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MARTYRS DAY – Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday ratified the law on declaring May 14 Martyrs’ Day, a tribute to the memory of people who died in communist prisons. On May 14 some 10,000 people were arrested, interrogated, condemned and subsequently imprisoned. Bucharest authorities officially condemned the communist regime in 2006.
STRIKE – Air traffic resumed on Tuesday after earlier that day ground controllers went on an all-out strike. Also on Tuesday the Bucharest Tribunal deemed the strike legal. The strikers were mainly discontented with the lack of a new labor contract and the fact that no more personnel are being hired. We recall that their negotiations with ROMATSA, the state company that has the monopoly of traffic control in Romania, ended in a deadlock on Monday. Transport Minister Razvan Cuc has dismissed allegations about ROMATSA’s bankruptcy, announcing instead a new strategy for the company’s development. He accused the strikers of trying to disrupt the Pentecost holidays of the Romanians. About three thousand planes are daily transiting Romania’s airspace and under the law, ground controllers must monitor a third of these flights. On May 12th they went on two hours token strike.
BEJINARIU – The Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday voted against a request filed by the National Anticorruption Directorate to launch criminal proceedings against Social-Democrat MP Eugen Bejinariu, a former Minister for Coordinating the Government’s General Secretariat. Voting against were 183 MPs, voting in favour were 88 while another 2 abstained. Presidency spokesperson Madalina Drobovolschi said the vote proves the Parliament majority’s contempt for the justice system. Bejinariu is charged with abuse of office in the Microsoft affair.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS – Romania’s Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu will be visiting New York over May 31 – June 3, to attend the official launch of the campaign promoting Romania’s candidacy for a new term as a temporary member of the UN Security Council in the 2020 – 2021 period. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, the campaign will be held under the slogan “Romania – a permanent commitment for peace, justice and development”. Melescanu’s agenda also includes a meeting with UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Romania launched its candidacy in 2006 for the Eastern Group. The elections will be held in June, 2019. Since its UN accession in 1955, Romania held four mandates as temporary member of the UN Security Council in 1962, 1976-1977, 1990-1991 and 2004-2005.
INVESTIGATION – The Parliament Investigation Committee is continuing the inquiry into the organisation and unfolding of the presidential election of 2009 won by the right-wing candidate, Traian Basescu against his opponent, Social-Democrat Mircea Geoana. State secretaries with the Interior Ministry in 2009 and Geoana himself were heard by the committee on Monday. Geoana said he had information about voting irregularities in the Diaspora, but technically speaking, it’s difficult for a party to assure a proper turnout and control over so many polling stations abroad. Setting up the aforementioned investigation committee was decided after a controversial journalist had blown the whistle on alleged political interference in the election process eight years ago.
MOLDOVA – The Government in Moldova moved to ban five Russian diplomats. The names of the Russian officials or the reasons why they were declared undesirable are still unknown. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigori Karasin said the decision is a serious challenge and a blow to those making efforts to bring bilateral relations between Moscow and Chisinau to a normal track. In turn pro-Russian Socialist president Igor Dodon condemned the move, saying he will summon the country’s Supreme Defence Council and demand explanations from the Intelligence Service and the Foreign Ministry as to the reasons the Russian diplomats were banned. Igor Dodon said the Government is trying to side with NATO, thus putting Moldova at risk. Moldova’s relations with Moscow are currently tense after Russia moved its troops to Transdniestr in eastern Moldova. Russia also banned Moldovan exports after this country last year signed Association and Free Trade agreements with the European Union.
MANCHESTER ATTACK – Some 50 people are still hospitalized, of whom 15 in intensive care after last week’s bloody terrorist attack in Manchester, which killed 22 people, the British Healthcare Service reports. Also on Tuesday, Victoria Station leading to Manchester Arena was re-opened, the BBC reports. The author of the attack, 22-year-old Libyan-born Salman Abedi was born in Manchester. His brother and father were also arrested in connection with the attack, which has been claimed by the Islamic State terrorist organization.
TENNIS – Sorana Cirstea, 64 WTA, defeated Shuai Peng of China, 26 WTA in straight sets in the opening round of the Roland Garros tennis tournament. Also on Tuesday, the world’s fourth tennis player Simona Halep is taking on Slovakian Jana Cepelova. Three Romanians who played in the tournament’s first round, namely Ana Bogdan, Monica Niculescu, Irina Begu were eliminated without winning a set. Patricia Tig withdrew from the game while she was being led by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-1, 1-0. (Translated by D. Bilt & V. Palcu)