The espionage scandal between Romania and Russia, the aftermath of the Bucharest maternity ward fire earlier this week, a twist in the tense relationship between the President and big media owners, and Pamela Anderson feature prominently in Romanian newspapers on Friday.
Adevarul tries to dig and see "why Russia has become upset about Romania". The paper reads that the espionage scandal sparked earlier this week - when a Romanian diplomat was retained under espionage charges then expelled, a measure followed by a similar one involving a Russian diplomat in Romania - may be part of a geo-strategic battel. It reads that some analysts in Russian and international media have linked the arrest of the Romanian diplomat to an upcoming referendum in Moldova while others claim its a simple PR game for the Russian secret services. And the paper also discusses the role of the media in the conflict.
Meanwhile, Evenimentul Zilei reads that Romanian media owner Sorin Ovidiu Vantu has won a case in which he challenged in court the orders of a series of fiscal checks at the Realitatea-Catavencu media group, which he owns. Vantu has won a first battle with the "weak state" - the paper headline sounds, referring to what Vantu has urged more than a year ago, that Romanian authorities should strengthen the Romanian state and not blame business people for misfortunes. Vantu is one of several media owners in Romania which appear to be at war with President Traian Basescu. Vantu's Realitatea-Catavencu has claimed that the fiscal checks against have been ordered by Basescu himself.
Elsewhere in the news, Romania libera reads that the Government has tried unsuccessfully to use the law to prevent companies get rid of debt by selling debt-laden businesses to nonexistent, deceased or non-EU people. The paper reads that the sale of debt-laden companies, a common practice in Romania for 20 years, is continuing despite recent measures taken by the government to tackle the issue. And the paper describes new methods used by firms for "business laundering".
Gandul continues the discussion on the system-level causes of a tragedy earlier this week, when several babies died in a Bucharest maternity ward fire. The paper compares health spent in Romania to that in neighboring countries. And it shows that in Romania the burden of the health system is carried almost entirely by the state, with private companies spending only 1% of the GDP on health - half the level in Hungary. And it reads that while in 2008 the Romanian state spent an average of 280 euro for the health of each Romanian, Hungary spent 530 euro.
Also in the papers today: Evenimentul Zilei reads that tickets for a Playboy party in Snagov, north of Bucharest cost 1,100 euro. Why? The party is attended by no other than Pamela Anderson. It is the first European Playboy Mansion party, due to take place at the Snagov Palace in mid-September.