A roundup of domestic and international news.
DEFENSE - Romanian Defense Minister, Nicolae Ciuca, is paying a 5-day official visit to the US starting today, upon an invitation extended by the US Secretary of Defense Mark Thomas Esper, the Romanian Defense Ministry has announced. Minister Ciuca will have a series of meetings with high-level officials of the US Department of Defense to discuss ways to consolidate the bilateral strategic partnership. The Romanian official will reiterate Bucharest’s commitment to develop its defense capacity through training programmes and the purchase of modern equipment. Also discussed will be Romania’s concerns regarding the security situation at the Black Sea and the need for a coherent approach regarding the defense and deterrence strategy on NATO’s eastern flank.
CORONAVIRUS - New restrictions have been enforced as of today in Romania’s capital city Bucharest and several other localities in the country, amid a surge in the Covid-19 numbers. Wearing face masks in public spaces outdoors, closing reastaurants and switching to online classes are some of them. In Bucharest, restaurants with interior seating, coffee shops and bars have been closed down, except for the ones operating within hotels and guest houses, who can only serve their guests. Cinemas, theatres and events halls have also been closed. Face masks became compulsory within 100 meters of schools. 2121 new infections have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, as well as 73 deaths and 608 patients in intensive care.
NOBEL PRIZE – The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 was awarded jointly to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna "for the development of a method for genome editing." This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics, announced on Tuesday, was divided, one half awarded to Roger Penrose "for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity", and the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy." On Monday, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to researchers Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice "for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus." The recipients of the Nobel Prize for literature and peace will also be announced this week. The winner of the Nobel Prize for Economy will be made public on October 12.
STRIKE - In Romania, members of the Sanitas trade union federation have called nationwide Japanese strike today, to signal the situation in the healthcare system and persuade the government to keep its promises. Sanitas federation, that has over 100,000 members, threatened to call a strike ever since last week, unless the PM meets with the federation’s leaders to discuss the problems in the healthcare system. Trade unionists have a number of financial requests for the medical staff caring for coronavirus patients. They also ask for more staff to be hired in medical units and for appropriate protection equipment.
CYBERCRIME - Stepping up public sector partnerships in the face of increasingly pervasive cybercrime threats was the theme of the 8th INTERPOL-Europol Cybercrime Conference held on October 6. Taking place online for the first time, the one-day conference saw more than 400 cyber experts from law enforcement, private industry, international organizations, CERTs and academia tune in to discussions on emerging cyber threats, trends and strategies. Recent findings from both Interpol and Europol have made clear that cybercriminals around the world have been able to capitalize on the global COVID-19 pandemic, turning the health crisis into an opportunity, Europol said in a press release after the conference. At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation and increased people’s reliance on connectivity and digital tools. “In a world where more than 4,5 billion people are online, more than half of humanity is at risk of falling victim to cybercrime at any time”, said INTERPOL Secretary General Jurgen Stock. (Translated by Elena Enache)