Monday, November 27, 2006

Romania's designated EU commissioner answers EP questions

Leonard Orban, Romania’s designated EU commissioner, told members of the European Parliament on Monday that he would support more intensive language training in schools and would supplement moves to protect the languages of minorites in member states.

Orban and Bulgaria’s designated commissioner Meglena Kuneva both faced MEPs in preliminary hearings before they’re confirmed in office by the European Parliament and just over a month before Romania and Bulgaria join the EU on January 1, 2007.

While he apparently made a good impression on his listeners, Orban still has to learn of their evaluation about his statements on Tuesday. A final vote on his nomination is expected in the plenary EP session on December 11-14.

Orban has been designated to take the new seat of a Multilingualism Commissioner, which has raised many eyebrows among EU officials who wondered why such a post was needed.

He spoke French, English and Romanian during the hearings, arguing that knowing more languages improves competitiveness on the EU market.

The hearings have lasted for three hours as Orban first held a speech presenting his priorities and then answered the questions of MEPs., Nov 27, 2006

Economy minister defends himself against accusations of crime links

Romanian Economy minister Codrut Seres has become the subject of a series of revelations for the past several days, related to an alleged “privileged relationship” - as one newspaper put it - with a Bulgarian citizen investigated over his role in the privatization of Romanian energy companies.

Seres responded with an open letter to be sent to a series of officials today claiming the judicial system is used in political purposes.

He says in the open letter that “for several days I’ve been the target of attacks based on the fact that my name appears in a document that seems to be part of a just-opened investigation”. He said the revelations in several influential newspapers were aimed at tainting his image.

The first revelations related to an allegedly suspicious connection between the minister and Bulgarian citizen Stamen Stancev were made in Jurnalul National, a newspaper owned by the family of the Conservative Party-PC, to which Seres belongs.

It said on Friday that the minister might be a subject of a prosecutor’s investigation because had several meetings with Stancev, who represented a major Western financial group in the privatization of Romanian energy companies and who’s been suspected of organized crime activities. Seres was said to have delivered classified information to the Bulgarian.

Other newspapers continued the story with supplementary revelations on Sunday. But according to the minister, this is all proof that the Justice system is used in political purposes.

Seres recently claimed there’ve been intense pressures related to the privatization of energy companies in Romania. The issue was discussed at the National Defense Council last week as authorities in Bucharest have called for a declassification of the contracts by which several companies including oil major Petrom were privatized over the past several years., Nov 27, 2006

Romtelecom to launch digital television services

Romanian wired telephony operator Romtelecom will launch digital television services on Wednesday, it was announced on Monday. Once it accomplishes that, the company will complete its services offer: voice (wired telephony), data (Internet) and content (digital television).

There are several operators active on the DTH market in Romania already: RCS&RDS through Digi TV, Astral-UPC through Focus Sat, Digital Cable System through Max TV and DTH Television Group through Boom TV.

The DTH platform has the technological advantage of offering high-definition image and sound, similar to that of a DVD., Nov 27, 2006

Number of franchises on Romanian market doubled in 2006

The number of franchises on the Romanian market rose by 50% in 2006. There are currently some 300 retail and services franchised brands in Romania and their number is expected to grow even more after January 1, 2007.

Statistics show that locally three out of four entrepreneurs go bust in the first three years after launching a company. But the percentage is different for businesses started as a franchise, when only one in four firms fail on the market in the first three years of existance.

According to Laura Ion, founder of the Association of Franchise Networks in Romania, the failure of a franchise may be caused by breaching procedures or the rules set by the franchiser; the appearance of laws restricting the activities of the franchisee; or insufficient market testing.

The costs of setting up a franchised business in Romania varies from 10,000 euro to over 3 million dollars - the costs of the Marriott Hotel franchise here. The cheapest are businesses in the food production and real estate companies, while the most expensive are pharmaceutical networks, hotel chains and retail brands.

Most franchises in Romania come from the US while a significant part come from Europe. But Romania has its own franchises: Tina R, Smart Three, Turabo Caffe, Rompetrol, the Ziua newspaper, La Mama or Bela Italia all had their share of success. But most of them have yet to go international.

According to Laura Ion, this is because the Romanian market has no tradition in franchising and brands have generally be well-known before developing into franchises., Nov 27, 2006

USD 180 mln. loan for improvement of Romania infrastructure

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development will provide a loan amounting to 180 million US dollars to Romania to cut costs in the transportation sector by improving the general quality of national roads and railway networks in the first several years of EU membership.

Romanian Finance minister Sebastian Vladescu and the World Bank manager for Romania Benoit Blarel signed the deal in this regard on Monday.

The loan is aimed at supporting the funding of rail and road maintenance programs amounting to 225 million USD.

The World Bank has delivered loans totalling five billion US dollars to Romania since 1990., Nov 27, 2006

What the newspapers say: November 27, 2006

A huge scandal involving Economy minister Codrut Seres keeps the front pages of most Romanian newspapers today. President Basescu speaks up on a large array of issues from NATO to the energy security in an interview for one paper, while others quote experts who revive talks about the need and knowledge to “communicate Romania” to the rest of the world.

Economy minister Codrut Seres has been the subject of a wave of revelations in the media for the past several days. He was linked to a key character, Bulgarian businessman Stamen Stancev, now under investigation over alleged abuses in the privatization of Romanian energy companies.

According to Cotidianul, a resolution of the General Prosecutor’s Office ordering a criminal investigation into espionage and treason cases mentions the name of minister Seres four times - the privatization or sale of important stakes at several companies: Electrica Muntenia Sud, Petrom, the Turceni energy complex and Romexterra Bank.

The same newspaper also quotes prosecutors who point Communications minister Zsolt Nagy as one involved in prejudicial deals with the Romanian Mail or Romtelecom that also involve Stamen Stancev.

Evenimentul Zilei goes deeper into things and reports that for years the financial group Credit Suisse First Boston had a monopoly of well-placed contacts to arrange a role in the privatization of Romanian state companies.

And it reports that while the system was enforced under the previous government, current Economy minister Seres has left everything work unchanged for a long time “against the interests of the Romanian state”.

Gandul reports that the Romanian state cannot block higher fuel prices despite defying EU procedures by holding a golden share at Petrom, the country’s biggest oil company.

And Jurnalul National - the newspaper that first launched news of a possible involvement of minister Seres in this scandal - gives Seres an opportunity to tell his side of the story.

Two newspapers opt to interview President Traian Basescu on the matter. For Adevarul, he reveals what happened behind closed doors at last week’s National Defense Counil talks on the security of the Romanian energy market - and says it was not very clear who is in fact controlling the Romanian oil.

He spoke of OMV, the Austrian company that has bought Petrom, and shows that 51% of its stake are listed on various bourses - and nobody knmows who’s holding these shares for the moment.

Evenimentul Zilei also interviews Basescu, who speaks of the role of NATO and the energy security in Europe, but also about oil. He tells the newspaper that “statements that Gazprom is buying OMV shares massively are a reality”.

Meanwhile, the papers try to identify how to “sell Romania”, that is, how to produce an efficient communication scheme to improve its image abroad.

The same Evenimentul Zilei quotes Jeffrey Gitomer, one of the best sales trainer in the US who held a speech in Bucharest last week. According to Gitomer, Romania should not be sold as a country but as a place to travel to, to relax and find a “wonderful culture”.

For its part, Gandul tries to learn from former and current mistakes and quotes Vasile Puscas, the man who negotiated Romania’s EU accession as a representative of the former PSD Government.

According to Puscas, “Romania has an international communication based on propaganda, on leaflets with images of its leader” and that is what contributed to a decision in many EU member states to restrict the access of Romanian workers on their markets., Nov 27, 2006

Romanian PM returns home after surgery in France

PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu has announced he would return to Romania on Monday after undergoing a surgical intervention at his left knee in a French clinic last week. He said in a Government release that he was feeling well and would restart his usual activities on Tuesday.

Tariceanu suffered the knee injury in a motorcycle accident earlier this year. He opted to have the surgical intervention in a Bordeaux, France clinic than in a Romanian hospital.

Doctors at the Clinique du Sport where the prime minister was hospitalized have used a unique procedure during the surgery using a 3D-system for maximum precision., Nov 27, 2006

Reuters: Bulgaria may join euro before Romania

Romania may join the Euro zone in 2013 while Bulgaria may see it happen in 2012, according to 30 analysts from emerging markets quoted in a Reuters poll. The main cause quoted in favoring Bulgaria’s chances was the more stable currency rate of the Bulgarian leva against the single currency.

Still, both countries face a current account deficit problem which may be further fueled by future spending plans for the infrastructure.

The poll shows the two countries, due to join the European Union in January 1, 2007, are reluctant to implement head-on reforms to reduce budget deficits which may further postpone their accession to the single currency., Nov 27, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Netherlands to restrict access of Romanian, Bulgarian workers

Netherlands joined a consistent list of EU countries that try to avoid problems with a possible inflow of Romanian and Bulgarian workers on its market once the two countries join the EU in January next year. Its Government announced on Thursday that the the country will open its labour market to Bulgarian, Romanian employees gradually over a period of two years starting January 1, 2007.

Netherlands will apply a transitional regime for an “initial” period of two years, during which working permits will be provided to Romanians and Bulgarians in case qualified personnel would not be found among the Dutch. “The future employer also has to guarantee sufficient labour and housing conditions”, a press release from the Netherlands Embassy to Bucharest says.

By the end of the first year the Dutch government would decide whether to open the labour market further after an evaluation of the national and European labour situation, the release says., Nov 24, 2006

Renault plans research center in Dambovita county

The Renault company has shown interest in acquiring 200 hectares of land currently under the control of the Romanian Defense Ministry, which is due to be passed in the property of local authorities in the Dambovita county near Bucharest.

Renault plans to use the land to build a research center there with an investment of 450 million euro.

The Romanian Government approved on Wednesday a decision passing part of the parcel, close to the Titu-Boteni town, in the administration of the Dambovita District Council.

The company may buy the land only if wins a public tender due to be organized by the District Council., Nov 24, 2006

Romanian current account deficit reaches 6.69 bln euro

The current account of Romania reported a deficit of 6.69 billion euro in the first nine months of the year, 46.6% higher than the same period last year. The National Bank-BNR blamed the situation on the increasing trade deficit on Thursday.

The trade deficit upped to 7.4 billion euro during the period, 53.4% higher than in the first nine months of 2005.

Romania’s medium and long term foreign debt also uppted 5.9% to 25.99 billion euro compared to late 2005., Nov 24, 2006

Bill Gates supports modernization of Romanian libraries

The Foundation run by Microsoft founder Bill Gates will fund a project of free access to Internet-connected computers in Romanian libraries. Romanian culture minister Adrian Iorgulescu quoted by has confirmed the news.

Iorgulescu is quoted as saying that there have been three rounds of talks with Foundation representatives who were informed about a map of cross-country libraries so that thay analyze the situation and start the project as soon as possible.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is said to plan to include Romania in a programme aimed at bringing IT technologies to public libraries across the world. Similar projects have been launched in Chile, Mexico, Latvia and Lithuania., Nov 24, 2006

Germany ratifies Romania EU accession treaty

The upper chamber of the German Parliament, Bundesrat, ratified the treaty of Romania and Bulgaria accession in the EU unanimously on Friday. Romanian European Integration minister Anca Boagiu said on the occasion that the German vote „establishes the position of our country in the great European family”.

Germany was the last country to conclude the ratification procedure. The Bundesrat debates started at 9.30 Berlin time and lasted for only half an hour, making Germany the 25th member state to approve the Treaty, several days after the procedure was concluded by Denmark.

The last formal decision on the Treaty belongs to the European Council on December 15.

According to Boagiu, „Romania thus becomes a full member of the European Union in a period when the EU Presidency is held by Germany”, when Romania will make clear its positions in European debates based on thw common interests and vision it has with Germany., Nov 24, 2006

Helsinki summit: EU remains devided over partnership with Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin was welcomed at the EU-Russia summit in Helsinki on Friday with a wave of questions about the recent, mysterious death of a Russian spy in London.

