Romania adopts laxer punishments for corruption offences
Lawmakers, under pressure from the government, voted to cut the statute of limitations for several crimes and decriminalise bribe payments for the perpetrator if they turn in themselves within a year.
They also added that as long as a prosecutor has not yet opened an investigation into them it would be relaxed.
Critics believe that these changes will benefit the head of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea, who cannot become prime minister due to a previous conviction, however, controls the government.
He is currently on trial for aiding abuse of office, although a legally binding verdict is expected in May.
He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in the first instance in May.
Under the legal reforms, the punishments for embezzlement and abuse of office are also to be reduced by half if the perpetrator compensates the damages.
The changes also risk making the work of investigators more difficult in future.
Halep wins Italian Open after Pliskova retires with injury
Simona Halep won her first-ever Italian Open title at the third attempt on Monday after defending champion Karolina Pliskova retired from the final through injury with Halep leading 6-0, 2-1.
Romania’s top-ranked Halep raced through the first set with six straight games in 20 minutes as Pliskova struggled to move in the rallies with her right thigh heavily strapped up.
Pliskova, the Czech world number four, was broken twice more in the three-game second set.
With the French Open starting in six days, she decided to end the match after 31 minutes.
In the men’s final match later on Monday, world number one Novak Djokovic will be aiming to win a record-breaking 36th Masters title against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Osaka climbs to number 3, Azarenka returns to top 15 in rankings
United States Open champion Naomi Osaka has climbed six spots to third in the latest WTA rankings released on Monday.
Also, Victoria Azarenka’s career revival gathered traction as the Flushing Meadows finalist returned to the top 15.
Australian Ash Barty and Simona Halep of Romania continued to occupy the number one and two spots in the rankings respectively.
This was in spite of their opting against travelling to New York for the Grand Slam.
The 22-year-old Osaka, who beat Azarenka in a thrilling final on Saturday for her second Grand Slam title in New York and third overall, was the only player in the top 10 to gain places.
Osaka also reached the final of the Western & Southern Open, which was held at Flushing Meadows this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But she had to withdraw against Azarenka due to an injury.
Azarenka, also a former world number one, arrived in New York having not won a match this year and ranked 59.
But the two-times Australian Open champion went on to win the United States Open warm-up event and capped her spectacular comeback by reaching her first Grand Slam final in seven years.
It helped her climb to number 14 in the WTA rankings —- her highest since January 2017.
American Jennifer Brady, who lost to Osaka in the United States Open semi-finals, was also a big mover in the ladder and was ranked 25th, 16 places higher than her previous ranking.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Children in richest countries face obesity, lack of skills – UN
Too many children in the world’s richest countries lack basic maths and reading skills, and suffer from poor mental well-being and obesity, according to a UNICEF report published on Thursday.
The report ranks 41 European Union and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries on children’s health, skills, and happiness.
Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway top the league table, while Bulgaria, Chile, and the United States are ranked the worst places to be a child among high-income countries.
According to UNICEF, àround 20 per cent of children do not have high life satisfaction in most affluent countries.
Turkey fares worst, with only 53 per cent of children having high life satisfaction, followed by Japan and Britain.
Lithuania has the highest rate of adolescent suicide, followed by New Zealand and Estonia.
In terms of physical health, around one in three children are obese or overweight, with rates in Southern Europe sharply rising.
About 40 per cent of children in rich countries lack basic reading and maths skills by age 15, with those in Bulgaria, Romania, and Chile the least proficient, UNICEF said.
While the report used data from before the coronavirus pandemic, it warned that the crisis posed a substantial threat to child well-being.
“Many of the world’s richest countries – which have the resources they need to provide good childhoods for all – are failing children,” UNICEF Innocenti director Gunilla Olsson said.
“Unless governments take rapid and decisive action to protect child well-being as part of their pandemic responses, we can continue to expect soaring child poverty rates, deteriorating mental and physical health, and a deepening skill divide among children,” Olsson added.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)https://nnn.ng/children-in-richest-countries-face-obesity-lack-of-skills-un/
Romanian parliament to vote on no-confidence motion
Romania’s parliament is to vote Monday on a motion of a no-confidence against the government over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was introduced by the social democratic opposition PSD party against the conservative minority government of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban.
The PSD, Romania’s largest opposition party, accuses the government of having used precautions against the coronavirus pandemic to overly restrict citizens’ freedoms.
The motion has a chance of passing in parliament.
Orban has been ruling since last year with a minority government that was tolerated by the left-wing opposition.
If the government is overthrown, it will probably continue in office in a caretaker function with limited powers until parliamentary elections, which may be held in November or December.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)https://nnn.ng/romanian-parliament-to-vote-on-no-confidence-motion/