• AGERPRES Director General Giboi nominated by six European agencies to run for EANA Secretary General

    AGERPRES Director General Alexandru Giboi was nominated as candidate for the Secretary General position of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA).

    According to the EANA statutes, in order to become a candidate for this position, the nomination of at least three member agencies is needed and Alexandru Giboi was nominated by the following agencies: BTA (Bulgaria), CNA (Cyprus), ANA-MPA (Greece), ATA (Albania), FENA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), TASR (Slovakia), alongside AGERPRES Romanian National News Agency.

    Currently, Alexandru Giboi is a member in the EANA Board, elected in September 2015, but he also holds the Secretary General position of the Association of the Balkan News Agencies – Southeast Europe (ABNA), being elected for a second mandate in September 2016.

    This autumn’s elections will take place after the current Secretary General completes his mandate, namely Erik Nylen, who is a mass-media expert with a vast experience. Prior to taking over the Secretary General position of the EANA, he also was CEO of Sweden’s TT News Agency.

    Also running for the Secretary General position of the EANA is Poland’s Lidia Sobanska, who is endorsed by three news agencies.

    For the first time in the EANA history, the Spring Conference of the Alliance will take place in Bucharest, in April 2018, at the invitation of AGERPRES Romanian National News Agency. More…

  • #GreaterUnionCentennial – Ivascu: Centennial must be moment of national awakening and rebirth

    The anniversary of the Centennial must be a moment of “national awakening and rebirth,” of changing attitudes and mentality in addressing the fundamental problems of the nation, for the benefit of the present, but especially of the future, Minister of Culture and National Identity George Ivascu said on Thursday evening at the “Romania at the Centennial” debate, organized by the Presidential Administration.

    Ivascu also said that “we will celebrate some golden data this year. In the sound of the celebrations, the most significant sound signal we can give is a minute of silence, not just to recall the total sacrifice of the Romanians from a hundred years ago, but also a moment of silence in which everyone can ask themselves how they can contribute, not with big words, but with modest deeds, every day, so that my Romania can become our Romania,” he said.

    “This year, unique for Romania, we commemorate those who, a hundred years ago, succeeded in realizing a seemingly impossible dream: the unification of all Romanians. (…) The miracle of union was not done under easy conditions. They succeeded because they acted together. Honouring forerunners is beautiful, but not enough, because the inheritance they left us is not just a gift but also a duty. To pay homage to the forerunners means, first of all, to celebrate their spirit. They shared one thing: they all wanted a united and democratic Romania,” he said. More…

  • #RomaniaPremianta First visually-impaired judoka in Romania international medallist, stand-out student at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj

    The first visually-impaired judoka in Romania, Alexandru Bologa, who won the bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games in the autumn of 2016, and last year’s gold medal at the European Championships for visually-impaired, is at the same time a student at Special Psychopedagogy at the Faculty of Psychology and Education of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj.

    Alexandru is a member of the University CSM Cluj-Napoca Club and is in a moment of full sporting ascension, aiming at the gold medal in the next year’s world championships but, at the same time, he wants to use his tatami experience to promote sport among people with disabilities because he thinks he can understand them better than other people.

    He chose to study psychology precisely because of the emotions he had before the competitions, and the years spent in the faculty gave him new ideas.

    “When I got to the stage of graduation and I had to choose what to do next after the Baccalaureate, I thought …. because during my matches I was very nervous and I often did not manage to master my emotions … I thought about how to turn them into constructive emotions. I chose to study at the psychology faculty specializing in special psychopedagogy, because I thought that after I finish I will understand more,” says the young judoka.

    Maybe because of the success he has had, but also of the luck to have met coaches who had the patience to support him in his sporting life, Alex is fighting not only in competitions but also in society to make people understand that sport and disabilities are not always incompatible.

    His coach, Tamas Gergely, thinks he has discovered the secret of his young judoka, which may be due to his special condition.

    “I’m fascinated by the idea of working with him, I do it out of pleasure, and I have no other benefit than feeling very, very good. He learns very quickly. If we learn a new technique, he has the ability to learn it so well, he makes his movements mentally in such a way that in the next training session you say that he has known that technique for two or three years,” says the coach. More…

  • Three Romanian nationals in hotel hit by avalanche in Italy, rescue ops underway

    Romania’s Embassy in Rome, has received information according to which three Romanian nationals – one adult, two persons under age – could be in the hotel that has been hit by an avalanche in Farindola, the Abruzzo region of Italy, on Thursday informs in a release, at the request of AGERPRES, the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE).

    Romania’s Embassy in Rome has urgently contacted the local authorities to get additional information.

    At the same time, the Romanian Embassy in Italy and the General Consulate of Romania in Bologna monitor the situation, keeping permanently in touch with the local authorities, being prepared to grant consular assistance if necessary, the MAE adds.