The unexpected debut of the summit was blamed not only on the temporal proximity of the event, but also on the fact that European leaders avoid a head-on approach on a proposal to create a broad strategic partnership with Russia including deals on energy policies.

In these circumstances, the first concrete result of talks on Friday morning was a deal on decreasing Russian taxes on foreign airline flights over Siberia. According to European Commission evaluations, the taxes amounted to some 300 million euro yearly.

Moscow now accepts a progressive cut of these taxes, which would be fully eliminated starting 2013.

But according to international analysts quoted by the media lately the bulk of talks should have focused on the energy partnership, as EU states are still more worried about their dependency on Russian energy.

The European leaders failed to raise the issue because of EU internal disputes. Warsaw refused to drop its veto rights over the partnership, as Russia maintains its embargo on Polish meat, so debates on the partnership could not be launched.

It is the first time when a new member state blocks an accord of such importance and the dispute highlights the deep divisions between EU members on relations with Russia.

Russia has also threatened to block all animal imports from the EU after Romania and Bulgaria join the Union on January 1, 2007 as it fears the two new members were far from providing good safety to their meat exports.

The EC has said that Russia’s fears were unjustified and announced it would send a delegation of experts to Russia to explain its strategy to prevent animal diseases.

So much of the talk in Helsinki is expected to focus on other issues such as the situation in Kosovo, Georgia and Russia’s due accession in the World Trade Organization., Nov 24, 2006

Government, GEF to to spend millions in Romania infrastructure, environment

The Romanian government decided this week to spend some 47.5 million RON to support investment priorities in local communities in 20 counties, a government press release says. Much of the money will go in infrastructure improvement projects, construction works and other local interest objectives.

The counties to receive such funds are Arges, Bacau, Bihor, Botosani, Brasov, Calarasi, Constanta, Covasna, Dolj, Galati, Harghita, Hunedoara, Maramures, Neamt, Satu Mare, Salaj, Sibiu, Suceava, Timis and Tulcea.

Another batch of funds will come from the Global Environment Fund, an organization that announced it would provide a non-reimbursable amount of 17.4 million USD in biodiversity protection and other environmental projects.

The announcement was passed to the public by Environment minister Sulfina Barbu in a conference this week.

The GEF strategy focuses on measures to adopt technologies based on energy efficiency and on cuts of costs for the introduction of non-polluting technologies., Nov 24, 2006

Energy contracts declassification a bit more complicated

The declassification of privatization contracts in the Romanian energy sector, requested by the Supreme Defense Council on Wednesday, has already started but the contracts would be fully published on the Economy Ministry website only when all the “thousands of pages of contracts will be scanned and readied for publishing”, Ministry counsellor Razvan Calin has told

Presidency spokeswoman Adriana Saftoiu also said there was no clear deadline in this regard.

President Traian Basescu has pressed for the declassification after a series of reports that revealed abusive terms in the privatization of Romanian oil major Petrom, bought by Austrian group OMV.

Basescu has first used the threat of contracts declassification in 2005 as the domestic oil market was confronted with a temporary crisis. It had been requested as early as 2004, when many of these contracts were signed.

Razvan Calin assured companies there would be no legal problems related to the declassification so “those who signed these contracts have no reason to oppose” the move., Nov 24, 2006

Romanian teams perform draws in UEFA Cup

Bucharest teams Dinamo and Rapid eached managed a draw against their UEFA Cup rivals on Thursday evening. Dinamo scored once and eventually received a goal on rival turf against FC Bruges, a score mirrored by Rapid with a 1-1 against Mlada Boleslav back home.

Bruges dominated Dinamo in the first half but could not prevent a min. 33 goal by Niculescu. The Romanian team then faced hard times as its goalkeeper was saved twice by the post. That did not happen, however, when the Swedish referee offered a penalty for Bruges that had Vermant score in min. 59.

The match ended in a draw and, helped by the Tottenham 0-1 victory against Leverkusen, Dinamo is among the top 16 in the Cup.

Fo its part, Bucharest’s Rapid was dominated in the first half by the fierce Czechs of Mlada Boleslav, who scored in min. 41 and failed on several other attempts. But the break was followed by a more vivid Rapid as they scored in min. 51 (Moldovan). In min. 73, Rapid’s Zicu scored for a second time, but the goal was annulled by Austrian referee Steffan Messner., Nov 24, 2006

What the newspapers say: November 24, 2006

The scandal related to the privatization of Romanian energy companies continues to figure high on the front pages of Romanian newspapers today. They’re complemented with extensive reports on EU accession and on various Romania-EU issues. And we learn how much of how little Romania has done in many areas, from Agriculture to the protection of the Rroma community.

“Treason, espionage and the constitution of a group operating coordinatedly to reveal economic secrets”. That is what several privatization officials in Romania are charged with over their involvement in the privatization of Romanian major Petrom, a deal that involved Credit Suisse First Boston, as Evenimentul Zilei reports.

The newspaper tries to put it all together and tells the story of “how the Privatization guys betrayed” the country when they accepted abusive terms in the Petrom contract.

The same approach is also taken by Jurnalul national, which quotes judicial sources that say treason and economic espionage were part of the privatization of other major companies in Romania, including power company Electrica Muntena Sud, IT&C company Radiocomunicatii and the Romanian Mail.

Gandul reports that by yesterday evening only five companies - Petrom, Distrigaz Sud, Distrigaz Nord, Energy Holding - opted to comply with a Supreme Defense Council request that all privatization contracts be declassified.

And the newspaper quotes business officials who claimed the confidentiality clauses of those contracts were imposed by the Romanian state.

For its part, Adevarul quotes Romanian MPs who admit that the privatization of Petrom in December 2004 was passed in the Parliament with a blind vote, as few of its member knew what they were voting at the time.

Meanwhile, Romanian newspapers intensify and diversify their reports on EU accession intensively.

Evenimentul Zilei quotes one of the authors of the many defamating articles related to Romania published by British newspaper The Sun.

Bob Graham knows that such articles and the restrictions applied by Britain on Romanian and Bulgarian workers have sparked huge concern in Bucharest, but believes Romanians pay too much attention to such things instead of “cultivating your national pride!”

The same Evenimentul Zilei reports that starting with the EU accession Romanians will no longer be allowed to mourn their dead as they’ve been doing for centuries. They will have to take the body straight to a chapel and no longer hold it at home, while the shroud will have to be biodegradable. And that is far from a good thing for Romanian widows.

And one more from Evenimentul Zilei: former EU Ambassador to Bucharest Jonathan Scheele is, according to a Romanian politician was the subject of a complaint by the head of the District Council of Constanta, Eastern Romania, Nicusor Constantinescu.

A member of what is seen as a “clan” formed around Constanta big boss Radu Mazare, Constantinescu accuses Scheele of traffic of influence in the distribution of EU funds in the Constanta county.

Speaking of money, Adevarul reports that the average salary in Romania will reach 500 euro in seven years from now, as seven of the eight Romanian euro-regions are among the poorest areas in Europe.

Gandul has its own forecasts - this time in the energy sector. It says Romania’s crude and gas reserves will no last for more than 15 years if the 2005 production is kept unchanged, according to an Economy Ministry study.

And Cotidianul looks back to the social reform and finds that each member of the Rroma community in the country has only received two euro through various programs in the whole 17 years since the fall of communism.

The same Cotidianul also speaks of Romanian agriculture and notes that while the country was left without an Agriculture minister due to political wrangling, a new minister must be found fast because there’s too much to do before the January 1 EU accession., Nov 24, 2006

First Romanian MEPs announced

Romanian senators and deputies approved on Thursday a list of 35 Romanian politicians who will represent the country in the European Parliament once it joins the EU on January 1, 2007. They will have a double term - as members of the EP and of the Romanian Parliament - for five months starting January.

Still, their nomination was far in advance of the conclusion of debates on a law over the organization of European elections in Romania. The elections would take place on May 13, 2007, according to a deal agreed by most Romanian parties.

Romania’s future MEPs:

The D.A. Alliance of Liberals (PNL) and Democrats (PD)
Adrian Cioroianu
Alexandru Mortun
Gheorghe Vergil Serbu
Maria Petre
Radu Tarle
Roberta Anastase
Marius Jean Marinescu
Mircea Cosea
Adina Valean
Tiberiu Barbuletiu
Ovidiu Silaghi
Monica Ridzi

The Social Democrats (PSD)
Titus Corlatean
Gabriela Cretu
Cristian Dumitrescu
Dan Mihalache
Ioan Mircea Pascu
Radu Podgoreanu
Daciana Sarbu
Adrian Severin
Alexandru Athanasiu
Corina Cretu
Vasile Dancu
Adriana Ticau

The Greater Romania Party (PRM)

Eugen Mihaescu
Viorica Moisiuc
Petre Popeanga
Daniela Buruiana
Cristian Stanescu

The Hungarian Democrats (UDMR)

Konya Hamar Sandor
Kelemen Attila
Szabo Karoly

The Conservative Party (PC)

Silvia Ciornei
Eduard Hellvig

National non-Hungarian minorities group
Ovidiu Gant, Nov 23, 2006

ENEL to join OMV in declassification of Romania privatization accord

The management of the Enel power company has announced it was ready to declassify a contract with the Romanian state over the privatization of electricity facilities in the country.

The company thus joins OMV in collaborating with Romanian authorities as they have launched a major campaign to clear things up about the privatization of Romanian energy companies, after a series of controversies related to the sale of Petrom to OMV.

ENEL says in a press release that following an appeal in this regard by Romanian President Traian Basescu at the Supreme Defense Council yesterday, Enel as a good corporate citizen of the country was ready to comply with the national legislation and regulations related to the privatization of the energy companies.

It said it was ready to comply with a call to declassify the privatization contract if such a call existed, but said the formal accord was needed from the Electrica company, the other shareholder of Enel Electrica Banat and Enel Electrica Dobrogea.

For its part, E.ON Gaz Romania said it was informed about President Traian Basescu’s statements yesterday but it was waiting for an official request from the Romanian authorities before it declassifies the deal that led to its privatization. And it warned that it was the duty of its shareholders, E.ON Ruhrgas and the Romanian Government, to make a decision in this regard., Nov 23, 2006

Iraq convict in video-conference hearing attempt with Romanian judges

Judges of the Bucharest Appeals Court tried on Thursday to use a video conference to hear a man sentenced to death in Iraq over his role in the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists last year. Still, the full procedure was postponed for December 14 as the questions sent from Romania reached convict Mohammad Munaf too late and he did not have enough time to prepare his answers.

In images broadcast by Romanian public television TVR today, it was not clear if the people undergoing the hearing was Munaf himself. He was accompanied by two persons, one of which claiming to be his lawyer.

One of the journalists kidnapped last year, Ovidiu Ohanesian, said the man was Munaf as he recongnized his attitude and gestures.

An Iraqi court sentenced Munaf - currently held at a US base in Baghdad - to death last month over his role in the kidnapping Ohanesian and two other Romanian journalists in spring 2005.

Munaf served as a guide for the journalists at the time. The kidnapping was allegedly set up by a Romanian businessman of Arab descent, Omar Hayssam, who faces terrorism charges in Romania over the case. Hayssam managed to flee Romania earlier this year., Nov 23, 2006

EP Committee approves Romania report

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament approved the latest report on Romania compiled by EP rapporteur for the country Pierre Moscovici with 51 votes in favour and one against on Thursday. The MEPs adopted several amendments on such issues as the situation of minorities, international adoptions and violence against women.

The most important amendment to the report is the one related to the Romanian Law on national minorities. The report will say the EP wants the approval of the law.

Romanian authorities are also “invited” to consider the expectations of the Hungarian minority according to cultural self-governance and subsidiarity principles, especially by providing adequate funds for improving education standards.

Regarding the Rroma minority, Romanian authorities are asked to strengthen reforms in the field of protection against institutional violence, to improve living conditions, access to the health system and labour market by providing adequate funds.

Also passed was an amendment pushed by former Romania rapporteur Emma Nicholson, recommending EU member countries to open their internal markets for Romanian workers after January 1, 2007.

