Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ten CSS tricks you may not know

Cascading Style Sheets are the foundation on which many of the best websites are built. Using CSS allows developers to describe the common style for the website, in terms of colours, fonts and layouts. In this tutorial, Trenton Moss of Webcredible shares some of his top tips to help you get the most from your CSS.
1. CSS font shorthand rule
When styling fonts with CSS you may be doing this:

font-weight: bold;
font-style: italic;
font-variant: small-caps;
font-size: 1em;
line-height: 1.5em;
font-family: verdana,sans-serif

There's no need though as you can use this CSS shorthand property:

font: bold italic small-caps 1em/1.5em verdana,sans-serif

Much better! Just a few of words of warning: This CSS shorthand version will only work if you're specifying both the font-size and the font-family. The font-family command must always be at the very end of this shorthand command, and font-size must come directly before this. Also, if you don't specify the font-weight, font-style, or font-variant then these values will automatically default to a value of normal, so do bear this in mind too.
2. Two classes together
Usually attributes are assigned just one class, but this doesn't mean that that's all you're allowed. In reality, you can assign as many classes as you like! For example:


Using these two classes together (separated by a space, not with a comma) means that the paragraph calls up the rules assigned to both text and side. If any rules overlap between the two classes then the class which is below the other in the CSS document will take precedence.
3. CSS border default value
When writing a border rule you'll usually specify the colour, width and style (in any order). For example, border: 3px solid #000 will give you a black solid border, 3px thick. However the only required value here is the border style.

If you were to write just border: solid then the defaults for that border will be used. But what defaults? Well, the default width for a border is medium (equivalent to about 3 to 4px) and the default colour is that of the text colour within that border. If either of these are what you want for the border then you can leave them out of the CSS rule!
4. CSS document for printing
Lots of web pages have a link to a print-friendly version. What many of them don't realise is that there's no need because you can set up a second CSS document to be called up when a user prints the page.

So, your page header should contains links to two CSS documents, one for the screen, and one for printing.

The first line of code calls up the CSS for the screen (notice the inclusion of media="screen") and the second line calls up the CSS for the printable version (using media="print").

So, what commands should you put in this second CSS document? To work it out, open a blank document and save it as printstyle.css. Next, point the screen CSS command to this document so that the command reads:

Now just keep entering CSS commands until the display on the screen matches how you want the printed version to look. You'll certainly want to make use of the display: none command for navigation, decorative images and non-essential items. For more advice on this, read Print Different, which also mentions the other media for which you can specify CSS files.
5. Image replacement technique
It's always advisable to use regular HTML markup to display text, as opposed to an image. Doing so allows for a faster download speed and has accessibility benefits. However, if you've absolutely got your heart set on using a certain font and your site visitors are unlikely to have that font on their computers, then really you've got no choice but to use an image.

Say for example, you wanted the top heading of each page to be 'Buy widgets', as you're a widget seller and you'd like to be found for this phrase in the search engines. You're pretty set on it being an obscure font so you need to use an image:

Buy widgets

This is OK but there's strong evidence to suggest that search engines don't assign as much importance to alt text as they do real text (because so many webmasters use the alt text to cram in keywords). So, an alternative would be:

Buy widgets

Now, this obviously won't use your obscure font. To fix this problem place these commands in your CSS document:
background: url(widget-image.gif) no-repeat;
height: image height
text-indent: -2000px

Be sure to change "image height" to whatever the height of the image is (e.g. 85px)! The image, with your fancy font, will now display and the regular text will be safely out of the way, positioned 2000px to the left of the screen thanks to our CSS rule. Please note, this can cause accessibility issues as any user with images turned off won't be able to see the text.
6. CSS box model hack alternative
The box model hack is used to fix a rendering problem in pre-IE 6 browsers on PC, where by the border and padding are included in the width of an element, as opposed to added on. For example, when specifying the dimensions of a container you might use the following CSS rule: #box
width: 100px;
border: 5px;
padding: 20px

This CSS rule would be applied to:


This means that the total width of the box is 150px (100px width + two 5px borders + two 20px paddings) in all browsers except pre-IE 6 versions on PC. In these browsers the total width would be just 100px, with the padding and border widths being incorporated into this width. The box model hack can be used to fix this, but this can get really messy.

A simple alternative is to use this CSS:
width: 150px

#box div
border: 5px;
padding: 20px

And the new HTML would be:

Perfect! Now the box width will always be 150px, regardless of the browser!
7. Centre aligning a block element
Say you wanted to have a fixed width layout website, and the content floated in the middle of the screen. You can use the following CSS command: #content
width: 700px;
margin: 0 auto

You would then enclose
around every item in the body of the HTML document and it'll be given an automatic margin on both its left and right, ensuring that it's always placed in the centre of the screen. Simple... well not quite - we've still got the pre-IE 6 versions on PC to worry about, as these browsers won't centre align the element with this CSS command. You'll have to change the CSS rules:
text-align: center

text-align: left;
width: 700px;
margin: 0 auto

This will then centre align the main content, but it'll also centre align the text! To offset the second, probably undesired, effect we inserted text-align: left into the content div.
8. Vertically aligning with CSS

Vertically aligning with tables was a doddle. To make cell content line up in the middle of a cell you would use vertical-align: middle. This doesn't really work with a CSS layout. Say you have a navigation menu item whose height is assigned 2em and you insert this vertical align command into the CSS rule. It basically won't make a difference and the text will be pushed to the top of the box.

Hmmm... not the desired effect. The solution? Specify the line height to be the same as the height of the box itself in the CSS. In this instance, the box is 2em high, so we would insert line-height: 2em into the CSS rule and the text now floats in the middle of the box - perfect!
9. CSS positioning within a container

One of the best things about CSS is that you can position an object absolutely anywhere you want in the document. It's also possible (and often desirable) to position objects within a container. It's simple to do too. Simply assign the following CSS rule to the container:
position: relative

Now any element within this container will be positioned relative to it. Say you had this HTML structure:

To position the navigation exactly 30px from the left and 5px from the top of the container box, you could use these CSS commands:
position: absolute;
left: 30px;
top: 5px

Perfect! In this particular example, you could of course also use margin: 5px 0 0 30px, but there are some cases where it's preferable to use positioning.
10. Background colour running to the screen bottom

One of the disadvantages of CSS is its inability to be controlled vertically, causing one particular problem which a table layout doesn't suffer from. Say you have a column running down the left side of the page, which contains site navigation. The page has a white background, but you want this left column to have a blue background. Simple, you assign it the appropriate CSS rule:
background: blue;
width: 150px

Just one problem though: Because the navigation items don't continue all the way to the bottom of the screen, neither does the background colour. The blue background colour is being cut off half way down the page, ruining your great design. What can you do!?

Unfortunately one of the only solutions to this is to cheat, and assign the body a background image of exactly the same colour and width as the left column. You would use this CSS command:
background: url(blue-image.gif) 0 0 repeat-y

This image that you place in the background should be exactly 150px wide and the same blue colour as the background of the left column. The disadvantage of using this method is that you can't express the left column in terms of em, as if the user resizes text and the column expands, it's background colour won't.

Using this method the left column will have to be expressed in px if you want it to have a different background colour to the rest of the page.

About the author
This article was written by Trenton Moss. Trenton's crazy about web usability and accessibility - so crazy that he went and started his own web usability and accessibility consultancy, Webcredible to help make the internet a better place for everyone. He knows an awful lot about intranet usability and spends much of his time conducting accessibility evaluations of websites.

The Wall Street Journal: The putsch in the Romanian Parliament

BIRN also worried of events in Bucharest

Some 100 days after Romania joined the European Union, the country’s parliament voted for the suspension of President Traian Basescu on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal reports.

The crisis is about to become a serious “foreign policy headache” for both the enlarged European Union, and the United States, the newspaper reports.

Authors Vladimir Tismaneanu, a reputed Romanian political scientist, and Paul Dragos Aligica insist that Romanian lawmakers pretended the President had breached the Constitution repeatedly despite the Constitutional Court disagreed with them.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network also reported of events in Bucharest yesterday. It quotes Romanian political analyst Emil Hurezeanu who warns that "Romania has to be very careful not to follow the Ukraine scenario and become unstable….

"Political instability in recent months has already dented Romania's chances of reaping quick benefits from its new EU membership"., Apr 20, 2007

Highway project rounds Black Sea

The Foreign Ministers of the Black Sea Cooperation Organization (OCEMN) were to sign an understanding agreement for the construction of a highway designed to circle the Black Sea. The signing was scheduled for Thursday, in Belgrade.

The project, submitted by Russia, involves the construction of over 7,000 kilometers of highway, connecting Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Georgia.

The financing for the project will come from the national budgets of all member states and loans provided by the European Investments Bank, the European Reconstruction and Development Bank and the Black Sea Bank., Apr 20, 2007

EBRD buys shares in Romanian energy companies

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed an agreement for taking over 9.8% of the stock at two Romanian energy related companies, E.ON Gaz Romania Holding and E.ON Energie Romania, both with German group E.ON as majority shareholder, a release of the international financial institution informs.
According to media sources, the transaction rises to some 43 million euros.

After the transaction, EBRD will hold 5% of the stock at the gas distribution company E.ON Gaz Romania and 5% at the electricity company E.ON Moldova.

In June 2005, E.ON Ruhrgas bought 51% of Romanian gas distribution company Distrigaz Nord. In October 2005, E.ON Energie bought 51% of Electrica Moldova, currently split into E.ON Moldova Distribution and E.ON Moldova Provisioning.

