2009 kicks off in a bad start: 1,000 Romanians are caught in between the Iraeli-Palestinian escalating conflict, one newspaper reads on Monday. Elsewhere in the news, Romania's economic crisis saved us from a gas crisis. In politics today, one newspaper reads today about Basescu's option to deliver his New Years' Eve speech away from Bucharest.

Romania Libera reads that there are about 1,000 Romanian citizens blocked in the Gaza Strip due to the escalating conflict between the Israeli and the Palestianians. According to Romania's Foreign Affairs Ministry, there were only 55 solicitors from Romanians planning to leave the strig, of which 14 women, 5 men and 36 children.

Following heavy air raids on Hamas positions, the Israeli army launched a major ground offensive in the area. Israeli tanks opened fire on several objectives they say were controlled by the radical Islamist group. For their part, Hamas troups responded with Kassam missiles, according to international media reports.

The large majority of Romanian citizens in Gaza are women married to Palestinian men. There is no indication yet whether a number of 55 Romanians who demanded help would be able to leave Gaza city. For the moment, even if they receive approval to leave the Gaza Strip, they would not be able to leave because of ground operations in the area.

Elsewhere in the news, the economic crisis saved Romania of a gas crisis, Cotidianul reads: the 30% cut of Russian gases did not make itself felt in Romania because large industrial consumers diminished their productions due to the crisis.

Economy minister Adriean Videanu declared that even though there was a 3.1 million cubic meters cut on Friday, he assured that Romania was ready to deal with this cut. For his part, Marius Stroia, head of the national body monitoring natural gas imports DNGN, said that a drop in deliveries to Romania was announced starting Friday 6 p.m..

He also said that starting Monday Romanian oil company Petrom would close the Doljchim plant. Adriean Videanu said the decision in this regard had exclusively economic reasons and was not connected with the national natural gas transport system.

Thus, the big gas consumers are either closed, just about to be clsed or register a dimished production due to the crisis. Thus, the Azomures plant (with a 2 million cubic metric gas consumption per day) is shut down until half of January. InterAgro announced to reduce its production by 90% starting January 1, 2009.

Last but not least, Cotidianul reads about the President's option to deliver his New Years' Eve speech in Brasov rather than Bucharest. Sources within secret services declared for the newspaper that they were the ones advising the President of such a move.

According to the evaluation, citizens in Bucharest grew more hostile against the President and secrutiy forces would be unable to control the masses. The same evaluation took into account that people might through out champagne bottles or any other object they have at hand.