• Three-day national mourning after Bucharest fire

    Romania’s Government decreed on Saturday a three-day national mourning, following the death of 27 people in a fire on Friday night, in the ‘Colectiv’ nightclub of Bucharest.

    The Government sitting on Saturday began with a moment of silence called by Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who convened his cabinet after the tragic event.

    “I am deeply sorry we have to meet in an extraordinary Government sitting because of this tragedy that has taken so many young lives. I want to convey all our solidarity, all the moral support we can provide to the families of victims and to those who suffer,” the premier declared.

    The Government heard reports of Vice Prime Minister and Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea, Health Minister Nicolae Banicioiu and State Secretary Raed Arafat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, head of the Emergency Situations Inspectorate. They presented the relevant authorities’s response to the incident that also sent 184 wounded to Bucharest’s hospitals, who admitted 146 of them, some in very serious conditions. More…

  • Aftermath of Bucharest nightclub fire

    An explosion and fire engulfed the Colectiv nightclub on Friday night, wounding numerous people and killing dozens.

    While first reports announced 18 dead, the death toll rose through the night, latest figures showing 27 have died, 184 were transported to hospital for treatment while 146 remain admitted for further treatment.

    First reports from witnesses mention that the fire started following a pyrotechnic display during a scheduled concert in the nightclub that set fire to flammable material in the club.

    Reactions to the tragedy poured in following the unprecedented tragedy, with Klaus Iohannis expressing his profound sadness over the tragedy and later meeting with Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and State Secretary Raed Arafat at the Cotroceni Palace to discuss the situation. More…

  • UPDATED Raed Arafat announces 145 admitted to hospital following fire

    The head of the Department for Emergency Situations of the Interior Ministry, Raed Arafat, has announced that currently 145 persons have been admitted following the powerful fire that took place on Friday night in the Colectiv club in the Capital.

    He stated that Floreasca Hospital admitted 50 persons, the Burn Victims Hospital — 27, Elias Hospital — 4, Military Hospital — 4, St. Pantelimon — 3, Ilfov County Hospital — 1, St. John — 9, Bagdasar Hospital — 24, Municipal Hospital — 16, and Coltea Hospital — 7 persons.

    He mentioned that part of the wounded reached the hospital in private cars or in taxis.

    “At this moment, part of the persons admitted, those taken by ambulance especially, are in grave condition and required intubation, reason for which we needed to relocate ventilators to said hospitals”, Raed Arafat added.

    According to information provided by the authorities, the death toll following the fire is of 26 dead.

    He explained that at this moment a code red plan is in effect, a plan that comes into effect at the Emergency Situations Inspectorate (ISU) and the Interior Ministry when multiple victim accidents occur, especially if the accident has more victims than first response capacity. In such cases more forces are mobilized.

    “There are very many victims who have reached hospitals, many have reached it on their own. It’s a normal thing in situations such as this. We are done now at the scene, we will settle matters in hospitals, offer support to hospitals that are overcrowded, move wounded from those hospitals to others”, he added.

    According to the Interior Ministry, the fire started at around 23.00 on Friday evening.

    The subsequent intervention saw the participation of over 60 emergency situation units (ambulances, firetrucks, emergency extrication units), as well as of crews from ISU Bucharest, together with police and gendarmes. Furthermore, a mobile hospital was deployed at the scene by the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations.

    The fire started, according to witnesses, due to pyrotechnic effects set off during a concert.

    According to the Facebook page of the club, it was to play host on Friday evening to the launching of an album by band Goodbye to Gravity. The organizers announced a custom light show, as well as a pyrotechnical display. More…

  • President Iohannis sends message on 155th anniversary of Iasi University

    President Klaus Iohannis on Friday sent a message on the occasion of the 155th anniversary of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, according to the Presidential Administration.

    “For over more than a century and a half, your University had a key role in shaping up the Romanian people’s spiritual, artistic and scientific identity. The Lost Steps Hall still keeps alive echoes of some eminent professors and alumni of this higher education institution, such as Titu Maiorescu, George Calinescu, Horia Hulubei, Grigore Moisil, Nicolae Titulescu or Matei Cantacuzino. It is remarkable that your professors and students have not only lived history, but also got actively involved in determining its course. Permanently connected to the cultural, scientific and political evolution, the ‘Alexandru Ioan Cuza’ University of Iasi has constantly generated knowledge, contributing to the development and modernisation of the Romanian society,” Iohannis said, in the message presented by presidential adviser Ligia Deca.