EBRD is currently one of the main investors in Romania, with 3.5 million euros involved in over 190 projects., Apr 20, 2007

PM Tariceanu urges people to restrain from public demonstrations

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu held a public speech at 20.00h, asking people to restrain from public demonstrations and calling people to have faith in the Government.

Tariceanu also claims to have won the confidence of European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barosso.

“It is for the first time a president is suspended in Romania, only four months after our accession to the European Union, when all our energies should have gathered for a successful integration. Still, for the past two years, the political stage was divided.

The Government and the Parliament have the duty to solve the current political problems.

It is my firm belief that Romanians are more preoccupied with the way things will be tomorrow, with the infrastructure and the health care system, rather than political quarrels.

I assume entirely the governing, for the future period (...).

I discussed with Jose Manuel Barosso and the European officials are certain that we are able to surpass this moment. I assured him that Romania is still firmly dedicated to the European values and will follow the path it assumed.

I appeal to all citizens: it must be clear that street movements will not solve anything. The solutions will come and the Government will make sure of it”, said Tariceanu., Apr 19, 2007

Public meeting in support of President Basescu

Piata Universitatii (the University Plaza), the traditional spot for spontaneous meetings, is crowded with several hundreds of demonstrators and the number is increasing. Speakers were installed and it seems the suspended president Basescu will arrive soon.

The Democrat Party, formerly lead by Basescu, denies any involvement in organizing the meeting. Opposition officials fear riots, although the City Hall approved the meeting around 17.00 hours, hours after it begun.

UPDATE: readers signal that similar meetings are about to burst also in other major cities. Forum participants fear the presence of violent instigators, purposely sent to justify the intervention of gendarmes., Apr 19, 2007

Political crisis may affect the business environment

The economic frame may be affected by the president’s suspension, mainly because the Parliament’s decision means a temporary freeze in the legislation process.
The currency market is expected to become extremely volatile for a few days, but may be affected as well for a long term. Stock market indicators may also depreciate, analysts say.

“Generally speaking, the stock market is extremely sensitive to all foreign signals”, says Septimiu Stoica, Bucharest Stock Exchange president.

For the moment, there were no significant fluctuations in the national currency exchange rates. ING chief analyst Florin Citu claims that the appreciation trend of the national currency, RON, may be affected until the entire political crisis is solved., Apr 19, 2007

European Popular Party supports President Basescu

The Chairman of EPP-ED Group, Joseph Daul, and the President of EPP Party, Wilfried Martens, expressed their support for President Traian Basescu on Thursday, shortly after the Romanian Parliament decided to suspend the head of state.

A joint statement of the two says "it is regrettable that a country like Romania, which just recently joined the European Union, has gone to this situation of institutional crisis."

Joint statement of the Chairman of EPP-ED Group, Joseph Daul, and the President of EPP Party, Wilfried Martens, on the procedure of impeachment of Romanian President:

"It is regrettable that a country like Romania, which just recently joined the European Union, has gone to this situation of institutional crisis. President Basescu has made an important contribution to Romania’s path in the last two years, thus facilitating its accession to the European Union.

The slogan during preparation for accession was: ”Romania is the solution, not the problem of the EU”. At the moment, the procedure of impeachment of a President in an EU country, against the decision of the Constitutional Court, creates rather then solves problems.

We hope that the political situation in Romania will not further degenerate. We expect that Romania should be an added value to the EU, namely with its active involvement in the European major projects, and in the Black Sea region. Further developments of the political crisis in Romania could endanger the attainment of these goals.", Apr 19, 2007

Parliament suspends Romanian President

Senators and Deputies finished voting in the matter of the presidential suspension. Out of 465 PMs, 322 voted in favor of Basescu’s suspension, 108 against, 10 refused to vote and 5 votes were annulled. Only 235 votes were required in order to have the president suspended.

Social Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives held fulminating speeches against president Traian Basescu during the Parliament’s session today and. Hungarian Minority representatives had a moderate position, while far right Great Romania leaders lost themselves in the usual “Romania never wanted Basescu, foreign forces did”.

Basescu announced on Wednesday that he would resign in case the Parliament suspends him, signing the resignation the very moment the Constitutional Court announces that the procedures took place correctly.

“The Constitutional Court decision, showing that I didn’t break the Constitution, transforms the vote on Thursday in a political action, whatever the result”, said Basescu on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, several hundreds of demonstrants gathered in the traditional “Revolution theatre”, the University Place. A flashmob meeting was unofficially convoked for 18:30h in the same place and rumors say president Basescu will participate in person.
In a speech held after the parliamentarian votes were counted, Prime Minister Tariceanu held a public speech, demanding President Basescu to respect his own promise and resign.

“As a politician, I understand that his resignation would represent the recognition of the mistakes he made and an admission of the fact that he shouldn’t run for president again”.

Several Social Democrat (PSD) officials declared for that the party is looking for legal solutions to prevent Basescu from participating in the presidential race again., Apr 19, 2007

EC concerned with Bucharest crisis

The evolution of the political situation in Romania caused some concern in the European Commission, EU's governing body. According to top sources, the members of the Commissioners' College are worried about the way the Justice cooperation and verification is applied and the new evolutions in the anti graft efforts.

The Commission will publish in June a report on the way Romania fulfilled the measures it assumed.

Among the most delicate subjects, the National Integrity Law is the most important, The project was repeatedly postponed by the Parliament and modified until several aspects demanded by European officials were eliminated., Apr 19, 2007

New version of Regional Operational Programme released

The last version of the Regional Operational Programme (ROP), concluded in April following negotiations with the EU, is available online on the website of the former Integration Ministry.

Additionally, the Management Authority of the ROP has proposed a draft of the eligible costs for reimbursement of the potential beneficiaries, which is now open for public debate. The draft, together with a general framework that provides the conditions for financing is to be enforced by law.

The general framework draft is also open to public debate on the website of the Finances Ministry, the initiator of the act.

The Regional Operational Programme 2007-2013 contributes, together with the other programmes, to the accomplishment of the general objective of the National Regional Strategy, namely to reduce the disparities between Romania’s regions.

ROP aims at improving regional and local transport infrastructure, improving social infrastructure (education and health), strengthening the regional and local business environment, creating sustainable development of regional and local tourism, supporting sustainable urban development, and providing technical assistance to support ROP’s implementation.

For the period 2007-2013, the regional programme will be financed by the State Budget and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, one of the EU Structural Funds., Apr 19, 2007

What the newspapers say: April 19, 2007

Waiting for the Parliamentarian vote on president Basescu's suspension, most headlines refer to what may happen after this morning.

Meanwhile, the hero professor Liviu Librescu makes once again the headlines, being honored post-mortem with Romania's highest medal, the National Order "Romania's Star", ranking as a Knight.

Romanian gendarmes in Kosovo are accused of killing two Albanians during the riots in February, almost all commissions and investigators pointing directly to them.
Still, Evenimentul Zilei found out that the Italian and French military refused to collaborate with the investigators in any way, so that some questions raised by the reports may never find their answer.

On the other hand, according to Gandul, the rubber bullets shot by the Romanian military were expired since 1994. A UN preliminary report indicates that this fact may have caused the rubber to become more rigid and cause lethal injuries.

The main subject of the day is not as much news as it is expecting news. The Parliament discusses this morning the suspension of president Traian Basescu. The head of state announced that he won't participate in the session and appealed to all PM to take seriously into account the possible effects of their initiative.

"Foreign investments will be blocked, Romania will have a negative report from the European Union and the country rating will drop", said Basescu, according to Gandul

The same newspaper has both good and bad news in the economy area. Romania is the country with the most potential of getting its economy overheated, a Standard & Poor's (S&P) report on emerging economies indicates.

Despite this report, Romania is still the most attractive Central and East-European country for any investors, followed by Bulgaria and Turkey, a Ernst&Young study, quoted by the same Gandul, shows.

First or last in the economy... we're always the last when it comes to health. Romania holds the record for C-type Hepatitis and has 44.5 deaths caused by this disease for every 100,000 inhabitants, compared to an average of 15 in Europe, Cotidianul reads.
Romania also hosts 10% of all Hepatitis infections in Europe., Apr 19, 2007

President helped by compromising data on CCR judges, Opposition accuses

Social - Democrat (PSD) head Mircea Geoana stroke back one day after the Constitutional Court (CCR) decided that all charges against president Basescu are too insignificant to justify his suspension.

Geoana accused president Basescu of using both the Foreign and Interior Intelligence services in order to obtain compromising information about the judges in the Constitutional Court.

Liberal Radu Stroe, head of the Parliamentarian Commission for the Interior Intelligence Service (SRI) Control convoked an extraordinary meeting in order to analyze the accusations.

Both Intelligence services and the Presidential Administration denied all charges.

Conservative Party head, Dan Voiculescu, also announced unveilings on the same issue., Apr 18, 2007

Romanian Government reshuffle affects European funding

The reshuffle of the Romanian government is affecting the institutional bodies that are coordinating the European structural funds and might influence the negotiations with the European Commission on the Operational Programmes.

There is a high degree of uncertainty regarding the top management and the head offices of the seven Operational Programmes following the changes within the structure of the coordinating ministries.

The changes might affect the Management Authorities (MA) of the Programmes that activate within the coordinating ministries, but also the intermediate bodies that deal with fund applicants.