The EP report also welcomes the considerable progress made by Romania since the May 2006 report and approves January 1, 2006 as the country’s EU accession date. But it reminds the Romanian authorities that they have to maintain the pace of reform after accession.

The report is to be voted by the European Parliament in its amended form on November 29., Nov 23, 2006

Romanian PM feeling well after surgery

Romanian PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu was feeling well on Thursday after a surgical intervention at his left knee in a French hospital this morning, Government spokeswoman Oana Marinescu announced. She said the intervention has lasted for two hours and that shortly afterwards Tariceanu was fully aware, in excellent condition, active and in contact with events back home.

Calin Popescu Tariceanu, a motorbiking fan, sufferred a knee injury in a motorbike accident earlier this year.

He is due to return home on Sunday. Until then, he keeps all his duties as he refused to delegate them to another member of the government.

Tariceanu did not want to name the French clinic where he’s been since Wednesday., Nov 23, 2006

Prosecutors expand inquiry into Petrom privatization

Romanian prosecutors issued notifications on Wednesday night banning foreign citizens involved in shady deals related to the privatization of Romanian companies from leaving the country.

The case revolves around a senior official of the Economy Ministry, Dorinel Mucea, who allegedly had a key role in negotiating a series of abusive points in the contract by which Austrian company OMV bought Romanian oil major Petrom.

Among the Romanian suspects in the case one can number several influential officials from the Privatization, IT&C, and Industry authorities.

According to th Romanian Public Ministry, prosecutors from DIICOT, the main body investigating organized crime and terrorism cases in the country, has received from national security authorities a notification related to the existance of an organized crime group formed around Bulgarian citizen Stamen Stancev, involved in the privatization of Petrom as a consultant to an international banking company for its businesses in Romania., Nov 23, 2006

Slovakia quake shakes NW Romania

A surface earthquake of 5.5 degrees on Richter scale occurred in Slovakia near the border with Ukraine this morning. The quake was felt stongly in north-west Romania, from the counties of Satu Mare and Maramures down into the Apuseni Mountains.

According to local authorities no damages have been reported so far in the area. NW Romania is not used to such phenomena as there has hardly been any tectonic movement there for decades., Nov 23, 2006

BCR privatization report declassified

The final report on the privatization of Romania’s largest bank, the Romanian Commercial Bank-BCR, was declassified on Wednesday at the request of PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu. But the document does not contain any new information on the deal that had Austrian Erste Bank buy a majority stake in BCR, as it proved to be just a history of the privatization process.

The Romanian state and Este Bank have accepted certain confidentiality clauses in the contract, as it happened in the other major privatizations in the Romanian economy, such as thoso of oil company Petrom or telecom operator Romtelecom.

A scandal related to the Petrom privatization these days prompted Tariceanu to call for a review of the BCR privatization report yesterday morning., Nov 23, 2006

Queen of Cuban music performs in Bucharest

The queen of Cuban music, Omara Portuondo, performs at the Sala Palatului hall in downtown Bucharest on Thursday, after her first performance here a year and a half ago. The gig is part of the Omara Portuondo String Orchestra Project tour and includes some of the most famous Cuban musicians and a Romanian orchestra.

Her exotic sound is formed on an experience spreading over five decades and including performances with the hit vocal group Cuarteto Las D’Aida, Ry Cooder, Compay Segundo and Buena Vista Social Club., Nov 23, 2006

Supreme Defense Council calls for declassification of energy privatization contracts

The Supreme Defense Council of Romania-CSAT has urged holders of privatization contracts in the energy sector to declassify them as soon as possible, President Traian Basescu announced as the Council concluded his works on Wednesday evening.

Basescu said the controversial privatization contract by which Romanian oil major Petrom was sold to Austrian company OMV would also be made public as “there are privatization contracts affected by errors”.

The CSAT, which reunites the President, key ministers, heads of the intelligence services and others, discussed several issues related to the energy sector today, including a presentation of the privatization contract of Petrom and Romania’s energy distribution companies.

President Basescu urged Economy minister Codrut Seres earlier this week not to accelerate the privatization process of energy distributors unless an analysis is done on the results of energy-related privatizations so far.

The head of state has been pushing for a new energy policy for Romania as the country has to “pay maximum efforts to continually diminish its energy dependency towards zero”., Nov 22, 2006

Prosecutors hear Petrom contract negotiator

The Economy Industry official who negotiated the contract of Petrom privatization, which resulted in the sale of Romania’s biggest oil company to OMV, faced General Prosecutor’s Office charges on Wednesday as a major investigation was launched among officials involved in privatization processes. Ministry official Dorinel Mucea is charged with crimes against national security.

According to a press release from the Public Ministry in Bucharest, DIICOT, the body dealing with major criminal crime and terrorism cases in Romania, was notified in June this year about the existence of an organized crime group formed aroung Bulgarian citizen Stamen Stancev, a consultant for the Swiss bank that overviewed the Petrom privatization.

The network is said to include several dignitaries and public servants involved in privatization processes. Mucea, two other Romanians and Stancev Stamen were facing prosecutors’ questions on Wednesday., Nov 22, 2006

President agrees with revocation of Agriculture minister

Romanian President Traian Basescu said on Wednesday evening that he would sign a decree revoking Agriculture minister Gheorghe Flutur from the Government. Despite speculation that he would not do so, Basescu thus answered a call by PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu to have Flutur dismissed from the Government.

Tariceanu made the call earlier today, one day after his Liberal Party, to which Flutur also belongs, decided to withdraw its political support for the minister because he had joined a group of dissident Liberals asking for a thorough reform of the party.

Basescu said today that he disliked that Tariceanu had not accompanied his request with a proposal to replace Flutur with somebody else. And he said he decided to approve the call so that the Presidency not be considered guilty for the internal problems of the Liberal Party because of its links to the dissident Liberals., Nov 22, 2006

Yet another Romanian kidnapped, later released in Nigeria

Seven people including one Romanian citizen have been kidnapped in Nigeria, Reuters reported on Wednesday. All were later released by the kidnappers, according to reports later today. They were workers on a ship belonging to Italian oil company Saipem, part of the ENI group.

Sources within the oil industry security services have said the kidnappers were armed persons who reached the Mytras off-shore installation by boat.

The attackers later left the ship with seven hostages, while other 76 members of the team are safe. Mytras suffered no damage in the process.

Romanian ambassador to Nigeria Emil Rapcea told NewsIn press agency that he was waiting for a confirmation that a Romanian citizen was among the hostages.He said he had already contacted the company and was expecting details on the situation.

The ENI company confirmed that a Romanian was among the seven people taken hostage on Tuesday night. The other six are an Italian, a Philippine, two Finns, a Briton and a Pole.

It is the second time this year that a Romanian citizen is taken hostage in Nigeria. The first, engineer Emil Neagu, was kidnapped on October 3 and later freed., Nov 22, 2006

Military plane crashes in Western Romania

A military plane crashed in the vicinity of the Beliu town, Arad county, in Western Romania at noon on Wednesday. It was not immediately known whether the pilot of the MIG 21 Lancer plane is still alive, but authorities confirmed his death late today.

Arad prefect Gavril Popescu told the Realitatea TV news station that the spot where the plane crashed is isolated and the local population was asked to evacuate the area.

The MIG 21 belonged to the military unit in Campia Turzii.

Authorities first suggested that the pilot managed to propel himself out of the plane before the crash and only suffered minor injuries. But he was later found dead, as he failed to catapult out in due time.

According to Beliu mayor Pavel Tica, quoted by the same TV station, a 6-7 meter-wide crater was formed where the plane hit the ground near a wood deposit and apparently the pilot has tried to avoid crashing in a populated area.

It is the ninth such incident involving MIG 21 Lancer planes belonging to the Romanian Air Force., Nov 22, 2006

The Guardian: Russia to stop EU animal product imports because of Romania, Bulgaria

Russia is seriously thinking of halting its imports of animal products from any of the EU member states starting 2007 and blames it on future members Romania and Bulgaria that Moscow says do not respect food health standards, The Guardian announced, quoting a warning the European Commission has delivered to its 25 members on Wednesday.

Romanian authorities say, however, they would look into a way so that the country avoid any trade problems with Russia.

According to Adrian Tibu, spokesman for the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture, a similar problem existed two years ago when ten countries joined the EU. “There is no need to worry because all Romania has to do is to adopt a product certification system to be recognized in Russia”, he said.

For its part, the Russian news agency RIA Novosty quotes a Russian food health official who said his country needed proof that animal products of EU origin are safe once Romania and Bulgaria join the Union on January 1, 2007., Nov 22, 2006

Neighs accompany grotesque vote against law on Romania's MEPs

Senators of the opposition Social Democratic Party-PSD and the far-right Greater Romania Party-PRM have voted against a law on electing Romania’s future representatives in the European Parliament, which fell in the upper chamber as many MPs of the governing coalition opted to stay away from the vote.

The debates were marked by the neighs of Hungarian Democrats-UDMR senators, who felt offended that a representative of the PRM called the Hungarian language a “language of horses”.

The law fell despite PSD and PRM parliamentarians had agreed with the draft legislation during talks in the specialized commission. The legislation needed the approval of 69 parliamentarians, but received the votes of 54 people and the abstention of another 29, with only 90 senators attending the procedure. Most abstentions belonged to the PSD and PRM MPs.

The former objected the final version of the draft because they wanted that Romanian MPs be elected via an uninominal vote, as PSD president Mircea Geoana put it. That comes despite list-based votes are used in European elections even in countries that apply the uninominal vote internally.

The latter objected to the access of Hungarian Democrats in the EP elections., Nov 22, 2006

PM Tariceanu calls for declassification of report on BCR privatization

Romanian PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu said at the end of a Government session on Wednesday that he has called for the declassification of a final report on the privatization of the Romanian Commercial Bank-BCR.

The appeal comes hours before a Supreme Defense Council gathering in Bucharest today would discuss the privatizations occurred in the Romanian energy sector as well as a contract by which a majority stake in Romanian oil company Petrom was acquired by Austrian company OMV.

The privatization of BCR is the most valuable such process in CE Europe. A bid to take over a 61.88% of BCR was won by Erste Bank last year. Erste Bank paid 3.75 billion euro for the package, 2.2 billion of which went to the Romanian state.

The Austrian bank took effective control of BCR in autumn this year and is now running a public offer to buy BCR shares from bank employees (an 8% stake)., Nov 22, 2006

Steaua moves on to UEFA Cup with draw vs. Kiev

Steaua Bucharest qualified for the UEFA Cup spring with a 1-1 against Dinamo Kiev in Bucharest on Tuesday evening, which placed it third in Group E of the Champions League. Steaua lost all chances to move on in the League as the group is dominated by Olympique Marseille and Real Madrid.

The Ukrainian team dominated the field and obtained and advantage in minute 29, when Dinamo’s Romanian player Florin Cernat scored the first goal. The referees then annulled a second goal for Dinamo in minute 49 (Belkevici) and failed to validate yet another 27 minutes later (Satkih), after the Bucharest team scored in minute 68 (Dica).

Following the match, Cernat said that “if we looked at direct results, Steaua is worth the third place in the group. But we [Dinamo Kiev] don’t deserve the last position”.

Steaua beat Dinamo 4-1 in Kiev earlier this autumn.

Champions League full results

Group E

Steaua-Dinamo Kiev 1-1
Real Madrid-Lyon 2-2

1. Lyon 13 p, 2. Real Madrid 10 p, 3. Steaua 4 p, 4. Dinamo Kiev 1 p

Group F

Celtic Glasgow-Manchester 1-0
Benfica-Copenhaga 3-1

1. Manchester 9 p, 2. Celtic 9 p, 3. Benfica 7 p, 4. Copenhaga 4 p

Group G

TSKA Moscova-FC Porto 0-2
Arsenal-Hamburg 3-1

1. Arsenal 10 p, 2. FC Porto 10 p, 3. TSKA Moscova 8 p, 4. Hamburg 0 p.

Group H

Lille-Anderlecht 2-2
AEK Atena-AC Milan 1-0

1. Milan 10p, 2. AEK Atena 7 p, 3. Lille 6p, 4. Anderlecht 3p., Nov 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

President suggest energy system in partnership with OMV

Romanian President Traian Basescu said on Tuesday he was considering the establishment of a joint energy system including Romania, Hungary and Austria, considering Romania’s links with OMV, the Austrian company that holds the majority stake in Romanian oil major Petrom.

