February 28, 2021 UPDATE

february 28, 2021 update A roundup of domestic and international news

COVID-19 IN ROMANIA - The vaccination campaign continues in Romania, a total of 1.5 million doses of vaccine having been administered so far. Over 900 thousand people have received the vaccines developed by Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna. Another 2,800 new COVID-19 infections were reported on Sunday by the Group for Strategic Communication, the total number of infections exceeding 801 thousand. 90% of people infected with COVID-19 have recovered, while some 20,350 people have died. 1,000 people are in intensive care.

COVID-19 IN THE WORLD - The third wave of the pandemic comes with the reintroduction of harsh restriction in several European states. Meanwhile new vaccines are being greenlit across the globe, and doctors say they are viable against the new strains of COVID as well. Schools in the Republic of Moldova will close down for two weeks, although nursery schools remain open. As of Monday, a lockdown will be in place in the Czech Republic. People are not allowed to leave cities or villages, while schools and stores selling non-essential products will be closed. In Italy, the Government will keep anti-COVID measures in place until after Easter celebrations, with gyms, public pools, entertainment areas and ski resorts staying closed. All bars and restaurants will close at 6 PM. In Germany, most people seem to favor the idea of a vaccination passport, if this will allow them to go to theatre, do sports or travel abroad. In Hungary, the country's president has taken the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. It is the only EU state to have accepted vaccines developed by Russia and China. According to the latest worldometers.info update, at least 114 million infections have been confirmed worldwide since the start of the pandemic, 2.5 million people have died while 89 million people have recovered.

BUDGET - The Romanian Parliament's committees on Saturday adopted the 2021 state and social security budget bills. The documents passed in the form presented by the Government, and none of the 3,000 amendments were adopted. The opposition says this is an austerity budget, providing for no increases in salaries, pensions and state allowances, while the power claims the allocations will help overcome the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Labor Minister Raluca Turcan said the social-security budget is higher than that of the past two years, and child benefits will be increased in two stages. According to the calendar established by the joint Permanent Bureaus, the joint sitting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate on the state and social security budgets is scheduled for Monday. The bill will get the final vote on Tuesday. The budget is based on a deficit target of 7.16% of the GDP, and an economic growth rate of 4.31%.

POSEIDON 21 - Some 700 soldiers, 13 military ships, 9 aircraft, a pyrotechnic intervention vehicle and a remote-controlled underwater robot will be deployed during the exercise 'Poseidon 21' organized by the Romanian Naval Forces between February 26 and March 6. It is the first multinational exercise in the Black Sea this year, and involves the participation of forces and equipment from France, Greece, Romania, Spain, USA and Turkey. Bulgaria had to cancel its participation due to last-minute COVID infection cases reported among its sailing crews. The NATO maritime command has authorized the participation of NATO permanent anti-mine naval forces. The exercise will include training against underwater threats, involving hydrographic mapping operations to identify and neutralize mines and IEDs, combat sequences to suppress air strikes, as well as towing damaged ships, at-sea resupplying and rescue maneuvers.

EUROSTAT - Romania was one the countries that earmarked the least funds to social protection in 2019, according to a recent EUROSTAT report. Romania's social welfare budget stood at 11.9% of the GDP, nearly 7% under the EU average. Other countries with comparatively low social welfare allocations were Ireland, Malta and Bulgaria. At the opposite pole are Finland, France, Denmark, Italy and Austria, with over a 20% budget share for social welfare. According to the same report, Romania's healthcare allocations were also below the EU average of 7%, while its education spending was also under the EU average of 4%.

MĂRŢIŞOR - Mărţisor, the celebration of the start of spring on March 1, will be marked by the Romanian Cultural Institute abroad by means of children's workshops, screening documentaries, hosting debates featuring ethnologists, sociologists and anthropologists and the publication of a series of digital postcards signed by Romanian artists, comic books or the presentation of March porcelain and ceramic amulets. The Institute's branches in Brussels, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, New York, Paris, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Warsaw and Venice will be promoting the Mărţisor celebration online. Cultural practices associated with Mărţisor in 2017 were included on UNESCO's list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as part of a joint application filed by Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Republic of Moldova and Romania.

FILM - The Berlin Film Festival will be held online starting Monday. There will be no red carpet or grandiose film screenings this year, and even no jury president. The 71st edition was divided in two phases, as screenings in front of the public were postponed for June. For the first time in a major film festival, the Silver Bear prizes for best acting will go gender neutral. Romanian film director Radu Jude, who won the Golden Bear in 2015 with his film, Aferim!, is returning to the competition with his latest feature, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, a Romania-Luxembourg-Croatia-the Czech Republic coproduction, which will be premiered in the event. The film deals with individual relations with society, and tells the story of a school teacher who finds her career and reputation under threat after a personal sex tape is leaked on the Internet. Adina Pintilie, the 2018 winner of the Golden Bear award for best film for Touch Me Not, will be part of the jury this year.

GAUDEAMUS - The spring edition of the Gaudeamus book fair is being held on line over March 1-31. Organized by Radio Romania, the book fair awaits its visitors on www.gaudeamus.ro. Some 70 publishers will take part in scores of events, while the latest releases and many other surprises are the highlights of this year's marathon edition.


Publicat: 2021-02-28 20:00:00
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