The restructuring of the government will affect the negotiations with the European Commission as Romania’s part should be politically represented and strongly supported by the ministries and state secretaries, which is not possible at this moment, analyst Dragos Pislaru, General Manager of GEA Strategy and Consulting said.

The Competitiveness Operational Programme encounters some problems as the Management Authority shifts from the former Ministry of Economy to the new Ministry of Economy and Finances. The National Agency of the Small and Medium Enterprises, an interim organism within this program is to be under the coordination of the new Ministry of SMEs, Commerce, Tourism and Liberal Professions.

It is foreseen that the MA of the Regional Operational Programme (ROP) will stay with the former Ministry of Integration, in its head office. However, the National Authority for Tourism that is comprised within the Regional Operational Programme will no longer be coordinated by the Transportation ministry but by the Ministry of SMEs, Commerce, Tourism and Liberal Professions.

The head offices of the Transportation and Environment Programmes remain the same as the coordinating ministries have not suffered major structural changes and will keep their addresses.

The Human Resources Development Programme, together with the 13 intermediate bodies, stays with the Ministry of Labor, Family and Equality of Chances.

At the regional level, however, the situation is more stable as the authorities that are directly dealing with the beneficiaries will not suffer any changes. This is the case of the National Agency of the Small and Medium Enterprises and of the Agencies of Regional Development.

Things are expected to settle down within the coming week. The political changes should not affect the management personnel of these authorities as their positions have been obtained following a job competition., Apr 18, 2007

Giant marketplace for Bucharest

Bucharest Mayor, Adriean Videanu, was impressed with Madrid's Mercamadrid marketplace and decided that Romanians should benefit from the same kind of facilities.

According to a City Hall release, a location has to be found before fall for a similar construction. Mercamadrid covers some 100 hectares and has specialized areas for fruits and vegetables, fish, dairy and meat.

"The rapid development of the Capital imposes the presence of a spacey market, able to respect the European demands in food safety for fresh products", said Videanu.
A partnership with the Madrid city hall and with Mercamadrid may be signed for the new project development., Apr 18, 2007

Romanian military officially accused in Kosovo riot deaths

The Romanian officers working in the UN forces in Kosovo are guilty for the death of two Albanian manifestants in February 2007, an UN report released on Tuesday shows. The document indicates that two Albanians were killed and another one injured by the rubber bullets shot by the Romanian officers.

Special UN prosecutor Robert Dean declared in a press conference that the death of the two manifestants was "useless", given the fact that they did not represent a threat at the moment they were shot.

"Although it may be argued that the death was an accident, this should not be a reasonable doubt on the fact that opening fire was a criminal act".

Romanian decided in March to withdraw the contingent from Kosovo, despite an appeal from the UN for the participation of 11 officers in the investigation., Apr 17, 2007

"We'll see who's to keep, the President or the Parliament"

President Basescu held public speech on Tuesday, claiming that his suspension is not a personal matter. "The reasons presented by the Constitutional Court doesn't refer to a president who has some rights, but to a president actively involved in the society".

The Constitutional Court (CCR) decided that Basescu's constitutional "deviations" are not of nature to cause his suspension as president, yet the final word belongs to the Parliament.

Quotes from the presidential speech:

# The arguments brought forth by the Constitutional Court confirm the fact that two years and a half of my mandate passed not only by the word, but also by the spirit of the Constitution.

# The arguments show that my criticism was not formed by personal attacks but from elements of my presidential mandate.

# The CCR decision makes this suspension process become a political action with no constitutional grounds. None, not even one of the things I was accused of was ever confirmed as an act breaking the Constitution.

# I am pleased with the relationship between myself and the Romanian people.

# Some people's desire to have a quiet and not involved president, who doesn't take position against corruption, may become reality during another president's mandate, not mine.

# I ensure all those who would love me to shut up that I won't shut up.

# What happens in the Parliament is a political decision and I will treat it accordingly.

# In case the parliament votes in favor of my suspension, I will resign during the first five minutes after the vote and I will bring back in front of the electors all those who generated such a political abuse.

# We'll see who's to keep, the President or the Parliament

# I case of early elections, I will not negotiate my votes with any political party. To negotiate is to respond to blackmail, to fail in achieving a goal I believe in: cutting Romania's oligarchs from their political influence., Apr 17, 2007

Green light for uninominal vote referendum

The Constitutional Court (CCR) decided on Tuesday that an objection raised by the People's Advocate is admissible and, as consequence, that an article in the Referendum Law is anti-constitutional. The article refers to the number of votes required in the Parliament in order to convoke a referendum for instating the uninominal vote system.

As re result of the CCR decision, the Parliamentarian vote on March 1st will be interpreted as in favor of organizing a referendum for the uninominal vote, although, in the first stage, it appeared as against, lacking two votes.

From a constitutional pointy of view, the 233 votes in favor were enough to organize the referendum, but an article in the Referendum Law demanded more than the constitutional definition of a majority., Apr 17, 2007

Romanian President cancels Macedonia visit to deal with political crisis at home

Romanian Senate speaker Nicolae Vacaroiu announced on Tuesday that the Parliament will vote most probably on Thursday on whether to launch suspension procedure against President Traian Basescu. Vacaroiu said he was informed by the President that he cancelled his visit to Macedonia, scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

The permanent boards of the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament are due to meet on Wednesday morning to discuss the issue.

The decision was made after the Constitutional Court published its verdict on the findings of a parliamentary commission that accused President Basescu of having breached the Constitution on many accounts since he was named in office more than two years ago.

The Constitutional Court did not find that according to the commission findings the head of state did indeed breach the fundamental law of the country, according to the arguments of the Court, obtained by

A previous announcement of the Court had suggested that the President has breached the Constitution, but not in a serious manner. The explanation today suggests the data delivered by the parliamentary commission that issued the charges against him do not support the charges, so it can be said the President did not breach the Constitution at all., Apr 17, 2007

Constitutional Court pushes on with presidential suspension procedure

The Constitutional Court in Bucharest delivered arguments to the Official Gazette for a recent decision on the constitutionality of President Traian Basescu’s political actions on Tuesday. Once published in the Gazette, the Court position would allow Romanian MPs to vote whether to launch suspension procedure against Traian Basescu on constitutional grounds.

The Constitutional Court was notified several weeks ago about the findings of a parliamentary commission that President Basescu has breached the Constitution on several accounts since named in office.

The Court responded last week with a decision that was misread as saying that the head of state did breach the fundamental law with a series of moves in his struggle with political opponents. But the Court was understood to say that he did not do that in such a manner as to justify suspension moves.

The Constitutional Court did not find that according to the commission findings the head of state did indeed breach the fundamental law of the country, according to the arguments of the Court, obtained by

The explanation today suggests the data delivered by the parliamentary commission that issued the charges against him do not support the charges, so it can be said the President did not breach the Constitution at all.

What the Court sent to the Official Gazette today was the explanation for its decision last week. The Court findings are non-compulsory, but the Parliament must now convene within 24 hours after the publication of the data to decide on the issue.

Suspension plans announced by Basescu’s political rivals in the opposition and the government seemed brought to a halt on Monday, several days after he announced that should procedures to suspend him be launched, he would resign immediately.

That would allow him to run in early presidential elections due to be organized within three months. As he has no real competitor for such a poll, his challengers these days seemed undecided whether to pursue their suspension plans., Apr 17, 2007

International media honors Romanian-born professor killed in Virginia massacre

Israeli professor of Romanian origin Liviu Librescu numbers among those killed in the Virginia Tech University massacre on Monday. According to the International Herald Tribune, Librescu sacrificed his life to save his students. He had blocked the access to the his class so that students can run from the attacker.

Librescu, 77, was teaching at the Virginia Tech University for 20 years.

Israeli media also announce the death of Liviu Librescu. The online edition of the Jerusalem Post reports that he was shot to death, while writes that he was killed during his attempt to block the access to the class.

Alec Calhoun, a student who witnessed his death, told the Associated Press that he saw her teacher blocking the door to the class while some of her colleagues were hiding, while others were jumping out of the window.

The professor had been driven to school by his wife less than an hour before he was shot.

AP writes that his wife Marlina and sons Arieh and Joe have already started to prepare for his burial in Israel.

His daughter-in-law Ayala has said the professor was very passionate of his work and a dedicated family man, while University colleagues described him as a “real gentleman”.

Liviu Librescu graduated the Politechnical University in Bucharest in 1952 with a specialization in aeronautical engineering. In 1972, he received the Traian Vuia Award of the Romanian Academy of Sciences.

In 1979-1886 he served as mechanical engineering professor at the Tel Aviv University.

According to, he and his wife were survivors of the Holocaust who immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978.

The-then communist regime in Bucharest did not allow him to leave the country, but that became possible after Israeli PM of the time, Menachem Begin, pressed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to let him go.

Several years later he left for the US. He has teached mechanical engineering at the Virginia university since 1986.

He was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa of the Politechnical University in Bucharest In 2000., Apr 17, 2007

Romania-origin professor killed in Virginia killing spree

One Romanian professor and at least 32 people died and 28 were wounded in a Virginia university campus sending America in a state of shock on Monday. The bloodiest incident of its kind took place at the Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, where a man of apparently Asian origin went on rampage and killed himself when SWAT troops took over the campus.

Romanian Professor Liviu Librescu’s death was announced on the Virginia Tech official website. He and fellow professor Kevin Granata were killed while holding their courses in the Norris Hall building of the University.

Officials at the US Embassy in Bucharest were not yet able to confirm the information on Monday morning.