    He underscored that the University excels on an international level through quality in research, but also through innovation. More…

  • Tennis: Romanian Niculescu in Poitiers tournament singles quarterfinals, doubles finals

    Romanian tennis player Monica Niculescu made it to the quarterfinals of the ITF tournament in Poitiers (France) featuring 100,000 U.S. dollars in prize money.

    Niculescu (28 y.o., WTA 46), seed No. 1 in the singles event, defeated in the round of sixteen French player Oceane Dodin (19 y.o., WTA 144) 6 — 2, 7 — 5, and will square off in the quarterfinals with No. 8 seed, Duch player Kiki Bertens (23 y.o., WTA 105).

    Playing in the quarterfinals of the doubles event, Seed No. 2 pair Monica Niculescu — Andreea Mitu defeated the duo Nigina Abduraimova (Uzbekistan)/Marine Partaud (France), and went on to beat 6 — 1, 6 — 2 the pair Valeria Solovieva (Russia)/Maryna Zanevska (Ukraine). More…

  • Austrian President to visit Cyprus, reaffirming excellent relations

    President of Austria Heinz Fischer will pay Cyprus an official visit 3-4 November, during which he will discuss the Cyprus problem, the migration and refugees crisis, regional issues as well as energy.

    Austrian Ambassador in Nicosia, Karl Mueller, told CNA that the visit will reaffirm and enhance the traditionally close relations between Cyprus and Austria.

    “Austria and Cyprus have for a long time had very good relations. President Fischer`s official visit to Cyprus will emphasize the good relations between the two countries” the Austrian Ambassador told CNA.

    It is noted that President Fischer has already visited Cyprus in the past in his capacity as President of the Austrian Parliament but also as President of Austria in 2007.

    President Fischer will have talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and meet with President of the House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou and Archbishop of the church of Cyprus Chrysostomos II. He will also meet the Mayors of Nicosia and Larnaca, Constantinos Yiorkadjis and Andreas Louroutziatis as well as the heads of UNFICYP.

    During his official visit, President Fischer will open a Bilateral Economic Forum together with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Phidias Pilides.

    Apart from the bilateral relations, the main topics of discussion will be the Cyprus Problem, the issue of Migration and Refugees, regional issues and Energy.

    Asked about Austria`s interest in energy, the Austrian Ambassador told CNA that since his country like many other countries of the EU depends on Russian gas, Vienna believes that a solution where there is diversification of resources, and taking into account the resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, would be a welcome development.

    At the same time, he said, there are many Austrian companies with great experience and expertise in the domain of renewable energy which could contribute to Cyprus` plans to reorganize its energy market.

    As far as the Cyprus issue is concerned, the Ambassador said that Austria is very interested in the ongoing Cyprus negotiations and would very much like to see them succeed.

    He added that Vienna contributes to the efforts to reach a solution in Cyprus. He explained that the Chairmen of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot chambers of commerce, Phidias Pilides and Fikri Toros were jointly invited in September to Vienna, where they held a series of meetings. In addition, Greek Cypriot negotiator at the Cyprus talks, Andreas Mavroyiannis visited Vienna in August and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Ozdil Nami in September where they held meetings in the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

    The Austrian Ambassador also pointed out that Austria before its independence in 1955 has been in the middle of an unsettled region in Europe. Cyprus, he said, which is also in an unsettled region in the Eastern Mediterranean must seize the opportunity to reach a solution, given the fact that for a long time now all five Permanent Member States of the UN Security Council support a Cyprus reunification. Cyprus would strongly benefit from such an outcome and become an outstanding commercial and political hub in this region.

    During President Fischer`s visit, an economic forum will take place. The Austrian Ambassador told CNA that the forum will cover all areas of the economy.

    `We try to get Austrian companies interested in Cyprus to invest and join some joint ventures and start business in Cyprus on a larger scale with Cypriot entepreneurs” he said.

