October 1, 2018

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2018-2019 ACADEMIC YEAR - Nearly half a million students in Romania today are starting a new academic year. President Klaus Iohannis attended the opening ceremony in Iasi, recalling that the city hosted the first modern university in Romania in 1860. The President added that the recent decades, marked by economic and technological advancement, have turned the great university centers in pillars of economic growth. In turn, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila attended the opening ceremony at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Craiova, saying that the Romanian medical school is an elite school, and that healthcare and education should underlie the development of society. The new academic year starts with the Education Minister position left vacant, after Valentin Popa resigned last week. Rovana Plumb, Minister of European Funds, has been nominated as interim Education Minister.


REMARKS - The recent changes to the justice legislation in Romania risk throwing the country back in the early 2000s, a period marked by deep corruption, US Ambassador to Bucharest Hans Klemm said today at the opening ceremony of a new academic year at the Law School in Bucharest, also attended by the French Ambassador to Bucharest, Michele Ramis. Hans Klemm referred to the amendments brought to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, the modifications brought to the Judicial Inspection Corps, and the magistrates' protests against the changes, which were "unimaginable" in the past, Klemm argued. In their current version, these amendments will hinder or make it utterly impossible the investigation and prosecution of such crimes as murder and organized crime, the US official went on to say. According to Ambassador Klemm, international cooperation in the justice field will be reduced significantly over worries linked to sharing information with Romania.


DEBATE - The latest developments in Romania related to the independence of the justice system are today under debate in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs at the European Parliament, in a meeting chaired by European Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans. According to the European Parliament, the preliminary opinion issued by the Venice Commission regarding the three draft laws revising the status of judges and prosecutors, judicial organization and the functioning of the Superior Council of Magistracy will be also tackled. The meeting precedes Wednesday's scheduled debate in the European Parliament, devoted to the rule of law in Romania, to be attended by Romania's Prime Minister Viorica Dancila. The Romanian official discussed the topic earlier this week with the main political parties in the European Parliament.


PARLIAMENT - Romanian Senators and Deputies will resume session on Tuesday after today they are attending ceremonies marking the start of a new academic year across the country. The Chamber of Deputies' agenda includes the law regulating the exploitation of natural gas in the Black Sea. The debate and the vote on this matter was delayed by a week. The bill got Senate's approval and has been tabled to the Chamber of Deputies. Members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Romania have announced they would introduce several amendments, while Social-Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea wants to delay the vote, to give MPs enough time to analyze and discuss the offshore bill. Also this week the ruling coalition faces two simple motions. The Liberal Party in opposition has filed a simple motion against Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici in the Chamber of Deputies, while the Save Romania Union and Liberal party have filed a motion against Transport Minister Lucian Sova in the Senate. Both documents will be debated and voted on Wednesday. Parliament's committee investigating the involvement of the Personal Security Service (SPP) in the activity of certain political parties and some of their leaders is also scheduled to start its activity this week. Deputy Prime Minister Paul Stanescu and the former director of the Service, Dumitru Iliescu, will be the first to be deposed.


VISIT - European Union Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier on Tuesday is paying an official visit to Bucharest. According to a press release made public by the European Commission's Representation in Romania, Michel Barnier will meet with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, Chamber of Deputies Speaker Liviu Dragnea, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Minister Delegate for European Affairs, Victor Negrescu. Additionally, the EU official will hold talks with representatives of Parliament's joint committees for European affairs and foreign policy and with members of Parliament's special committee for the coordination of actions connected to the Romanian Presidency of the European Council in the first half of 2019.


NOBEL PRIZE - Scientists James P. Allison of the United States and Tasuku Honjo of Japan were today awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2018 "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation". The Nobel Prize for Literature will be announced next year along with the recipient selected for 2019, in the wake of wide-ranging sexual assault allegations targeting members of the Swedish academy, made public by #MeToo. The Academy has thus decided to postpone the literature prize for next year, to allow the institution to reform and replace its outgoing members. Five Nobel prizes were instated by Swedish inventors, industrialist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel, for medicine, chemistry, physics, literature and peace. A sixth Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was founded by Bank of Sweden in 1968.


TSUNAMI - The Government of Indonesia today called for international aid in the wake of Friday's earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit Sulawesi Island, killing some 830 people. The Government said 1,200 inmates escaped from three prisons, speculating the chaos that followed Friday's catastrophe. The Romanian Foreign Ministry has conveyed condolences to the families of the victims and expressed its deepest compassion and solidarity with the Indonesian people and authorities. In another development, at least two people died and some 120 were wounded after Trami typhoon swept through southern Japan, disrupting the transport network.


REFERENDUM - 90% of Macedonian voters on Sunday favored the name changing to North Macedonia in a Government-organized referendum. Unfortunately, the referendum was invalidated due to low voter turnout. The name-changing plan is aimed at putting an end to a long-standing spat with Greece, a country which this summer signed an agreement unlocking Macedonia's path to NATO and the EU. To become a member of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization, Macedonia needs to ratify the agreement with Greece by referendum and change its constitutional name. Only then will the Greek Parliament be able to ratify the agreement. The European Union has urged both parties to respect the results of Sunday's referendum, with NATO also hailing what it has termed "a historic decision" to put aside all differences with Greece.


TENNIS - Romanian tennis player Simona Halep is ranked first and enjoys a considerable lead in WTA standings. Halep is up 2,400 points over runner-up Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and 2,700 against Germany's Angelique Kerber. The gap will shrink starting next week, considering Halep withdrew in the first round in Beijing this year. Last year the Romanian player reached the finals. This is Simona's 48th consecutive week at the top of the women's singles rankings. Also the Romanian player is ranked 11th in an all-time ranking. Other Romanians ranked in the WTA Top 100 are Mihaela Buzarnescu (24), Irina Begu (53), Sorana Cirstea (61), Ana Bogdan (80) and Monica Niculescu (82).  

(Translated by V. Palcu)



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Publicat: 2018-10-01 13:10:00
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