# Photo gallery: the Virginia Tech massacre

The suspect was apparently a student, but US media has been providing only speculation on who he was and what was the cause of the killing spree as the authorities have not yet delivered detailed information on the man’s identity.

SWAT and FBI have taken control over the campus, but strong winds made it a tough job for helicopters deployed in the area to recover the victims on Monday.

Photo: Rompres
The shootings took place in two campus buildings - first in the West Hambler Johnson Hall, where 895 students lived. Two hours later, the killing spree moved to the Norris Hall nearby, where many victims were reported. Some of the dead were found in a classroom, the local police has announced.

President George W. Bush said he was terrified of the tragedy which would be felt in every community across America.

President Bush offered his prayers to the victims and the people of Virginia, saying the tragedy would be felt in every community in the country. The US Senate kept a moment of recollection in remembrance of the victims, while the Virginia state governor Tim Kaine dropped a visit to Japan to be present at the university campus.

University officials announced that dozens of psychological consultants and psychiatrists were deployed to offer assistance to students and the victims’ families., Adrian Novac-New York, Cerasela Marin, Apr 17, 2007

Romania and Bulgaria last in industrial areas

According to a CB Richard Ellis report, some 60,000 square meters of industrial buildings and facilities were opened in Bucharest in 2006, adding up to an existing total of 310,000 square meters. Still, analysts say that the offers in the area are much lower compared to other Central and Eastern European countries.

A new decrease in the amount of available industrial space is expected for 2007, while rents are expected to remain at the same level.

According to the CB Richard Ellis analysis, Bucharest and Sofia rank last in Europe in this field. Warsaw, Bratislava and other capitals have between 500,000 and 800,000 square meters, while Prague and Budapest have up to 1,200,000 square meters of industrial space., Apr 17, 2007

Construction fairs open at Romexpo complex in Bucharest

Two construction fairs open at the Romexpo complex in Bucharest on Tuesday - the Construct Expo international construction systems and materials fair and the Romtherm fair of heating, cooling and air conditioning equipments. Both fairs are open April 17-April 21, bringing together hundreds of specialized companies from dozens of countries.

The Construct Expo fair is attended by some 500 firms from 19 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and Hungary. Foreign companies account for 30% of the participation.
Romtherm will be attended by 300 companies from 18 countries.

The Romexpo complex also hosts a third fair these days - the Expo Invest Imobiliar Salon of real estate financial offers., Apr 17, 2007

Politician Voiculescu and daughter heard in embezzlement case

Dan Voiculescu, the head of the Conservative Party (PC), and his daughter Camelia Voiculescu faced anti-graft prosecutors in a secret hearing on Monday, the public television announced.

The two are investigated for money laundering in an embezzlement case related to the Romanian Lottery. They spent two hours at the headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) to provide explanations and learn about the exact charges brought against them.

Dan Voiculescu, whose small party was part of the government until it withdrew last year, is charged of helping former deputy PM George Copos, also a PC member, to launder money obtained by the sale of National Lottery assets. Copos is suspected of having transferred the money in the personal accounts of the Voiculescu family and those of Voiculescu’s Grivco company.

George Copos and former Romanian Lottery manager Nicolae Cristea - also investigated in a separate lottery-related case - are also expected to show up at the DNA this week.

The criminal inquiry against six people, including the four mentioned above, was opened March 30., Apr 16, 2007

Express ways to replace planned highways across Romania

Some 1.2 billion euro will be used for the construction of express ways as an intermediary solution between highways and national roads across Romania, a top representative of the industry announced on Monday. Mihai Grecu of the National Company of Highways and National Roads said express ways will be built between Arad-Oradea, Turda-Sebes, Pitesti-Craiova and Tetea-Satu Mare-Baia Mare.

Freshly named Transport minister Ludovic Orban detailed on Monday the priorities of his ministry and presented two new managers within the institutions - Mihai Grecu and Sorin Supuran. The latter will run the Romanian Road Authority.

Pressure for the construction of highways is huge in Romania, where only two such roads exist. But the lack of funds allows only the construction of few highways in the coming future - across areas which the European Union sees as key for EU transport routes.

Grecu announced today that bidding documents for the construction of the new express ways will be announced within a fortnight., Apr 16, 2007

EU Liberal chief Watson: Romanian President's suspension not affecting integration

The head of the Liberal group in the European Parliament Graham Watson said during talks with Romanian PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, also a Liberal, on Monday that a possible suspension of Romanian President Traian Basescu would not affect the integration of Romania with the EU.

But Tariceanu quoted Watson after the talks as saying that the current political situation in Romania is affecting the country’s elections for the European Parliament, which he himself has postponed until autumn 2007.

The Parliament must make a decision fast regarding the suspension of the President, the prime minister said. That was necessary to prevent the prolongation of the political crisis in Bucharest, he said.

Also on Monday, ALDE head Watson also met Dan Voiculescu, the head of the Conservative Party, which is also affiliated to the European group. Voiculescu said after the talks that they discussed about the current political climate in Romania, but refused to provide details of the meeting.

Graham Watson is now expected to leave Bucharest for the Western Romanian city of Timisoara to attend ALDE Political Board works on Monday and Tuesday., Apr 16, 2007

Romania's political struggle gains momentum this week

The fate of the battle at the top of Romanian politics may come to light this week as key institutions and parties have to choose their stance on a possible proposal to suspend President Traian Basescu. The coming days were prefaced by the head of state’s crowd baths in northern Romania and a series of meetings at the helm of the main political parties opposing him in Parliament.

Leaders of the main opposition party, the Social Democrats (PSD), convened on Saturday evening to discuss the party options related to possible procedures that may be initiated this week for the suspension of the President. The meeting delivered no results, however.

The PSD faces a serious dilemma: President Basescu said in an interview last week that once the suspension procedure is announced, he may very well resign, which would allow him to run in early presidential elections that would have to take place within three months. That would pose a serious challenge to the PSD, as Basescu doesn’t have any relevant contender for the time being.

He himself tried to prove his popularity by having a “crowd bath” at a religious ceremony in northern Moldova this weekend.

A similar incertitude also marks the smaller Conservative Party, also in the opposition, whose leader Dan Voiculescu found during meetings at regional level this weekend that there was no common stance within party ranks on the suspension proposal.

No palpable conclusion resulted from the meetings held by the leadership of the governing Liberals (PNL) either.

A series of meetings are expected to take place on Monday as well, at the start at a week when the whole political spectrum waits for a Constitutional Court argument explaining its recent decision that President Basescu has breached the Constitution but not in so serious a manner as to have him suspended.

Once the court will issue its argument, the Parliament will have to convene within 24 hours to vote whether to launch the suspension procedure or not., Apr 16, 2007

A ten million euro business - the Sziget Festival

15 years since its first edition, the Sziget Festival in Hungary has become a landmark entertainment venue for post-Communist Central Europe. Every summer, somewhere at the beginning of August, hundreds of thousands of youth gather to the Obudai island on River Danube, in Budapest, for what becomes a city of tents and stages within the city of Budapest.

Sziget (island in Hungarian) organizer Csaba Marinka talked to HotNews ro about how one of the very first festivals to bring major international music stars to the region expands its influence in neighboring countries, including Romania. Sziget Festival of is one of Europe’s biggest multicultural events. What are the differences between the first edition and the last one? But, first of all, who’s idea was it to create such an event like this, and were did it came from?

Csaba Marinka: After the change of [the Hungarian communist] regime, there really weren’t any youth events, summer camps in Hungary. There were small events, for instance the band Szi?mi used to organize small camps. However, Peter M?ller, the lead singer of Szi?mi and K?roly Gerendai, the manager of the band wanted something more.

They talked more and more about an event which could be a place for vacation, for camping, a venue for concerts and much more, all for entertainment. After a period of consideration they started to make it real. For August 1993 they organized the first Sziget, under the name Di?ksziget (Student’s Island). In one week 200 concerts, 80 films and 40 theatre performances awaited the visitors.
There were 43 thousand guests on the first event. Last year 385 thousand visitors could attend 200 programs daily, which meant 250 international performances, 500 concerts of Hungarian bands and a number of other cultural programs, all in one week. How much did you spent for the first edition of this festival, and what was the cost for the last edition?

Csaba Marinka: The budget of the first Sziget was 26 million HUF (104, 000 EURO). This year for the 15th Sziget festival we will spend almost a hundred times more - 2.5 billion HUF (10 million EURO). Is the Sziget Festival a profitable business? How much have you earned?

Csaba Marinka: The first two Sziget festivals made huge deficit. However, since 1995 the project started to develop year by year and became successful in financial terms as well. Last year for instance the venture made 50 million HUF (20,000 EURO) profit. How many people are working to prepare and support this event?
Csaba Marinka: There are 52 of us working at the office, however there are people working for us outside the firm, when we settle the programs. The infrastructure of the festival is built up by approx. 6000 workers.

During the festival there is security team of 1200-1500 members, a health and first aid team of 350-400 members, around 250 people take care about pass controls and coordination and 600 people are taking care about the cleaning on the island. How many tourists does the event bring to Budapest?

Csaba Marinka: Sziget is a highly attractive event for tourists, which means it also has an impact on the local economy. Each year there are around 40-45 thousand tourists visiting Sziget festival. According to a survey the spending of local and foreign visitors generated 1.3 billion tax income for the state in 2005. I spoke to some tourists last year, and they say :“Every year it’s better”. Now I’m asking you - have you had complaints from visitors, and which directions were they pointing?