    A Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in the fields of Education, Culture and Arts between the two countries will also be signed during the Austrian President`s visit.

    The Austrian Ambassador said that the MoU will be the continuation of an earlier Memorandum which expires this year. The MoU, he said, will include, amongst others, direct contacts between artists, exchange of education experience, direct cooperation between museums and galleries, exchange of exhibitions as well as cooperation in the cinema industry.

    Referring to the latter issue of film making, he said that this is a field which interests Cyprus a lot and said that there is possibility to conclude a bilateral co-production agreement on films on the basis of the MoU later.

    The Austrian President will be accompanied by the Ministers for Education and Women and for Justice, Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek and Wolfgang Brandstetter, by the State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery Sonja Stevl and by an economic delegation.

    CNA/AAR/GCH 2015

  • Tennis: Tecau and Rojer, in doubles’ semifinals of ATP tournament in Basel

    The Romanian-Dutch pairing made up of Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Roger qualified to the doubles’ semifinals of the ATP tournament in Basel, with total prizes worth 1,575,295 euros, after having scored 7-5, 7-6 (5) against the Spanish double Marc Lopez/Rafael Nadal.

    Tecau and Rojer, the second seeded of the event, won after one hour and 33 minutes.

    Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Roger thus secured a 24,000-euro cheque and 180 ATP points and are going to play in the semifinals against the winners of the fixture Alexander Peya(Austria)/Bruno Soares (Brazil) — Marcin Matkowski (Poland)/Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia/4th seeded). More…

  • Leaders continue peace talks

    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will resume their discussions on Friday, in the framework of the UN-backed negotiations for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue.

    The meeting will take place at the United Nations Protected Area in Nicosia (10AM) under the auspices of the Special Advisor of the Secretary-General (SASG) Espen Barth Eide.

    During their last meeting on the 12th October, the leaders agreed to significantly intensify the pace of their meetings, acknowledging that there is still serious work ahead.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-backed talks since May this year with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.

    CNA/KCH/GCH 2015

  • SoNoRo Festival opens Friday; over 35 international artists performing

    Over 35 international artists will be performing in the tenth edition of the SoNoRo Festival, with 18 shows being scheduled to take place in Bucharest, Arad, Cluj-Napoca and Bistrita, according to the organisers.

    The official opening of the festival will take place on Friday, at 19:00 hrs, at the of the Unirii Hall of the Cotroceni Palace, with pieces by Franz Schubert, Gabriel Faure and George Enescu.

    “The great Mexican poet Octavio Paz says: ‘Be worthy of your dream!’ And we will do everything in our power to be worthy of it, by turning SoNoRo The Dreamers into two magic and delighting weeks. Join us in this dream world!,” festival director Razvan Popovici is quoted in a press release as saying.

    Performing in the festival will be pianist Konstantin Lifschitz, violinists Philippe Graffin, Anna-Liisa Bezrodny, Marc Bouchkov, Alissa Margulis, Daniel Rowland, cello players Alexander Bouzlov, Alexander Chaushian, Jan-Erik Gustaffson, clarinet player Michel Lethiec, accordionist Srdjan Vukasinovic, the Lucian Ban and Mat Maneri duo, the Casal Quartet and Chaarts Swiss Orchestra. More…

  • IMF praises authorities and people of Cyprus for progress

    Cyprus` bailout program is working well and the country makes progress under that program, a spokesperson of the IMF noted on Thursday.

    Jerry Rice said that the IMF has an excellent relation with the Cypriot authorities and that Cyprus continues to make progress.

    “We have excellent relationship with the Cypriot authorities under this program. It has worked well, it is working well and Cyprus continues to make progress under the program”, he said.

    Rice noted that “the credit for that goes to the Cypriot authorities and the Cypriot people who have made the commitments and the efforts under difficult circumstances”.

    Cyprus raised on Tuesday 1 billion euros from international markets with its third public bond issue. The bonds carried a 4.25 percent interest rate, which he described as the lowest-ever for a 10-year issue.

    It was the third time Cyprus had tapped international markets since March 2013, when a 10 billion-euro lifeline from creditors saved the island from bankruptcy.


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