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What the newspapers say: September 11, 2006

de     HotNews.ro
Luni, 11 septembrie 2006, 0:00


Romanian newspapers today join the international media in marking the five years passed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks with front-page features, reports and op-ed articles. An intervention by two European commissioners in the story of the National Agency for Integrity, a body due to strengthen the accountability of Romanian leaders’ wealth, also makes front pages.

Bird flu-related revelations and renewed frictions between top oilmen and Romanian authorities are also right there for reader’s delight.

The anti-terror war sparked on 9/11 has changed things a lot across the world, including Romania.

Chanceless in 2001, the country managed to be invited in NATO by 2002 and joined it in 2004 while concluding the accession negotiations with the EU and sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to defend its case before the Western governments, an op-ed in Gandul writes.

That comes despite the toll of the war - in the eyes of the newspaper - sums up to more than 60,000 dead, 4.5 million refugees, billions of dollars in damages and increasing oil prices. “Romania has the status of a Western country today.

But the blood of its soldiers will not bring substance to this, as the country becomes more of a Christian Turkey brought beside Europe by accident”, the newspaper claims.

Adevarul opt for a less aggressive approach and tells the story of a Romanian “who lived 9/11”. He is Adrian Rapiteanu, one of the lucky ones who on that dat managed to escape the WTC building where he was working as a programmer at a software company.

The newspaper tells how Rapiteanu managed to flee the first tower in due time, before another plane hit the second tower of the WTC complex. He now refuses to watch the events unfold on the TV screen and finds the shortest sentences to describe them.

And Evenimentul Zilei delivers a feature on the five years that have passed since then, focusing on the anti-terror war that “led to the isolation of the US” as “America got mired in a bloody and endless war in Iraq and in a campaign that threatens one of the defining features of its national identity - civil liberties”.

Elsewhere in the newspapers, Cotidianul focuses on the renewed problems Romania has in its EU accession effort. The country risks losing up to 70% of the 30 billion euro it’s due to receive after accession, due to a lack of trained personnel to manage this money, it reports.

Evenimentul Zilei focuses on another issue: a letter sent by European Fommissioners Franco Frattini and Olli Rehn to Marko Bela, the leader of the Hungarian Democrats-UDMR, a junior member of the governing coalition in Bucharest.

The letter voices their concern about the fact that UDMR and another junior member of the coalition, the Conservative Party-PC, joined the opposition in the Parliament in blocking much of the provisions of a project on the creation of a National Agency for Integrity.

The Justice Ministry - Agency aims at boosting checks on the wealth of public officials as a means in the fight against corruption. Bela argued that a series of PC and UDMR-supported changes to the piece of legislation establishing this agency were aimed at improving its functioning, according to Evenimentul Zilei.

But that’s not what the European officials believe, who write that the initial formula of the law “might have had a positive impact” in preventing and combating high-level corruption.

Meanwhile, Cotidianul tackles a new dispute between the trade unions of the Petrom oil company and the government.

It reports that Liviu Luca, head of the Petrom trade unions, threatened to sue the Government after Justice minister Monica Macovei refused to approve the sale of Petrom shares from an 8% stock that was left unchecked when the company was bought by OMV.

Evenimentul Zilei brings another version of the story: Luca, a powerful businessman, may lend money to employees who want to buy stocks in the total limit of 8%. But Luca’s credits will be guaranteed in the sense that when one is late with his credit payments, he loses the property rights in favor of the trade union.

According to Evenimentul Zilei, Luca has admitted that one way or another the shares will eventually land in the pockets of his partner Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, a controversial businessman that owns, among others, the Cotidianul newspaper.

Cotidianul opens its front page today with revelations on a shady deal related to the bird flu outbreak that hit Romania this year.

It reports that a Iasi-based company, Lumi SRL, that had received an exclusive tender to operate anti-bird flu disinfection works on the national roads and railways, was the source of a series of money transfers to a card account believed to belong to a Transport Ministry official and his cronies.

Some 70,000 euro from the money paid to the company thus seem to have returned to one of the people that picked the company to fight the spread of bird flu in Romania.




















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