Csaba Marinka: We make surveys each year within the visitors of Sziget festival. Most of them talks about the program and the special “feeling” as virtues of this festival. The few complaints are usually from those who would not like to accept changes. They usually have the negative comment: “Sziget is not like it was before.” Last year, Romania hosted a small festival called Peninsula, that aspired to be a replica of Hungarian festival. Local funds stayed at 350,000 euros, but the Hungarian government contributed too, with 4.5 million forint. Would you like to organize „Szighet festivals” in other countries?

Csaba Marinka: The similarity is not a coincidence, while this is the fourth year we take part in the organisation of Peninsula festival. The domestic festival market is quite full, so we were thinking of organising festivals in the neighbourhood countries.

Sziget is not the only event we have in Hungary: VOLT festival in Sopron with more than 10 venues and 250 programs in 4 days is also our project along with „Gyerek Sziget”, a series of kid’s event and for the first time we organize the biggest Hungarian electronic music party, a 4 day long event next to Lake Balaton., Apr 16, 2007

Cheap Romanian labor sparks scandal in France

Some 60 French workers at a textile factory in the town of Tour du Pin protested on Friday against a management decision to close the factory and move production to Romania, French TV station France 3 has announced. It was the second such protest that day after another one reported at a coffee machines factory in Italy.

According to French trade unions, the owner of the Tour du Pin unit, Swiss group Sefar-Fyltis, decided to move production to Romania because of big differences between the salaries of French workers and those claimed by Romanian ones.

A French workers’ representative told the TV station that while the factory was making a good profit, the owners wanted to move production because a Romanian workers would accept as low as 100 euro, compared to salaries of 1,100 in France., Apr 16, 2007

Four Romanian troops wounded in Iraq

One was transferred to Germany hospital

Four Romanian troops were wounded while on a mission in the Dha Oar region in Iraq on Saturday. All four - one of whom was transferred to a hospital in Germany - were safe on Sunday, according to news reports. They belonged to a group of six Romanian troops aboard combined armored vehicle that left the road and turned upside down while on a mission some 25 km North-West of Tallil.

A commission has been established to identify whether the accident was caused by a technical glitch or by a driving error.

The four belonged to the 495 Infantry Battalion, according to a Romanian Defense Ministry press release. Two of them were hospitalized in Baghdad and are expected to return to their base this week., Apr 16, 2007

New Justice Minister to continue legacy programs

Tudor Chiuariu, the new Justice Minister, decaled on Friday that he would not interfere with the Justice actions, but merely meet according to a schedule, so that all the influential managers would follow the same trend and targets.

In a TV interview , Chiuariu took position against the newspapers that commented on the influence controversial businessman Dinu Patriciu will have on the new cabinet. "It's all horns and trumpets blew by president Basescu's obedient media", said Chiuariu.

Chiuariu says he would follow some of the legacy projects launched by the former Justice Minister, Monica Macovei, including the National Integrity Agency, supposed to be officially opened "in a week or two".

Among his own plans, Chiuariu intends to introduce the free-of-charge juridical consultancy, info points and a computer network for citizens, all in order to make the slow Justice actions more efficient.

During the interview, Chiuariu said it is not his intention to attack anyone, yet never stopped making remarks against both the former minister, Monica Macovei, and her main supporter, president Traian Basescu., Apr 13, 2007

Public TV station loses over 5.1 million euros

The Public TV station (TVR) tabled the activity report on 2006 in the Parliament. According to a TVR press release, the institution suffered losses adding up to some 17 million RON (some 5.1 million euros).
General manager Tudor Giurgiu claims that the situation is not desperate and invokes similar cases of other European public TV stations.

"The losses are not significant, compared to other public TV stations that have been losing money for many years, as it currently happens in Spain, France, Finland, Portugal or Norway", says Giurgiu.

Despite his explanations, the members of the board in TVR consider that Giurgiu's resignation would be an honorable gesture. Six out of 11 members of the board voted for demanding this resignation., Apr 13, 2007

Russia gathers forces against Berezovsky

Russia will open an official investigation against billionaire Boris Berezovsky, following his recent statements in an interview for "The Guardian", telling that he prepares to force Putin's replacement from his presidential seat.
Moscow officials asked the United Kingdom to withdraw the political refugee status of the billionaire and to evaluate the way his statements come against the law.

"We already instructed the authorities in charge to open a criminal file for Berezovsky, since we face a public appeal to overturn the constitutional regime in Russia through violence", said the Russian Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, also expressed his indignation, claiming that "Berezovsky abuses the political refugee statute, his actions demanding extradition, according to the British laws"., Apr 13, 2007

Farmers face bureaucracy in struggle for EU funds

As impossible as it seemed one year ago, more than half of the Romanian farmers opened a bank account and registered at the Agriculture Payments and Interventions Agency, so that they may benefit from the European Union's funds for farming.
A recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers report reinforces some official statements on the system's flaws.

In order to "enjoy" at least 50 euros per hectare, paid by the European Union, Romanian farmers with at least on hectare under management had to go through some bureaucratic trials, the opening of a bank account being the most difficult.
Still, more than half of the Romanian farmers managed to open a bank account.
"We receive some 20,000 financing demands every day, at a national level. At this pace, all 1.2 million farmers will be registered before May 15", says Nicolae Sterghiu, Agriculture Payments and Interventions Agency manager., Apr 13, 2007

What the newspapers say: April 13, 2007

The hottest news on Friday, as already discussed by, is that president Basescu threatens to resign in case the Parliament decides to suspend him for a month and organize a referendum calling for early elections.

In an interview for Cotidianul, the head of state explains that "The suspension is now an action that lacks a reason, a confrontation between me and the Parliament. The Constitutional Court already advised that the suspension procedures have no Constitutional grounds.
I believe that those who generated this abuse must answer in front of the electors at once and my resignation would bring us all back to the general vote", says Basescu according to Evenimentul Zilei, Cotidianul and most other newspapers.

As strange as it sounds, the Democrats already prepare a government that should replace the existing cabinet, as part as their Opposition strategy, Evenimentul Zilei reads.
The new team would be formed mainly by former ministers, but the bids are still open.

In business, the main news is that Romanian Dacia Renault really stirred the international market after the success of its Logan model. On the emergent markets and not only, car producers begun to target the construction of cheap cars, Evenimentul Zilei reads.

Good business opportunities also rise in the Eastern part of Romania, with the US military being installed on the Kogalniceanu airport. American officials already organized tenders for future services, including roads maintenance, water provisioning, garbage and used water disposal and even "housekeeping", Gandul informs.

Also interested in doing business in Romania: a delegation of Spanish officials, pleased with Romanians' work in their strawberry fields, looks for agriculture terrain here. Several hundreds of hectares are about to be bought in Transylvania, with prices significantly lower than in Spain, same Gandul reads.

Speaking of good business - the real estate transactions reached half of the total market in 2006 during the first three months of the year, with some 450 million euros worth of deals, Gandul found out.

In the end, bad businesses also have their share of news: former Economy Minister, Codrut Seres, is accused of protecting the "wise guys" in energy. Seres was heard yesterday by the Anti Graft prosecutors and was briefed on the charges against him, Cotidianul reads., Apr 13, 2007

Romanian President Basescu considers resignation if suspended by Parliament

Romanian President Traian Basescu says in an interview to be published by the Cotidianul newspaper on Friday that a possible decision by the Parliament to suspend him might make him decide to resign.

He would also consider the possibility of calling both early presidential elections and a referendum for the introduction of an uninominal vote, Realitatea TV has announced, quoting the NewsIn press agency.

A parliamentary commission has decided that the President has breached the Romanian Constitution on several accounts since named in office. A parliamentary vote on the findings is expected soon.

The Constitutional Court decided recently that President Basescu did breach the Constitution on several occasions but not in so serious a manner as to have him suspended.

According to Realitatea TV, Basescu says he will not “give up the fight” as a possible parliamentary decision to have him suspended “has become a political act without a constitutional reasoning. In these circumstances, a referendum on the dismissal of the President means an electoral clash between me and the Parliament”, he says in the interview.

He says that in case of suspension “those who generated this abuse must be brought before voters. Immediately after the vote, only my resignation would be what would bring us all before the electorate”.

Rumors that the head of state might resign have been circulating for weeks. Basescu has been at loggerheads with the governing Liberals and opposition Social Democrats and Conservatives on many issues for the past year. The parliamentary commission considering his suspension is led by Conservative Party leader Dan Voiculescu.

The Cotidianul newspaper, the NewsIn agency and Realitatea TV belong to Romanian media group Realitatea. Cotidianul announced in its Thursday edition that it would publish an interview with Basescu tomorrow., Apr 12, 2007

EP amendment to roaming regulation rejected

Mobile phone users in Romania and Bulgaria will not be affected by an amendment pushed by Greek MEP Katerina Batzeli to roaming rules in the European Union. A EP commission rejected Batzeli’s amendment that would have postponed a reduction of roaming tariffs for Europe’s newest markets on Thursday.

The commission also brought forward a EC move to cut roaming tariffs by up to 70% across the Union.

"Roaming charges are set to tumble. This is a major success for European consumers and a clear signal to Europe's telecom industry", said Parliament's chief rapporteur on this issue, Austrian EPP-ED member Paul Rubig after today's vote, according to a press release received by

"The committee on industry, technology, research and energy has adopted my report on the regulation on roaming charges by a large majority. My position has been followed throughout the political groups", he said.

