October 29, 2010

Romanian Oina, the godfather of Baseball

Very few know that the godfather of baseball is a Romanian traditional sport named Oina / Oină.
In 1896, when the modern Olympics were first held, Romania offered to send two teams to play this game, because it was not played in other countries.
There's lots of uncertainty regarding the real history of oina, but you can read one interesting insight into Oina world, from beginnings to the present in Univ. Dr. Nicolae Postolache's  book " Oina Fascination, The Game of the Romanians from all over the world  / Fascinatia Oinei, jocul romanilor de pretutindeni" officialy launched in April 24, 2010 at the 4th edition of the Romanian Oina Supercup.

Vlaicu Voda, named also Vladislav I, ruller of the principality of Wallachia between 1364-1377, was the man who spread it this game across Wallachia and organized the first "hoina" competitions. This game was mentioned in Alexandru Davila's (1888) historic drama "Vlaicu Voda" as being played during Vlaicu Voda reign and in Nicolae Iorga's book "Comments and problems from Banat / Observatii si probleme banatene" as being played in the Hateg church's courtyard in 1763 by the priest Nicolae Stoica.
Anyhow, "Oina" game is a Romanian heritage,  "oina" verb, aka "transhumance", means to take a herd of sheep down from the mountains to the field in Autumn. Many names used for various elements of this sport belong to the sheep breeding: “The Sheppard / Baci” is the captain of the team, “The bat / bata”, the player's arrival on the pitch is known as "Entering the sheep den / Intrare la strunga", player caught in the middle "player caught in the sheep's den / jucator la strunga", players who catch the ball "players who guard the sheeps / pascari".

Romanian Oina game animation

Oina is a sport that involves speed, accuracy, team work and sounds closer to cricket and baseball, having similarities with both. The basic rule is that there are two teams, with one of them batting and another catching. The game begins when the catching team throws the ball at a player from the batting team, who tries to hit the ball as far as he can with a wooden bat. Once he hits the ball, the batter must run the “back and forth lanes” before the catching team retrieves the ball. There can be a maximum of 2 players running each lane at the same time. A player can be hit in both lanes once.
The weight of the ball used in oina is similar with the weight currently used in baseball, but is made from leather filled with animals hair and has 7-8 cm diameter. The teams in Oina have eleven on a side, while baseball has only nine. The "bat" in Oina is longer and slimmer and the defense can score by hitting the attacking players from the game. The Oina game is the shortest, takes only 30 minutes, while a baseball game takes about three hours, not quite as long as a game of cricket which can have a 3-5 days duration.

The Oina pitch is a rectangle, 70m long by 32m wide divided into: "the in game / in joc" area, which is 60x32m ; "the batting zone / zona de bătaie" which is 5m long and delimited from the in game area by the batting line and "the back zone / zona de fund" which is a 5m long safe zone during a run - delimited from the in game area by the back line. The attacking side player that has commenced a run will have to cross the following four lines in order: "the start line / linia de plecare" (the left side of the batting line); "the arrival line / linia de sosire" (the left side of the back line); "the return line / culoar de ducere"  (the right side of the back line) and "the escape line/ culoar de intoarcere" (the right side of the batting line).
The in game area is further split into the advance and return triangles and squares. At the intersection of the lines inside the game area and the pitch limits or other lines within the game area, there are circles which determine the positions of "the midfielders / mijlocaşi" and "side players / mărginaşi". The 1m and 3m semicircles are used for batting and serving. A waiting line is drawn for attacking players to wait their turn to bat.
Winning brings the team 3 points, a draw brings in 2 points, and the losing team will score 1 point. Quitting or elimination of the team will result in no points being awarded and a 0-9 loss. Running out of substitutes due to injuries will result in a 0-6 loss and 1 point being awarded, while if the same situation is due to the elimination of a player, the result will be a 0-9 loss and no points being awarded.

More datails about this game, rules, teams and Oina competitions in "The Romanian Oina Federation / Federatia Romana de Oina" and "Oina Association / Asociatia Oina" websites.

October 28, 2010

European Structural Funds for Romanian Projects

For Romanian's economy an important source of financing remains European Union’s Structural Funds, an opportunity to obtain economic growth and improve social conditions in Romania. According to the Ministry of Public Finance, the rate of absorption of structural funds for 2007-2010 was very low,  and the absorption of European Funds should be a maximum priority goal for Romanian Government of any political class.

