Romania was on the brink of being closed down because of swine flu. Elsewhere in the news, several counties are to organise local referendums at a national level on the presidential elections day. The press also reads about the fact that one Euro could cost up to 4.5 lei by the end of the year. Last but not least, another 8 ministers proposed by the Croitoru cabinet have been rejected.

Romania was on the brink of being closed down because of swine flu's fast evolution, Gandul reads. The Swine flue management committee within the Health Ministry proposed to cancel the public meetings for the time being. The proposal was voted against, even if in Bulgaria our neighbours voted in favour of this measure in three cities already. Romania is not prepared for the pandemic: the prevention plan is not being respected, the seasonal vaccination against the virus has not started and the Government has not bought and distributed disinfectant and protection masks yet.

A quarter of the 310 beds from the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Iasi (East) are occupied by patients diagnosed with or suspect of swine flu. Ex-health minister Ion Bazac claims that the delays started after the social-democratic party left the governing coalition. According to Adevarul, one million AH1N1 vaccines are urgently needed, especially in schools. Despite the fact that the vaccine is produced locally and the vaccination campaign is due to start in one month, one million doses could be bought from the international market. Students and pupils are the first to be vaccinated.

Romania is to organise local referendums at a national level on the presidential elections day, Romania Libera reads. The idea was inspired by incumbent president Basescu, who proposed that on the day of the presidential elections, namely October 22, people should be consulted on the issue of having a single-chambered Parliament. This opened the local authorities' appetite for referendums, but Traian Basescu sees this as electoral counter-attacks.

In both the first and the second presidential elections round, several counties will organise referendums addressing the legalisation of prostitution and light drugs' consumption, a referendum for a new administrative delimitation of the city, but also a citizens' consultation to decide whether social tickets should be awarded to the retired once a month and not once a year, as it currently happens. The idea of legalising prostitution and light drugs belongs, ironically, to Basescu.

One Euro could cost up to 4.5 lei by the end of the year, Cotidianul informs. According to the publication, ING Romania analysts were the first to back the idea. This is bad news for many Romanians, who have to pay back a credit in euros to banks. Danske Bank analysts expect the euro to cost 4.45 lei in three months. They say the latest political events and the perspectives of the IMF negotiations result are putting pressure on the national currency, the leu. They see the euro going up to 4.6 lei in the next 12 months.

Romanian Central Bank (BNR) data shows that the leu lost 8.08% of its value during October 29 - December 31, 2007 and 6.65% during the same 2009 period. By the end of this year another 6.65% loss is expected. On October 29, BNR priced 1 euro with 4,2995. The Futures market in Sibiu (Central) expects the euro to cost 4.38 lei by the end of the year.

A 4.5 lei per euro currency exchange rate means that people who had taken a credit in euro from any bank will see their rate increase by 11.67% against the beginning of the year. If one paid the bank 500 euros monthly in January, now the rate is 235 lei more expensive.

Other 8 proposed ministers have been rejected, Evenimentul Zilei reads. The last eight hearings of the Croitoru Cabinet ministerial proposals concluded with a negative vote from PSD-PNL-UDMR. Radu Berceanu, proposed for Telecoms and Communications, got 42 votes against and 33 in favour; Theodor Paleologu (Culture) - 23 to 20; Adriean Videanu (Economy and Commerce) - 36 to 29; Sulfina Barbu (Environment) - 21 to 15; Mihai Stanisoara (Defence) 20 to 13; Daniel Funeriu (Education) - 21 to 15; Florin Saghi (Interior) - 40 to 26; and Cristian Vladescu (Health) - 15 to 11.

The MPs managed to insult each other and say jokes with subliminal messages. Fights were not missed. After the hearings for Berceanu, PDL and PSD members were pushing each others on the corridors, because during the hearing, Valeriu Zgonea (PSD) was patronising Alin Trasculescu (PDL): "Go home if you had a fight with your wife!"