Romanian judges threaten to block trials and the presidential elections. Elsewhere in the news, the Romanian Ministry of Transport lost 35 million dollars worth of loan because the Government forgot about the money. Last but not least, Romania's president Traian Basescu is supposed to have restrained his brother’s investigation on the arm trade.

Romanian judges threaten to block trials and the presidential elections, Cotidianul reads. The Romanian National Union of Judges (UNJR) went out to protest on Tuesday, at a national level, inviting all judges' general assemblies to cease their activity starting September 1st. A change in the unique payment scheme attracted their discontent: the magistrates are likely to lose 50% of their benefits and are likely to see their incomes drop 23% and the specialty auxiliary staff would lose 10%.

On the other hand, the probation staff would see their income going 5% up, and the affiliated staff - up 23%. The magistrates and union members failed to convince the Government to change their mind during this week’s discussions. Magistrates say the Government lacks transparency and has contempt for the judicial system.

President of the Romanian Magistrates Association Mona Pivniceru said the magistrates are likely to join UNJR in their protests. They will make their position public by the end of this week. Pivniceru defined the current unique income scheme as "unacceptable" for the judges, because it gives a magistrate the same income as a ministry auxiliary staff. The Magistrates Superior Council reps claimed that the Government are after the magistrates losing their independence and being discredited.

Romanian Ministry of Transport lost 35 million dollars worth of loan because the Government forgot about the money, Gandul informs. Romania contracted a 180 million dollars loan for infrastructure projects from the International Reconstruction and Development Bank (IBRD) three ago.

Until now, Romania requested the financial institution to extend the deadline for cashing up three times, because the Romanian authorities could not identify neither projects, nor budget resources for co-finance - Romania was supposed to bring 45 million dollars to the table, as well.

By the end of May, Romania managed to get only 51.5 million dollars from the loan. And all these in spite the infrastructure being in dire need for investment and development. Over half of Romania's national roads are expired and need urgent repairs and 38% of the railway needs support. The initial deadline was December 31, 2008, but the new limit is the last day of the current year.

Romania's president Traian Basescu restrained his brother’s investigation on the arm trade, claims Sorin Rosca Stanescu, a Romanian involved in mass-media and business, for Romanian TV channel B1 TV, quoted by Evenimentul Zilei. According to him, the investigation was once stopped in spring and the Interior Ministry's leadership sacked. Therefore it could only be the Romanian President.

Stanescu questions whether the investigation, had it been left to be carried out, could have attracted Interpol's suspicions of terrorism. Stanescu said that the UN is following the arm circuit and he hoped they would find criminal gangs, and not Romanian authorities. Romanian politician Cozmin Gusa said that Stanescu was openly acting against Basescu. Political marketing specialist Dan Andronic said that it was possible for the scandal to not influence Traian Basescu's rank in the electorate's preferences.

Liberal leader Crin Antonescu asked the Romanian President to clarify the accusations Stanescu brought to his brother, namely that Mircea Basescu was involved in explosives traffic with a person called Bakri Imad Abdul Reda, suspected to be connected with terrorist groups sought by Interpol. He urged the Romanian Justice Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry to address the statements made about the President's brother.

Sorin Rosca Stanescu says the affair involved five ships carrying explosive which should have been destroyed in a military unit in Valcea. According to him, the event was hushed up by the Romanian authorities, urged by Traian Basescu.