The NDP 2007-2013 - National Development Plan, which was approved by the Romanian Government in December 2005, was developed as a fundamental tool to guide the use of national, European Union and other funding sources available to Romania, to explain Operational Programmes and how will be delivered the structural and cohesion funds (SCF) in Romania in 2007-2013. The Structural and Cohesion Funds Allocation for Romania was 19,668 billion Euro : 12,661 billion Euro structural funds under Convergence Objective, 6,552 billion Euro under Cohesion Funds and 0.455 billion Euro under European Territorial Cooperation Objective.

According to the Cohesion Policy of the European Union, Romania prepared also the NSFR 2007-2013 document (national strategic reference framework). In this document was formulated the priorities for the Structural and Cohesion Funds during the reference period 2007-2013, and was approved and adopted by European Community  in June 27, 2007:

- Development of Basic infrastructure to European Standards

- Increasing long-term competitiveness of Romanian Economy

- Development and more efficient use of Romania’s Human Capital

- Building an Effective Administrative Capacity

- Promoting balanced territorial development

European Union Flag

Companies and individuals can access these funds if making a successful project and it is possible to obtain non-reimbursable funds of 50-70 percent of the investment, depending on the type of project, through operational programs managed by Romanian Ministries. Eligible projects of European Union Structural and  Cohesion Funds are only the projects from European firms or European subsidiaries for non-European countries, legally registered in Europe.

For Companies, the main National Programs are:
  • Operational Programme “Increase of economic competitiveness” (Programul Operational Cresterea Competitivitatii Economice) which is managed by the Ministry of  Economy, Trade and the Business Environment has an European budget of EUR 2.554,222 million and Romanian budget of EUR 456,880 millions, its main objective is to increase Romanian companies’ productivity. The main types of investments funded are:  An innovative and eco-efficient productive system ; Research, Technological Development and Innovation for competitiveness; IT&C for private and public sectors;Increasing energy efficiency and security of supply, in the context of combating climate change; Technical assistance for OP management, implementation, monitoring and control.
  • OPTA - Operational Programme 'Technical Assistance' (Programul Operational Asistenta Tehnica) which is managed by the Ministry of  Public Finance has an European budget of EUR 2.554,222 million and  Romanian budget of EUR 456,880 millions, its main objective is "Building Effective Administrative Capacity”. The main types of investments funded are: Support to the implementation of Structural Instruments and coordination of programmes; Further development and support for the functioning of the Single Management Information System (SMIS) ; Dissemination of information and promotion of Structural Instruments.
  • Operational Programme  'Regional Operational Programme'  (Programul Operational Regional Regional) which is managed by the Ministry of  Public Finance has an European budget of EUR 3726,021 million and  Romanian budget of EUR 657,561 millions, its main objective is to create better conditions for the economic and social balanced territorial development of all Romanian regions and for urban growth poles able to spread the development. The main types of investments funded are: Support to sustainable development of urban growth poles; Improvement of regional and local transport infrastructure; Improvement of social infrastructure; Strengthening the regional and local business environment; Sustainable development and promotion of tourism; Technical Assistance
  • Operational Programme 'Transport'  ( Programul Operational Transport)which is managed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has an European budget of EUR 4.565,937 million and Romanian budget of EUR 1131,727 millions, its main objective is to improve a the current transport systems in Romania (road infrastructure, rail, inter-modal transport, inland waterways) according to European Union standards.
    The main types of investments funded are: Modernization and development of TEN-T priority axes aiming at sustainable transport system integrated with EU transport networks;  Modernization and development of the national transport infrastructure outside the TEN-T priority axes aiming at sustainable national transport system; Modernization of transport sector aiming at higher degree of environmental protection, human health and passenger safety; Technical Assistance
  • Operational Programme 'Environment'   (Programul Operational Mediu) which is managed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests has an European budget of EUR 4.512,470 million and Romanian budget of EUR 1098,406 millions, its main objective is to improve the living standards and the environment, focusing in particular on meeting the European legislation on the environment.
    The main types of investments funded are: Extension and modernization of water and wastewater systems;  Development of integrated waste management systems and rehabilitation of historically contaminated sites; Reduction of pollution and mitigation of climate change by restructuring and renovating urban heating systems towards energy efficiency targets in the identified local environmental hotspots; Implementation of adequate management systems for nature protection; Implementation of adequate infrastructure of natural risk prevention in most vulnerable areas; Technical Assistance
  The main European Social Funds for Romania, Romania’s ESF Operational Programmes, are: 
  •  "Human Resources Development" (Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane) managed by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities, has an  European budget of EUR 3.476,144 million and a Romanian budget of EUR 613,213 million and its objective is to develop human capital and to increase employee competitiveness, by linking education and lifelong learning with the labor market, and helping the workforce to adapt to changing economic conditions, increasing labour market participation for all.
  •  "Administrative Capacity Development" (Dezvoltarea Capacitatii Administrative) managed by the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform, has an  European budget of EUR 208,002 million and a Romanian budget of EUR 38,011 million and its objective is to develop human capital and substantially modernising public administration.

