VISIT Romania's Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, currently on a visit to the Vatican, has talked on the phone with His Grace Siluan, the Romanian Orthodox Bishop to Italy, who is currently on a visit to Paris to participate in the Congress of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Western and Southern Europe. The Romanian Prime Minister has highlighted aspects related to her visit to the Holy See and the excellent bilateral relations at political, cultural and educational levels. Viorica Dancila has appreciated the support offered by the Romanian Orthodox Church to the communities in the Diaspora, mainly in Italy, and has mentioned the importance the church has in the life of the Romanians living abroad. The Romanian Prime Minister has also underlined the importance the Romanian authorities attach to the observation of the rights of the Romanian communities and the role of religious denominations in keeping spiritual and linguistic identities. On Saturday Dancila met the Romanian students in the Catholic universities in Italy and was received by Pope Francis. Her visit to the Vatican comes against the background of excellent bilateral relations and in the year when we celebrate 100 years since the unification of the Romanian principalities, an event to be also marked at the Holy See through a series of major cultural and academic events.
RALLY Thousands took to the streets of Bucharest on Saturday and other major cities across Romania to participate in a protest rally under the title 'We want Europe not Dictatorship!' The participants have accused the ruling PSD - ALDE coalition of having failed to meet the pledges it made in the election campaign trying to keep Romania away from European and democratic standards throwing it into a regime where only political interests prevail. According to the organizers, among the anti-democratic actions of the PSD-ALDE coalition are the amendments to the penal codes, the fines abusively imposed by the Romanian gendarmes, as well as the politicians' attempt to amend laws without public consultations. The Romanians abroad have announced their solidarity with the protesters.
TENNIS Several Romanian players are on the main draw of the tennis tournament in Rome with 3.3 million dollars in prize money, a competition that is to kick off on Monday. The world's number one Simona Halep will play directly in the competition's second round against the winner of the game pitching Victoria Azarenka of Belarus against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Mihaela Buzarnescu will be playing Shuai Zhang of China whereas Irina Begu will be up against Shuai Peng also from China. Sorana Carstea will play against a player coming from the qualifying rounds where Monica Niculescu of Romania will be meeting Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva. In the last year's edition Halep lost the finals to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. The tennis competition in Rome is the last before the Roland Garros Grand Slam tournament in Paris.
HANDBALL Romania's champions in women's handball, CSM Bucharest takes on Russian side Rostov Don today in Budapest for the third place in the Champions League. The finals is pitching local side Gyor against Vardar Skopje of Macedonia. CSM lost the semifinals to Gyor 26-20 while Vardar secured a 25-19 win against Rostov Don. We recall that CSM Bucharest won Final Four in 2016. In another development on Friday, Romanian women's handball side SCM Craiova won the EHF Cup after a 30-25 win against the Norwegians from Vipers Kristiansand. The Romanians lost the first game 22-26. This is the first European trophy won by SCM Craiova and the first EHF Cup secured by Romania's women handballers. We recall that back in 1984 and 1989, when the competition was named the IHF Cup, Romanian side Chimistul Ramnicu Valcea emerged as winner, while Rapid Bucharest, also from Romania secured the title in 1993.
DRILL Resolute Castle 2018 is a multinational drill that has kicked off at the shooting range in Cincu, central Romania. The six-month exercise has brought together troops from Romania's Ground Forces and the South Carolina National Guard. The US and Romanian troops will get involved in infrastructure projects aimed at modernizing the training facilities in the Cincu shooting range. Resolute Castle 2018 is an exercise focusing on streamlining the training centers in Poland and Romania allowing the US troops to quickly mobilize and hold exercises jointly with their multinational partners in order to prove their deterrence capability in a complete security environment.
(translated by bill)