey doesn’t have the means to keep the migration flows at bay, despite an agreement in this sense agreed with the EU. In 2015, over 1 million immigrants arrive in Europe.
PHOTOGRAPHY – Famous British photographer Richard John Seymour, the recipient of several photography awards, has recently visited the Turda salt mine in central Romania, as part of a project to take photos of the most spectacular anthropical landscapes. In an article published on thespaces.com carried by the CNN, the salt mine is described as an unusual attraction, visited every year by thousands of tourists. People go down in the mine to treat various respiratory diseases, others to play mini-golf, bowling or to take a boat ride on the underground lake. In 2014, Business Insider ranked the Turda salt mine among the top 25th most attractive tourist destinations in the world.
ZIKA VIRUS – US president Barack Obama had a telephone conversation with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff regarding the spread of the Zika virus to the Western hemisphere. According to the White House, the two agreed on the importance of working together to increase the base of knowledge on the virus and step up the development of better vaccines. The World Health Organization on Monday will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the Zika virus, which has wrought havoc on the American continent, with 3 to 4 million cases expected this year. Brazil is the worst-hit country. The virus is carried by a tropical mosquito and is a threat to pregnant women, as it might cause congenital malformations in newborns. According to the WHO, Zika has already reached six European countries. Microbiology experts have assured the virus poses no threat to Romania at present.
TENNIS – The pair made up of Romanian Horia Tecau and Coco Vandeweghe of the US on Sunday will play fifth-seeds Elena Vesnina of Russia and Bruno Soares of Brazil in the mixed doubles final of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. Tecau and Vandeweghe knocked out Treat Huey of the Philippines and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia, 6-4, 6-4 in the semis. In 2012 Horia Tecau won the mixed doubles at Australian Open together with Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US.
(Translated by V. Palcu)