ELECTIONS Romania holds the decisive round of its presidential election on Sunday. The incumbent president Klaus Iohannis, endorsed by the National Liberal Party, now in power, is facing the former Social Democratic PM Viorica Dancilă. Just like in the first round, the Romanians living abroad have 3 days to cast their ballots, and the number of pollings stations abroad has been doubled, to 838. The vote started at noon on Friday and will continue until Sunday. The number of citizens having voted so far indicates a higher turnout in the runoff than in the first round. By Saturday evening, over 315,000 Romanians had voted in foreign polling stations, of whom 17,500 voted by post, an option introduced this year for the first time. The largest numbers of voters were reported in Italy, followed by Britain, Germany, Spain and the Republic of Moldova.
GAUDEAMUS The Gaudeamus International Book Fair, organised in Bucharest by Radio Romania, comes to an end on Sunday. On the last day of the fair, the awards of the 26th edition will be presented. 8,000 book stands have been put up as part of this edition, devoted to the 30 years since the anti-communist revolution of 1989. A total of 900 different events were scheduled, including book launches, debates and book signing sessions. On Saturday, the 4th day of the Fair, Prof. Thierry Wolton took part in the launch of the second volume of his trilogy “A World History of Communism”. In this volume, entitled 'The Victims', Thierry Wolton speaks about the tens of millions that suffered imprisonment, deportation, torture and even extermination for their anti-communist beliefs.
NATIONAL DAY 3,500 Romanian troops and another 500 from over 20 allied or partner countries, 200 military vehicles and over 50 aircraft will take part on December 1 in Bucharest in the National Day parade, the Defence Ministry has announced. The Romanian military on missions in theatres of operations in Afghanistan, the Western Balkans and Mali will also organise military ceremonies on National Day. Proclaimed a national holiday after the anti-communist revolution of 1989, December 1 marks the conclusion of the establishment of the Romanian nation-state at the end of World War 1, in 1918.
COLECTIV After the Bucharest Court completed its investigations, on Monday the prosecution and the defence will present their closing statements in the case concerning the fire in Colectiv night club in Bucharest 4 years ago, in which 64 people died, one committed suicide further to the trauma and 200 others were injured. The Colectiv trial started in April 2016. After 2 years of deferrals over procedural matters, the judge assigned to the case retired, and during another year the new judge has heard the statements of scores of witnesses and victims.
UN The 15 members of the UN Security Council endorsed a declaration reaffirming the ban on chemical weapons. The Council has reached a consensus long undermined by the war in Syria, and the Skripal affair in the UK or Kim Jong-nam case in Malaysia, AFP reports. The Council reaffirms that the use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law, and declares its firm opposition to it. The declaration, proposed by Great Britain, was passed unanimously. The UN Security Council urges all states that have not yet done so to sign the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons, which was signed in 1993 and came into force in 1997. Syria joined the Convention in 2013, Israel has signed it, but is yet to ratify it, whereas North Korea, Egypt and South Sudan are not yet parties to this Convention.
POPE Pope Francis arrived in Japan on Saturday, on the second leg of his tour of Asia whose main goal is to send a message against nuclear weapons in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the only cities in the world ever hit by atomic bombs, Reuters says. On Sunday in Nagasaki the Pope, a vocal militant against nuclear weapons, will read a message against weapons of mass destruction. He will also meet with survivors of the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011, the most destructive after the one in Chernobyl in 1986. After Thailand, the first stop in his tour, the Pope reached Tokyo, where he will stay for 4 days. This is the first visit by a Sovereign Pontiff to this country in 38 years, and only the second in history. Another goal of his visit is to encourage the Catholic community in Japan, where only 1% of the population are Christians and half of these Catholics. The Pope will perform 2 services, one in Nagasaki and one in Tokyo, and will have meetings with senior Japanese officials and with Emperor Naruhito.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)