The Summary of the submitted projects at October 22, 2010 from the official website of the Romanian Government (wish for more) is detailed below:

Operational Programme
Projects Approved
Funding  Decisions
Payments to beneficiaries
(RON millions)
POS Transport
POS Environment
1 001,10
PO Regional
7 219
1 190
1 992,99
POS Human Resources Development
7 172
2 145
1 397
1 486,61
POS  Increase of economic competitiveness
6 927
2 095
1 405
PO Administrative Capacity Development
1 003
PO Technical Assistance
22 716
5 941
4 107
5 556,00

October 27, 2010

A stormy night, for Romania...

Want to know things? Look at them closely. 
Want to love them? Look at them from outside" - Ion Luca Caragiale

Ion Luca Caragiale

Ion Luca Caragiale (30.01.1852 - 10.06.1912) is often considered The social voice of Romanian Literature.
He remains one of the most original and great comic playwrights in Romanian literature, his vivid and ironically works reflected the language, people, and concerns of Romania and  was elected post-mortem as member of the Romanian Academy. 
Twenty years ago, one of the characters from his plays gave the name for Catavencu Academy / Academia Catavencu, a satirical weekly magazine ("weekly heavy manners" / Saptamanal de moravuri grele).

I.L. Caragiale was an apprentice for his uncle's company (Iorgu Caragiale) in the theater's world when he was young, then worked for some newspapers, wrote for the conservative paper "The time / Timpul" and the literary "Youth / Junimea" . Together with other intellectuals, he established satirical magazine " The Romanian Nonsense / Moftul Roman" and the literary magazine "The Hearth / Vatra". He wrote, also "1907, From Spring to Autumn / 1907, Din primavara pana in toamna", an patriotic essay in which he made a social and political analysis of that period and condemned the agrarian policies of Romanian Governments, later on using these social themes in a series of fables.

His comedy stories and playwrights "A stormy night/ O noapte furtunoasa", "A lost letter / O scrisoare pierduta", "Carnival Stories / D-ale carnavalului", "Mr. Leonida Faces the Reaction/ Conu Leonida fata cu reactiunea" were put on stage since then in many theaters or by independent troupes worldwide.

In "A stormy night/ O noapte furtunoasa" and "A lost letter / O scrisoare pierduta", Caragiale ridiculed more  than a century ago the corruption, demagogy over superficial culture and the false liberal values of the politicians. These plays are hits for the public even today and somehow their social criticism remain valid in the emerging modern Romanian society with its conflicting political machines.

Political speeches are memorable and should be the motto these days, " Of two things we will have to make one choice, allow me: That it should be revised, I agree! but nothing should be changed, or that it shouldn't be revised, so be it! But in this case,it should be changed here and there, that is... in its essential points. This is the dilemma one cannot escape...I said it / Din doua una, dati-mi voie: Ori sa se revizuiasca, primesc! dar atunci sa se schimbe pe ici pe colo, si anume in punctele... esentiale... Din aceasta dilema nu puteti iesi" 

October 26, 2010

We want land, the eternal desire...