    According to the source, the rescue operations are underway, but hampered by the severe weather conditions and the damage caused by the avalanche upon the building.

    The MAE reminds that the Romanian citizens affected could ask for consular assistance by dialing the following numbers of the Romanian Embassy in Rome: (0039) 06 835 233 58, (0039) 06 835 233 56, (0039) 06 835 233 52; (0039) 06 835 233 44 and of the General Consulate of Romania in Bologna: (0039) 051 5872120, (0039) 051 5872209, their appeals being redirected to the Support and Contact Centre of the Romanian citizens Abroad (CCSCRS) and taken over by the call centres’ operators on a permanent basis or could dial the diplomatic mission’s emergency number: (0039) 3451473935 or the consular office’s: (0039) 349 1178220. More…

  • Prosecutor General on pardon: We encourage citizens’ correct conduct, but someone comes and shifts direction

    Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar told AGERPRES on Thursday that there is a concern feeling among prosecutors in respect to the pardon draft, and in the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) the general idea on this topics is negative.

    “There is a concern feeling, because since we joined the European Union we have been preparing to consolidate the rule of law through a correct public conduct, encouraging a correct conduct of the citizens, and now someone comes, who, surprisingly, shifts the direction and would want us to adopt another position, of clemency,” Augustin Lazar said.

    He said that in the Superior Council of Magistrates the general idea was negative in respect to the pardon draft.

    “I couldn’t tell you right now what kind of opinion there will be, there is a debate in the CSM, however the general idea was negative in respect to this draft, which isn’t meant to encourage Justice and magistrates nor a correct public conduct in Romania. Our position has been blunt, of rejection. We don’t need clemency acts, we need acts of consolidating the Romanian institutions fighting against crime, corruption, conflict of interest. Unfortunately, we see that the text of the law incriminating the conflict of interest has also been modified. It is practically a decriminalization. We will no longer be able to prove that someone has been in a conflict of interest situation if the text remains as it is now. (…) In a few days’ time, we shall have a new point of view and we shall explain that it is wrong to place a private interest of a group of persons, interested in benefiting from this draft, above the public interest,” Augustin Lazar explained.

    The Prosecutor General also said that at the meeting he has recently had with Justice Minister Florin Iordache the latter didn’t tell him about the pardon draft or the modifications to the Criminal Code. More…

  • Grindeanu: Does Constitution allow pardon and amnesty? Yes, therefore they don’t contradict law

    Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu on Wednesday said that in the Government meeting “the things communicated in due time” were discussed, pointing out that, according to the Constitution, “we are allowed to grant pardon and amnesty,” therefore these things “aren’t against the law.”

    However, the added that these topics weren’t discussed “regardless of President Iohannis’ presence,” as they weren’t on the meeting agenda.

    “According to the Constitution, are we allowed to grant pardon and amnesty? Does the Constitution say we are allowed (…) to do this? yes. Therefore they aren’t against the law. (…) I believe that it is as constitutional as President Klaus Iohannis came to chair the Government meeting, it is as constitutional, with the observance of the law, to issue an emergency ordinance in all the areas the law allows us to. As it wasn’t on the agenda communicated from time to you (…) which we had yesterday in the working folder, we couldn’t adopt matters on additional points,” the PM told journalists.

    He pointed out that neither the conflict of interest nor the abuse of office will be decriminalized, but “these things will be clarified from the perspective of the Justice Ministry, in accordance with the Constitutional Court decisions.”

    “Any decision of the Constitutional Court is mandatory. We cannot pretend we don’t have it. This clarification which the Justice Ministry is making now and sending to public debate is the Justice Ministry’s perspective,” Grindeanu said.

    The PM explained that it concerns two proposals of the Justice Ministry — one regarding pardon, “which doesn’t include corruption offenses and violence or organised crime offenses,” and the other one — the transposition of a European directive on the citizens’ rights to a fair trial.

    The Prime Minister maintained that the discussion he had with Klaus Iohannis wasn’t related to pardon and the modification of the criminal codes, but that it was only a question of the head of state referring this topic.

    “The discussion [with Klaus Iohannis] wasn’t regarding what you are saying. It was a question of the President if these drafts are on the agenda. I assured him that these drafts are not on the agenda and that all things I have mentioned earlier will be covered, namely (…) these proposals of the Justice Ministry were sent this morning to the Superior Council of Magistrates and all the other institutions,” the PM told journalists.

    Referring to pardon and the amendment of the codes, he pointed out that these things can be done either by emergency ordinance or in Parliament. More…

  • Iohannis at Gov’t meeting: I discussed with the PM; I am pleased with how you do your job

    President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday he had, before the Government meeting, a “very applied” discussion with Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, and the head of state told the Government members that he is very pleased with how they do their job.

