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What the newspapers say: October 17, 2006

Marţi, 17 octombrie 2006, 0:00

Romania prepares for the clash between Steaua Bucharest and Real Madrid tonight, and the media makes no exception. A resignation en masse from the country’s best selling tabloid is making waves throughout front pages today. They also mock at the British over plans to introduce a new rule in Universities, reminiscent of the communist past of an influential Liberal teacher in Romania.

Not to miss: how to steal a hospital, how to prepare for the worst if you’re a North Korean leader and how the masons in Romania are for the first time accepting women within their ranks.

“A star among stars”, headlines Evenimentul Zilei in a preamble to the Champions League match between Steaua (Star) Bucharest and the celebrities of Real Madrid in Bucharest tonight.

The newspaper believes that while Real seems impossible to beat, it is not and Steaua players have a “gigantic chance” to bring the most applauded football club in the history of the game to its knee.

It is “the Everest of football for Steaua” and may bring new records for the Romanian team in terms of TV audience and money flow, according to the newspaper. But it also quotes a series of Romanian celebrities - or stars - who’d rather place their bets on Real Madrid.

Adevarul also plays with words: “Steaua against the Madrid Galaxy” says the headline of an article that insists on the maximum risk status of the game, which brings thousands of police around the Bucharest stadium.

For its part, Jurnalul National writes about a “Galactic shock” and quotes Romania’s all-time football star Giga Hagi, who once played for Real and who considers - on the Spanish team’s website, that “Steaua is capable of winning against anybody”.

Elsewhere in the newspapers, Cotidianul is one among many newspapers that report how an overwhelming majority of staff at Romania’s best-sold tabloid, Libertatea, resigned yesterday to follow their editor-in-chief to a new tabloid for the competition.

According to the newspaper, the main reason for the departure is that a new player on the country’s media market, oil businessman Dinu Patriciu, is offering 50% higher salaries than the Ringier group to which Libertatea belongs.

The same Cotidianul places the event in the context of a series of commercial wars in Romania as competition in the post-communist country gathers pace and shows no mercy not only in the media, but also sectors such as telecoms, banking and the car-making industry.

Also on the media front, Jurnalul National publishes a new series of results of a poll conducted among journalists, which shows a huge number are undecided or would not vote in a presidential poll. Of the voting ones, a large majority would vote for incumbent president Traian Basescu, according to the poll.

Meanwhile, Gandul mocks at a newly created situation in Britain, where the media has reported that an Education Ministry directive may have university staff spy on Muslim and Asian students with terrorism potential and provide information about them.

Romanian “Professor Mona Musca may very well have a job during her period of political unemployment”, comments Gandul, speaking of Romanian MP Musca.

She was ousted from the Liberal Party this year over allegations that she, as a professor, informed ex-dictator Ceausescu’s polical police about the activities of foreign students during the communist regime.

The same comparison is provided by Cotidianul, quoting The Guardian, according to which the project reflects the fears of the British government about the highly politicized activities of Islamic academic societies in the country.

Also in Cotidianul, a recipe to steal a hospital. The newspaper reports that a hospital in the residential quarters of Bucharest has become the property of a Cyprus PO box in a contract that completely ignored the public interest.

A pavilion of a tuberculosis hospital was rented without public tender to the Medicare Group SRL company three years ago, and all the clauses of the contract, which may spread to 30 years, are against the interest of the hospital, according to the newspaper. It also quotes ex-Health minister Daniela Bartos who believes “somebody got good money over this”.

For its part, Gandul reports that medical care staff in Romanian hospitals are threatening a general strike because of what the newspaper calls “the [Health minister] Nicolaescu’s reform: hospitals without beds and Ministry bosses driving their Audis and Passats”.

And Adevarul focuses on a report published by The Sunday Times, according to which North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Il holds information that they’re preparing his ousting from power in the style of Romania’s 1989 revolution and has ordered his officials to

view the tapes of the execution of Romania’s ex-communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena.

The same Adevarul reports that for the first time in the country, a masonry organization has decided to allow women within its ranks. The lodge, established with French support last year, is revolutionizing the Romanian masonry as it also accepts non-Christian members, according to the newspaper.

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