A final vote on the 70% reduction of the current roaming tariffs applied by mobile companies, which Brussels officials say are too high, is expected to take place in the European Parliament by mid-May.

Katerina Batzeli submitted her amendment in late March, asking that a possible EC decision to cut roaming fees not to be applied to Romania and Bulgaria temporarily as she said the two markets were not mature enough for the new threshold., Apr 12, 2007

National security bills about to receive House no-vote approval

The Liberal-supported set of laws on national security have a big chance of receiving a no-vote approval in the House of Deputies as representatives of four Romanian parliamentary parties boycotted the sessions of specialized commissions on the issue on Thursday. The session debating the bills was therefore suspended.

The set of draft laws was submitted by the governing Liberals (PNL) in February. The deadline for debates in specializec commissions is due to expire on April 19. The debates scheduled for today failed to take place as PNL and Hungarian Democrats (UDMR) deputies along with representatives of the opposition Social Democrats (PSD) and the Conservatives (PC) failed to show up.

Representatives of the Democratic Party (PD), which shared government with the Liberals but were forced to withdraw last week, attacked the boycott today. “It is unacceptable that the package of laws pass without a proper debate, without changes or amendments” given the importance of the national security issue, PD deputy Daniel Buda said.

“That PNL and PSD boycotted the sessions and the debate in the purpose of a no-vote adoption makes us think again of hidden interests” between the governing party and the main opposition group, he said.

Liberal deputy Ioan Ghise retorted with accusations that President Traian Basescu was to be blamed for the situation. “It all begins from a serious cause: the President of Romania. Had he done his job last year, the laws would have been in place by now”, he said., Apr 12, 2007

Ex-Economy minister facing criminal inquiry in energy case

Romania’s ex-Economy minister Codrut Seres faced Supreme Court prosecutors on Thursday to be informed that a criminal inquiry has been launched against him in a new case related to obscure deals that have affected the Romanian energy system for years.

He is blamed of plotting with several other people in delivering a 500 million euro blow to Romanian energy company Hidroelectrica by signing preferential contracts with certain economic agents. He is also charged with undermining the national economy in the same case.

A senator for the Conservative Party, Seres rejected all the new charges on Wednesday and defended his innocence.

His hearing comes after two other people were placed under official charges in the same case - Hidroelectrica general manager Traian Oprea and the head of the National Authority for Energy Regulation, Nicolae Opris - yesterday.

Seres is also facing charges of treason and leaking secret information in a separate case related to the privatization of Romanian energy companies. That charges were brought against him on December 21, 2006., Apr 12, 2007

Romanian Company Law Amended

Significant new rules have become effective as of December 1, 2006 affecting all Romanian companies and requiring amendments to their by-laws and other corporate documents. The Romanian Company Law (Law no. 31/1990 regarding companies, as republished, and Law no.

26/1990 regarding the Trade Registry, as republished) was amended by Law no 441/2006, which changes the way companies are registered, structured and function in Romania. It has a particular impact upon joint stock companies. This article presents an overview of these amendments, but it should not be regarded as a presentation of the provisions of the law in itself.

Moreover, since the new law has many crucial amendments that affect joint stock companies, the article will focus on joint stock companies, while at the same time pointing out which amendments apply to other forms of companies.

Incorporation and Shareholding Requirements
The founders of a company - the persons signing the Articles of Incorporation and those having a crucial role in its registration - must be persons who have not previously been convicted of certain crimes to which the crimes from the Insolvency Law have now been added.

As to the creation of joint stock companies there has been an amendment with regard to the share capital that has to be paid upon incorporation. In the old version of the law, only 30% of the share capital had to be paid at the time of incorporation and the rest could be paid in 12 months time from the date of incorporation.

Now, the capital that has been subscribed but not yet paid is divided into cash and assets, and treated differently. With regard to the cash, the law is unchanged, but for assets, a two year period from registration is now provided for payment. For all other types of companies, the entire share capital must be subscribed and paid at the moment of the incorporation.

The currency used in determining the minimum share capital for joint stock companies has been changed from euros to lei. Instead of € 25,000 the share capital is now stated as RON 90,000. (RON is the new Romanian Leu.) The share capital is now measured in Euros only in a subsidiary.

Because of recent changes in the exchange rate, the minimum share capital has increased, although in December 2006 when the amendment became effective, the amounts were equivalent. The share capital may never decrease under this initial minimum value. If it does the company may be dissolved.

The amount of the share capital for limited liability companies has not been amended, but the sums are now expressed in RON.

Another important change is the decrease in the minimum number of shareholders for joint stock companies from five to two. Also, if the company has only one shareholder for more that nine months it could be dissolved. The share capital that is subscribed in assets now can now only include assets that have a pecuniary value.

The contribution of debts to share capital has the same legal regime applied to it as with all other participations to the share capital. They are only permitted in joint stock companies that have no public subscriptions. The law now expressly includes services in the category of participations that are not allowed.

The conditions under which more than one company may function at the same headquarters are: that the space allows the functioning of more than one company, at least one person is a shareholder in all the companies and that at least one of the shareholders is the owner of the premises.

The amendment provides that only one of the conditions needs now to be fulfilled and not all of them as in the past.

The founders, the first administrators, or, as the case may be the first members of the Board of Directors, are jointly liable for not registering the company within a 15 day period from the date of the execution of the Articles of Incorporation.

The company may acquire within two years from the registration date or from the date when it receives the authorization for developing its activity, assets from a founder or a shareholder, for an equivalent of at least 1/10th of the value of the subscribed share capital, upon the prior approval of a general shareholders meeting.

Such action must be noticed to the Trade Registry and it must be published in the Romanian Official Gazette or in another important newspaper. The acquisitions that are part of the daily operations of the company, those done by order of a public authority, as a result of a court ruling, or arising from stock market operations, are not included in this requirement.

If dividends are to be forthcoming, they must be paid at intervals established by the General Shareholders Assembly, or as the case may be, by special legislation, but no later than within six months time from the approval of the financial statements for the previous year.

If the company does not pay dividends in time, it is liable for damages for the period of delay at the legal interest rate, if a larger interest rate has not been established.

The daily operations of the company
The managers, administrators, directors, financial auditors or censors of a company that is a debtor, or that has been found guilty of crimes under the Company Law or the Insolvency Law, cannot hold or acquire such a position for a period of five years after the court decision has become final.

The amendment to the Company Law provides that the directors, censors, auditors and all the other persons with duties in the daily business of the company are liable for their actions with regard to the company.

To this end, minority shareholders who represent individually or jointly at least 5% of the share capital of the company may bring claims on behalf of the company, against any of the above mentioned individuals. They have this prerogative only if the company itself does not take any action.

The amendment therefore adds to the persons who are liable, the censors, auditors and other persons involved in running the company and adds a minimum threshold of participation to the share capital.

Joint stock companies
The amendment introduces the possibility for the holders of preferential shares to acquire the right to vote if there are delays in the payment of dividends. The company cannot subscribe to its own shares.

A company may acquire its own shares directly, or through a person acting in its stead, by complying with some conditions: the Extraordinary General Assembly must authorize the acquisition and its terms, the total value of the shares acquired by the company must not exceed 10% of the subscribed share capital, the shares have to be fully paid, and the payment for these shares must be made from the

profit that could be distributed and from the available reserves of the company, with the exception of the legal reserves. The shares thus held by the company do not bear the right to dividends. Also the right to vote inherent to these shares is suspended during the time they are held by the company.

If the shares are bought to be distributed to employees of the company, the transaction must be finalized within a 12 month period from the date of the acquisition. If the shares are acquired by a company in which the present company holds the majority interest, it is considered to be the acquisition of those shares by the present company.

Shareholder Assemblies
New quorum and voting requirements have been instituted for the Ordinary General Assembly, i.e., instead of requiring the presence of shareholders representing at least half of the share capital, the amendment provides for the presence of the shareholders representing at least one quarter of the voting rights. Decisions are taken with a simple majority, meaning the majority of the votes cast.

The amendment contains changes with regard to the Extraordinary General Assembly as well. The quorum for the first convocation is no longer three quarters of the share capital but is now one quarter of the voting rights. For the second convocation, the quorum is no longer half of the share capital but one fifth of the voting rights.

Additionally, the majority for the assembly of the shareholders is no longer measured against the share capital, but against the voting rights, which could be less than the share capital. The voting rights are less than the share capital if the company has issued shares with priority without the right to vote.

Thus, what becomes important is not the actual presence of the shareholders, but the presence of the ones who can actually cast a vote. In some special situations, the decisions can only be taken with a necessary majority of two thirds of the voting rights.

These situations are: the modification of the main object of activity of the company, the decrease or the increase of the share capital, changing the legal form, mergers and acquisitions, and divisions and dissolutions. Any decisions of this sort that do not observe the mandatory requirements could be challenged by interested parties as being null and void.

The provisions regarding the agenda or order of business of shareholders assemblies have also been amended. Any changes to the order of business can be proposed by shareholders who, individually or jointly, represent at least 5% of the share capital. Once this participation limit is fulfilled, the board of directors is obligated to include the new desired issues in the order of business.

In this way, the law puts a stop to the practice in which a director who convoked the assembly could act over the will of the shareholders by refusing to amend the order of business despite their demand. Moreover, the director has the obligation to publish the modified agenda with at least 5 days notice prior to the date on which the assembly is to be held.

The assembly can be convened by the directors whenever they deem it necessary, or when a certain number of shareholders expressly request it. As amended, the Company Law requires that this number of shareholders must hold at least 5% of the share capital of the company, and not 10% as before.

