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What the newspapers say: October 12, 2006

Joi, 12 octombrie 2006, 0:00

Romanian newspapers on Thursday discuss the effects of a large scale strike by Romanian lawyers this week; a series of irregularities related to the recent summit of leaders from the French-speaking world in Bucharest; how two Romanians witnessed a “carnage” committed by Chinese troops in Tibet; the wonders included in the wealth statements submitted by Romanian public servants; and the risk that many Romanin brands vanish once the country joins the EU.

Cotidianul tries to clear things up the ongoing conflict between lawyers of the “classic” local bars, united in a National Union of Bars, and the post prominent “parallel”, or alternative bar they’ve been challenging through a national level strike.

The latter was established by an engineer who profited from holes in the jurisprudence of the National Union and established an NGO to run as an association of lawyers, luring young lawyers who “failed to pay bribes” in order to enter the mainstream association.

The newspaper also lists a series of indicted people who were released from prison over the past several days because they did not have access to a lawyer. The list, which includes renowned figures, may be completed today by Smuel Yosef Malka, an international criminal the extradition of whom was requested by Israel.

Gandul reports that the European Association of Magistrates have urged the Romanian authorities to “permanently guarantee that the universally recognized standards of the independence of Justice are complied with and not take measures that may compromise them”.

Meanwhile, the same Cotidianul reports that the Romanian Foreign Ministry has notified the Competition Council in Bucharest about higher than usual prices applied by Bucharest hotels for international participants at the Summit of the French-speaking world, Sommet de la Francophonie, hosted by the Romanian capital last month.

On the same issue, Jurnalul National quotes Romanian state secretary for La Francophonie, Cristian Preda, who brings the total spending for the summit down to only one million euro.

The fact that lots of companies and other countries sponsored summit-related events contributed significantly to the cost reductions - from a total of about nine million speculated before the summit.

Elsewhere in the newspapers, Evenimentul Zilei wonders at the spectacular explanations some public servants provided to explain their just as spectacular wealth in the compulsory wealth statements they have submitted.

Over 300 dignitaries and public servants were investigated over alleged irregularities over the past decade, but none had his wealth confiscated for not being able to justify their fortune.

That is, because they used all sorts of explanations - from working the land to trading second-hand cars to wedding gifts amounting to “hundreds of millions Romanian lei”, sums that were impossible to justify based on a simple salary.

Cotidianul focuses on a report by two Romanian journalists and mountain climbers who recently returned from Tibet and who claimed they saw Chinese soldiers hunting down a group of 80 Tibetan pilgrims and killing eight of them. “They buried them in our very presence”, the two Romanians said.

One of the two, Pro TV cameraman Sergiu Matei, helped one of the Tibetans escape, gave him clothes and urged him to leave because “he wasn’t safe in our camp either”.

The same Cotidianul reports that thousands of Romanian brands may disappear from the market once Romania joins the EU because firms that have similar brands to already existing ones from the Union would be forced to withdraw their products.

And the problem is doubled by a large number of counterfeit products as some 30% of products sold in Romania are counterfeited, according to a specialized association.

And Gandul reports a new “engagement” between Gypsy children, similar to a marriage that sparked European outrage several years ago. It’s scheduled to take place in Strehaia last Saturday, when Dori, 13, will take Pamela, 13, to be his “romni” or wife.

The newspaper reports that the engagement was arranged by the wealthy parents of the two children when they were in the first grade at school. The event - aimed at having the two “know each other”, as one parent puts it - is to be followed by a proper wedding when aged 17.

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