Presenting in one concise package the week’s most important and fascinating national stories, whether they be economic, political, cultural, sporting or among the hundreds of other happenings that go on daily.
The government recognises the problems in the health sector and is doing all it can to improve the working environment and wages, the ruling Fidesz party says. Ahead of a protest by health-care workers, Fidesz said that shortly after winning power in 2010 the government made raising wages in the sector its priority. By now, 95,000 health-care employees had received wage rises and in 2016, 43,000 nurses and 18,000 doctors would have larger salaries. Health employees gathered in central Budapest to demand higher salaries and the introduction of career models. The demonstration, attended by an estimated 5,000 nurses and other staff members, was organised by the Hungarian Chamber of Health-care Workers (MESZK). Chamber head Zoltán Balog said the message was that “decision makers should not only hear but understand” the demands. Patience is growing thin, he said. The protesters marched to the Human Resources Ministry to hand in a petition. The opposition Democratic Coalition said changes in health-care should be coordinated with professional bodies and unions.
Marcell Murányi, editor-in-chief of Hungary’s largest daily Népszabadság, has resigned over a road accident later leading to death. Murányi said he resigned after “learning from press reports that the man hurt in an accident he had been involved in has died”. Business daily Napi Gazdaság said Murányi drove over a cyclist in central Budapest just after midnight on March 30. The cyclist was riding in the outer lane, observing the rules, the paper said. Budapest police questioned Murányi as a suspect in a hit-and-run and he admitted responsibility but denied intentionally leaving the scene. Online news portal index.hu said the cyclist went into a coma and died on April 28.
‘Wide support’ for Budapest Olympics
Secretary general of the Hungarian Olympic Committee Bence Szabó says several European sports leaders support a possible bid by Budapest to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Szabó attended the congress of the European Olympic Committee in Belek, Turkey, this month. “Several people were interested in a possible Budapest Olympics and everyone thought that the Hungarian capital would be a great host,” he said. “We dined with the head of the Italian Olympic Committee… who confided that were Rome not in the running they’d be cheering the Hungarian bid.” The general view was that Hungary had a great track-record in organising sports events.
Hungarian Cannes contender snapped up
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired US distribution rights to the Hungarian film competing for the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or, “Son of Saul”. The distribution agreement was signed by the film’s international distributor, Films Distribution, at Cannes, film magazine Variety has reported. Director László Nemes Jeles said after the film’s screening that the international distributor had received so many offers for its rights that he had had to switch off his phone. The director said American professionals see the film as a potential Academy Awards contender, which was why the US bought its rights. “Son of Saul” is set in Auschwitz concentration camp during the final day-and-a- half in the life of Saul Auslaunder, a fictional Jewish member of the Sonderkommando charged with aiding with the disposal of gas chamber victims. The festival is running until this Sunday.
The town of Tata is prepared to receive and install a statue of Pope John Paul II from Ploërmel, a town in Brittany, if France “rejects the Christian roots of European culture” and decides to demolish it, two politicians of the co-ruling Christian Democrats have said. The holy Pope is highly respected in Tata, which has named a square after him, party leader Zsolt Semjén and local mayor József Michl said. A French court has ordered authorities to remove the 8.7-metre statue from the town square within six months, for violating the separation of church and state.
’No way` to accept EU migrant quotas
Hungary has underlined its rejection of a European Union plan to require member states to take in migrants on a quota basis. “There’s no way” that Hungary will do so, cabinet head János Lázár told a government press briefing. The government objects to the European Commission’s proposal, he said, adding that the migrants in question are not interested in staying in Hungary in the first place. He queried the figures used by the Commission to calculate the quotas, stating that whereas 2,700 asylum requests were submitted in Hungary in 2012, the figure had ballooned to 43,000 in the first quarter of 2015 alone. Commenting on proposals to cancel a planned national consultation on immigration, he said it is worth asking people’s opinion.
Time constraints and other obstacles can be resolved through joint effort, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (right) said at the cornerstone laying ceremony of the Dagály swimming centre in Budapest to be built for the 2017 World Aquatics Championships. Less than 800 days are left to build the facilities but Hungary should prove that it can complete the project in two years instead of four, like others have, Orbán said. He promised that Hungary would act not simply as an organiser but as a true host. The ceremony was attended by FINA (International Swimming Federation) chairman Julio C. Maglione (middle) and Budapest Mayor István Tarlós (left). Hungary was originally to host the 2021 event but Guadalajara in Mexico withdrew from holding the 2017 contest and Budapest stepped in. The new 18,000-capacity centre is planned to be completed by March 31, 2017.