This amendment increases the power of minority shareholders in companies that have many shareholders and a widely spread share capital, since they now can more easily convene a general assembly.

Voting Agreements
A very important amendment is the introduction of the ability to conclude voting agreements. Agreements that provide for voting according to the instructions and proposals of the company or its representatives are now the only ones not permitted. All other voting agreements may now lawfully be concluded and enforced. If concluded, they are considered to be valid and binding upon the parties.

This provision applies to all types of companies and not only to joint stock companies. For the protection of minority shareholders, if the company owns a website, it is obligated to publish on it in an electronic form all the decisions of the general assembly of the shareholders.

Corporate governance
The newly revised law significantly alters the governance organization of companies. It introduces two possibilities out of which companies need to chose one and apply it. The governance system refers to the introduction of two administrative systems: the monistic system (the only one Romania had until now) and the dualistic system.

In the monistic system, the company is governed by one or more directors or a board of directors presided over by a chairman. The dualistic system is of German origin and provides for the governing of the company by a directorate (the members of which have the right to represent the company) and a supervisory council (with duties of control and supervision).

The amendment also changes the monistic (unitary) system that has been applied until now. The directors are no longer comprised of a single category. Now there are executive and non-executive directors comprising the board of directors. There are even independent directors. The law provides for special competences for each category and the relations and interactions that exist between them.

The board of directors works by delegating. Thus it may delegate some or all of its duties related to the management of the company to one or more executive directors or to a directing committee. These provisions bring flexibility to the governance of the company since it may now choose how to conduct its daily business and how to organize itself.

If indeed it decides to delegate, the directors of the company will only have the prerogative of supervising the executive directors, and have only a non-executive function. The executive directors are also the persons who can lawfully represent the company, excluding such representation from the duties of the board of directors.

The directors and the executive directors of the company may no longer conclude labor agreements since they can not be the employees of the company. They can only conclude management agreements with the company. If the directors that are appointed had been employees of the company, their individual labor agreement is suspended during their mandate as a director.

According to the new provisions of the Company Law, directors must obtain professional liability insurance.

Company Shares
Previously, the law provided for a preemption right with regard to new shares issued to raise the share capital of a company requiring that subscriptions must first be offered to existing shareholders of the company. The amendment has extended this preemptive right.

The old version was not applicable to an increase in share capital by contributions in-kind while now a preemption right applies to these as well. Moreover, the amendment created a simpler procedure with regard to the subscription for shares issued for this purpose to third parties.

The amendment also introduces a new concept with regard to increases in the share capital of a company. This is the authorized capital. It must be provided for in the constitutive documents of the company.

The board of directors or directorate, depending on the governance system, is authorized to raise the subscribed share capital during a period of five years from the date of the registration of the company or of the amendment to its constitutive documents to permit the raising of the capital, up to a certain threshold (“authorized capital”).

At the present time, the Romanian Company Law is about to be amended yet again by a Government Ordinance, and the draft has already been submitted for the approval of the Government.

The new law provides that joint stock companies have nine months commencing December 1, 2006 to amend their constitutive documents in order to comply with the new legal provisions. Consequently, all companies that do not yet conform to these regulations must commence the formalities of amending their articles of incorporation to comply with the new structure and organization.

The article was published based upon approval of:
Rubin Meyer Doru & Trandafir

The Romanian Digest, Apr 12, 2007

Greenpeace accuses Romanian President of supporting construction of 'illegal' road

Greenpeace has accused Romanian President Traian Basescu of supporting the construction of a new road to pass the Retezat national park in the Retezat Mountains. The construction works at Road 66A restarted on Thursday despite a local prefect had announced in November 2006 the suspension of the works until their legality is cleared.

The road is due to link the city of Petrosani to the Baile Herculane resort in SW Romania.

The head of state has visited the site several times since his presidential campaign in 2004. A Greenpeace press release received by claims Basescu has proven his lack of knowledge on environment protection and his “interests” in the area, considering that he said these works “were very dear” to him during a visit there in October last year.

Greenpeace claims the beneficiary of the works - the regional road department for the Western Romanian city of Timisoara - is running the works at parts of the road illegally as it doesn’t have the necessary environmental approvals or the approval of the Retezat park authority.

The Retezat park hosts a rare forestry landscape and a significant wildlife., Apr 12, 2007

Governing Liberals support opposition bills in Parliament

The National Liberal Party-PNL, which forms the minority government in Bucharest, supported two bills pushed by the opposition Social Democrats-PSD in Parliament on Wednesday. The move comes as the new PNL government has just installed with PSD backing after months of political struggles with their former coalition allies, the Democrats.

The first of the two bills would force the Romanian state do deliver homes to people having to leave nationalized houses that are being given back to their pre-communist owners and who cannot afford to pay rent.

A second bill removes incompatibilities between the office of hospital manager and that of university professor. The incompatibility had been introduced as a means to reform the much maligned health system in Romania.

The Democrats (PD), who were forced to withdraw from the governing coalition in a major reshuffle last week, said the Wednesday votes by which the PNL supported the PSD bills come as a clear proof that PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s Liberals are “paying back” PSD for their support for the minority government.

According to PD leaders, such secret deals would come to light more often from now on., Apr 12, 2007

Bulgarian resorts interested in Romanian cooks

The booming resorts in the north of Bulgaria’s Black Sea seaside will face a major lack of personnel in the coming tourism season and will have to bring in labor from Romania and the Moldovan Republic, according to Bulgarian experts quoted by agency.

According to the head of restaurant owners’ association in Dobrich, Dimitar Dimitrov, quoted by Novinite, some 1,500 workers are needed - especially cooks, waiters and lifeguards.

The Bulgarian seaside has become a major point of interest for Romanian tourists for several years. Over 20,000 Romanians visited the Bulgarian Black Sea instead of Romania’s own seaside resorts during the Easter holiday last weekend alone., Apr 12, 2007

Cheap Chinese SUV eyes Romanian market

Great Wall Motors, the largest SUV and truck maker in China, will enter the Romanian market with its Hover SUV in an attempt to test the potential of the European market for Chinese cars. The importing company hopes to sell over 1000 Hover units at prices ranging from 13,000 to 17,000 euro, AutoIndustry informs.

Hover will be imported to Romania by a company belonging to the Alexandrion Group, which also holds the commercial license for Hungary, Bulgaria, the Moldovan Republic and Macedonia.

According to AutoIndustry, some 250,000 new cars were sold in Romania in 2006.

Great Wall Hover eyes a slice of the market also targeted by Renaults’ Romanian division Dacia, According to French magazine AutoPlus, Dacia’s own SUV may come at a price of about 13,000 euro and is due to be launched in 2009 or 2010 the latest., Apr 12, 2007

Public servant fault keeps bear captive

After the article on Tuesday about abused Carpathian bears, things seemed to change for a minute.

But only for a minute: local public servants in the small village of Mandra came against the "Free the bears from inns and restaurants " campaign. Ion Valentin Vlad, owner of the five-year old male bear demanded 700 euros for the release of the beast from the miserable pen he was held in.

Cristina Lapis, head of the Libearty organization, denounces the motionless local authorities: "I won't pay a dime because it would encourage these practices. The authorities are the ones who should intervene to free the animal, kept in such awful conditions".

Exactly at 10:00 hours, the hour for the authorities' inspection, Vlad received a facsimile from the Environment Guard, naming him as owner and custodian of the bear.

The reason rendered the audience speechless: "In these conditions, the bear is not a threat for humans".

According to the reporter in Mandra, the bear is kept in an iron bars cage of ten square meters at most, hidden behind farming equipment.

"I won't give it away and that's all. I'm going to open a Zoo and that's why I keep it. I'd rather pay fines than give it up", says Valentin Ion, company manager., Apr 11, 2007

Carpathian bear abused in Romanian inns, restaurants

A symbol of wild power and beauty, many of Romania’s Carpathian bears have become household attractions, mocked at and abused by inn keepers who find them “special enough” to keep around and entertain tourists. Their fate is no batter in the country’s decrepit zoological gardens, where practically the bears are physically exterminated.

Still, hope still remains when one finds out about a special initiative who operates in complete anonymity despite huge efforts and money invested to make it popular: the Libearty bear reservation. Situated somewhere near the world famous Bran Castle in the Carpathian Mountains, the reservation’s goal is to free bears from their inn cages and have a living as normal as possible.

• Watch our photo gallery of Libearty-Zarnesti bears starts a campaign to save bears held captive in households, inns and other improper places across Romania

The Libearty Zarnesti shelter receives almost no support from state authorities, who fail to get involved in the protection of Romanian bears despite a proper legal framework that is still to be applied.

The story of Libearty started with the death of female bear Maia, held captive for more than ten years in an iron-and concrete cage somewhere near Bran. Maia could no longer support the cage and practically kills itself by eating her own front paws and bleeding to death.

That was when Cristina Lapis, initiator of the project, decided to dedicate years of her life to raise funds necessary to free captive bears from their cages across Romania.

Once it convinced British association the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) that there is a legal framework in Romania allowing her to operate in this area, Cristina Laspis receives a million euro and, together with the Zarnesti town hall, starts building Libearty up in the mountains.

The bureaucratic struggle was immense, as at one point their projects was almost brought to a halt when they failed to receive an authorization from the Academy of Romania - because, they were told, reservations cannot exist in Romania.