    “We have a first today. It is the first time I participate in a Government meeting. I have decided this morning to pay a visit to Mr Prime Minister. We had a very applied, serious talk, with consensual conclusions, after which Mr Prime Minister invited me to participate and preside this Government meeting,” Iohannis said in the beginning of the Government meeting.

    He said that it is “a pleasure and an honour” to be in the meeting together with the Government members.

    “Allow me to tell you I am very pleased with the manner in which you all do your job and to me it is not only a pleasure, but also an honour to be here with you. In respect to the conclusions of the discussion I had with Mr Prime Minister earlier, I would like to let him detail these things,” the head of state added. More…

  • Tennis: Tecau and Mergea, through to second round of Australian Open men’s doubles

    Romanian tennis players Horia Tecau and Florin Mergea, in different pairings, qualified in Melbourne on Wednesday for the second round of the Australian Open men’s doubles, the first Gland Slam tournament of the year.

    Tecau and Dutch Jean-Julien Rojer, 9th seeded, defeated 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) the couple Philipp Petzschner (Germany)/ Mikhail Youzhny (Russia), in one hour and 41 minutes.

    The next adversaries of the Romanian-Dutch pairing will be the winners between Dutch Wesley Koolhof/Matwe Middelkoop and South-Americans Julio Peralta (Chile)/Horacio Zeballos (Argentina).

    Last year, Tecau and Rojer reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne.

    Mergea and Brit Dominic Inglot won by 6-2, 7-5 to Australians Luke Saville/Jordan Thompson, after one hour and 19 minutes.

    In the 2016 edition, Mergea and his then partner, Indian Rohan Bopanna, stopped in the round of 16.

    Mergea and Inglot will play in the second round against the winners of the match opposing French Julien Benneteau/Jeremy Chardy and couple Mariusz Fyrstenberg (Polanda)/Martin Klizan (Slovakia). More…

  • First round of negotiations in 2017 for UN Security Council reform, convened on 6 – 7 February

    The two co-chairs of the intergovernmental negotiations on the United Nations’ Security Council reform will convene the first round of negotiations this year in the period 6 – 7 February, on the five topics on the process agenda, Romania’s Ambassador to the UN Ion Jinga, co-chair of the negotiation process, announced in the informal meeting devoted to the reform process of the UN’s Security Council, taking place in Doha, in the period 14 – 15 January.

    According to a press release sent to AGERPRES, the UN members will negotiate the working methods and the dimension of the Security Council, the relation between the Security Council and the General Assembly, the geographic representation in the Security Council, the veto right and the member categories (permanent, non-permanent and, possibly, the creation of an intermediary category).

    Depending on the results of this first session, the two co-chairs, the Romanian Ambassador and his Tunisian counterpart, Ambassador Mohammed Khaled Khiari, will decide on the subsequent approach of the negotiations.

    UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, State of Qatar Foreign Minister, Sheik Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, UN permanent representatives of 36 countries, as well as independent experts from the academic environment participated in the event in Doha.

    The meeting goal was that of capitalising on the current world context to facilitate a comprehensive debate on the modalities through which the efforts to reform the Security Council can gain a new dynamic, required by most UN member states.

    According to the release, in his interventions, Ambassador Ion Jinga highlighted the importance of all UN member states assuming the Security Council reform, so much the more as the negotiation process is an intergovernmental one, and its result will have to be validated by ratification by at least two thirds of the member states, including the five permanent members of the Security Council. More…

  • JusMin: I will have a talk on Tuesday with PM on the amnesty and pardon law

    Justice Minister Florin Iordache says he will have a talk on Tuesday with Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu on the amnesty and pardon law.

    “We must make a decision in the Government. Upon leaving from the CSM [Superior Council of Magistrates] I will meet the Prime Minister and, depending on the decision we shall make in the Government, I shall inform you. I shall discuss [with Sorin Grindeanu], I find it a very important topic, and the decision (…) must belong to the Government. I have the technical arguments and I am saying what it is going on,” Florin Iordache pointed out at the CSM seat on Monday morning.

    He brought to mind that he had discussions with representatives of penitentiaries and professional associations, pointing out that “humane conditions” are attempted to be created in penitentiaries.

    “We had discussions with penitentiary representatives and with professional associations. We mustn’t deny that at the moment the occupancy level in penitentiaries is very high, around 150 percent. These people, if they have done something wrong, should serve their sentence, but we are trying to create some humane conditions. At the same time, we must say a very clear thing, that we have international conventions, we have from the ECHR (…) the sanction of paying several million euro because of the conditions existing in penitentiaries,” the Justice Minister explained,.

    In his opinion, by 2021 the occupancy level could not be diminished in the context in which if the construction of a 500-600 place penitentiary began now, the minimum execution time accounts for five years. More…

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