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2013 April
Abuse of data
Hungary approves squeeze on public data access
Hungary's parliament on Tuesday curbed the right to request information on the use of public funds, sparking consternation from international graft watchdog Transparency International and the opposition. The government says the amendment would prevent the "abuse of data requests" that clog up the work of the data protection agency and other organisations.
Hungary is destroying itself from inside
Last Friday, members of the European parliament met in Strasbourg to discuss the country's human rights. So what's really been going on? And why are European politicians spending so much time on a small country with apparently little international presence? Here are a few potential explanations.
Racist soccer fans attack Hungarian activist ahead of Jewish Congress
Ferenc Orosz, chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Association, says he was assaulted after arguing with a group of supporters chanting a Nazi slogan at a recent soccer match in Hungary, days before the country is due to host the World Jewish Congress.
Living together
Hungary's rawest nerve: Learning to love the Roma
The relationship between the Roma minority and the non-Roma majority is a difficult one in many central European countries. There are frequently problems in Hungary, but could there also be examples of good practice?
Hungary unemployment rate reaches all-time high
Hungary’s rate of unemployment rose to 11.8% in the first quarter of 2013, which matches the record high reached three years ago.
Confronted with the past
Hungary's far-right plays with fire
Anti-semitic incidents have risen in the last few months in Hungary, which has Central Europe's largest Jewish community. It is one of the reasons why the World Jewish Congress' Plenary session, normally held in Israel, is coming to Budapest this year.
Concern for erosion
Hungary's legal changes rapped
Hungary moved a significant step closer to becoming the first European Union member state to be placed under a special monitoring regime by European politicians. A committee at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said that it was deeply concerned at “the erosion of democratic checks and balances” as a result of a completely new constitution introduced in 2012.
Too far
PM Orban: Hungary not ready to seriously consider euro
Hungary will not be ready to seriously consider using the euro until its general development level reaches 90 percent of the average for the eurozone, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.
Herzog Heirs Say Closer to Recovering Nazi-Looted Art
The heirs of a pre-World War II Jewish collector who are seeking to recover art worth more than $100 million said a U.S. court ruling and a Hungarian government announcement are steps toward success in their 70-year struggle.
A river runs through it
Budapest may be dubbed as Paris of the East but after walking along the Danube, crossing the Chain Bridge, munching paprika with breakfast and sipping Palinka after dinner, I realise that Budapest is far more than that: it's a city that glows with its own unique charm.
Google adds Street View imagery for Hungary
The introduction of Street View imagery for Hungary will allow users to explore numerous cities including Budapest and Debrecen, as well as tourist attractions and landmark sites such as the Hungarian Parliament building and Chain Bridge.
Point of view
Hungary's PM: We Reject The Application Of Any Kind Of Double Standard
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave an interview to Spanish daily El Mundo, in which he talked about the importance of Christian values in society, the ethnic and religious minorities as constructive elements of the state, and the necessity of more just treatment for Hungary on the part of the European Union.
Hungary’s parliament approves new rules restricting public use of swastika, red star
Hungary’s parliament has overwhelmingly approved a modified plan to restrict the display of Nazi and communist symbols such as the swastika and red star. Similar rules were declared unconstitutional in February because they were found to be too broad and an excessive restriction on freedom of speech. The new rule specifies that the symbols are banned if they upset peace and order.
Adventures in Hungary
When David Fairbrother retired as pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Vernon, he never envisioned he would one day be teaching a Bible study class in a small town in Hungary.
Hungarian official calls US human rights report on country “rather strange”
The US State Department’s recent report on Hungary has failed to reflect achievements of the country’s complex Roma inclusion strategy, state secretary at the Human Resources Ministry Zoltan Kovacs told on Saturday. The official encouraged critics of Hungary to “start paying attention to good practices” and said that repeated recital of existing problems will not help resolve issues around the Roma minority.
Hungarians protest anti-Semitism in rally ahead of WJC
Tens of thousands of Hungarians rallied on Sunday to protest against what they said was growing anti-Semitism in the country which will host the plenary meeting of the World Jewish Congress next month.
Take the test
It’s enough to drive you round the bend
Passing your driving test is one of the milestones on the road to becoming a “grown-up”. A Hungarian jogsi is valid throughout the EU and driving lessons are relatively inexpensive. However, the process is not as foreigner friendly as it might be.
Goulash Soup Recipe: Eating Hungarian with The Ravenous Traveler
Hungarian cuisine merges flavorful spices, such as paprika, with hearty stews and meat dishes, and a trip to Hungary wouldn’t be complete without sampling one of the country’s national dishes, Goulash Soup.
Hungarian Law Threatens Fair Elections, Transparency Says
Based on the law approved this month, it will be impossible to verify how many people cast ballots by mail and to verify their identities, Transparency International’s Budapest-based Hungarian unit said in a statement.
EU party allies 'back Orban'
Members of the main centre-right bloc in the European Parliament have backed the Hungarian government despite EU concerns about its human rights record.
