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What the newspapers say: February 13, 2008

de Radu Big
Miercuri, 13 februarie 2008, 9:01 English | Press Review

Although all newspapers chose to tell the story of former tennis glory Ilie Nastase, who resigned from his position as head of the Romanian Tennis Federation, most of the news mainly refer to money. Specifically to wasted money (in the Defense Ministry), compensation money (to be paid by the Bucharest City Hall to all those who destroy their cars on the impossible Romanian roads) and to money Romania could earn (a Spanish prepares to invest in wind energy fields). And of course, to the falling national currency, which brought back the entire economy to the 2006 level.

The Army still uses first-generation computers to calculate wages. The computers are so old that spare parts are impossible to find, a piece of investigative journalism in Gandul informs. It is the same army which bought two second-hand frigates for 185 million dollars and now dreams of 4 billion worth of fighter planes (F16 or Grippen). The same Army that denied the Microsoft offer for a 90% discount on Windows Office software, preferring to pay 2,400 RON per license (the store price is 1,700 RON, some 500 euro). and now, IT specialists within the Defense Ministry complain about how they are unable to repair the computers, because a new processor would be simply too fast.

Bucharest City Hall announced that it will put up a 10 million RON fund to compensate the accidents caused by holes in the asphalt on Bucharest roads. The money will be paid to car drivers who win their cases in Court, same Gandul informs.

The Romanian economy is back in 2006, Evenimentul Zilei shows: a 7.26% inflation rate, similar to May 2006, and even a monetary policy interest rate of 9%, higher that the 8.5% at the beginning of 2006 and the 8.75% at the end of the same year.

The same newspaper also brings a piece of good news: Spanish company Iberdrola Renovables IBR.MC announced the signing of a 300 million euro contract for exploiting 50 wind-energy fields in Western Romania. The wind mills belong to Romanian company Dobrogea AG, owned by Rokura and the Swiss group NEK. The wind parks are scheduled to come into production in 2009, adding up to a total capacity of 1,600 megawatts.

Still in the good news area: a Romanian bus driver won the "Robert Walser" award for literary début in Switzerland. The Romanian lives in Switzerland since 1990 and is the first Romanian to receive such an honor, Evenimentul Zilei reads. Marius Daniel Popescu describes himself as "a Romanian / Gypsy / party-man bus driver".

To end in an optimistic trend: some 500,000 Romanians work in Italy, the latest researches indicate, representing 15% of all foreigners in Italy. But, while other minorities have only 40% of the people benefiting from medium or high education, Romanian can boast with 60%. 

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