George Cosbuc (20.09.1866 - 09.05.1918) was a Romanian poet and jurnalist , member of the Romanian Academy. He was also teacher and in collaboration with other former educators, he pieced together a Romanian language  textbook " Romanian Book of Reading / Carte Romaneasca de citire".
He published "Ballads and Pastorals / Balade si Idile"  "Cake threads / Fire de tort" and "A loser's news-paper / Ziarul unui pierde-vara"  It had a great interest for the popular literature, being known as "the poet of the peasants". He put in verses the pains, the dreams of the peasants of Transylvania, the most beautiful poem being "We want land", essence of the eternal desire of the Romanian peasant.

Romanian land

We want land

I'm hungry, naked, homeless, through,
Because of loads I had to carry;
You've spat on me, and hit me - marry,
A dog I've been to you !
Vile lord, whom winds brought to this land,
If hell itself gives you free hand
To tread us down and make us bleed,
We will endure both load and need,
The plough and harness yet take heed,
We ask for land!

Whene'er you see a crust of bread,
Though brown and stale, we see's no more;
You drag our sons to ruthless war,
Our daughters to your bed.
You curse what we hold dear and grand,
Faith and compassion you have banned;
Our children starve with want and chill
And we go mad with pity, still
We'd bear the grinding of your mill,
Had we but land !

You've turned into a field of corn
The village graveyard, and we plough
And dig out bones and weep and mourn
Oh, had we ne'er been born !
For those are bones of our own bone,
But you don't care, o hearts of stone !
Out of our house you drive us now,
And dig our dead out of their grave;
A silent corner of their own
The land we crave !

Besides, we want to know for sure
That we, too, shall together lie,
That on the day on which we die,
You will not mock the poor.
The orphans, those to us so dear,
Who o'er a grave would shed a tear,
Won't know the ditches where we rot;
We've been denied a burial plot
Though we are Christians, are we not ?
We ask for land, d'you hear ?

Nor have we time to say a prayer,
For time is in your power too;
A soul is all we have, and you
Much you do care !
You've sworn to rob us of the right
To tell our grievances outright;
You give us torture when we shout,
Unheard-of torture, chain and clout
And lead when, dead tired, we cry out:
For land we'll fight !

What is it you've here buried ? say !
Corn ? maize ? We have forbears and mothers,
We, fathers, sisters dear and brothers !
Unwished - for guests, away !
Our land is holy, rich and brave,
It is our cradle and our grave;
We have defended it with sweat
And blood, and bitter tears have wet
Each palm of it - so, don't forget:
'Tis land we crave !

We can no more endure the goads,
No more the hunger, the disasters
That follow on the heels of masters
Picked from the roads !
God grant that we shall not demand
Your hated blood instead of land !
When hunger will untie our ties
And poverty will make us rise.
E'en in your grave we will chastise
You and your band !

Romanian magic land

Noi vrem pământ!

Flămând şi gol, făr-adăpost,
Mi-ai pus pe umeri cât ai vrut,
Şi m-ai scuipat şi m-ai bătut
Şi câine eu ţi-am fost!
Ciocoi pribeag, adus de vânt,
De ai cu iadul legământ
Să-ţi fim toţi câini, loveşte-n noi!
Răbdăm poveri, răbdăm nevoi
Şi ham de cai, şi jug de boi
Dar vrem pământ!

O coajă de mălai de ieri
De-o vezi la noi tu ne-o apuci.
Băieţii tu-n război ni-i duci,
Pe fete ni le ceri.
Înjuri ce-avem noi drag şi sfânt:
Nici milă n-ai, nici crezământ!
Flămânzi copiii-n drum ne mor
Şi ne sfârşim de mila lor -
Dar toate le-am trăi uşor
De-ar fi pământ!

De-avem un cimitir în sat
Ni-l faceţi lan, noi, boi în jug.
Şi-n urma lacomului plug
Ies oase şi-i păcat!
Sunt oase dintr-al nostru os:
Dar ce vă pasă! Voi ne-aţi scos
Din case goi, în ger şi-n vânt,
Ne-aţi scos şi morţii din mormânt; -
O, pentru morţi şi-al lor prinos
Noi vrem pământ!

Şi-am vrea şi noi, şi noi să ştim
Că ni-or sta oasele-ntr-un loc,
Că nu-şi vor bate-ai voştri joc
De noi, dacă murim.
Orfani şi cei ce dragi ne sunt
De-ar vrea să plângă pe-un mormânt,
Ei n-or şti-n care şanţ zăcem,
Căci nici pentr-un mormânt n-avem
Pământ - şi noi creştini suntem!
Şi vrem pământ!

