ARMY DAY Romania has today a modern and well trained army, able to ensure compliance with the commitments taken within NATO and in terms of implementing the EU common security and defence policy, the president of Romania Klaus Iohannis said on the celebration of the Romanian Army Day on October 25. Its significant contribution to strengthening regional stability in South Eastern Europe makes the Romanian Army a security provider at the Black Sea, a region facing multiple and dynamic challenges, the president added. The new generations of troops are paying tribute to all the heroes that have sacrificed their lives in theatres of operations, the defence minister Nicolae Ciucă said in his turn, mentioning that in World War II Romanian troops fought heroically to free the country, turning October 25, 1944 into a symbol of national emancipation from foreign occupation. In building our defence, we rely on our NATO and EU membership, as well as on the Strategic Partnership with the US, which is now stronger than ever, the Romanian defence minister also said. In keeping with its NATO commitments, Romania is already hosting a number of Allied command and control structures, and in the near future the South-East Multinational Command will also be opened in Sibiu. At present, 1,150 Romanian military are deployed in foreign theatres of operation.
COVID-19 Bucharest is considering the reintroduction of night curfews in several parts of the country, the PM Ludovic Orban said after 3 counties in central Romania (Alba, Cluj and Harghita) as well as the capital Bucharest have passed 3 infections per thousand inhabitants this week. According to the most recent national update, 3,855 new cases and 73 deaths were reported in 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 6,391. Over 800 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care. Romania is one of the 23 European countries where the pandemic causes serious concern at EU level, both in terms of the daily infection numbers among the elderly, and in terms of the death rate, which is the second-largest in Europe.
PANDEMIC A growing number of countries have introduced further restrictions as the number of COVID-19 cases is rising at a fast pace. Spain and France are seeing the largest numbers of infections, over 1 million cases each, out of the total 8.5 million reported in Europe as a whole. Most of Poland is rated as COVID red zone, with restaurants and schools partly closed down, weddings banned, shops and churches closed and people over 70 requested to stay at home. Slovakia has a curfew in place until November 1, while in the Czech Republic travel restrictions are valid until November 3. Slovenia also ordered a partial lockdown, while Greece imposed a night curfew in Athens and Thessaloniki, and face covering is compulsory outdoors. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has once again called on German citizens to reduce social interaction. Belgium shut down all sports and cultural activities as of Monday, and several regions in the French Wallonia are under lockdown. In the UK, Wales is in lockdown until November 9, with Ireland also introducing a 6-week lockdown. Denmark has also introduced tougher restrictions, and in Bulgaria Sofia and other major cities are closing down today all night restaurants and pubs. Across Europe, the number of COVID-19 related deaths has passed 260,000.
AL-QAEDA Afghan forces have killed Abu Muhsin al-Masri, a top Al-Qaeda leader wanted by the United States, the National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan announced. Abu Muhsin al-Masri had been accused of providing materials and resources to a foreign terror group and of plotting to kill American citizens. Abu Muhsin al-Masri, believed to be Al-Qaeda’s number-two, was targeted in Ghazni province. Also in Afghanistan, funerals were held for the victims of Saturday’s suicide bomb attack in the capital city Kabul, claimed by the ISIS group. Scores of people were killed or wounded in the blast that took place in the mostly Shiite area of the city, with many students of a private education centre among the victims.
WINTER TIME On Saturday night, Romania switched to winter time, with the local 4 am becoming 3 am. 2020 may be the last time the seasonal change of clocks occurs, as the European Commission has proposed scrapping this practice in Europe. Member states will be able to choose whether to remain on permanent winter time or summer time. Countries choosing to stay on summer time will make the last change next March, while those that wish to remain on winter time will perform the last switch in October next year. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)