Monthly Archives: September 2007

Romanian Report

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

Low birth rate harming Romania

Romanian President Traian Basescu said this week that he is worried his country was “going through a demographic desert” because of a drop in birth rates since 1990. “In 17 years, Romania has lost 1.4mn people due to emigration and the lower birth rate,” Basescu said during a conference on population in the central town of Sibiu.

“Today, we count only one child per woman. If this birth rate remains as it is, we will only have 16mn residents in Romania in 2050, 11mn in 2075 and 8.5mn in 2100,” he warned. Romania currently has 21.6mn inhabitants.

In other new, tens of thousands of migrant workers from Romania are to be blocked from working in Britain amid concerns that economic migration is placing new strains on public services. Ahh, here we have the intricacies of the EU in all its glory.

Bromsgrove volunteers help out in Romania

A group of volunteers from the UK witnessed first-hand the importance of this year’s fund-raising subject of the Day of Kindness (September 18th) when they visited the slums of Romania.

The week-long expedition was organised to raise awareness of one of Europe’s poorest and most disadvantaged countries and was hailed as a life-changing experience by some of the volunteers on their return. The trip saw them discover the reality of the struggle many Romanians endure each day with no running water and very primitive sanitation.

For more on raising funds for The Smiles Foundation, call John and Joan Mayo on 0044 1527 875602 or log onto: www.thesmilesfoundation.org

Best women handball teams in Europe

The 2007 Women’s Champions Trophy will take place in Vâlcea, Romania from 22 – 23 September 2007. Vâlcea is no stranger to top handball events and the city is steeped in handball traditions. The arena in Vâlcea was renovated and used for the preliminary and main round of the 2000 Women’s European Championship.

The competition in Ramnicu Valcea is held for the first time under the name Champions’ Tournament, called Europe’s Supercup previously. The participating teams are Slagelse DT (Denmark) – winner of Champions League 2006-2007, Zvezda Zvenigorod (Russia) – winner of EHF Cup, Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea and Lada Togliatti, invited by the European Handball Federation (EHF).

Talking of balls, do you know why snakes don’t have balls? It’s because very few of them can dance.

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Chinese executional tricks

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

As we get closer to the Olympic Games year criticism is coming more often about different things, therefore Peking had to do something, even if that something is just for show. The Chinese Supreme Court has ordered judges to be more …sparing in the application of death penalties.

To this there are two sides, such as there are two sides in my head while reading this and trying to understand what the Chinese state – justice is totally controlled by the state – is after. I should be happy for the Chinese coming one step closer to understanding that respect to human life comes on many levels or shall I be my usual cynical self?

Yes, they are going to reduce the number of state members that were convicted for economic scandals to the death penalty but – and this is a huge ‘but’ – since who’s going to get capital punishment: a former state member or a strong opposition leader? And to become even more cynical, do they mean that they are going to reduce the number of convicted from nearly 4,000 to nearly 3,999 and the actual executions from the 1,770 in 2005 to 1,769 this year?

Why are they doing this? Is it to keep all the NGOs from asking everybody to boycott the Olympic Games? That’s definitely a good reason for the Chinese communist party. The Chinese communist party has come a long way since the days of its founder, especially after the Cultural Revolution that came to clean up the party. Actually, if the ideas of the Cultural Revolution had any effect in today’s China the leaders of the party should be the first to be shot.

China has always been a huge market, which even the church realized centuries ago when, aside from the preaching, the monks and the missionaries always tried to make business with the Chinese. Today there is cheap labour, low costs and a society that learns to be consuming; a paradise for western companies.

The most amazing thing about the whole case was the detailed instructions the Supreme Court gave. For example, murders triggered by family disputes should not always lead to the death penalty, alike to crimes for …passion! But, the best of all comes last: those convicted of economic crimes should be treated more ‘leniently’ if they help to recoup money that was defrauded. Most likely the last one is because if they continue the way they have been leading over the last few years everybody in the central committee of the Chinese communist party will be executed!

It is only days since we published another article about capital punishment and it was for the 30 year anniversary of the last execution with guillotine in France. In that article I was talking about China and I feel a personal irony that only a few days after the Chinese Supreme Court took the decision, just as I said, to understand that the eye-for-eye punishment only makes us equally murderers, with the sentenced.

Either they are making a positive first step towards the exclusion of capital punishment or the Chinese state may just make me really angry by naively thinking that they can manipulate NGOs and democratic governments with stupid announcements like that.

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