N-avem nici vreme de-nchinat.
Căci vremea ni-e în mâni la voi;
Avem un suflet încă-n noi
Şi parcă l-aţi uitat!
Aţi pus cu toţii jurământ
Să n-avem drepturi şi cuvânt;
Bătăi şi chinuri, când ţipăm,
Obezi şi lanţ când ne mişcăm,
Şi plumb când istoviţi strigăm
Că vrem pământ!

Voi ce-aveţi îngropat aici?
Voi grâu? Dar noi strămoşi şi taţi
Noi mame şi surori şi fraţi!
În lături, venetici!
Pământul nostru-i scump şi sfânt,
Că el ni-e leagăn şi mormânt;
Cu sânge cald l-am apărat,
Şi câte ape l-au udat
Sunt numai lacrimi ce-am vărsat -
Noi vrem pământ!

N-avem puteri şi chip de-acum
Să mai trăim cerşind mereu,
Că prea ne schingiuiesc cum vreu
Stăpâni luaţi din drum!
Să nu dea Dumnezeu cel sfânt,
Să vrem noi sânge, nu pământ!
Când nu vom mai putea răbda,
Când foamea ne va răscula,
Hristoşi să fiţi, nu veţi scăpa
Nici în mormânt!

October 19, 2010

The Magic is the word here!

Sunset in Romania
The Magic is the word here!
In the Romanian Kingdom of Fairy-tales imagination is captured with intriguing treasures, old or new,
Connected with "real-world" where all the thoughts and written or spoken words come true.
Present and past merge in a strangest ways passing through the mixed Daco–Roman history.
What the eye sees, the mind can’t grasp. Ancient ruins help us to believe in our continuity?!

Sarmisegetuza, Romania

Amphitheater walls defying the horizon, reveal us gates in time opened in unexpected places
Thracian, Gothic, Romanic temples and medieval frescoes stubbornly resisting the ages.
The eyes wander about majestic old churches and castles spires pointing right up like natural weapons
In the last rays of sun falling aslant on the carpet of leaves, glittering with grace on the heavens.

Bran Castle, Romania

Now and ever, across the hills, the pastures seems to expand space in all directions.
Atop of unending forests, the sun-rays filter beauty through the waterways reflections.
The star-filled, moon-shine sky units with the peaks of the mountains at the horizon line,
Horses run again and again on the greenery hillocks and the stunning wilderness looks divine.

horse running on meadow

October 18, 2010

October, by George Topirceanu

George Topîrceanu (20.03.1886 - 07.05.1937) was a Romanian humorist, poet and writer with great taste for themes taken from nature, with a classic and modern style, making a deep synthesis of romanticism, realism and symbolism. He was a sentimental humourist with incisive and contemplative style, appreciated for his carefully constructed metaphors. He wrote three main volumes of poetry and for his verses was awarded in 1926 with the National Poetry Prize: " Ballads, Merry and Sad / Balade vesele şi triste" , " Original Parodies / Parodii originale", " Bitter Almonds / Migdale amare" .

 Olt River Valley in autumn

In "October" poem, Topîrceanu reveals his love for nature hiding under his mask of ironic, he describes yellow and red carpets of leaves covering the hills and personifies autumn as human fairy and romantic character walking through the gardens.

Autumn forest


Thanks to Lady A for the artistic translation to English

October has left on the fields
Yellow and red carpets.
Waves of silver clouds pass by
And roosters sound like love.

I always watch the barometer
And I shudder when is goes down a little bit
Because the sun is each day smaller
In diameter.

But under the warm sky as in May
White days follow one another
Even more shifting and more

Gone late untimely,
Autumn is walking through the gardens
With plaited mantles full
Of (chrysanthe)mums.

And it is hardly floating on its way
Like a marchioness
As if the whole Universe
Is watching after her surprised.

A lily, confused
By her missy appearance,
Turned yellow and went mad
And blossomed with excitement
For the second time...

Autumn reflection

The original poem in Romanian:


Octombrie-a lăsat pe dealuri
Covoare galbene şi roşii.
Trec nouri de argint în valuri
Şi cântă-a dragoste cocoşii.

