News review of the day – April 23rd

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta on a visit to Turkey

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta left for Turkey on Thursday following an invitation by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who is hosting an international forum on peace. Participants include a number of heads of state and government. Mr. Ponta is also expected to attend ceremonies marking Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Solemn ceremonies and children’s festivals take place throughout Turkey on National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, held on April 23 each year. Children take seats in the Turkish Parliament and symbolically govern the country for one day.

Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu acknowledges for the first time the existence of a CIA centre in Romania

Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu acknowledged for the first time that sometime between 2002 and 2003 he approved a CIA request for opening a „centre” in Romania. It was a friendly gesture ahead of Romania’s accession to NATO, Mr. Ilescu pointed out in an interview with German magazine „Der Spiegel”. There is no way Romanian authorities were involved in CIA activities, therefore they did not know what was going on down there, he said.  Mr. Iliescu is the second head of state who acknowledges the existence of CIA secret centres in a European country after former Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski. The statement comes after the Romanian authorities have repeatedly denied the existence of CIA secret prisons on their teritory, „Der Spiegel” says. However, MEP Norica Nicolai, who commissioned an investigation on the matter, said the former president’s comments did not contradict the official position as he did not acknowledge that the „centre” was in fact a prison.

Corruption charges against former Romanian officials

Prosecutors of Romania’s anti-corruption watchdog, the DNA, have charged two former officials with blackmail and bribe on Tuesday. Virgil Rizea, a former commisioner of the country’s National Environmental Guard in the southern Romanian county of Dâmboviţa, and Mirel Nica, former executive of the Environmental Protection Agency in the county, are accused of repeatedly receiving bribes and goods from a company chief in exchange for favours. Mr. Rizea and Mr. Nica are also accused of allegedly tolerating environmental wrongdoings, prosecutors said.

Liviu Rebreanu’s novel „Ciuleandra” in Spanish

The Romanian Cultural Institute in the Spanish capital Madrid is launching the Spanish version of „Ciuleandra”, a novel by Liviu Rebreanu. The event on Thursday comes as countries around the world are celebrating the World Book Day on April 23rd. The World Book Day is a yearly event organised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing and copyright. Liviu Rebreanu is a Romanian writer mainly known for such novels as „Ion”, „The Revolt” and „Forest of the Hanged”. A documentary short is also expected as Romania is celebrating Rebreanu’s 130 anniversary. The Spanish version of „Ciuleandra” belongs to Spanish translator Joaquín Garrigós.

Alexandru Danga