President Basescu imagines himself as Zorro. A businessman with a luggage of controversy becomes a member of the small circle of media moguls in Romania. A country which reports an out-of-nowhere 3-win at Europe’s most reputed film festival this year. A year of planning for the re-launch of one of ex-dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s most grandiose infrastructure projects. All in the newspapers today.

Evenimentul Zilei goes beyond a dull press release received by all local media yesterday and shows how Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, a controversial businessman who brained a financial scheme that brought some 300,000 Romanians on the brink of bankruptcy six years ago, becomes a media mogul in Romania 2006.

He had one news-oriented TV channel, an almost stillborn financial TV channel, a press agency in the making and potential stakes in various other outlets.

But SO Vantu’s Realitatea Media group announced yesterday the take over of 70% of the Academia Catavencu press group, which brings a major satire weekly, one newspaper, several other periodicals as well as a commercial radio network under the Realitatea umbrella, according to Evenimentul Zilei.

The newspaper quotes a deputy editor-in chief of Catavencu’s daily Cotidianul, who finds it “dangerous for the health of Romanian media that the press is concentrated in the hands of huge political-financial players”.

Critics already see the situation might request the intervention of the always-present Romanian President Traian Basescu who, in an interview for a lifestyle magazine quoted by Gandul, says that had he been compelled to chose a stage outfit he would pick Zorro’s, but he would chose to fight evildoers in a contemporary setting rather than in the Mexican California.

Basescu makes some more serious comments for the Russian newspaper Kommersant, quoted by Adevarul, which interviews the Romanian President in advance to the Black Sea Forum due to take place in Bucharest.

In that interview, Basescu admits that the Russian-Romanian relations were once frozen and that that was a mistake, but than now Romania is interested in more “fair and open” relations with Russia, beyond “historical issues” such as that of the Romanian WWI-old thesaurus, retained by Moscow.

Across the European continent, in Cannes, France, newspapers report that Romanian representatives reclaimed a record-breaking three awards at this year’s Film Festival.

Despite critics fear calling the Romanian participation in the 2006 edition of the Cannes Festival the best Romania has had for the last 16 years, the national cinematography beat all its record with the three awards for movies such as “Marilena de la P7”, “Cum mi-am petrecut sfarsitul lumii” and “A fost sau n-a fost?”, Evenimentul Zilei reports.

Fate was good to somebody else, too. A son-in-law of President Basescu was one of the chosen ones to take advantage of a hugely mediated reform of the Romanian health system, Gandul writes.

A new legislation package announced yesterday sparked huge protests among the medical staff across the country, who had their eyes fixed on faxes throughout the day to see the new managers for hospital units as thousands of older staff are pushed into retirement.

According to Gandul, the President’s son-in-law, Catalin Carstoiu, was named deputy chief of the Municipal Hospital in Bucharest.

Cotidianul, meanwhile, focuses on more low-profile information as it attacks Economy Minister Codrut Seres for failing to produce any significant results in an inquiry over a series of controversial energy deals lately.

Only second and third-ranked managers of the involved companies would be changed, according to the minister, quoted by Cotidianul.

The same newspaper reports that preparations have begun for a re-launch of works at the Ceausescu-era Danube-Black Sea Channel across the SE Romanian region of Dobrogea. The works might restart with European support in 2008 as the state says it may spend some 600 million euro to conclude the building operations, in addition to the already-spent two billion.

According to the newspaper, the project may only become profitable in 430 years.