Mă uit mereu la barometru
Şi mă-nfior când scade-un pic,
Căci soarele e tot mai mic
In diametru

Dar pe sub cerul cald ca-n mai
Trec zile albe după zile,
Mai nestatornice şi mai

Întârziată fără vreme
Se plimbă Toamna prin grădini
Cu faldurii hlamidei plini
De crizanteme.

Şi cum abia pluteşte-n mers
Ca o marchiză,
De parcă-ntregul univers
Priveşte-n urmă-i cu surpriză, -

Un liliac nedumerit
De-alura ei de domnişoară
S-a-ngălbenit, s-a zăpăcit
Şi de emoţie-a-nflorit
A doua oară…

 October's color of trees

October 16, 2010

Danube River

The Danube River was immortalized by Johann Strauss in his famous "The Blue Danube /  Dunarea Albastra" and by the Romanian composer Iosif Ivanovici (1845-1902) in his famous waltz "Waves of the Danube / Valurile Dunarii" (I loved those songs ever since I was born).

Danube River raises at the confluence of the two source river Brigach and Breg near Donaueschingen in the Schwarzwald / Black Forest in Germany. Is the second longest river from Europe (after Volga) and along its 2850 km long, the Danube River Basin go through 18 countries, 13 countries having substantial territory within the basin. The basin area includes all of Hungary; nearly all parts of Austria, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Serbia; significant parts of Bosnia - Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Moldova and small parts of Germany and Ukraine, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Macedonia and Albania.

In latin was known as Danubius,Danuvius, Ister and in Dacian/Thracian as Donaris / upper Danube and Istros / lower Danube. In our days is known as: Danube(english), Dunav (croatian, serbian, bulgarian), Donau (german), Dunaj (slovak), Dunai (ukrainian) and Dunărea (romanian).

Danube River / Dunarea, near Orsova, Romania

Danube has more then 2000km navigable part and is in the center of the European network of navigable inland waterways. A Danube River cruise is the best way to experience the storied landscapes, cultural heritage and centuries-old architecture of the Old World, you can see the Imperial Castle and the Justice Palace from Nuremberg, Germany, Vienna Opera house in Vienna, Austria, Ilok Castle in Croatia the world-famous Benedictine Monastery in Melk, Austria, St. Stephan's Basilica and the Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, Hungary and Mraconia Monastery and Iron Gates / Danube Gorge in Romania.

The Danube River Basin was divided into four parts: the Upper Danube from the source to Bratislava, the Middle Danube from Bratislava to the Iron Gate dams (Romania-Serbia&Montenegro), the Lower Danube formed by the Romanian-Bulgarian lowlands and the Danube Delta / Delta Dunarii where the Danube River discharges into the Black Sea. There are also three artificial waterways built on the Danube: the Danube–Tisa–Danube Canal (DTD)in Vojvodina, Serbia; Danube–Black Sea Canal, between Cernavodă and Constanţa, Romania, and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal linking the North Sea to the Black Sea.

The Danube Gorge / Clisura Dunarii runs between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains and lies between Romania in the north and Serbia in the south, forming the natural boundary between them.

Danube Gorge near Mraconia Monastery,  Romania

The Danube Delta/ Delta Dunarii  became part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1991. It is largely situated in Romania and partly in Ukraine and has three main distributaries: Chilia, Sulina and Saint George (Sfantul Gheorghe). Danube Delta is the best preserved Delta on the Europe, having continental climate with Black Sea influences.  First notes about the Delta are from Dacian period before being conquered by the Romans. Part of Danube Delta was marked as a reserve in Romania in 1938.  In 1998, under UNESCO Programme on Man and the Biosphere, the 6264.03 km² of Danube Delta were established as Biosphere Reserve shared by Romania and Ukraine. It is home to several rare bird species, an important resting point for migrating birds, rich in fish and unusual flora.

