October 4, 2018

october 4, 2018 A roundup of domestic and international news

CORRUPTION - The Romanian police have today confirmed that the former tourism minister Elena Udrea and the former head of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), Alina Bica, have been detained in Costa Rica, following intelligence sent from Bucharest. According to judicial sources, the two are to be heard in court. They have applied for asylum in Costa Rica, and that is why judges might postpone a decision regarding their extradition. Udrea and Bica were under investigation, surveillance and monitoring by the Costa Rican authorities, as they were wanted internationally by Interpol, following the sentences they had received in Romania for corruption. For a long time seen as the most influential character in the former president Traian Basescu's entourage, Udrea received from the High Court of Cassation and Justice a  final 6-year prison sentence for bribe taking and abuse of office. The same court sentenced Bica to 4 years in prison, in a case in which she was accused of aiding and abetting a criminal.


REFERENDUM - The campaign for the referendum on redefining family in the Romanian constitution, due on October 6-7 ends on Friday, 7 a.m. local time. Romanian citizens are called to the polls to say whether they agree to see the definition in the Constitution, which currently reads 'the consented marriage between spouses', changed into 'the consented marriage between a man and a woman', the definition proposed by Parliament. The initiative to change the phrasing in the Constitution came from the Coalition for Family, which comprises several Christian organizations. The coalition gathered 3 million signatures to support their initiative. The referendum has been criticized by associations that protect the rights of sexual minorities. For the referendum to be valid, at least 30% of the voters registered on electoral lists must take part, and 25% of the votes must be valid.


MONETARY POLICY - The Romanian Central Bank has decided to maintain the monetary policy interest rate at 2.5% per year, and the one for bank deposits at 1.5%. The interest rate for loans will stand at 3.5%. These interest rates are used in the relations between commercial banks and the Central Bank. The values of the current rates for minimum reserve requirements applicable to liabilities in RON and in hard currencies have also been maintained.


EU BUDGET - The EU has inadequately spent some 3.3 billion Euros, which accounts for 2.4% of its 2017 budget, the European Court of Auditors has announced today, quoted by news agencies. The money has not been spent in keeping with the EU regulations, either because of improper allocation or accounting errors. However, the ECA has stated that the rate of improperly spent money follows a downward trend, after values such as 3.1% in 2016 and 3.8% in 2015. According to analysts, the report issued by the Court of Auditors comes at a critical time for the EU, against worries in Brussels that growing Euroscepticism might strengthen populist parties in next year's European elections.


NATO - The NATO defense minister's meeting continues in Brussels. On Wednesday, the participants analyzed the stage of implementation of the decisions made by the allies at the July summit in Poland and analyzed the progress made by Tbilisi in implementing the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. Also, the agenda includes talks with EU, Finish and Swedish officials on issues  of common interest, such as military mobility or fighting hybrid and cyber attacks. Romania is represented at the meeting by the Defense Minister Mihai Fifor, who will also hold talks with his counterparts from Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Turkey, as well as with the US General Curtis Scaparrotti, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations.


CYBERCRIME - The Romanian Foreign Ministry expresses its solidarity with Great Britain, following London's denouncement of hostile cyber actions. 'Romania, in its capacity as EU and NATO member state, situated in the proximity of regions marked by instability, is facing such challenges too' reads a communiqué issued this morning by the ministry. Bucharest has reconfirmed its commitment to supporting the fight against cyber attacks and has voiced interest in cooperating with Great Britain and the other allies in implementing firm and concrete measures aimed at preventing and curbing such phenomena. Previously, the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt had accused the Russian military intelligence services (GRU) of perpetrating cyber attacks against companies and institutions across the world. "Together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU's attempts to undermine international stability", Hunt said.


HANDBALL - Romania's men's handball champions Dinamo Bucharest have scored their first victory away from home in the current season of Champions League, by defeating 32-31 the Finish of Riihimaen Cocks, in Group D. Dinamo now ranks second in the group with 6 points, just like the Polish of Orlen Wisla Plock who rank first, with one game less on their record sheet. The two teams are to meet in Bucharest on October 14th. In another development, in women's handball, Romania's champion CSM Bucharest plays on Friday against the Hungarians of FTC Rail Cargo Budapest, in a match part of Group D of the Champions League, the first this season.



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Publicat: 2018-10-04 13:22:00
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