Parliament convenes for second regular session of 2017; Enescu Festival begins in Bucharest
PARLIAMENT – In Bucharest, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate have convened for the second regular parliamentary session of the year. Romanian MPs are scheduled to handle overdue bills from previous sessions, and the new draft legislation tabled by the Government. Debates are to begin next week. Apart from the emergency orders concerning special pension benefits, child allowances and police salaries, Parliament is also to discuss a bill on mandatory vaccination. The most eagerly awaited debates concern the new Pension Bill, which is to reach the Parliament chambers by October 1, and the changes of the laws on the judiciary and the set-up of a Sovereign Investment Fund.
CORRUPTION – The former president of the National Healthcare Insurance Agency, Marian Burcea, has been placed under 30-day arrest in an investigation into illegal refunds for healthcare services. According to the Bucharest Court of Appeals, in the same case the judges have also decided to place other individuals under pre-trial arrest. Anti-corruption prosecutors suspect frauds involving the funds of the Bucharest City Healthcare Insurance Agency, consisting in the refund of fictitious healthcare expenditure. The refunds were allegedly granted based on hundreds of fake medical records and involved agency personnel protected by top officials of the National Healthcare Insurance Agency. Tens of searches conducted at the offices of companies and institutions as well as at the homes of several individuals in Bucharest seem to indicate losses of 3 million euros caused to the public budgets.
ENESCU FESTIVAL – The "George Enescu" International Festival, one of the most prestigious music events in Europe, opens today. For 3 weeks, 80 concerts and other events will bring together in Bucharest and 7 other major Romanian cities more than 3,000 of the best international artists. The honorary president this year is the famous conductor Zubin Mehta, and another conductor, Vladimir Jurowski is the artistic director. Radio Romania is the only media institution in the country to broadcast the concerts live, on its channels Radio Romania Music and Radio Romania Culture. The opening show, a performance of George Enescu’s opera “Oedipus” by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with conductor Vladimir Jurowski, will include multimedia features. First organised in 1958, 3 years after the famed Romanian composer had died, the George Enescu Festival was discontinued in 1971 by the communist regime, and was resumed in 1989. It has been held every 2 years ever since.
HARVEY – The US President Donald Trump has requested Congress to earmark 7.85 billion US dollars for relief and reconstruction following hurricane Harvey, Reuters reports. Trump is to visit the disaster-hit areas today, for the second time. Harvey, one of the worst hurricanes to have hit the US in terms of the damages it has caused, forced one million Americans out of their homes. Tens of people died. Houston, the largest city in Texas and the fifth-largest in the US, is still paralysed by floods. In Beaumont, over 120,000 people are without drinking water.
FOOTBALL – Romania’s national football team had some difficulties defeating Armenia. The Romanians only managed to score in extra time, although they missed a penalty shot and the guests had a player taken off the pitch. Ranked 4th in the group, 7 points behind the group leader Poland and 4 points behind Denmark and Montenegro, Romania will play its next match on Monday, in Podgorica, against Montenegro. In this qualifying campaign, Romania is for the first time coached by a foreign manager, the German Cristoph Daum, who has been the target of growing criticism lately, from supporters, experts and the media, because of the poor performance of the national squad.
BASKETBALL – The national basketball team of Romania plays today against Croatia, in Cluj-Napoca, in Group C of the European Basketball Championship, FIBA Eurobasket 2017. Romania was defeated on Friday by the Czech Republic, 83-68. Returning to continental basketball elite competitions after a 3-decade gap, Romania was only able to keep up with the Czech team in the first half of the game. In the other matches played on Friday in the same group, Croatia beat Hungary 67-58, and defending European champions Spain defeated Montenegro 99-60. The best 4 teams in each group will move on to the eighth-finals held in Turkey. The FIBA EUROBASKET 2017 final will be played in Istanbul, on September 17.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)