Wednesday, February 28th

„Beast from the East” hits Romania

A Siberian weather system forecasters have called the „Beast from the East” brought the coldest temperatures for years to Romania and most of Europe. The freeze was expected to continue for much of the week. In southern Romania, an 83-year-old woman from Adâncata was found collapsed in the snow and died on the way to hospital, the Institute for Emergency Situations said. Another 65-year-old man was found dead in the north-eastern Romanian county of Suceava. The highway connectig the capital Bucharest to the Black Sea port of Constantza was partially closed along with other national routes across the country. 80 trains and 15 flights were cancelled, and schools were closed in Bucharest and ten other counties.

Romanian Jews celebrate Purim

Romanian Jews along with Jews around the world celebrate Purim, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, a minister who was planning to kill all the Jews. However, Haman was thwarted by Mordecai and his adopted daughter Esther, who eventually had become queen of Persia.The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing. Purim is celebrated among Jews by exchanging reciprocal gifts of food and drink known as mishloach manot, donating charity to the poor, eating a celebratory meal, public recitations and singing. During the Purim celebration, people listen to a rabbi read from the Old Testament’s Book of Esther, banging benches and whirring wooden rattles every time the name of the scheming Haman is uttered. A special ceremony is expected at the Coral Temple in the capital Bucharest on Wednesday. Bucharest Jewish Theatre will host a special performance on the occasion. There are an estimated 6,000 Jews living in Romania today, many of them elderly.

DNA expected to issue its 2017 report

The head of Romania’s anti-corruption watchdog is expected to present the institution’s annual report on Wednesday. Laura Codruţa Kövesi, chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), was described by „The Guardian” in 2015 as a „quiet, unassuming chief prosecutor who is bringing in the scalps”, leading „an anti-corruption drive quite unlike any other in eastern Europe – or the world for that matter”. Her tenure as head of the DNA has substantially increased public confidence in the institution, both within Romania and across the EU. Therefore, it was no wonder when Justice Minister Tudorel Toader sparked street protests with call for anti-graft Laura Codruţa Kovesi’s dismissal. Minister Toader accused Ms Kövesi of exceeding her powers as head of the DNA.He presented a 36-page report to the media about the activities of the DNA, led by Laura Codruța Kövesi, whom he accused of acting beyond her responsibilities and not respecting the authority of the parliament. However, Romania’s Superior Magistrates’ Council (CSM) on Tuesday rejected an application by the justice minister to sack the DNA chief. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who repeatedly expressed his support for Ms Kövesi, is expected to attend the event at the Military Central House in Bucharest while Justice Minister Toader will rather miss it.

Gaudeamus Book Fair in Craiova

The traditional Gaudeamus Book Fair opens in the southern Romanian town of Craiova on Wednesday. Organised by Radio Romania and its Craiova branch, the fair will welcome its visitors at the Marin Sorescu National Theatre in the city. Gaudeamus is known for promoting authors, books and education. A major cultural event in Romanian public life, the book fair is highly appealing for its rich and varied programme and the many get-togethers it offers its visitors over five days.

Alexandru Danga, RADOR