Romania may soon have a competitive air force, but the selection process for aircraft suppliers must first pass the President - Prime Minister influence game. Everything else in Romania is the same as usual: theft, robbery, debt, financial crisis, corruption and, of course, luxury spending.

Romania president Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu can't agree on what kind of fighters should be bought for the Romanian air force. There are some 4.5 billion euro to spend in the military equipment upgrade and no less than five major player waiting to win the money: F-16 (Lockheed Martin), Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Gripen/Saab), Dassault Rafale, F-18 Hornet (Boeing) and Eurofighter Typhoon. Financial Times informed that the quarrel between the president and the PM begun because of the "different perspectives" on the matter, Basescu preferring Lockheed Martin, while Tariceanu would rather buy from an European producer, Cotidianul reads.

Until we get to spend all that cash, things are going pretty bad in the economy backyard: the stock exchange is still dropping, the national currency is in free fall and the banks may soon rise the interest rates for an already too indebted populace. The Bucharest stock exchange lost some 3.5 billion euro the past week only, with a maximum fall in one day on Tuesday - 7.4%, Gandul reminds. The national currency, RON, fell from 3.6 to 3.68 RON per euro in the same period.

back to the usual, everyday corruption, scandals: the 'Internet of the Future" project, designed to spread the access to Internet via wireless WiMax networks in remote locations is the new reason to play some "influence trafficking" game. The one who should implement the project, Dorin Liviu Nistoran, head of the National Telecomm Agency, is none other than the Nistoran owning Televoice Group, a company involved in data and voice communications, partner with Alcatel - Lucent, the company that developed WiMax all around the world. Romania Libera feels free to question the neutrality of Nistoran when the time comes to choose a winner for the project implementation.

Things look better on the luxury market, where Radisson SAS and Mercedes Leasing are the latest players officially entering the market. Radisson SAS officially opened its first location in Romania, the former Hotel Bucuresti - a 474-rooms location, making it the largest five-star hotel in Romania. another Radisson location will be opened in 2009 in Poiana Brasov, Cotidianul reads.

Daimler Financial Services also made its début on the Romanian market, launching the Mercedes-Benz Financial Services leasing company. The new player intends to offer leasing contracts mainly for its own cars, aiming at 300 million euro worth of contracts within the future 3 to 5 years, same Cotidianul informs.

Of course, the two articles mentioned above are pretty meaningless for professors, who once again prepare to go on strike. After negotiating a wage growth of 54% with the Government, teachers in public schools and high-schools found out that they will only get 9%, Evenimentul Zilei reads.

Also about money: there is a good chance to lose all your money in Romania. Same Evenimentul Zilei writes about card cloning experts who became so "professional" that are now able to post a fake ATM in less than a minute. Skimming is a growing business, crowded areas in major cities being the main target. The most dangerous counties are Bucharest, Arges, Bihor, Brasov, Bacau, Cluj, Constanta, Caras-Severin, Dolj, Gorj, Hunedoara, Satu-Mare, Suceava, Timis and Valcea.

No less than 4 billion euro is the amount of money and goods stolen in Romania in 2007, Gandul adds. Only 10% of this amount was ever recovered, although over 280,000 crimes were solved, out of a total of 330,000. 44,000 thefts, 10,000 broken homes, 1,800 vehicles broken into and over 50,000 financial crimes are the deeds that cause the loss of 4 billion euro.