“While OMV were not a strategic partner, they have now become one”, he said at a conference on “Energy in Central and Eastern Europe”.

The contract that had OMV take the position of majority stakeholder in Petrom is to be analyzed by the Romanian Supreme Defense Council on Wednesday, as it has become the subject of controversies related to certain provisions blamed for spiraling energy prices.

During the conference, Basescu spoke of how the natural gas prices is established these days: “you very well know that the prices Gazprom is currently applying to various importing countries vary from 120 to 300 euro per 1000 cubic meters.

“The discrepancies and intermediate levels are very hard to understand. What is the way prices are set? Is it a political decision or is it how the market works?... There is an obvious political component to prices…”, Nov 21, 2006

Petrom announces investments of billions in securing crude and natural gas production

Romanian oil company Petrom will invest over three billion euro by 2010 including one billion in 2007 alone in securing Romania’s crude and natural gas production, a company press release says. The announcement comes as the Supreme Defense Council is due to discuss the national energy policies in a session on Thursday.

According to Romanian media, the session is also due to tackle the privatization contract by which a majority stake was acquired by Austrian company OMV. OMV president Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer has met Romanian President Traian Basescu and PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu to discuss this and the security of Romania’s energy supplies for the past two days.

“As the biggest company in Romania, Petrom is decided to get involved in the general concept and in the development of the national energy strategy. The security of energy supplies and the sustainable management of energy resources are a continuous concern both for the Romanian state and for all energy companies, Petrom implicitly”, the press release says.

Petrom is Romania’s biggest energy company with activities in expoitation, production, rafining and trade activities as well as petrochemical production. Petrom controls oil and gas reserves evaluated at one billion barrel of oil equivalent with an annual refining capacity of eight million tons and a distribution network of some 550 stations in Romania.

It also controls an international network of 82 gas stations in the Moldovan Republic and Hungary, which is due to expand with 178 supplementary premium stations in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia-Montenegro.

Its 2005 business figure amounted 2.97 billion euro., Nov 21, 2006

Authorities debate Petrom privatization contract

PM announces fund to support domestic gas consumers

The Romanian Government plans to establish a social assistance fund for domestic natural gas consumers aimed at helping them avoid spiraling prices until late 2008, PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced on Tuesday. He made the statement following talks with Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, head of the Austrian group OMV, which holds a majority stake in Romanian oil company Petrom.

The news comes as Romanian authorities intensified talks related to the privatization contract by which OMV took control of Petrom, the confidential annexes of which have sparked an outcry in the Romanian media, which interpreted them as proof OMV wants to recover the Petrom investment via higher prices, at the expense of Romanian customers.

Ruttenstorfer also held talks with President Traian Basescu on Monday, focusing on Romania’s energy security and the social impact of alligning Romanian energy prices with the European ones.

According to PM Tariceanu, “we have agreed in principle to find a solution to prevent increasing prices to domestic consumers until the end of 2008, given the necessity to bring them in line with prices applied at world level. To put it more bluntly, to find a formula to have these prices stop increasing”.

A final decision in this regard would be taken following future talks between the two parties., Nov 21, 2006

Denmark ratifies Romania's EU accession, Germany still waiting

Denmark concluded on Tuesday the ratification procedures of the accession Treaty of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union. It is the last but one EU member state to conclude the procedures, to be followed by Germany who announced it would follow suit on November 24.

The Danish Parliament passed the law ratifying the Treaty with 97 votes in favour, two against and 15 abstentions, according to a press release by the Romanian EU Integration Ministry., Nov 21, 2006

Ex-dictator Ceausescu's daughter dies

Zoe Ceausescu, daughter of late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, died of lung cancer on Tuesday morning. According to people close to the family, she will be cremated as she herself had asked.

Zoe Ceausescu stood away from limelight over the past 16 years, refusing to talk with the media while focusing on recovering the wealth confiscated from her parents Nicolae and Elena, executed in the 1989 revolution.

Zoe Ceausescu has been married with engineer Mircea Opran, a university professor, since 1980.

Zoia Ceausescu - as she was truly named - was born March 2, 1950. She was the second child in the Ceausescu family and had two brothers, Valentin and Nicu. Nicu Ceausescu also died of cirrhosis in 1996.

Zoe Ceausescu and her brothers were arrested during the December 1989 revolution and put under investigation for undermining the national economy. At the time, she could only hear about the short trial of her parents and could see the world-famous film of their execution only in August 1990.

She has never seen the tombs where her parents are said to be buried as she challenged official statements that they were burried in the Ghencea Military Cemetery in Bucharest., Nov 21, 2006

Liberal Party withdraws political support for Agriculture minister

The executive board of the National Liberal Party-PNL, a major member of the governing coalition in Bucharest, decided on Tuesday to withdraw its political support for Agriculture minister Gheorghe Flutur and pushed for his resignation from the Government.

The Liberal leadership showed discontent towards recent statements made by PNL member Flutur regarding the way things are done and the lack of reform within the party.

Prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the PNL president, also announced that he would wait until tomorrow for Flutur to resign from the Government or he himself would ask for Flutur’s resignation.

Flutur has recently joined a group of dissident Liberals who support a move to reform the PNL, initiated by PNL ex-president Theodor Stolojan who was recently dismissed from the group over his criticism of its current leadership., Nov 21, 2006

Top Liberals fail to reach agreement

A meeting between National Liberal Party-PNL president Calin Popescu Tariceanu and dissident Liberal Theodor Stolojan, who is challenging the current leadership of the group, failed on Tuesday morning as the two parties could not overcome major differences that have split the Liberal movement seriously for months.

Stolojan, a former PNL president and a former Presidency aide who was ousted from the party recently over his differences with Tariceanu and his supporters, has been pressing for a thorough reform of the Liberal Party so that it regained its stature before Romanian voters.

Tariceanu, who also serves as prime minister in a coalition government with President Traian Basescu’s Democrats, has resisted Stolojan pressure.

The two finally agreed to meet for talks on Tuesday, but the reconciliation attempt only resulted in “us talking and, instead of facing the voters, we faced each other making politics”, as Tariceanu said on leaving the meeting.

For his part, Stolojan said he presented three requests to the current PNL leadership - all “abusive” exclusions of people who joined the push for reform over the past several months be revoked; a PNL statement that any Liberal joining the dissident movement should consider oneself expelled from the party be annulled; and the cration of conditions for the reform program be discussed within PNL.

Tariceanu said any proposal that comes against the status of the party could not be taken into consideration., Nov 21, 2006

Dissident Liberal meets PM in talks attempt

Dissident Liberal Theodor Stolojan announced on Monday evening that he would meet PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the president of the National Liberal Party-PNL, for talks aimed at clearing up the conflicting positions of the current PNL leadership and a movement led by Stolojan for the reform of the political group.

The meeting comes at a moment of extreme tension between Stolojan’s group of dissidents, many of them excluded from PNL, and Tariceanu’s team, a tension that risks to undermine the electoral chances of the Liberals who now form an unstable coalition government with the Democrats.

Stolojan had said earlier yesterday that he was still thinking of whether to accept the meeting. He qas quoted by the media as suggesting that he would not accept a position within the PNL leadership as a simple means to defuse the crisis, but would push for his group’s plans to reform the party., Nov 21, 2006

Romanian Press Club head resigns

The head of the Romanian Press Club-CRP, Cristian Tudor Popescu, announced his resignation from this position in an open letter sent to CRP members on Monday afternoon. The Club, formed in 1997 to represent the interests of the media, was no longer able to work in its current formula as it was both an organization of media employers and one of journalists, Popescu has told

Popescu blamed his decision on “late evolutions in the media industry, that have led to a change of balance - the employers became more powerful, while journalists have become tokens of exchange, moved by bulk from one newsroom to another”.

He also warned that an “unhealthy amount of money” is pumped in the Romanian media these days, which he suggested was a dangerous thing considering that most money come from various non-media moguls. He also warned that there was too much political pressure on the industry.

Cristian Tudor Popescu has been leading the CRP since 2003. He thus held the position in 2003-2004, when CRP was blamed for not taking stand against political pressure from the-then Social Democratic government.

His resignation comes as large groups of journalists from the Romanian newspapers owned by Swiss company Ringier moved to two newspapers recently acquired by energy mogul Dinu Patriciu.

Popescu, however did not take any stand during other, recent media acquisitions in Romania, including the expansion of media group Realitatea, owned by controversial businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vantu., Nov 21, 2006

Romanian capital market delivers 11 anniversary awards

The Bucharest Stock Exchange-BVB celebrated its 11th anniversary with a series of awards to various institutions and people at the Capital Market Gala on Monday evening. The SIF Oltenia fund, the Transylvania Bank and the World Bank each received an award in a ceremony co-hosted by Dan paul, head of the Romanian Brokers Association.

The exellence prize went to SIF Oltenia, which reported the highest profit among financial investment companies so far this year - 36.4 million euro in the first nine months of 2006.

Transylvania Bank was seen as the most dynamic institution, while the award for most appreciated public offer went to Transelectrica.

Andrei Siminel, the head of electronic exchange Rasdaq, also received an award for excellence in capital market-related activities, while ex-Finance minister Ionut Popescu received an award for promoting favorable legislation for the development of the capital market., Nov 21, 2006

Romanian Euro-observers to keep national seats

Romania’s representatives in the European Parliament were allowed by the Strasbourg-based institution to keep their seats in the Romanian Parliament until the first round of European elections are organized in the country, after it joins the EU in January next year.

The permanent boards of the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament are due to send EP President Josep Borrell a list of Romanian Euro-observers who will become MEPs on January 1, 2007 by Thursday. So far, only three of the parliamentary groups in the country have announced their nominations in this regard., Nov 21, 2006

EP prepares scathing report on Romania, Bulgaria

The European parliament prepares a scathing report according to which Romania and Bulgaria would weaken the European Union. The report, compiled in response to a Commission report focusing on future waves of EU enlargement, is due to be discussed in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the EP on Thursday.

The head of the EP committee, Elmar Brok, would show Romania and Bulgaria were not yet in full compliance with EU membership criteria and overburdens the internal capacities of the European Union, with negative consequences on the European domestic and international stability.

And the advantages the two countries bring to the EU would not compensate the disadvantages of this wave of enlargement, he would shop.

Brok is known in Strasbourg as a traditional opponent of Romania’s accession in the EU., Nov 21, 2006

What the newspapers say: November 21, 2006

A scandal surrounding a rapid growth of fuel prices on the Romanian market keeps the front pages of most Romanian newspapers today. They’re also arguing about an announcement made by the head of a major media industry organization yesterday that he would resign in a show of discontent about the mercenariness in the Romanian media.

And they expect make-or-break decisions in the frictions within the governing Liberal Party.

Recent revelations about the secret terms of the privatization contract of Romania’s biggest oil company Petrom, by which buyer OMV is trying to recover the costs at the expense of the Romanian public, have produced a shock on the political stage and the media.

Evenimentul Zilei reports that shortly after President Traian Basescu met OMV head Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu will follow suit with a new such encounter today.

And the newspaper reveals that Petrom-OMV is about to take over extensive state-owned properties at insignificant prices, in an abusive move that somehow complies with the privatization contract and by which the state wants to bolster the social capital of the company.

Jurnalul National focuses on meetings today and quotes PM Tariceanu who said a proposal would be submitted a solution be found based on the social responsibility of companies. Such a move is aimed at diminishing pressure on consumers and would be forwarded to other energy companies as well, according to Tariceanu.

Cotidianul reports that the privatizations in the Romanian energy sector including the sale of Petrom will be discussed at the Supreme Defense Council of Wednesday. And it writes the Petrom contract had already been requested by the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) in April this year.

According to Adevarul, DNA is making preliminary moves to open a criminal inquiry into the sale of Petrom to OMV.

