Press review (Aug 25)

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Romania’s national dailies of Tuesday give main coverage to opinions for and against the implication of President Traian Basescu’s brother, Mircea Basescu, in trade in arms;

reciprocal media attacks of some heavyweights of the two parties making up the ruling coalition; the impasse reached by the new Education Code, and also the victory of Romanian rowers in the ongoing world rowing championships in Poznan.

Gardianul reports that journalist Sorin Rosca Stanescu claims on his blog that the brother of President Traian Bascesu, Mircea Basecsu, would have been implicated in trade in explosives alongside a person named Bakri Imad Abdul Reda, who is suspected of ties to terrorist organisations that are in the crosshairs of the Interpol.

Information about the involvement of Mircea Bascesu in a consulting firm together with two important players in the country’s arms trade would have been revealed by the STS intelligence service, according to well-informed sources, Romania libera reports.

Ziua remarks that Cristian Geamanu, Mircea Bascesu’s associate at the DESINTCO SRL company, the company involved in the scandal, has a personal history that reeks of criminal behaviour.

Curentul notes that Mugur Ciuvica and Mircea Basescu, both associates in companies with the same business object, have made shocking revelations that the terrorists’ money has also reached journalist Rosca Stanescu.

Romania libera notes that Deputy Chairman of the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L), in the ruling coalition, Cezar Preda once said that he will suggest that the Social Democratic Party (PSD), his party’s partner in the ruling coalition, be chased out, but on Monday he changed tack. Besides, the paper says, an alleged internal note of the PSD has emerged, unclaimed by the Social Democrats, that includes, according to PSD members, the ‘truth’ that PD-L is carrying out a policy of wooing over PSD MPss.

Gardianul remarks that conflicting statements also persists within the ruling coalition as far as the date for the presidential ballot is concerned, with PSD Senator Olguta Vasilescu arguing that the presidential election is definitely scheduled for November 22 and PD-L Deputy Chairman Gheorghe Flutur arguing that the ruling coalition has not reached any agreement yet on the date.

Evenimentul ziliei notes in its editorial that Ecaterina Andronescu made a promising debut in her second terms as education minister.

Yet, it continues, although she wanted to reduce an overcharged school schedule, to campaign for after-school activities and even to abandon the ‘useless and costly initiative’ of the former Nastase Cabinet of giving free milk and croissants to elementary school students, eight months in office none of these projects has materialised.

Andronescu, the paper says, seems to have turned, little by little, in a trade union leader who knows nothing else but asking for bigger pay to the teachers and refusing any attempts at reform.

Ziarul financiar reports that the Government has decided to lay off on redundancy pay more than 2,000 employees of companies operating under the authority of the Economy Ministry.

On the list of the companies to perform the collective redundancies this year are the Targu Jiu Oltenia National Lignite Corporation, the Nuclear Corporation, Termoelectrica, the Turceni Energy Complex, the Craiova Energy Complex, Minbucovina, Moldomin, Bucharest Electrical Power Plants, the Rovinari Energy Complex, the Deva Electric Power Plants, the Galati Electric Power Plants, the Ploiesti National Coal Corporation and Minvest Deva.

Cotidianul remarks that the largest number of lay-offs at the CFR national railway carrier in view of privatising the company will be conducted at its freight arm, the CFR Marfa, which will shed, most likely next year, nearly 9,000 jobs.

Gardianul notes that prices for foods, drinks and some cosmetics and personal care products have increased this month by some RON (1 euro = RON 4.2), although there was no real justification for the move.

Romanian producers are quoted as arguing that because of falling sales, their interest was to preserve prices, and that because there has been no variation in the RON exchange rate they cannot explain how the rise in the shelf prices came about.

Jurnalul national remarks that the growth pace of consumer goods sales stated in RON declined five percentage points over the first six months of the year, from 22 percent to 17 percent.

Personal care products and cleaning products were the most dynamic in this category, according to GfK Romania. Second came in foods and drinks, which sales advanced 17 percent when stated in the local currency.

Adevarul remarks that four in ten Romanian households earn less than the average industrial wage in Romania and just one in ten earn more than RON 45,000 a month.

Less than 9 percent of the population earn the biggest wages, while more than one third of Romanians have to make do with small and very small incomes, according to official data carried by the paper.

A recent report drawn up by the National Statistics Institute (INS) in pay inequity reveals that the ratio of very small to very high pay is 1 to 4.6 in the case of households and 1 to 7.8 in the case of individual income earners.

Gardianul carries the findings of a recent report by Colliers indicating that the number of new flats traded in Bucharest City declined almost six times in the first 6 months of the year from the similar period of the year before, to 515 units, although there were 11,000 units on sale as of end-July.

Compared with the second half of 2008, which witnessed the sale of 600 flats, the decline was 15 percent.
Adevarul notes that more than 1,000 people are killed every year in car accidents occurring in Romania because of speeding.

The paper has harsh words to describe the arrogant VIPs who, it argues, believe themselves to be above statistics: business people, politicians, athletes, singers of manele.

The paper says these are the main trouble making car drivers, reporting that manele singer Nicolae Guta is the last to date to be inducted in the infamous gallery of smart-aleck drivers, as he was caught speeding off at 152 km/hour in Sibiu County.

Romania’s 8+1 women’s team has advanced to the final of the event in the ongoing World Rowing Championships going on in Poznan, Poland, after winning the first qualifying series, clocking in at 6’48’89/100, the sports papers report.

Roxana Cogianu, Ionelia Neacsu, Maria Diana Bursuc, Ioana Craciun, Adelina Cojocariu, Nicoleta Albu, Camelia Lupascu, Eniko Barabas and Teodora Stoica outperformed the UK team (6’54’10/100), the Canadian team (6’57’18/100) and the Belarusian team (7’06’01/100) and will vie for a medal in this Sunday’s final.

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