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What the newspapers say: November 20, 2008

de A.C.
Joi, 20 noiembrie 2008, 2:19 English | Press Review

Romanians' debts towards banks, telephone companies and insurance companies will increase by 15% in 2008, one newspaper reads on Thursday. Elsewhere in the news, more and more Romanians are willing to give up smoking. Last but not least, one of the richest businessman, Gigi Becali claims a 2 million dollar donation back from the church.

Gandul informs that Romanians' debts to banks, telephone companies or insurance companies will increase by 15% in 2008. The newspaper, quoting experts, reads that the situation is worse for those who took up credits in euro, dollars, Swiss francs with a variable interest rate.

The national currency's depreciation increased their monthly credit payments. Plus, last month alone, the interest rate added up to the final monthly rate. However, there are also companies who thrive in such moments: those hired by banks to recover the money. This market registered a spectacular growth of over 47% up to 25 million euro.

This year, considering the decrease of the credit market, recovery companies will advance at a slower pace, to 15%, EOS KSI Romania managing director Georg Kovacs opinionated.

Elsewhere in the news, Evenimentul Zilei informs that more and more Romanians are willing to give up smoking. If in 2004, there were some 48.7% of men smoking, the number currently amounts to less than 42%.

However, women quota maintained to a constant 25%, as they fear that they will gain  weight, Dr Florin Mihaltan declared. In Romania, annually, 30,000 deaths are related to smoking. Thus, the smoking habit seems to be the main cause for heart attacks in 75% of the cases. Health ministry officials declared that they would support anti-smoking campaigns by trying to ban smoking inside restaurants.

Cotidianul reads that Gigi Becali, one of the richest Romanian businessmen and owner of Bucharest football club Steaua reclaims back his 2 million dollar donation to the Church. Officially, Becali is upset because the Romanian Orthodox Church did not start the building of the People's Cathedral as it said it would and declared that he wanted to give the money to Athos monastery.

Unofficially, the explication pertains to a completely different register, the newspaper reads: according to sources, Becali claimed a 15,000 square meter terrain near Bucharest which the Church did not see fit to cede. Apparently, his nephew, Lucian, owns that terrain.

However, the stakes are high: just one square meter of the terrain in that area is worth 2,000 euro which would imply a total value of 30,000,000 euro. The Patriarchy rejected Becali's claim to receive his donation back, on grounds that it is against the law.

Moreover, an official press release of the Patriarchy informs that some of the money have already been allocated for infrastructure works for the future Cathedral and added that construction works would start next year.

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