The same Cotidianul reports that problems affect the electricity industry as well: energy producers showed signs of compliance with an order by Economy minister Codrut Seres that they abandon direct contracts and sell their electricity in public offerings.

But they’re now applying much higher prices than those used in “under the table” contracts with distributors.

Meanwhile, Jurnalul National is one of the many newspaper to discuss attempts of reconciliation between the leadership of the governing National Liberal Party-PNL and ousted Liberal Teodor Stolojan, who had shown readiness to use his popularity to challenge the party leadership with an alternative Liberal platform.

According to Jurnalul, the PNL president, PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, are due to meet Stolojan today in the first such talks since the beginning of the political crisis within the group.

According to Cotidianul, the meeting may include a PNL offer that Stolojan become executive president of the party, but Stolojan has already said he would not accept a position in the group as a means to calm down disputes.

Elsewhere in the newspapers, Evenimentul Zilei reports a major event in the Romanian media industry - the resignation of the head of the Romanian Press Club-CRP, Cristian Tudor Popescu.

Popescu announced his resignation yesterday in a show of discontent about the increasingly more intense migration of “mercenary” journalists from some institutions to others and about the fact that the “too much money” invested in Romanian media lately have changed the CRP from an organization of journalists into one of media moguls.

In an interview with Popescu, Evenimentul Zilei challenges his reasoning and suggests the CRP has been an organization of media owners for a long time already.

Cotidianul reminds that Popescu’s resignation comes as a group of journalists in the city of Cluj were arrested under blackmail charges and after a series of other controversial events.

It also notes that CRP did very little to combat what Popescu is also challenging now - the politicians meddling with media problems - under the previous government, seen as one of Romanian media’s darkest periods.

Also today, Adevarul quotes a report of an association of Romanian researchers who warn the scientific performance of the country is unworthy of its European member status as its research is comparable with or even outpaced by that of exotic countries such as Gambia, Gabon, Jamaica or Botswana.

Gandul tackles President Traian Basescu’s latest foreign policy position and quotes an interview he made with German paper Franfurter Rundschau, in which he said Romania would push for EU member states to accept the Moldovan Republic in the Western Balkans group of countries considered for future EU enlargement.

And Evenimentul Zilei reports that a Romanian man who had left to work on the Italian black market managed to become the head of an office for foreigners in Italy and this year was elected head of the League of Romanians in Italy. He’s been working in the country for almost ten years already., Nov 21, 2006

Teachers go on Japanese strike

The unions in Education went on Japanese strike on Monday, unhappy with the GNP percentage allocated for Education in 2007. Both major unions announced that the teacher would bear a white band on their arms during the days the Parliament discusses the 2007 Budget.

The Parliament recently rejected the suggestion for a 4% salary growth for teachers in 2007., Nov 20, 2006

Government approves fourth budget rectification

The Tariceanu cabinet approved on Monday, through an emergency ordinance, the fourth budget rectification in 2006. The ministries gaining from the new new funds sharing were the Transport, Labor and the Administration/Interior Ministry.

The most consistent supplementary funds went to the Transport, Construction and Tourism Ministry (656.4 million RON), out of which 520 millions are designed for railroad support.

The Labor Ministry got an extra 572 million RON (some 150 million euros) for social assistance payments in December, mainly for supporting children under 2 year old and agriculture pensions.

The Interior Ministry got 171.2 million RON for emergency wages, pensions and reserves.

Nov 20, 2006

Economy Minister accuses political pressure

The Economy Minister, Codrut Seres, claimed on Sunday that all political parties put pressure on him because he prepares to sell the energy only through the stock market. “Any intervention from politicians will face the same refuse”, Seres warned.
As for suspending the general managers at the main gas and electricity distribution companies, Electrica and Romgaz, Seres says that it was simply a problem of management, integrated management being a better option, because regional companies are easy prey for political manipulation.

Seres announced that an investigation is taking place at Electrica, in order to verify the way bidding were won by several suspect companies. “In case the two managers are found innocent, they will get their jobs back”, Seres said., Nov 20, 2006

Gazprom monopoly heats up Europe

The late statements on Romania’s energy security, doubled by last week’s events caused an effervescent debate. Both NATO and the European Union are worried about Russia’s intended expansion in the natural gas provisioning.

The only solution seems to be a common European policy in alternative gas resources, in order to avoid the dependence on Russia.

In the energy area, Romania lived a series of events during the past few days: the Petrom privatization became subject for the Supreme Defense Council, Economy Minister accused political pressure, several managers were suspended and NATO officials declared they are just as preoccupied as Romanians in the energy issues.

Even more, a confidential NATO report warned on Russia’s intention to build a natural gas cartel, along with Asian and Algerian producers, while Gazprom and Lukoil signed a collaboration agreement with Algerian Sonatrach., Nov 20, 2006

Most parliamentarians would vote for early elections

Romanians have a chance to step towards the clean-up of the political class. A new majority seems to take over the Parliament and a censorship motion against the Government could soon be approved.

President Basescu would thus get a chance to apply his plans on early elections, in case the Tariceanu cabinet would be forced to resign. In case early elections take place, important names in the post 1989 politics would be missing., Nov 20, 2006

Possible Liberal solution: open primaries

Two young analysts, Cristian Ghinea and Ciprian Ciucu, suggested an unprecedented solution for the Liberal crisis: open primary elections, allowing not only the Liberals to vote, but also all interested Romanians.

The two analysts say that the conflict can’t be solved yet, since both sides mime the reconciliation. Even more, the Liberal president, PM Tariceanu, would never step down willingly, while the former president, Stolojan, could never return in top by himself. Restricted primaries would also mean that Stolojan’s supporters can’t vote, which would be a democratic loss., Nov 20, 2006

PM sees Petrom trouble as devastating signal for investors

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu declared on Friday that a potential renegotiation of the Petrom privatization contract would be „a devastating signal for foreign investors”.

The statement comes as a reply to the late controversies on the energy market and a few days before the Petrom problem is scheduled for duscussions in the Supreme Defense Council.

„The are people who try to force the connection between Romania’s accession to the EU and the gas price. There is no such connection”, said Tariceanu, who also claimed that the international price is the main source for local price evolutions.

The price growth for natural gas was determined by the increasing costs for interior production at Petrom., Nov 17, 2006

Petrom and Rafo - worst polluters

Since the beginning of the year, Romania recorded 84 accidental pollution cases, with a peak in October. The top of the nature-unfriendly companies is led by two oil companies, SNP Petrom and Rafo Onesti, followed by SC Suintest and the Bacau Penitentiary, a release from the Environment Ministry shows.

Most accidents took place near the Siret basin (39), followed by Mures (13), Buzau-Ialomita (7) and Arges-Vedea (6).

Most accidents come from evacuating residual waters in irrigation canals, pipe damages or malfunctions at the water purification plants.

The county of Bacau leads in the unfortunate top, with 31% of all accidents, followed by the counties of Hunedoara, Suceava and Ilfov.

Total subsequent fines add up to less than 400,000 US dollars., Nov 17, 2006

Liberal vice president resigns

Liberal vice president and Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur announced on Friday his resignation from the Liberal board and the support for the disidents’ new political platform. He thus joins the 35 Liberal parliamentarians who think that the former Liberal president, Theodor Stolojan, was right in criticizing the party.

Flutur’s gesture was followed by other 9 senators, 13 deputies and 4 mayors who resigned from lwading positions and remain simple party members.

Bucharest Liberals’ branch officials say that Flutur should also resign from his ministerial seat, given the fact that he may no longer enjoy Liberal’s support., Nov 17, 2006

Romanian high school runs for Guinness Book

The UNICEF team in Romania, collaborating with the Fine Arts High “Nicolae Tonitza”, is about to break the world record on “the longest children-painted canvas”. The project will be verified by the Guinness World Record book officials, in a process concluded with an official ceremony.

The kids will try to break the former official record, established by the United Arab Emirates, where over 3,000 kids painted 2,978,4 meters of canvas.

The main theme for the Tonitza student is “flowers”., Nov 17, 2006

Romanian - Hungarian relations become stepping stone for major business

The regional development and the common Hungarian - Romanian projects allow a large range of investments, state and private - financed. Beyond the political statements, massive investments are expected in infrastructure, energy, retail, constructions and tourism.

After Romania’s accession to the EU, Hungary will be seen both as a partner and a competitor, journalists say.

Hungary has more affordable prices (for the moment) mainly in basic products and home appliances and holds a significantly more developed infrastructure, lower real estate prices on the market and better highways.

Hungary’s interest is to have highways that wouldn’t end at the border, editors believe, and is also interested in improving the railroad and Danube transportation., Nov 17, 2006

State’s Debt Recovery Agency to execute 2.5 million euros debts

The State Debt Recovery Agency (AVAS) will organize between November 20 and 24th five public auctions for assets belonging to companies in debt. The debt adds up to 2.5 million euros, plus VAT.

The auction sells farms, terrain, constructions, equipment and other assets belonging to the Toplacer in Topraisar, county of Constanta. The auction starts at 2.05 million dollars plus VAT., Nov 17, 2006

NATO ready to involve in member states' energy policy

President Traian Basescu met on Thursday the NATO secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, with the main topic represented by the possibility for the Organization to involve in the energy problem some of their member states face.

Scheffer’s signal confirms NATO’s interest in the energy security, proved also by a recent confidential report that warns on Russia’s intention to build a natural gas cartel. The two officials decided that the energy security should also be put on the agenda of the next NATO summit in Riga.

The first discussions on NATO’s involvement in the energy market came after Financial Times wrote about a potential gas cartel formed by Russia, Algeria, Qatar, Libya, the Central Asia states and Iran.

Traian Basescu warned last week, during a meeting with foreign journalists, that the European Union must find solution so that it wouldn’t be dependent on the Russian gas deliveries.

The energy security problem is also about to be discussed by Romania’s Supreme Defense Council., Nov 16, 2006

Gazprom vice president replaced with KGB officer

Aleksandr Riazanov, vice president of the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom was fired because of his independence and reticence in fulfilling orders. Riazanov was replaced with Valeri Golubev, former KGB officer and a close acquaintance of president Putin.

The new vice president will handle issues in the Community of Independent States (CSI) area, the organization representing all former USSR states, except for the three Baltic states.

Golubev, a career man in Sankt-Petersburg, just like president Putin, was named in the position without any further comments or explanations.

Gazprom intends to force higher prices for the natural gas delivered to Russian neighboring countries, and for this reason is accused of serving as a weapon against the former Soviet states.

Financial Times, Nov 16, 2006

OTP Bank: "We didn't expect Romania to call a fair price for CEC!"

Near the end of the privatization of the last and largest popular bank in Romania, CEC, there are two major players still in race: OTP Bank and the National Bank of Greece. It seems though that OTP has had enough.

“OTP didn’t expect Romania to demand a fair price for CEC”, said Laszlo Wolf, deputy CEO of OTP Bank on Thursday, during a banking conference in Frankfurt. Without unveiling any figures, Wolf mentioned that there is a big difference between what OTP can offer and what the Romanian state demands.

“OTP is looking for a reasonable price acquisition and I don’t thing we’d be able to find that” Laszlo Wolf added.

Both candidates look for a place on the Romanian market, given the extremely fast development rate in this area.

Hungarian companies such as OTP and MOL try to expand their businesses on the neighboring markets, where the profit rates are considerably higher than the domestic ones.

During the past few years, OTP spent over 2.2 billion euros in taking over Bulgarian and Russian banks., Nov 16, 2006

Immigrants bring AIDS to UK

British tabloid “The Sun” continues to spearhead the demeaning campaign against Romanians. “BRITAIN is facing an Aids epidemic after the revelation that TWO THIRDS of all new cases are in immigrants”, the tabloid reads in its Thursday edition.
Many of the immigrants carrying the disease don’t seek any treatment and risk to infect others, the article continues, underlining that the situation would become critical after Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to the EU next year, along with the workers wave.

Some 59,000 UK citizens carry HIV and 8,000 new cases were recorded last year, out of which 70% were found at African and Eastern European immigrants, The Sun writes, quoting a Health Protection Agency report.