The bear clinic
Eventually, they started work. The reservation is formed of several hectares of fenced land where each bear has several thousand square meters at its disposal along with a ground den and a water basin. Each bear receives proper feeding and care and the project includes a veterinarian clinic, also at the peak of the mountain.

Europe’s biggest conference center for bear issues will also be built there.

Bears are sentenced to “arrest in reservation”
But the twenty-so bears now hosted at Libearty cannot be sent back into their natural environment. They wouldn’t be capable to adapt as they can’t search for food and are too accustomed to man’s presence not to pose serious danger.

Among them: the famous Mura, an artist bear who had danced Lambada at the Globus Circus in Bucharest for years, or Odi, another female held captive in a six square meter cave for 12 years.

One of the saddest figures is Ionica, a 23-year old bear, held captive all his life in a Moldovan Zoo. For the past six months since his arrival at Libearty, it stays stuck to a fence and all it does is walk two meters left, two meters right and back again. Every day, every hour. Because that’s all it did for 20 years of his life.

Hansel and Gretel are its cubs. They’re aged 2 and have been held captive at the Zoo in the southern Romanian town of Calarasi, in a blind room with only two small bulbs where not even zoo keepers could not find enough space to enter.

Dozens of bears still abused somewhere out there
Happier days
“From our data, there are some 30 bears spread across the country that live terrible ordeals. And that excludes bears from zoological gardens. We made serious attempts at having them freed, but we failed”, says Cristina Lapis.

One of them is held captive near the Lutch 2000 gas station, near the western Romanian city of Arad.

“We went there with the police and people from the Veterinarian Agency, but we couldn’t take them away. The owner got hysterical on the spot and closed the vet in the bear cage. A tragedy could have happened, but he was lucky to have the tranquilizer gun with him”, Cristina Lapis says.

A bigger problem may come in October, when the EU term for the modernization of Romanian zoos expires.

“We’re already facing a lot of requests to take these bears, but our park is not proper for up to 50 bears. If their number doubles, the bears will lack space and face bad living conditions. And that’s the last thing we want”, she says.

Bears are poisoned for the pride of the frustrated
One of the most atrocious methods to kill bears living in the wild is described by Roger Lapis, France’s honorary consul to Romania and husband to Cristina Lapis.

“Plastic bags are greased with pork fat and they left them on the forest outskirts. Bears eat them and suffocate in terrible pain. The next thing they take the fur of the animal, which sells for several thousand euro to unlucky foreign hunters”.

The most dramatic case that came to public attention took place in Brasov in 2004. A bear attack led to the death of two people while another ten suffered serious wounds. The conclusions of the time said the animal was in the last stage of a rabies infection.

But things are a bit different when revealed by Libearty caretakers.

“From what witnesses of the accident said, the bear was lured by several people having a picnic in the woods. After it was fed by the tourists, the animal got dangerously close and one of the men stuck a barbeque stick into its eye. It was enough for the bear to go insane”.

And Cristina Lapis says that analyses made by Brasov vets identified the rabies virus in the animal body only after 12 hours, which would be impossible.

Romania hosts half of Europe’s bears
More than half of the total bear population in Europe are to be found on Romanian territory. The percentage may suffer a considerable change as long as hunting thresholds established by the Agriculture Ministry in Bucharest are upped year on year and there are serious doubts about their veridicality.

One reason fro artificially swelling the numbers stands in the huge amounts of money that can be obtained from hunting taxes. Shooting an average-size bear is taxed with almost 10,000 euro, a sum that wouldn’t be too much for foreign hunters coming to the Carpathians every year.

Watch the drama of Romanian bears

According to Libearty data, the number of bears living in Romania today does not exceed 3,500-4,000. For the 2007-2008 season, authorities allow the killing of 350 bears, or some 10 percent of the total.

“Romania is looked for because they killed all their bears in France or Germany. Additionally, tariffs here are not too high”, Cristina Lapis says., Apr 10, 2007

PM Tariceanu changes mind again: Romanian troops to stay in Iraq

Romanian prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said on Tuesday that Romanian troops will continue their missions abroad, two weeks after he called for the withdrawal of Romanian soldiers from Iraq by Christmas this year.

Tariceanu repeated new Defense minister Teodor Melescanu’s statement yesterday that Romania must make a decision on troops withdrawal according to a well established plan agreed with foreign allies.

PM Tariceanu had made the “home by Christmas” announcement on March 26, when he also served as interim Foreign minister.

For his part, Melescanu said today that Romania would fulfill all its obligations and that a schedule for withdrawal should be discussed at Supreme Defense Council level., Apr 10, 2007

Parliament postpones decision on President suspension

A joint parliamentary session scheduled Tuesday afternoon to discuss possible moves to suspend Romanian President Traian Basescu was postponed after the Constitutional Court failed to deliver its approval for the suspension procedure. The session was due to set a date for debates on a parliamentary commission that investigated alleged breaches of the Romanian Constitution by the President.

On April 5, the Constitutional Court decided the report by the named commission spoke of acts and deeds against the letter of the Constitution, but that cannot be qualified as serious breaches to the fundamental law in a measure that would determine the suspension of the head of state.

Still, the Court approval is not compulsory and the Parliament will have the last say on establishing how serious the head of state disobeyed the Constitution.

The situation comes as most parliamentary parties have engaged an open war with the President on a large series of issues that culminated with a reshuffle of the Government last week. The new government does no longer include the Democratic Party, a key supporter of Basescu.

Senate speaker Nicolae Vacaroiu said last week that the debate may eventually take place on April 16.

The postponement marks a tense political week now that the Easter holiday is over. The Democratic Party leadership is also expected to meet on Wednesday to stamp the dissolution of their D.A. Alliance with the National Liberal Party (PNL). The PNL-majority Government starts work in its new form on Tuesday, with its first session expected on Wednesday., Apr 10, 2007

20,000 Romanians spent Easter in Bulgaria

Bulgarian Black Sea resort owners have announced that some 20,000 Romanian tourists spent the Easter holiday in Bulgaria, according to Romanians opted for the Bulgarian seaside resorts instead of Romania’s because tourism offers there were more attractive and the weather was milder, according to the source.

Hotels on the Romanian seaside usually open up in May or early June. Most of them failed to respond to strong demand for the short but very warm Easter holiday last weekend.

According to, Bulgarian police have complained that Romanian drivers have tried to ignore traffic rules. A series of minor accidents have occurred., Apr 10, 2007

Japanese get involved in search for Romanian woman missing in North Korea

Members of a support group and of a Japanese organization defending the interests of Japanese citizens gone missing in North Korea met the relatives of a Romanian women believed to have been kidnapped by the Pyongyang regime in 1978 on Monday.

According to Teruaki Masumoto, secretary general of the said organization, the two parties will collaborate to clarify what happened in the case of Romanian Doina Bumbea.

Hitomi Soga, a Japanese woman who had been kidnapped in 1978 and returned home in 2002, and her husband Charles Jenkins, a US deserter, have said they shared an apartment in North Korea with a woman of Romanian origin.

According to the two, Doina was also married to a US deserter who settled in the country.

According to Romanian newspaper Evenimentul Zilei, Doina Bumbea disappeared in 1978 after she was offered an opportunity to expose her artworks at a Japanese gallery. The Romanian painter never returned home as she could no longer leave North Korea, where she was forced to teach foreign languages to Pyongyang secret agents.

As Evenimentul Zilei also reported, Doina Bumbea is thought to have died of cancer in 1997., Apr 10, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Vampire Ceausescus haunt dreams of fulfillment in New York play

18 years since Romania’s anti-communist revolution, New-Yorkers have a chance to meet one of the country’s most renowned “export brands”, this time in the field of arts: the Ceausescus.

This time around, Ex-Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena are two vampires who haunt the dreams of the heroine of the “Waxing West” show debuting in New York with support from the Romanian Cultural Institute there.

The show is written by Saviana Stanescu, who won the Romanian national theater awards UNITER in 2000. It follows the story of Daniela Popescu, a make-up artist who leaves Romania for a new life in America.

Her attempts to adapt to the promised land are haunted by the ghosts of the dictator and his wife, who transform her dreams of fulfillment into a nightmare.

According to the playwright, the story of Daniela and the vampires terrorizing her is a parallel with the post-1989 history of Romania, still under the shadow of the Ceausescu regime: “in essence, it is a story about migration, about a Romanian woman who reached America and tries to escape the ghosts of the pasts”, Saviana Stanescu told us.

The two Ceausescus appear as vaudeville vampires who dress up the tragic story of migration in comic tones and reflect the state of being somewhere between two worlds, Saviana Stanescu says.

“It’s a story I believe in, because in a way it is the story of my own emigration”, she says. Stanescu reached New York only a week before the September 2001 attacks. She’s been strongly involved with the East Coast theater movement ever since.

The music of “Waxing West” comes from a musician from the Romanian city of Cluj, Lucian Ban, who’s become an important jazz musicians in the US.

To better suggest the atmosphere in Romania, American actors worked with a trainer in Eastern European accents and studied books about the recent history of Romania. “We looked for video materials, we read books on Romanian history, looked at pictures, searched Google.

We researched on the Internet, which helped us a lot and let us find this interesting thing, because the history of Romania is very consistent”, says Grant Neale, who plays Nicolae Ceausescu in the play.

By end of May this year, “Waxing West” will reach the Bucharest-based Act Theater and then be played at the International Theater Festival in Sibiu. There are already talks for a film based on the Saviana Stanescu’s show., Adrian Novac, New York, Apr 10, 2007