Critics Of Hungary Criticised
Mária Schmidt accuses Hungary’s foreign critics of applying double standards. The conservative historian suggests that the widespread western criticism of recent legislative developments in Hungary is inspired by left-wing intellectuals who have not yet done their homework.
Going to where?
Hungary is on a fast track to the past
The government dismisses criticism of its policies as liberal lies, but attacks on the media, threats to the independence of the central bank and racism suggest otherwise.
High in ranking
Hungary high in global antisemitism
A survey early last year by the Anti-Defamation League and cited by the report placed Hungary as the country with the highest number of individuals expressing antisemitic views, with 63 per cent of respondents classified as such, ahead of Spain (53 per cent) and Poland (48 per cent).
Romania calls for answers in case of suspected police brutality in Hungary
Tensions are running high between Bucharest and Budapest following the suspicious death of a Romanian man at a police station in Hungary.The 47-year old was detained on suspicion of stealing a chainsaw. It is alleged that he was beaten for over two hours before he died.
EU Threatens Hungary with Action over Constitution
The European Union said Friday it could start legal proceedings against Hungary if concerns about the country’s latest constitutional amendments aren’t addressed. Hungary promises changes after EU threat in amendment row
Between the lines
Hungary: inflation at record low, but the devil is in the detail
“Inflation at record low” said the headlines. Indeed, annual consumer price inflation fell to 2.2 per cent in March, well below the consensus of 2.5 per cent and the lowest ever recorded since the transition to a market economy. The main reason is the 10 per cent cut in household energy prices introduced in January has nothing to do with economic reality. It was mandated by the government and affected only the final providers in the chain.
Hungarian far-rightist sets ‘anti-Zionist’ demonstration while WJC in Budapest
Lorant Hegedus Jr., a Calvinist priest and member of the ultrarightist, anti-Semitic Jobbik party, announced that an "Anti-Bolshevik and anti-Zionist people's gathering" will be held in the Hungarian capital on May 4, the first day of the WJC annual assembly. Hungary bans anti-Semitic rally, receives praise amid criticism
Further Cuts In Utilities Prices Expected
In 2013, Hungary has introduced a 10% household utilities price cut in the field of electricity, gas and district heating. To ensure thorough enforcement of the price cuts, the country's energy regulator was restructured and several barriers were set to prevent energy companies from passing on these burdens to consumers.
Hungary Bans Anti-Semitic Rally on Holocaust Memorial Day
Hungary banned a rally organized under the slogan “Give Gas” that was planned to coincide with a Holocaust memorial march after a Jewish group complained that it amounted to a call for genocide.Budapest police will deploy “all legal means” to stop the rally by bikers, whose “provocative” name and timing is “an offense,” according to the statement. Prime Minister Viktor Orban had called for the ban, saying the protest was an affront to human dignity. Hungary's PM Categorically Rejects All Attempts To Undermine Human Dignity
Reding says EC ready to force Hungary into compliance over dismissed judges
The European Commission and the European Parliament is likely to complete their scrutiny of Hungary’s implementing a ruling by the European Court of Justice, under which judges forced into retirement should be restored to their former positions, EC Vice-President Viviane Reding said in Washington.
One side
Hungary's Criticism Always Comes From The Same Medium
According to Deputy State Secretary for International Communications Ferenc Kumin, the perception of the international press regarding Hungary has improved recently and it may be observed that critical views always arrive from the same media.
More than 422,000 apply for Hungarian citizenship through expedited scheme
More than 422,000 requests have been submitted for Hungarian citizenship since the launch of a scheme to grant citizenship in a simplified procedure in January 2011. Parliament decided in May 2010 that Hungarian citizenship can be granted in a fast-track procedure to those people or their descendants who held Hungarian citizenship before 1920 or between 1938 and 1945. Fluency in Hungarian is a condition of receiving citizenship but it is not necessary to have Hungarian residency or take an exam about the constitution.
Hungary rejects UN criticism on homelessness
Hungary’s foreign ministry said the constitution, changed by the right-wing government last month, “does not criminalise the homeless way of life”.
Can the EU stop Hungary's controversial constitutional amendments?
Hungary's new constitutional amendments, which critics say erode the power of the Constitutional Court and violate EU law, came into effect.
What on earth is this ignorant nonsense being spread about Hungary?
A message for western Europe's hysterical media – Hungary knows what a dictator looks like, and Viktor Orbán is not one.
Hungary flayed over homelessness policies
Two UN human rights experts slammed Hungary for entrenching tough laws against the homeless into the country's constitution even though they were voided by its Supreme Court.
The end
Hungary to pull out of Afghanistan this week
An official farewell ceremony held in Mazar-e-Sharif recently had witnessed the lowering of the Hungarian flag in the camp of the East European nation’s Defence Forces Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Slovakia seeks fresh trial for Hungarian Nazi, 98
A Slovak court said Tuesday it will seek the extradition of Laszlo Csatary, a 98-year-old alleged Nazi-era war criminal, from Hungary for re-trial in Slovakia on charges of crimes against humanity. Since the death penalty is now banned in Slovakia, the court in Kosice reduced Csatary's sentence to life imprisonment to help pave the way for his extradition, court spokeswoman Marcela Galova told AFP.
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