Sir Andrew Green, an official in the Migration Watch organization says it is “ironic” the way the Government encourages precaution in order to stop the sexually spread AIDS, while most of the new cases come from foreigners, as quoted by the Tabloid.

Beside the HIV carriers, The Sun believes that immigrants are also responsible for TB and malaria incidents., Nov 16, 2006

Top Police officers suspect in corruption case

The chief of the “Criminal Records” department in the General Police Inspectorate (IGP), general Dorin Mihaiasa, was released from his function for the poor management of the department.

The expel is a result of an investigation on a network that helped the fast obtaining of the criminal records for those who wanted to migrate for work in Spain.

The Anti Corruption officers in the IGP arrested two subofficers and other seven persons. The subofficers are believed to have had obtained the migration required documents in a very short time, for a 200-300 euro bribe.

The investigation begun this spring, following a tip from the Spanish Embassy in Bucharest., Nov 16, 2006

93 Romanians detained in Spain

Some 110 persons were arrested on Wednesday in a major Police action in the areas of Raval and Sant Antoni in Barcelona. The target of the operation was the annihilation of the pandering and prostitution network in the area.

The manhunt started at 6:00 AM and wasn’t finished at 20:00 PM. Meanwhile, Police searched 24 locations where the alleged hosts for prostitution nests, most of them Romanians, were exploiting women illegally living on Spanish territory.
The crime organization was dealing with human and minors trafficking and document forgery.

The prostitutes were looking for clients in the Sant Antoni Plaza area and used to take them to apartments rented in Raval.

Police officials said that 93 of the arrested persons were Romanians.
In March, other 200 Romanians were detained for pandering, credit card cloning, document forgery, forbidden substances trafficking and robberies involving violence., Nov 16, 2006

Romania and Bulgaria - Fastest growth in available commercial space

Romania and Bulgaria will have before the end of 2007 a 150% growth in the amount of commercial space, largest figure in Europe, according to s report published by the real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield.

Between 2006 and 2007 Bulgarians will open commercial centers adding up to 98,000 square meters, while Romania, the second largest market after Poland in the Eastern and Central Europe, has scheduled for opening projects that add up to 470,000 square meters.

The moment is a huge opportunity for investors and retail operations, says Razvan Gheorghe, general manager of Activ Consulting, the Bucharest office associated with Cushman & Wakefield.

The largest projects for 2007 are Baneasa Shopping City - 55,000 square meters - and Floreasca City Center - 33,000 square meters - in Bucharest, as well as the Polus Center in Cluj, with 62,000 square meters., Nov 16, 2006

18% growth on the car market

The number of automobiles sold in October in Romania grew 18%, compared to September, a release from the Car Producers and Importers’ Association. Romanian company Dacia still leads the sales, with a 38% market share and 80,000 sold vehicles.

The second position is Daewoo, with a 9.4% market share in 2006 and 19,810 cars sold. Renault is the last in top, with a 8.2% market share and 17,250. The next ranks come for Skoda, Volkswagen, Ford and Peugeot.

The best selling imported car is still Renault Clio (10,790 units), followed by Skoda Fabia (5950 units) and Skoda Octavia Tour., Nov 16, 2006

New "EU Office BCR" opened

The Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) officially opened on Thursday its fifth regional office in Calarasi. The new “EU Office BCR” follows the previous initiatives in the cities of Piatra Neamt, Alba Iulia, Craiova and Braila.

„EU Office BCR” is a concept implemented to offer all clients a complex and complete information about the effects of Romania’s accession to the European Union. The office will provide consultancy services and financing products in a wide range.

BCR took the opportunity to organize a regional conference on “BCR - Your partner for successful European projects”, involving BCR and Erste Bank representatives, as well as businessmen and officials in six counties., Nov 16, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

980 free WordPress Themes

And now, without further ado, I present the (biggest?) list of over 980 free WordPress Themes for v1.5.x and up:

