News review of the day – December 15th

Timişoara: 25th anniversary of the start of Romania’s revolution

Timişoara, December 15th 1989: this is the day when Romania’s revolution against Communism started in the Romanian south-western town of Timişoara. Attempts by police to force László Tökes, a priest of the Hungarian Calvinist Church, out of his home prompted mass protests reaching their climax when Timişoara was declared the first Romanian Communism-free town in the country. However, Timişoara locals were to pay a high price for their courage with tens killed and hundreds injured,
It was on December 15th, 1989, when some worshipers gathered near the Calvinist Church in the Maria Plaza with Mr.Tökes home nearby. The Hungarian Romanian priest had been highly critical of the country’s Communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu in comments with the Hungarian TV which made the Romanian authorities claim his words were an incitement to ethnic hatered. Some 1,000 people gathered around the house in order to prevent the priest’s eviction. At one point, Mr.Tökes opened the window and asked the people to leave as their lives could be in danger. The people refused while chanting slogans such as „We won’t leave!”, and „Freedom!” Next day, on December 16th, protests in support of Mr. László Tökes turned into mass protests against the Communist regime.
On December 15th, Timişoara commemorates as always its heroes. Events start tomorrow with a pilgrimage to the prison where detainees were taken 25 year ago while many revolutioaries will be awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of the City at a ceremony at the Timişoara City Hall. Romanian President-Elect Klaus Iohannis is expected to attend events on December 16th.

New ministers of PM’s fourth cabinet before Parliament committees for hearings

New ministers expected to join Romanian PM Victor Ponta’s fourth cabinet appeared before committees in Parliament on Monday. The so-called Ponta Cabinet IV includes fewer ministers and a single deputy PM. Mr. Ponta’s proposals include Andrei Gerea as new Energy Minister and Gabriela Gavrilescu as Environment Minister, both members of the Liberal Reformist Party (PLR), Sorin Câmpeanu of the Conservative Party as Minister of Education and Research and members of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD) such as Sorin Grindeanu as Information Minister, and Ionuţ Vulpescu as Culture Minister. PSD’s Mihai Tudose was already confirmed as the country’s newly appointed Economy Minister. The name of Darius Vâlcov, a former minister delegate, is already known. However, he is also expected to appear before the committee as he would lead a merged ministry including the former Finance and Budget Ministries.

Former DIICOT chief involved in a new corruption-related file

Prosecutors of Romania’s anti-corruption watchdog DNA (Anti-corruption National Directorate) have sent to court a former head of the country’s Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) for damages paid to a businessman following a land dispute în the capital Bucharest. Alina Bica was formerly arrested last month for abuse of office with serious consequences, a crime she allegedly committed in 2011. Other defendants involed in the case also include Deputy Cătălin Teodorescu among others. However, Ms. Bica is currently being questioned for her involvement in another file for bribery allegations. Ms. Bica allegedly received a 3.5 euro bribe from Ioan Nicolae, a businessman who sought a delay in a legal case opened against him.

A concert commemorating Romanian heroes

The Concert Hall of the Romanian Broadcasting Corporation (SRR) is expected to host a concert commemorating Romanian heroes who died during the country’s revolution in 1989. The concert on Friday, December 19, will include three songs by Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, Alban Berg’s violin concerto known as „To the Memory of an Angel”, and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony #4. The National Radio Orchestra conducted by Tiberiu Soare, Radio Academic Choir conducted by Dan Mihai Goia, soprano Mădălina Barbu and violinist Virgil Zvorişteanu are among the performers. Audiences will have the chance of listening to the sound of Alexandru Tomescu’s famous Stradivarius violin performing Alban Berg’s concerto.
Alexandru Danga, RADOR/adanga