Danube River view from Saint Ana Monastery courtyard, Orsova,  Romania

The whole world is worried these days about the toxic red sludge that burst out of a Hungarian aluminum factory's reservoir in 4 October 2010 and entered the Danube in 7 October 2010, threatening an ecological disaster. The official message from the Director of the World Heritage Centre on the toxic spill in Hungary was published on the UNESCO website in October 8, 2010:
"   The news of a massive toxic spill that occurred 4 October 2010 at an aluminum plant in Hungary has caused great concern in the international community. We deeply deplore the impact of this disaster, especially the loss of lives.
   The flood reached the Danube River from the Raab River on 7 October 2010, and while pH levels are diminishing, heavy metals and other substances could have a considerable environmental impact on the Danube water system. There are a number of cultural and natural World Heritage sites along the Danube, including, in Hungary, Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue. Other sites that could be potentially affected are Srebarna Nature Reserve in Bulgaria and the Danube Delta in Romania, as well as potential sites for inscription on the World Heritage List (Tentative List sites), such as The natural and cultural landscape of the Danube region and the System of Fortifications at the Confluence of the Rivers Danube and Váh in Komárno - Komárom in Slovakia.
    The World Heritage site of the Danube Delta in Romania is also a transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with Ukraine, as well as an important wetlands (Ramsar) site.
    I would like to convey our solidarity with the site managers and people struggling to safeguard their heritage and environment. UNESCO is ready to assist by providing technical and expert advice, wherever needed, together with its partners, especially the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention, 1971) to safeguard the precious and irreplaceable heritage of future generations.
Francesco Bandarin
Director, UNESCO World Heritage Centre a.i.
UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture"

The  Reuters.com news: Toxic red sludge from a Hungarian alumina plant reached the Danube on Thursday and crews struggled to dilute it to protect the river from what the prime minister called an "unprecedented ecological catastrophe."

I hope that Gabor Figeczky, Hungarian branch director of the WWF environmental group was right when said "Based on our current estimates, it (pollution) will remain contained in Hungary, and we also trust that it will reach Budapest with acceptable pH values." , and the territory nearby Danube River (including Romanian magic lands), downstream from the disaster area will not be polluted by sludge's toxic substances.

For more information about Danube River, visit Britannica.com and Unesco.org.

October 15, 2010

A Dacian Prayer, by Mihai Eminescu

Mihai Eminescu (15.01.1850 - 15.06.1889) was the poet who concentrated the poetical soul of Romanian people and transformed Romanian poetry, being often named the "Luceafãrul" of Romanian poetry, due to his outstanding poem wrote in 1883 "Luceafarul/ The Evening Star". "A Dacian's Prayer / Rugaciunea unui dac" is just another great poem wrote by him in 1879. 

Head of Decebal, Dacian King, sculpture near Danube River on Mraconia Valey, Romania

A Dacian's Prayer
     verses by Mihai Eminescu, National and Universal Poet

When death did not exist, nor yet eternity,
Before the seed of life had first set living free,
When yesterday was nothing, and time had not begun,
And one included all things, and all was less than one,
When sun and moon and sky, the stars, the spinning earth
Were still part of the things that had not come to birth,
And You quite lonely stood... I ask myself with awe,
Who is this mighty God we bow ourselves before.

Ere yet the Gods existed already He was God
And out of endless water with fire the lightning shed;
He gave the Gods their reson, and joy to earth did bring,
He brought to man forgiveness, and set salvation's spring
Lift up your hearts in worship, a song of praise enfreeing,
He is the death of dying, the primal birth of being.

To him I owe my eyes that I can see the dawn,
To him I owe my heart wherein is pity born;
Whene'er I hear the tempest, I hear him pass along
Midst multitude of voices raised in a holy song;
And yet of his great mercy I beg still one behest:
That I at last be taken to his eternal rest.

Be curses on the fellow who would my praise acclaim,
But blessings upon him who does my soul defame;
Believe no matter whom who slanders my renown,
Give power to the arm that lifts to strike me down;
Let him upon the earth above all others loom
Who steals away the stone that lies upon my tomb.

Hunted by humanity, let me my whole life fly
Until I feel from weeping my very eyes are dry;
Let everyone detest me no matter where I go,
Until from persecution myself I do not know;
Let misery and horror my heart transform to stone,
That I may hate my mother, in whose love I have grown;
Till hating and deceiving for me with love will vie,
And I forget my suffering, and learn at last to die.

Dishonoured let me perish, an outcast among men;
My body less than worthy to block the gutter then,
And may, o God of mercy, a crown of diamonds wear
The one who gives my heart the hungry dogs to tear,
While for the one who in my face does callous fling a clod
In your eternal kingdom reserve a place, o God.