  1. 11:05 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  2. 12 Apostle
  3. 15n41n1
  4. 2.Light
  5. 2cDarkGrey
  6. 2cGreen
  7. 2cOrange
  8. 2Exquisite REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  9. 3c-Black-LetterHead 3 column wordpress theme
  10. 3K2 3 column wordpress theme 3 column version of K2
  11. 3some REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ 3 column wordpress theme
  12. 5ThirtyOne Foliage tested with WordPress 2.0
  13. 80.1
  14. 82
  15. 8 Crazy Nights 3 column wordpress theme
  16. A Better Way to Clean
  17. A Blog Beyond 3 column wordpress theme
  18. A New Spring
  19. AAA Summer Jam NEW
  20. Aalglatt
  21. Abduction
  22. Abstrakt tested with WordPress 2.0
  23. Absrakt 3 column tested with WordPress 2.0 Has wordpress widgets support 3 column wordpress theme
  24. AC-Nucleus
  25. Accidental Khaki 3 column wordpress theme
  26. Aclide
  27. Ads Minded NEW tested with WordPress 2.0 3 column wordpress theme
  28. Ads Minded - Wide Version NEW tested with WordPress 2.0 3 column wordpress theme
  29. Adsense Ready Three Column 3 column wordpress theme
  30. Adventure
  31. Aesthetic 3 column wordpress theme tested with WordPress 2.0
  32. Aesthetic Azure 3 column wordpress theme
  33. Aidens Theme
  34. Akhdian tested with WordPress 2.0
  35. Afterglow
  36. Against It All
  37. AjaxContempt
  38. AjaxRegulus
  39. Akua
  40. Ala Moana
  41. Alamo For Hearty Texans
  42. Alice Blue
  43. All About Flowers
  44. Almost Spring tested with WordPress 2.0
  45. Almost Spring v1.3 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  46. Almodovar
  47. ALPHA for Churches
  48. Alpine REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  49. Alternate 0
  50. Altitude
  51. Ambiru
  52. Amsterdam Nights tested with WordPress 2.0
  53. anarchy
  54. And Black Met White tested with WordPress 2.0
  55. And Black Met White II tested with WordPress 2.0
  56. Angel
  57. Angelical
  58. Anthosia tested with WordPress 2.0
  59. Anthosia2 NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  60. Anthosia3c NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support 3 column wordpress theme
  61. Antique-Modern
  62. Anthology REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  63. Anthurium Mix tested with WordPress 2.0
  64. Aplus
  65. AquaFluid tested with WordPress 2.0
  66. Aquarium NEW tested with WordPress 2.0
  67. Archway 3 column wordpress theme
  68. Artsemerging tested with WordPress 2.0
  69. Arzel XT2
  70. Audyasha
  71. AukerTheme
  72. Autumn
  73. Autumn (by Jennifer)
  74. Autumn II
  75. Automatic Midnight
  76. Back in Black
  77. Back in Black 2 no longer only black, now supports 5 different colors
  78. Banana Smoothie
  79. Barthelme REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  80. Baruson Mini Valley
  81. basic
  82. Basic Seriom
  83. Batavia 1.5 tested with WordPress 2.0
  84. Be Nice tested with WordPress 2.0
  85. Beach
  86. Beach House
  87. Beast Blog
  88. The Beauty Within 3 column wordpress theme
  89. Beeblebrox
  90. Benevolence
  91. BETA NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support 3 column wordpress theme
  92. Bionic Jive 3 column wordpress theme
  93. Binary Blue REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  94. Blackblood NEW
  95. Black-LetterHead
  96. Black LetterHead Three Columns 3 column wordpress theme
  97. Black Gloss tested with WordPress 2.0
  98. Black Gloss Tabs
  99. Blasé tested with WordPress 2.0
  100. blaxblog 3 column wordpress theme REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  101. Biru Manteb V2
  102. Blindigo
  103. Blix
  104. Blocked
  105. Blocky
  106. BLOG.TXT REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  107. blogtimes
  108. Bloo
  109. Blook tested with WordPress 2.0 if you want your "blog to start at the beginning and end at the end"
  110. Bosa
  111. BloxPress Beta
  112. Blow Yo’ Mind, Man
  113. Blucrome
  114. Bluecube
  115. Blue Clouds V2
  116. Blue Curves
  117. Blue Horizon tested with WordPress 2.0 includes wordpress widgets support
  118. Blue House
  119. Blue Kino tested with WordPress 2.0
  120. Blue Leaves REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  121. Blue Leaves V2
  122. Blue Mountain
  123. Blue Radiant 3 column wordpress theme
  124. Blue Tech
  125. Blueberry Boat
  126. Blue-Bye-You
  127. Bon Voyage
  128. Borderline Chaos tested with WordPress 2.0
  129. Boredom!
  130. Boredum
  131. Borobudur
  132. Bosa
  133. Boxy But Gold
  134. BoxyBlue
  135. Brajeshwar v7.0 3 column wordpress theme
  136. Branches
  137. Bricks 3 column wordpress theme (download here)
  138. Bright
  139. Brushed Simple
  140. Burnfield Dark
  141. Business
  142. c3ro fire
  143. c3ro silence
  144. Cameron Moll Grunge Mix
  145. Cartoon Love
  146. Categories
  147. Central Industrial 3 column wordpress theme
  148. Cereal Port
  149. ChaoticSoul
  150. Channing REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  151. Cherry Berry
  152. Cherry Blossom
  153. ChinaRed
  154. ChipShot NEW
  155. Chocolate Bar
  156. Chocolate Candy
  157. Choices V.2 (Theme Builder)
  158. Chrome
  159. Chuck A Wobbly
  160. Citrus
  161. City Bridge
  162. Clasikue
  163. Classic Beauty
  164. CleanBlue
  165. CleanBreeze
  166. Clean Look
  167. Clean Slate
  168. ClearBlue
  169. Click designed specifically for photobloggers/photoblogging - requires plugins
  170. Cloudy
  171. Clueless
  172. Cnnesque
  173. Cocoa Stripes
  174. Coffee Cup tested with WordPress 2.0
  175. Coffee Time
  176. Coldplay NEW
  177. Collage Effect 3 column wordpress theme
  178. Complicated
  179. Conestoga Street
  180. Connections tested with WordPress 2.0
  181. Connections Reloaded tested with WordPress 2.0 includes wordpress widgets support
  182. Contempt
  183. Converse
  184. Conzep
  185. Copacetix
  186. Copperleaf Plus
  187. Corkboard
  188. Corporate Look 3 column wordpress theme
  189. Corporate Play
  190. Corporate Pro
  191. Correspondence
  192. Craving for Green REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  193. Crimson Milk
  194. Crimson Sunrise
  195. Crisp and Clean
  196. Crop Circles
  197. Cub Reporter
  198. Cup O’ Joe
  199. Curtains Up
  200. Cutie in Any Color
  201. Cutie in Orange NEW
  202. Cutie in Red NEW
  203. D3S1GN ON3
  204. Daisy Rae Gemini
  205. Dancing Woman
  206. Dapit Hapon REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  207. DarkPad
  208. Dark Maple
  209. Dark Night tested with WordPress 2.0
  210. Darkfall
  211. Dash of Cinnamon
  212. Day Dream REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  213. Deep Blue
  214. Deficient 3 column wordpress theme
  215. Deichnetz
  216. Delusions
  217. DescentBrown
  218. Descent Green
  219. Desert Theme
  220. Devenir En Gris 3 column wordpress theme
  221. DFire NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  222. Dimension 2k
  223. Dimension 2k Green
  224. Dingle NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  225. Disconnected tested with WordPress 2.0 includes wordpress widgets support
  226. Dixie Belle
  227. Dirt REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  228. Dog Blog
  229. Dollars Theme
  230. Don’t Panic
  231. Don’t Ride With Hitler!
  232. Double Header 3 column wordpress theme
  233. Dragonfly
  234. Drive Theme
  235. Drunkey Love tested with WordPress 2.0
  236. DS Blog
  237. Duaempat
  238. Duct Tape Kids
  239. Durable REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  240. Dusk
  241. Dusk v1.2 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  242. DXX
  243. East View
  244. Echo 6
  245. Eclectic
  246. egoSconnesso[dot]net 3 column wordpress theme
  247. Electric Brown
  248. Electricity
  249. Elegant
  250. Elegant Blue
  251. Elvgren
  252. Emerson REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  253. Emire
  254. Enlightened
  255. Ensellitis
  256. equiX
  257. Executive Pro
  258. Express Yourself
  259. Exquisite
  260. Extra! Extra
  261. f3Green3 column wordpress theme
  262. fBlue
  263. fDawn
  264. fGala
  265. fGreen
  266. fHeaven
  267. fMulti
  268. fNice
  269. fOrange
  270. fScreen
  271. fSimple
  272. fSpring NEW tested with WordPress 2.0 includes wordpress widgets support
  273. fSubtle
  274. fTiny
  275. Fading Flowers
  276. Faintly Victorian 3 column wordpress theme
  277. Fall-In-Love 3 column wordpress theme
  278. Falling
  279. Falling Dreams
  280. Falling Dreams 2.0 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  281. Falling Leaves
  282. Fastlane
  283. FastTrack tested with WordPress 2.0
  284. Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti 3 column wordpress theme
  285. Festive
  286. Fighting the Darkness
  287. FireFox Theme
  288. Flawless Imperfection
  289. Fleur De Lys tested with WordPress 2.0
  290. Flex
  291. Flippin’ Sweet!
  292. Fluidity tested with WordPress 2.0 3 column wordpress theme
  293. FlyHigher
  294. FlyHigher 2.0
  295. Foliage Mod tested with WordPress 2.0
  296. Follow Me
  297. ForumED
  298. Foundation 3 column wordpress theme
  299. Framefake Theme
  300. Fresh 3 column wordpress theme
  301. Fresh Bananas
  302. Frusti
  303. Fundamental
  304. Funny Pictures
  305. G-S Theme
  306. GanjaPress
  307. Garden Log
  308. Gemini
  309. Gemini Black
  310. Gemini Blue
  311. Gemini Colored
  312. Gemini Green
  313. Gemini Pink
  314. Gemini Purple
  315. Gemini Red
  316. Gemini Tan
  317. Gemini Yellow
  318. Generic Unicol NEW
  319. Genesis
  320. Gentle Calm
  321. Gespaa
  322. Gespaa Theme Two Columns
  323. Gila 3 column wordpress theme
  324. Gila Lime 3 column wordpress theme
  325. Ginseng Coffee
  326. Giraffe
  327. Girl in Green
  328. Girls-Suck
  329. Glass People tested with WordPress 2.0
  330. Glyph
  331. Golden Grey Theme
  332. Goldie Purple REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  333. Gossip Box (a wordpress theme designed to resemble MSN messenger)
  334. Got The Blues NEW
  335. GR 1.2
  336. Graffiti NEW
  337. Grass Template 1.5 3 column wordpress theme
  338. Gray and Pink
  339. Gray is Beautiful v2
  340. Gray Mantle 3 column wordpress theme REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  341. Green Earth 3 column wordpress theme
  342. Green Marinee
  343. Green Mountain
  344. Green River
  345. Greenbay v2 NEW
  346. Greenie
  347. Greenery
  348. Greening REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  349. GreenTrack UPDATED
  350. Green Trees
  351. Greenwood
  352. Greetz
  353. Grey and Simple
  354. Grimelda
  355. Grubby Slipcovers
  356. h4×0r (hacker)
  357. HappyBlog
  358. Head 3 column wordpress theme
  359. Headspace
  360. Hemingway
  361. Hemingway Bright tested with WordPress 2.0
  362. Hemmed requires WordPress 2.0 NEW
  363. Hemsqui
  364. Highway Tunnel Bull
  365. Hiperminimalist
  366. Holiday tested with WordPress 2.0 Multiple holiday theme, supporting 20 holidays
  367. Horizontal (this wp theme requires visitors to have javascript enabled)
  368. Husna
  369. iGreenTrack
  370. I Always Wanted to be Tenenbaum
  371. I Like Grey 3 column wordpress theme
  372. I Remember
  373. I See Frogs
  374. I’m Just a Crosshair
  375. Ice
  376. IceBlue
  377. Iconis Triple REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support 3 column wordpress theme
  378. Id Band 2 3 columns centered REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ 3 column wordpress theme
  379. Identification Bands 3 column wordpress theme UPDATED (NOTE: this theme comes in 8 flavours, with choices for 4, 3, & 2 column layouts!)
  380. Idle Time 3 column wordpress theme
  381. IkIn 1 3 column wordpress theme
  382. Illumination
  383. Imhotep
  384. Impact
  385. Impressionist
  386. In Business
  387. In3D
  388. Industrial (needs work: still in alpha form)
  389. Industry v2
  390. Internet Jobs
  391. Internet Market 3 column wordpress theme tested with WordPress 2.0
  392. Intensive 3 column wordpress theme
  393. Involution
  394. Iridium
  395. Iris
  396. Irish
  397. Isla
  398. Istrania Autumn
  399. Japanese Cherry Blossom
  400. Jakarta
  401. JDBlue REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ 3 column wordpress theme
  402. Jentri
  403. Jill Whiteclear REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  404. Jive NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  405. JohnnyBlue 3 column wordpress theme
  406. Journalized (Blue) 3 column wordpress theme
  407. Journalized (Sand) 3 column wordpress theme
  408. Journalized (Winter) 3 column wordpress theme
  409. Juicy
  410. Juicy from NEW
  411. Just A Girl 3 column wordpress theme
  412. Just A Mindset
  413. Just Dashing 3 column wordpress theme
  414. Justux
  415. K2 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  416. K2-Buttermilk beta REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  417. K2-Distorted beta REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  418. K2-Miniature beta REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  419. K2-Outbreak beta REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  420. K2 Reloaded REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  421. Kampungku
  422. Kansas City tested with WordPress 2.0
  423. Kauderwelsch
  424. Kickass-Boxes in Blue
  425. Kickass-Boxes in Gold
  426. Kickass-Boxes in Jade
  427. Kickass-Boxes in Rose
  428. Kickass-Convergence
  429. Kickass Dune
  430. Kickass-Spookyblue
  431. Kickass-Squawk! 3 column wordpress theme
  432. KISS
  433. Kisses 3 column wordpress theme
  434. Kitten Love 3 column wordpress theme
  435. Kiwi Embedded inside are a few nifty tools that give the user the freedom to change the layout structure and components without delving into the code, and make navigating the site a bit more interesting for the reader"
  436. KKP Lite REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  437. Krad
  438. Kubrick 1.5 - AllSidebar Edition
  439. Kurtina REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  440. Lack of Love
  441. LactPlate
  442. Laila 2.0 includes wordpress widgets support tested with WordPress 2.0
  443. Laila
  444. Lampadina (Lightbulb)
  445. Landzilla
  446. Last Regrets
  447. Lazy Days
  448. Leaves 3 column wordpress theme
  449. Leaves Revamped includes wordpress sidebar widgets support tested with WordPress 2.0 3 column wordpress theme
  450. Leia NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  451. Leone REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  452. Lesbar
  453. LetterHead
  454. Let Them Eat Cake!
  455. Liberated
  456. LightCMS
  457. Light Purple Mod
  458. Lime & Simple
  459. Limecat
  460. LimeLite
  461. Lines Dark Grey
  462. Linucon 2
  463. Linux Force 1.0
  464. Littleguydesigns
  465. Liquid Summer tested with WordPress 2.0
  466. Lonely Lemon
  467. Long Way
  468. Loser
  469. Love4Love 3 column wordpress theme
  470. Love and Destroy
  471. Lucid
  472. Lucky Blue
  473. Lush REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  474. Lush for wp1.5
  475. Lysergic Bliss
  476. Macaws
  477. Mallow
  478. Man~ja
  479. Manji and Manji2 (Manji2 is a two-column version of Manji.)
  480. Maple Leaf
  481. Martyr
  482. Mashed Spuds
  483. McFire
  484. McStars 3 column wordpress theme
  485. Meadow
  486. Mediocrity
