EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT – The European Parliament has approved a report proposing new rules for freezing and confiscating the proceeds of crimes. The new regulation will allow for quicker and more efficient implementation of confiscation and asset freeze orders, as well as tighter deadlines for authorities and standard certificates for all EU member states. Experts estimate that offenders keep 98% of the proceeds of criminal activities. The EP report estimates that criminal activities generate around 110 billion euros per year. A 2016 EUROPOL report shows that only 2.2% of the money generated by criminal activities has been frozen or confiscated. At present, cross-border asset confiscation within the EU is regulated by several regulations containing major loopholes that criminals and terrorists take advantage of.
REFERENDUM – Nearly 19 million Romanian voters are invited today and tomorrow to vote on a proposed redefinition of the concept of family in the Constitution. The initiators aim to define “family” as an institution based on the marriage of a man and a woman, rather than the marriage of spouses, as it is at present. According to data released by the Central Electoral Bureau, in the first 3 hours of the vote 0.97% of the total eligible voters showed up in polls. 100,860 votes were reported in towns and cities and 77,081 in communities. According to the Bureau, 0.85% of the voters registered in Bucharest have cast their ballots, while 3,346 Romanian citizens have voted abroad. Parliament has passed a bill rephrasing the Constitutional definition of marriage, based on a citizen initiative signed by 3 million people. The referendum sparked fiery debates between the initiators, a Christian coalition primarily supported by the Romanian Orthodox Church, and the promoters of sexual minority rights. The Romanians living abroad can vote in 378 polls hosted by diplomatic missions, consular offices, cultural institutes and other locations. The largest number of polls abroad will be in Italy, Spain, the Republic of Moldova, the USA, UK, France and Germany. The vote in the diaspora started on Friday night in Auckland, New Zealand. On the whole, the vote abroad will take 58 hours. The voting process abroad will conclude on the US West Coast and in Canada on Monday morning, according to Romanian time. The referendum will be validated provided that a 30% turnout rate is met and 25% of the eligible voters cast valid votes.
SOPRANO – World-famous Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé died on Saturday at the age of 85, in a hospital in Barcelona where she had been admitted a month ago, the BBC reports. With a career spanning 50 years, Montserrat Caballé performed on some of the world’s greatest stages, alongside such personalities as Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. Together with Freddie Mercury she sang the hit "Barcelona", which was the anthem of the 1992 Olympics hosted by the Spanish city.
INTERPOL – French police are investigating the disappearance of the Interpol chief, Meng Hongwei, the French Interior Ministry told Reuters on Friday. Meng’s wife reported him missing at the headquarters of the international police organisation in Lyon, because she had not heard from him since September 25. The Interpol chief’s wife and 3 children are under police protection, after they received threats over the telephone and social media, the French Interior Ministry also said. Meng, 64, was appointed head of the Interpol in 2016. He went missing during a visit to China.
FINANCIAL – The Romanian Ministry for Finances has recently drawn 1.75 billion euros, through a Eurobond issue in international financial markets. The largest part of the bonds, amounting to 1.15 billion euros, has a 10-year maturity, and the remaining have 20-year maturity. According to Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici, the issue clearly reflects the positive international perception of the Romanian economy’s medium and long-term prospects. The strong demand and the quality of the investors confirm Romania’s strengths, namely the sound macroeconomic foundation, coherent fiscal discipline and economic-financial stability. Teodorovici added that the Eurobond issue is designed to strengthen the State Treasury’s foreign currency reserve and to minimise long term borrowing costs.
HANDBALL - The Romanian side AHC Dobrogea Sud Constanţa is playing today against Talent Robstav MAT Plzen, of the Czech Republic, in the first leg of the second preliminary round of the EHF Cup in men’s handball. Yesterday, Romania’s women’s handball champions, CSM Bucharest, defeated at home, 36-31, the Hungarian team FTC Rail Cargo, in Group D of the new Champions League season. It is for the 4th consecutive time that CSM takes part in the leading continental competition. The first time, in 2016, the Romanian handballers won the Champions League trophy, and in the following editions they came out 3rd in the Final Four.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)