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11th May, 2017

Gyurcsany fails to present evidence against Orban

Former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany failed to attend yesterday’s meeting of Parliament’s national security committee to discuss his allegation that Prime Minister Viktor Orban is vulnerable to blackmail by Russian authorities.

Gyurcsany had said he would take part in the meeting if Orban was also present. If not, then he would personally inform the committee chairman about all information in his possession, he said.

Secret service officials testified to the committee that they do not have incriminating evidence or data regarding Orban, committee members told reporters after the closed meeting.

Gyurcsany claims to have seen evidence that Orban accepted money from Russian agents in the past.

Committee chairman Zsolt Molnar, a Socialist, said it is regrettable that neither Orban nor Gyurcsany appeared “ignoring the rule of law and Parliamentary democracy”.

Jobbik MP Adam Mirkoczki said Gyurcsany “either lied or is a charlatan.”

Gyurcsany should present incriminating information to the committee if he actually has any, said LMP co-president Bernadett Szel.

Fidesz MP Szilard Nemeth remarked that the Gyurcsany case is not a matter for the national security committee, but is a “psychiatric case”. (inforadio.hu)
11th May, 2017

State secretary rejects photographic evidence of abuse in God

The mistreatment of children at a social care home in God, as seen in photographs released by an international NGO last week, does not exist, social affairs and social inclusion state secretary Karoly Czibere told Parliament’s welfare committee on Wednesday.

“What you thought you were seeing does not exist,” he said.

The Human Resources Ministry said on May 4 that it had launched a special inquiry at the Tophaz home for the mentally and physically disabled in God, north of Budapest, after the British-Hungarian Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC) reported widespread abuse.

The report said residents were malnourished, many were kept in chains, and others had open, untreated wounds, while some of the home’s 220 children were tied to their beds or made to wear straitjackets.

The Human Resources Ministry suspended the director of the home and said it would be shut in the near future.

Czibere said the MDAC had entered the home without a permit, took photographs illegally, and did not have the right to take pictures of children without their consent and publish them without permission from the administrators.

As if arguing that no action need therefore be taken, he said “there is no assertion of law through violation of law”.

Czibere declared that the photographs do not bear out the serious allegations that appeared in the media.

However, he acknowledged that he does not know what the outcome of the ministry inquiry will be.

Index notes that staff at the institute requested an inquiry due to the poor state of affairs last year. (hvg.hu)
11th May, 2017

MDAC turns to EU over God case

The EU should intervene to provide the necessary assistance to those living in the Tophaz home in God, if Hungary does not, the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre declared yesterday at a press conference in Brussels.

The organisation pointed out that EU funds had been spent on the home where human rights were violated.

A criminal report was filed last week but the Hungarian government has only sacked the interim director and the MDAC is unaware of whether the residents are receiving the necessary assistance and care. (hvg.hu)
11th May, 2017

Finkelstein linked to campaign against EU and Soros

The government’s ad campaign against the EU and George Soros now running on television is a work typical of US consultant Arthur J. Finkelstein, a source told HVG.

Finkelstein, seen as the guru of negative campaigns has worked with Fidesz since 2008, and for the US Republican party and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others.

An expert who has worked with Finkelstein abroad said “Finkelstein is extremely strong, in that he merely has to smell the research data to come up with slogans that coincide with the political interests of the customer, that can be puffed up in texts and displayed visually”.

This is completely different from what gushes forth from Hungary’s pro-Fidesz “Habony media” because, the source says, that is “merely tabloid content meeting superficial requirements, blended with some East European hatred”.

The weekly’s cover story this week also discusses how the staff of media outlets close to Fidesz have changed with the advent of the “Habony media”. (hvg.hu)
11th May, 2017

No child benefit hike, says Novak

There are no plans to raise the state child benefit, because the government considers work-related allowances more effective, Human Resources Ministry state secretary Katalin Novak told ATV.

She acknowledged that such allowances are available only to those in employment, but stressed that the government is creating work opportunities.

At present, an average family with two children does not pay any income tax, because of such allowances.

Direct subsidies to families will amount to Ft 1.9 trillion in 2018, twice as much as in 2010, Novak underlined.

The amount of child benefit has not been increased since 2008, ATV adds. (atv.hu)
11th May, 2017

Pensioners’ co-operative bill filed

Fidesz caucus leader Lajos Kosa and Christian Democrat caucus leader Peter Harrach filed a bill in Parliament on creating pensioners co-operatives as a new form of business venture.

Members of the co-operatives will enjoy tax-free income if it is received in the form of food vouchers or in-kind services.

At least 90% of the co-operative’s members must be pensioners.

The state might provide subsidies to these co-operatives.

Revenues from these co-operatives must be used to meet the social, health, educational and cultural needs of members and their immediate family if they live together.

The bill argues that obstacles to the return of pensioners to the labour market should be removed. (portfolio.hu)
11th May, 2017

TV crew thrown out of Botka’s office

Police and security guards removed an EchoTV crew from Szeged mayor Laszlo Botka’s office on Wednesday after they tried to break down a door to a room in which he was conducting a meeting.

The pro-Fidesz channel had wanted to ask Botka about the collapse years ago of local construction company Szeviep which bankrupted many small businesses.

They remained at the mayor’s office for two hours before police removed them.

The crew did not give up, but followed Botka to Tatabanya where he ignored their questions.

Szeged city councillor Zoltan Lukacs, a Socialist, said to EchoTV that his party “has as much to do with Szeviep as you fascists”. (index.hu)
11th May, 2017

Vajna’s radio network expands again

The media authority NMHH has approved the addition of nine local stations to Radio 1, the radio network owned by Andy Vajna.

Stations in Sopron, Tiszafured, Salgotarjan, Debrecen, Eger, Pecs, Villany, Komlo, Mohacs and Baranya county will join from May 15.

Vajna’s company Radio Plus set up in July 2015 filed the only valid bid to launch a radio station in Budapest, that is Radio 1.

Local stations in Baja, Dunafoldvar, Paks, Szekszard, Gyor, Tihany, Miskolc, Heves and Nyiregyhaza joined the Radio 1 network last November 15.

Local radio stations must provide local content for 4 hours and 23 minutes a day; the remaining time can be filled by a shared network. (napi.hu)
11th May, 2017

Mayor granted two official cars

The First District council has approved two official cars within a year for mayor Tamas Gabor Nagy, although he walks to his workplace, HirTV reports.

Nagy first had the council buy a Ft 7 million electric car for his personal use and when he realised that he cannot cover long distances with it, he had the council approve another car, costing Ft 15 million.

Nagy walks to his workplace, as he lives 200 metres from the town hall.

He is reportedly renting a 71m2 flat for a monthly Ft 81,000, well below the market price. (hirtv.hu)

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