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SENTENCE – The High Court of Cassation and Justice in Bucharest on Monday sentenced to prison all the four defendants in the so-called Microsoft case, one of the most notorious corruption cases in Romania. The decision is final. Two influential business people, Dorin Cocos and Nicolae Dumitru, a former Minister of Communications, Gabriel Sandu, and the former mayor of Piatra-Neamt, Gheorghe Stefan, got a total of 19 years in prison. The High Court also decided to seize some 17 million euros worth of prejudice from the four. According to the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, in April 2004 the contract for awarding Microsoft licenses in the education system was signed to the detriment of the state, allowing the payment of special bonuses to the people involved. A 60-million-euro bribe and a prejudice standing at 27 million euros were among the charges facing the crime group at the time.
UNIVERSITY – Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Monday attendedthe opening ceremony for the new university year at the Western University of Timisoara. The president emphasized meritocracy, without which he said a better Romania would not be possible. He said that the country needed political projects looking to the future, as well as political visions and politicians who want to build a better Romania.
DEFENSE – Romanian Defense Minister Mihnea Motoc announced on Monday that Germany would allocate general staff officers to the NATO multinational brigade forming in Romania. At the same time, Bulgaria confirmed once again it would contribute 400 soldiers to the brigade, while Poland would set aside a company for the combat unit, which is set to work alongside an American unit. The Rovine 2nd Infantry Brigade, headquartered in Craiova, southern Romania, will turn into the NATO Multinational Brigade, as part of the plan laid out at the NATO summit in Warsaw that took place this summer.
URBAN DEVELOPMENT – European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, said she hoped the Romanian Parliament elected on December 11th would align Romanian legislation with that of Europe. The commissioner attended in Bucharest a conference on today's challenges in sustainable urban development and the role European funds play in it. She made reference to the EU's urban agenda and its role in Romania. The commissioner visited several sites financed by European funds, attending conferences and meetings with Romanian officials.
REFERENDUM – Nine out of ten Hungarians voted in Sunday's referendum to turn down mandatory European quotas of refugees, but the low poll attendance, below 50%, invalidated the referendum. Radio Romania's correspondent in Budapest informs that, in spite of its campaign against migration, the Conservative government led by Viktor Orban did not manage to bring people to the polls. The PM wants to validate the vote, and announced amendments to the Constitution.
NOBEL – The Nobel Prize for Medicine went this year to Japanese researcher Yoshinori Ohsumi for research on autophagy, the metabolic activity in which organisms consume their own tissues when starving. His research is considered crucial for understanding cell renewal and the body's response to hunger and infections, especially in its genetic aspects, relevant to research into cancer and neurological conditions.
FOOTBALL – Romania's national football team is preparing its away games against Armenia, scheduled for the 8th of October, and against Kazakhstan, on the 11th , part of the preliminaries to the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia. Last month, the national team tied 1-all against Montenegro at home, in the first game under the guidance of German coach Cristoph Daum, the first foreign coach of a Romanian national side. In the same E group, Denmark bested Armenia 1-0, while Poland tied away from home in Kazakhstan, 2-all. On November 11, Romania is scheduled to play against Poland on home turf.
(Translated by C. Cotoiu and V. Palcu)