PROTEST Trade unions from Romania’s police and penitentiary system took to streets of Bucharest on Saturday to protest the working conditions and low wages. Romanian policemen and prison staffers were denouncing the stalled social dialogue and the authorities’ lack of interest in the issues currently facing the system. Low salaries, an underfunded Interior Ministry, poor logistics, a delayed adoption of the policeman’s statute, the shortage of personnel and the lack of a real protection for policemen were only a few of the issues mentioned by the protesters. In response the Interior Ministry has said that police troops have benefited from pay rises in the past year and by increased bonuses. So the lowest monthly pay for a policeman has been raised from 295 euros to over 380 euros. Some police troops may also benefit from extra money for food or clothes.
MEETING The neighboring Republic of Moldova, an ex-soviet Romanian-speaking country, is expected to see a large-scale rally on Sunday aimed at marking 100 years since the union of Bessarabia with Romania. Several Romanian politicians, including former president Traian Basescu and liberal leader Ludovic Orban have announced their participation in the event. A province of Czarist Russia with a majority Romanian-speaking population, Bessarabia united with Romania in the wake of WWI on March 27th 1918. It was annexed through an ultimatum in 1940 by Russia, which created the present Republic of Moldova on part of its territory.
EARTH HOUR Several cities across Romania have this year announced their participation in Earth Hour, a worldwide event annually encouraging individuals, communities and businesses to switch off non-essential electric lights for one hour in the last Saturday of March. Numerous public and private institutions from all over Romania are participating annually in this event, which is believed to be the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment in history. In Romania, a country, which has been observing Earth Hour since 2009, various events have been staged in order to raise environmental awareness among the people. Earth Hour was first staged by World Wide Fund in Sydney, Australia on March 31st 2007.
HANDBALL On Sunday in Cluj, northwestern Romania, our national women’s handball side will be playing Russia in the return match of the fourth qualifying group for the European Championships in France. Russia won the first game at home 30-25, which was also Romania’s first defeat in this qualifying campaign. Romania and Russia are equal now in the group’s rankings with the same number of points, four. Next comes Austria with two and a game in hand but a win on Sunday can push Romania to the group’s first position.
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