Archive for May, 2011

31 May 2011

That’s Unheard of: Congestion Charge Dropped Because of Staff Shortage

The local council of Constanţa, Romania, has announced that it is going to drop local congestion charge to Mamaia, one of the most crowded Black Sea resorts under its jurisdiction. The mayor of Constanţa, Radu Mazăre, claims that the city hall was left with no choice but to renounce collecting 3 Romanian Lei (approximately 1 US Dollar) from every person who wanted to drive their car into the resort. The tax level had not been raised since 2007, but 75% of the staff in charge of collecting the tax was sacked in 2010, as a result of the Romanian general austerity policy. In a nutshell, there was nobody left to take the money, says the mayor. “One other option was to outsource the collection of the tax, but that would have lead to an increase of the amount”.

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31 May 2011

Ford Faces Massive Fine from Romania’s Government

Negotiations are under way between Ford Automobiles in Romania and the country’s government regarding a possible breach of contract from the car producer. The latter purchased, in 2007, a car plant in Craiova, Romania, and committed to produce 250.000 units in 2011. So far, according to Mediafax, Ford Romania has only produced 3000 vehicles in the first four months of 2011, which brings the factory’s output to an average of 750 cars per month. According to the privatisation contract, failure to produce the amount of cars mentioned in the contract bears a fine of 14 million Euros (approximately 20 million US Dollars). The car manufacturer has been negotiating in the past 10 months a postponement of one year of the obligation to produce the 250.000 vehicles.

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24 May 2011

“Stereo Love” Reaches 160 Million Hits on Youtube

Edward Maya  and Vika Jigulina, the two Romanian artists behind the international dance hit “Stereo Love”, have good reasons to celebrate. Their song was not only awarded the “Top Dance Song” distinction at the Billboard Music Awards 2011 in Las Vegas, but it also reached an amazing number of hits on Youtube: more than 160 million people watched it, most of them playing the official version of the video clip. The jury chose to award the two Romanians’ song over two nominations of none other than Lady Gaga. The song itself has an intricate story that links Romania to a former Soviet republic, Azerbadjan. 

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24 May 2011

Police Warning: Beware of Cheating Cab Drivers in Bucharest!

While in Bucharest, you may find yourself cheated or even driven home by a drunk taxi driver. They may be hard to avoid, though, because there are simply too many of them. A police raid on Monday night revealed that dozens of taxi drivers had their cabs rigged to cheat. Several devices meant to add up extra figures to the fare had been cleverly concealed within the cars, the police revealed. With a simple push of a button, the driver would be able to increase the sum on the metre without the client even suspecting it. Most concerning is that the devices were found installed in cars belonging to reputed taxi companies, usually thought as “safe” to ride with.

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4 May 2011

Osama, Depicted As The Devil In A Romanian Church

"The devil as bin Laden", in the Military Chapel of Timişoara, Romania

Osama bin Laden riding a Boeing 707 head on towards the Twin Towers and holding a trident-like pitchfork in his right hand – this is the Devil impersonated on a fresco in a Romanian orthodox church in Timişoara. The Military Chapel, where the peculiar icon is hosted, was refurbished in 2001 by two local artists. With the image of the 9-11 attacks still vivid in their memories, the painters decided to use Osama bin Laden’s face to impersonate the Devil. Worshipers, however, don’t seem to like the idea of bin Laden’s icon in their church very much.

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