Three events fight for supremacy in Romanian newspapers today. While the Danube continues to ravage the Romanian villages, towns and cities along its banks, the fans of Bucharest-based football club Steaua prepare for the first leg of the UEFA Cup semifinals against Middlesbrough on Thursday.
And another confrontation, that between President Traian Basescu and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, revived around a package of legislation on Romanian intelligence on Monday.
"Danube claims its land back", Evenimentul Zilei writes, quoting hydrologists who say the draining of swamps to make room for agriculture and the strangling of the Bulgarian and Serbian banks of Danube are partly to be blamed for the rising waters of the river.
One such expert quoted by the newspaper says there hasn’t been a single protection dam built in this part of the Danube for three decades and that after 1990 the existing dams and other facilities were no longer maintained.
That is how some 40,000 hectares of land were flooded over the last several days, with damages for Romanian agriculture alone rising to 2,5 million euro while hundreds of households and thousands of people have been evacuated, according to Adevarul.
The newspaper points out that when the Danube flow started to cool down on entry in Romania yesterday, it grew downstream where the river is about to flow into the Black Sea.
Gandul reports from the villages of Rast, Negoi and Catane, some of the most affected settlements along the river. In Rast, where over 3,000 people were forced to flee when Danube covered four thirds of the village, the Army had to tackle with the funerals of two locals who died of natural causes. One of the bodies had been abandoned by the family in their flooded home.
Elsewhere, Romanian President Traian Basescu decided to publish some of the draft laws on national security following talks on the legislation at the Supreme Defense Council –CSAT yesterday, according to media reports.
CSAT voted without much change the national security strategy on this occasion, when for the first time in many months President Basescu and PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu seemed to finally agree on something.
But their agreement on the legislation was followed shortly by renewed criticism from Basescu about Tariceanu, according to Adevarul.
The President spoke of "the prime-minister’s errors", a reference to Tariceanu’s previous request to eliminate reference to good governance principle from the national strategy document, a principle which he claims is valid for third world countries only.
Cotidianul mocks the situation and goes into detail showing that while Tariceanu considers the good governance to be a concept borrowed from the American language to support third world countries, not for the European country Romania, the Democrats counteracted and showed the principle was "linked" to the EU and NATO.
The political confrontation overlaps with preparations for Steaua Bucharest’s match against Middlesbrough in the UEFA Cup semifinals on Thursday. According to Adevarul, betting operators expect Romanians to bet some 1,5 million euro in the match, up 20% from the daily average – a small increase due to the difficulty of the match.
Evenimentul Zilei reports that the Bucharest police and gendarmes will take to the streets once again on Thursday, as the match is seen a high risk event. Hundreds of police will be present at the Lia Manoliu national stadium in the Romanian capital, while sales of alcoholic drinks and other products will be banned in the area.
Gandul, meanwhile, reports that businessman Gigi Becali, the owner of the Steaua football club and a populist politician who self-proclaims a "man of God" and a tolerant Christian, has not forgotten of the bitter enmity between Steaua and Rapid, another Bucharest-based club which Steaua faced in the UEFA Cup quarterfinals.
Becali was heard singing a racist song in a radio broadcast on Monday morning, in which he chants "The Champion League, banned for crows!" – the Steaua fans’ chant about Rapid, a team that includes many members of the Rroma community.