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What the newspapers say: Thursday, March 18, 2010

de C.B.
Joi, 18 martie 2010, 8:35 English | Press Review

Credit crunch enters a new stage: Romanian National Bank (BNR) officials are talking about "people thrown out of their houses". Elsewhere in the news, in Romania, any mad man can make the planes return after take-off. Last but not least, Romania is the heaven of mafia runaways.

Credit crunch enters a new stage: Romanian National Bank (BNR) officials are talking about "people thrown out of their houses", Gandul informs. Bank Governor's councillor Adrian Vasilescu says that the state has contributed to the last year's recession by taking massive loans from the banks. But the money has not been used to pay up debts to private companies.

Vasilescu indicates that an increasing number of Romanian citizens risk being thrown out of their houses, which they have bought with loans from banks. He believes banks should pay attention to these social issues and the Government should intervene if it can.

In January 2010, people's arrears amounted to 2.15 billion euros, in contrast to 900 million euros, the figures in January 2009, BNR data show. Over 214,000 Romanian citizens and companies owed the banks money, up 36% against last year's similar period.

Insolvency and bankruptcy specialist Gheorghe Piperea warned recently about the alarming increase in banks' requests to get people out of their houses. Most of these persons have taken a credit for personal needs, worth of 30,000-40,000 lei. 100,000 Romanians were in this situation in February this year, he said.

Vasilescu indicates that banks have financed state loans week after week, mainly to cover the budget deficit - pensions, salaries, debts. Vasilescu said the state paid too little of its dues and worsened the recession. In 2009, the Romanian state borrowed 7 billion euros, up 172% against its 2008 loans, BNR data indicates. The Romanian authorities "forgot" to pay its debts to private companies, pushing them closer to the brink of bankruptcy.
Local councils are the worst employers, owning 1.6 billion lei to the private sector, mainly to constructors. Vasilescu adds that the Romanian state did not take any real measure to combat the effects of the crisis. He says too many so-called anti-crisis measures are in fact social measures meant to numb the effects of the crisis or the effects of some anti-crisis measures, which cannot be otherwise than tough. The only real anti-crisis programme, to his opinion, is the IMF, European Commission and World Bank agreement.

In Romania, any mad man can make the planes return after take-off, Adevarul reads. 48-year old mentally disturbed man made a flying plane return to the airport in Timisoara (West), causing chaos. The man first called the airport at 6:35 in the morning, asking about a flight to Rome (Italy), to where he wanted to fly with a woman named Cordos.

He called later, around 8 am, saying that the woman was on board of the plane, carrying a bomb. A person with that particular name happened to be on board, but it was a man. The announcement wreaked havoc in the airport for half a day. Timisoara airport manager Cornel Samartinean (Lib Dem), ex-textile merchant, failed to handle an emergency situation. In 15 minutes, he presented three different scenarios, mentioning different flights threatened by the alleged terrorist.

For two hours, "Traian Vuia" airport security specialists, police and special troupes were confused about the plane they should search for bombs: Wizz Air Timisoara - London or Carpatair flight to Rome. The Wizz Air aircraft was brought back to the airport only nine minutes after take-off because it was the only plane to leave soon after the phone call. Over 160 passengers have been removed from the plane and made to wait for half a day. No bomb was discovered.

The schizophrenic returned and said the bomb was in the Carpatair aircraft leaving from Bucharest, heading to Rome, stopping in Timisoara. The man with the same family name as the woman mentioned by the mentally disturbed was investigated and released after concluding it was just a name coincidence.

Romania is the heaven of mafia runaways, Evenimentul Zilei reads. Cosa Nostra, Camorra, Sacra Corona Unita - feared Italian mafia - are often finding refuge in Romania. About 30 important members of these criminal organisations have been arrested in Romania over the last 10 years. "The criminal inflows are extending towards East Europe (...), the clans are not only targeting arms, drugs, constructions or human traffic, but also oil business", Italian journalist Roberto Saviano said last year. The journalist is currently being "hunted" by Camorra.

Italian business attaché to Romania Paolo Sartori declared recently that Eastern Europe means actually Romania for the Italian mafia. According to him, important members of mafia "families" have found refuge in Romania after the state's EU accession. In terms of arrests, "Giuseppe Scuderi, Cosa Nostra member - sentenced to life prison in Italy for qualified murder, arms traffic and ownership and use of trafficked arms - is just the latest example", the Romanian Police adds.

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