Thus only, gracious Father, can I requitance give
That you from your great bounty vouched me the joy to live;
To gain eternal blessings my head I do not bow,
But rather ask that you in hating compassion show.
Till comes at last the evening, your breath will mine efface,
And into endless nothing I go, and leave no trace.

(1879, Translated by Corneliu M. Popescu, tragically died in 1977 earthquake)

Sfinx, megalithic natural sculpture at 2290m altitude in Bucegi Mountains, Romania
Sfinx, megalithic natural sculpture at 2290m altitude in Bucegi Mountains, Romania

The original poem wrote by Mihai Eminescu in  Romanian is:

Rugăciunea unui dac

Pe când nu era moarte, nimic nemuritor,
Nici sâmburul luminii de viaţă dătător,
Nu era azi, nici mâine, nici ieri, nici totdeuna,
Căci unul erau toate şi totul era una;
Pe când pământul, cerul, văzduhul, lumea toată
Erau din rândul celor ce n-au fost niciodată,
Pe-atunci erai Tu singur, încât mă-ntreb în sine-mi:
Au cine-i zeul cărui plecăm a noastre inemi?

El singur zeu stătut-au nainte de-a fi zeii
Şi din noian de ape puteri au dat scânteii,
El zeilor dă suflet şi lumii fericire,
El este-al omenimei izvor de mântuire:
Sus inimile voastre! Cântare aduceţi-i,
El este moartea morţii şi învierea vieţii!

Şi el îmi dete ochii să văd lumina zilei,
Şi inima-mi umplut-au cu farmecele milei,
În vuietul de vânturi auzit-am al lui mers
Şi-n glas purtat de cântec simţii duiosu-i viers,
Şi tot pe lângă-acestea cerşesc înc-un adaos:
Să-ngăduie intrarea-mi în vecinicul repaos!

Să blesteme pe-oricine de mine-o avea milă,
Să binecuvânteze pe cel ce mă împilă,
S-asculte orice gură, ce-ar vrea ca să mă râdă,
Puteri să puie-n braţul ce-ar sta să mă ucidă,
Ş-acela între oameni devină cel întâi
Ce mi-a răpi chiar piatra ce-oi pune-o căpătâi.

Gonit de toată lumea prin anii mei să trec,
Pân' ce-oi simţi că ochiu-mi de lacrime e sec,
Că-n orice om din lume un duşman mi se naşte,
C-ajung pe mine însumi a nu mă mai cunoaşte,
Că chinul şi durerea simţirea-mi a-mpietrit-o,
Că pot să-mi blestem mama, pe care am iubit-o -
Când ura cea mai crudă mi s-a părea amor...
Poate-oi uita durerea-mi şi voi putea să mor.

Străin şi făr' de lege de voi muri - atunce
Nevrednicu-mi cadavru în uliţă l-arunce,
Ş-aceluia, Părinte, să-i dai coroană scumpă,
Ce-o să asmuţe câinii, ca inima-mi s-o rumpă,
Iar celui ce cu pietre mă va izbi în faţă,
Îndură-te, stăpâne, şi dă-i pe veci viaţă!

Astfel numai, Părinte, eu pot să-ţi mulţumesc
Că tu mi-ai dat în lume norocul să trăiesc.
Să cer a tale daruri, genunchi şi frunte nu plec,
Spre ură şi blestemuri aş vrea să te înduplec,
Să simt că de suflarea-ţi suflarea mea se curmă
Şi-n stingerea eternă dispar fără de urmă! 

Luceafarul: Poemul suprem al literaturii romane (Clasici: Eminescu)

October 14, 2010

Romania: 50% of news must be positive, says law proposal

The Romanian Senate unanimously voted a law proposal forcing media to distribute 50% of positive news.

According to its instigators, the law will help to fight against "the extraordinary harms of negative news and their irreversible effects on health and people's lives."

The Senate wishes that TV and radio news programs feature as much 'negative' as 'positive' news.

The Romanian's National Council for Audiovisual broadcasting is to validate the law - under which it will have the responsibility to decide what constitutes good or bad news.

But the Council swiftly criticized the law. "News is news, it is neither positive nor negative, it simply reflects reality," said the Council's president, Rasvan Popescu.

While a number of editors may agree that the news agenda tends to be vastly 'negative', no law should seek to force the reverse.

... I've told you ... it's MAGIC!