  487. Mental Disorder REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  488. Mesozoic
  489. Messala
  490. Meteora
  491. Metta Red
  492. Metropolis v2
  493. Microsano 3 column wordpress theme NEW
  494. Milc
  495. Milc3 tested with WordPress 2.0
  496. Milkxt
  497. Minim8
  498. Minima Plus
  499. Minimalist Sandbox NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support 3 column wordpress theme(options for 1 and 2 columns, as well)
  500. Mint Chocolate Chip Revamped
  501. Minty Green
  502. Mint Julep
  503. Minus One
  504. Mist 3 column wordpress theme
  505. Mixed Bouquet
  506. Modern tested with WordPress 2.0
  507. Modern World
  508. Movement
  509. MTsix
  510. Mullet
  511. Museum
  512. MW
  513. MX4
  514. My Favorite Scarf 3 column wordpress theme
  515. Mystical
  516. NAN theme
  517. Narnia
  518. Nature
  519. Nautica 2.2
  520. Nautica 05 3 column wordpress theme
  521. Neptune 3 column wordpress theme
  522. Neat!
  523. Neo-Sapien NEW
  524. Neon Scribbles
  525. Neuron
  526. News
  527. News Times Theme
  528. New York, New York NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  529. New Zen REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  530. Nexus
  531. NFO Overload
  532. Nikynik
  533. Nikynik Blue NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  534. Nikynik Green NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  535. Nikynik Orange REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  536. Nikynik Red NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  537. Nine Inch Nails Black tested with WordPress 2.0
  538. Nine Inch Nails White tested with WordPress 2.0
  539. Nine Shades of Green tested with WordPress 2.0
  540. Ninja
  541. No Probs
  542. NoLimits tested with WordPress 2.0
  543. Northern Web Coders
  544. Nostalgia
  545. Notebook
  546. Number 2 v2 3 column wordpress theme
  547. Nyc
  548. Oasis
  549. Obsidian
  550. Ocadia tested with WordPress 2.0
  551. Ocadia v1.3 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  552. Ocean
  553. Off the Wall
  554. Offbeat
  555. Old School
  556. Old train
  557. OMEGA
  558. On Fire
  559. One Column
  560. OneF
  561. Online Business
  562. Operate
  563. Opus 68
  564. Orange
  565. Orange Rose
  566. OrangeScale NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  567. ORANGEflower
  568. OrangeSky tested with WordPress 2.0
  569. Orchid tested with WordPress 2.0
  570. Out of the Blue tested with WordPress 2.0 3 column wordpress theme
  571. Out There
  572. Out There Widget Edition REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  573. Oxymod
  574. Painted Desert
  575. Papillon
  576. Parishuddha
  577. Parker REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  578. Pastel v2
  579. Patriot 3 column wordpress theme
  580. Pelangi Ungu
  581. Pepper Press
  582. Persian
  583. Persnickety 3 column wordpress theme
  584. Phenom v2
  585. PhoenixBlue tested with WordPress 2.0
  586. PhoenixTheme tested with WordPress 2.0
  587. Photanical Theme
  588. Pink Butterflies
  589. Pink Curves
  590. Pink is the New Black
  591. Pink Winter
  592. Pinkalicious
  593. Pinstripes
  594. Placid
  595. Plain Grey
  596. Plain v2
  597. Plain Vanilla
  598. Plainrox
  599. plaintxtBlog REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support 3 column wordpress theme
  600. Plane Jane
  601. Pod
  602. Poetic Love
  603. Polaroid designed specifically for photobloggers/photoblogging - requires plugins
  604. Pool tested with WordPress 2.0
  605. Pop Art
  606. Postcards From the Edge
  607. Prebuilt NEW
  608. PressRow tested with WordPress 2.0
  609. Pressy
  610. Pro
  611. Problogger Clean
  612. Prozac
  613. Pray for Mercy!
  614. PSI
  615. Psycho
  616. pumpkin 3 column wordpress theme
  617. Punk
  618. QBZ Theme
  619. Qwilm! 3 column wordpress theme REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  620. Quentin
  621. RadMod
  622. Radical Image
  623. Ragiels Dream 3 column wordpress theme
  624. Ragiels Dream Two
  625. Rain REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  626. Rainbow
  627. Raining on Me tested with WordPress 2.0
  628. Rampart
  629. Random Image tested with WordPress 2.0
  630. rc2005
  631. RC 1.0
  632. rdc* theme
  633. Red & Blue Make White
  634. Red and White
  635. Red Autumn
  636. Red Is Nice tested with WordPress 2.0
  637. Red Marinee
  638. Red Stripes 3 column wordpress theme
  639. Red Train tested with WordPress 2.0
  640. Redbar
  641. RedLight NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  642. Reflection 1.0
  643. Reflections
  644. Refresh!
  645. Refresh 3 cols 3 column wordpress theme
  646. Regency REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  647. Regulus
  648. Regulus 2.0 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  649. Relaxed
  650. Relaxation
  651. Relaxtion 3 columns3 column wordpress theme
  652. Remember
  653. Renovatio
  654. Repeating Hearts
  655. Resolution
  656. Retrospotive
  657. Revved Up tested with WordPress 2.0 3 column wordpress theme
  658. Right Justified
  659. Rin
  660. Rin Tin Tin 3 column wordpress theme
  661. River Rocks
  662. Rounded REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  663. Rounded v2 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  664. RoundFlow REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  665. Rori Red
  666. Rotten Tarp
  667. Royal
  668. Rubric
  669. Rusty REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  670. Safety 3 column wordpress theme
  671. Sapphire
  672. Sarchasm
  673. Saturday Evening REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  674. Savoy Truffle
  675. Scam City
  676. Scattered
  677. Scarlet Blaze
  678. Scarlett Johanssen
  679. Scary Little 3 column wordpress theme
  680. Sculpt
  681. SeaBeast 3 column wordpress theme
  682. Secret Agent
  683. Semiologic this CMS theme comes packed with some powerful plugins, has 3 skins to choose from including a 3 column version AND is localized in no less than 5 languages
  684. Seniorita tested with WordPress 2.0
  685. Serinity
  686. SG/Dark tested with WordPress 2.0
  687. ShadedGrey tested with WordPress 2.0
  688. Shades of Blue
  689. Shantia
  690. Sharepoint Like
  691. Shiny NEW
  692. Shutterbug (for photobloggers!)
  693. Simpl-3 3 column wordpress theme
  694. Simpla
  695. Simple Blog
  696. Simple Blue NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  697. Simple Clean
  698. Simple Green
  699. Simple Green from NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  700. Simple Grey
  701. Simplicity
  702. Simplicity 0
  703. Simplicss
  704. Simplifisticate
  705. Simplify
  706. Simplr REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  707. SimplyCute
  708. Simply-Vic tested with WordPress 2.0
  709. Sinplex v2
  710. Sirius REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  711. Sixties
  712. Sky REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  713. Sky3c 3 column wordpress theme REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  714. SlaityStain
  715. Slash Dot 3 column wordpress theme
  716. Sleek
  717. Slick 3 column wordpress theme
  718. Slimple beta
  719. SmallBiz_3 3 column wordpress theme
  720. Smallr
  721. Smotiau REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  722. SnobTheme tested with WordPress 2.0 3 column wordpress theme
  723. Snow White
  724. Snowy Mountains
  725. Soccer Theme NEW
  726. Soft White
  727. SoftRed
  728. Sonia
  729. Soothe
  730. Sparanoia Beta 0
  731. Spiderman
  732. Spiral
  733. Spirit 3 column wordpress theme
  734. Spring
  735. Spring_beta NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  736. Spring Flavoured Manji
  737. Springer 3 column wordpress theme
  738. Springtime
  739. Squares
  740. Squible
  741. Stamps NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  742. Stanch
  743. Starburst
  744. Steam
  745. Stevish 2.0
  746. Stevish Castle
  747. Stevish Dream
  748. Stevish Got Class
  749. Stevish
  750. Story.Blu tested with WordPress 2.0
  751. Story.Red tested with WordPress 2.0
  752. Story.Pink tested with WordPress 2.0
  753. Story.Green tested with WordPress 2.0
  754. Story tested with WordPress 2.0
  755. StoryTeller
  756. Stripes
  757. Striped
  758. StripedPlus REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  759. Stripped
  760. Stucco
  761. Stuttering
  762. Stylish Blue Modern
  763. Subliminal
  764. Subnixus
  765. Subtle NEWincludes wordpress widgets support
  766. Summer Kiss
  767. Summer Lite (requires some plugins to work)
  768. Summer Sun
  769. Summertime
  770. Sunflowers
  771. Sunset 3 column wordpress theme
  772. Sunset v1.00 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  773. Suposedly Clean
  774. Stuttering
  775. Sunflowers
  776. Sweet Blossoms
  777. Sweet Pink!
  778. Swirl 3 column wordpress theme
  779. triSexuality Standard 3 column wordpress theme
  780. Taft
  781. Tan designed specifically for photobloggers/photoblogging - requires plugins
  782. Tannagh Colors
  783. Tannagh Theme2
  784. Tarski tested with WordPress 2.0
  785. Tech-Bytes
  786. TechnoBlue 3 column wordpress theme
  787. Tectropicana REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  788. TemplateXtreme Sample REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  789. Terracotta
  790. The Beauty Within 3 column wordpress theme
  791. The Cabinet
  792. Theorem
  793. Thin Green Line
  794. Thingamablog
  795. Think Different
  796. Thirteen
  797. Thirteen v1.2 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  798. Thought Mechanics
  799. Three Column Theme 3 column wordpress theme
  800. TicTac - Wuhan
  801. Tiga
  802. Timeless Grace
  803. Tiny
  804. tjodalf1
  805. TNO Theme 3 column wordpress theme
  806. Toni Themes
  807. Track 17 3 column wordpress theme
  808. Track Jacket
  809. Travelogue
  810. Treba
  811. Treacle 3 column wordpress theme
  812. TriColumn3 column wordpress theme
  813. Trident 3 column wordpress theme
  814. Trini Press
  815. Tropical Breeze tested with WordPress 2.0
  816. Tropical Grunge
  817. True Odyssey 3 column wordpress theme
  818. Tulip
  819. Turtlebird
  820. Twilight
  821. TypoXP REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ 3 column wordpress theme
  822. Ultrasimple
  823. Umulas
  824. Union Jack
  825. Unity
  826. Unsleepable REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  827. Unthinkable
  828. UrbanDecay NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  829. Utica Avenue
  830. v4ny Theme 1 You can preview all of the many v4ny wordpress themes HERE
  831. v4ny Theme 2
  832. v4ny Theme 3
  833. v4ny Theme 4
  834. v4ny Theme 5
  835. v4ny Theme 6
  836. v4ny Theme 7
  837. v4ny Theme 8
  838. v4ny Theme 9
  839. v4ny Theme 10
  840. v4ny Theme 11
  841. v4ny Theme 12
  842. v4ny Theme 13
  843. v4ny Theme 14
  844. v4ny Theme 15
  845. v4ny Theme 16
  846. v4ny Theme 17
  847. v4ny Theme 18
  848. v4ny Theme 19
  849. v4ny Theme 20
  850. v4ny Theme 22
  851. v4ny Theme 23
  852. v4ny Theme 24
  853. v4ny Theme 25
  854. v4ny Theme 26
  855. v4ny Theme 27
  856. v4ny Theme 28
  857. v4ny Theme 29
  858. v4ny Theme 30
  859. v4ny Theme 31
  860. v4ny Theme 32
  861. v4ny Theme 33
  862. v4ny Theme 34
  863. v4ny Theme 35
  864. v4ny Theme 36
  865. v4ny Theme 37
  866. v4ny Theme 38
  867. v4ny Theme 39
  868. v4ny Theme 40
  869. v4ny Theme 41
  870. v4ny Theme 42
  871. v4ny Theme 43
  872. v4ny Theme 45
  873. v4ny Theme 47
  874. v4ny Theme 48
  875. v4ny Theme 49
  876. v4ny Theme 50
  877. v4ny Theme 51
  878. v4ny Theme 52
  879. v4ny Theme 53
  880. v4ny Theme 54
  881. v4ny Theme 55
  882. v4ny Theme 56
  883. v4ny Theme 57
  884. v4ny Theme 58
  885. v4ny Theme 59
  886. v4ny Theme 60
  887. v4ny Theme 61
  888. v4ny Theme 62
  889. v4ny Theme 63
  890. v4ny Theme 64
  891. v4ny Theme 65
  892. v4ny Theme 66
  893. v4ny Theme 67
  894. v4ny Theme 68
  895. v4ny Theme 69
  896. v4ny Theme 70
  897. v4ny Theme 71
  898. v4ny Theme 73
  899. v4ny Theme 74
  900. v4ny Theme 75
  901. v4ny Theme 76
  902. v4ny Theme 77
  903. v4ny Theme 78
  904. v4ny Theme 79
  905. v4ny Theme 80
  906. v4ny Theme 81
  907. v4ny Theme 82
  908. v4ny Theme 83
  909. v4ny Christmas #1
  910. v4ny Christmas #2
  911. v4ny Christmas #3
  912. v4ny Christmas #4
  913. Vancouver Nights
  914. Vesuvius 3 column wordpress theme
  915. veryplaintxt REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  916. Very Simple
  917. Vicksburg
  918. Vivacity
  919. vSlider
  920. vSlider G2 great for photoblogging
  921. vSlider 2.0 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  922. Warm and Dry
  923. Way Too Clean
  925. What’s Your Solution
  926. Wheatgrass
  927. White as Milk
  928. White is the New Red 3 column wordpress theme
  929. White Onion
  930. Whitespace
  931. Wild Like Children
  932. Windstorm
  933. Winter Wonderland
  934. Wonderwall still in alpha stages, requires plugins (comes with them)
  935. WordPress 86
  936. WordPress 87
  937. WordPress 88 tested with WordPress 2.0
  938. WordPress 89 tested with WordPress 2.0
  939. WordPress 90 tested with WordPress 2.0
  940. WordPress 91 tested with WordPress 2.0
  941. WordPress 92 tested with WordPress 2.0
  942. WordPress 93 tested with WordPress 2.0
  943. WordPress 94 tested with WordPress 2.0
  944. WordPress 95 tested with WordPress 2.0
  945. WordPress 96 tested with WordPress 2.0
  946. WordPress 97 tested with WordPress 2.0
  947. WordPress 98 tested with WordPress 2.0
  948. WordPress 99 tested with WordPress 2.0
  949. WordPress Classic
  950. WordPress Default
  951. WordPress Index Builder
  952. WoW4WP
  953. wp-pad
  954. WP2 Toni Theme NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  955. WPAndreas03 tested with WordPress 2.0
  956. WPAndreas043 column wordpress theme
  957. WPAndreas06
  958. WPAndreas07 tested with WordPress 2.0
  959. WPAndreas08
  960. WPAndreas08 3 column 3 column wordpress theme
  961. WPAndreas08 3 column B 3 column wordpress theme
  962. WPAndreas09 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+
  963. WPGlass REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  964. WpInside
  965. wpjeriko01 REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  966. WuCoco NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  967. Wuhan tested with WordPress 2.0
  968. X Blog
  969. XBLOG 3 column wordpress theme
  970. XBLOG T1 3 column wordpress theme
  971. Yadda
  972. Yakuter Tema
  973. Yaletown NEW REQUIRES WordPress 2.0+ includes wordpress widgets support
  974. Yellehs
  975. Yaaarr! Tis me blog! 3 column wordpress theme
  976. Yellow tested with WordPress 2.0
  977. ZaZen
  978. Zen Minimalist
  979. Zig-Zag
  980. Zimpleza 3 column wordpress theme
  981. Zine 3 column wordpress theme

Much thanks to some other lists of WordPress themes including Organic Shadows, BloggingPro (who has screenshots and commentary for some of these themes), Alex King’s theme contest, and the WordPress Codex

To see many of these themes in action, be sure to check out Shadow’s WordPress Reference Centre and WordPress Theme Viewer, as well as Alex King’s Theme Browser, and Jon’s

To learn how to modify any of these themes check out "How to customize an existing WordPress 1.5 theme just the way you want"

via CevaUtil