A short glance across today’s newspapers and one would never think that Romania has gone through a serious political crisis for a week. The media today talks about Bill Gates coming to Bucharest, official threats to the freedom of speech, the fate of the Romanian currency and of Chinese workers sick of it all, with political issues coming to the front only now and then.

Cotidianul hails the first visit to be paid by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to Romania and notes that while the exact date of the visit is not known, it will take place somewhere in February 1-4, shortly after Microsoft launches Windows Vista for domestic users on January 30.

In Romania, another event takes place in the same period - the opening of a Technical Support Center offering services and support to Microsoft clients from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

On the home front, Cotidianul turns to the political troubles in Bucharest with one report - that President Traian Basescu fiercely attacked his predecessor, Ion Iliescu of the Social Democratic Party-PSD, whom he accuses of organizing a “political miners’ crusade”.

In an interview for the public television last night, at a time when he himself is charged with seeding chaos in Romanian politics, Basescu dropped his unual target, PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, and turned his canons on Iliescu, whom he blames for a PSD initiative to change a law that would allow the replacement of the head of state.

For its part, Gandul is alarmed that the Constitutional Court in Bucharest decided against a previous decision that libel and insult become unconstitutional.

The newspaper quotes a Romanian Press Club and other organizations who protested the reintroduction of libel and insult as crimes in the Penal Code, which they say is a shame for a European Romania.

The same Gandul is more interested in the economy today with a report that the Romanian currency RON may lose little ground against the euro from January 2007 to 2009, according to the Consensus Economics organization.

And it focuses on a special situation in Bacau, where Chinese workers at a textile factory have turned against the management in a dispute over salaries.

The newspaper.reports that while the manager complains that the law discriminates between local employees and immigrant employees - who may earn some 300 USD, three times the minimum salary a Romanian would receive - the Chinese workers are stunned they earn far from the 20,000 USD they hoped to earn in a three-year period.

Evenimentul Zilei also reports on the strike of Chinese workers in Bacau and quotes the Chinese women planning to return home, after only six months in Europe.

Still, it notes that they have little to return to in Asia as one worker, who had worked abroad before coming to Romania, said “it is worse in Cambodia than in Romania, and the weather is worse still”.

The same Evenimentul Zilei publishes a feature report on “the drama of Romanians in Basarabia” - the ex-Soviet Moldovan Republic that was once part of Romania.

The paper writes the Russian-style leading the “Moldavian people” turned the Romanian population there in the sixth nation living in the country and persecutes it religiously. The feature focuses on the conflict between the Moldovan Metropolitan Church, which stands under the wing of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Romanian-oriented Basarabian Metropolitan Church.

Last but not least, Romania libera reports that Government officials launched checks yesterday on the tender procedures that led several companies, run by business people seen as close to President Basescu, gain the rights to build the Bucharest-Ploiesti highway.

According to a minister, the checks were initiated due to suspeicions that public procurement laws have been breached in this tender.