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.
A crowd of 500-600 people from Czech civil groups gathered outside the Hungarian embassy in Prague on Monday to support the Hungarian government’s stance in Europe’s migrant crisis. They said the government is trying to preserve Europe and its traditions based on Christianity and GrecoRoman culture. “Hungarians in the past defended Europe from the Ottoman Turks, and were once again among the first to stand up for Europe and its values by trying to stem the flow of illegal migrants onto our continent,” Pavel Skacel, an official at the Institute of Slavonic Strategic Studies, said. Demonstrators chanted “Thank you! Thank you!” and “Orbán! Orbán!”
Human smuggler held after car chase
A Serbian driver with 14 undocumented migrants in his car crashed on motorway M5 after a 100-kilometre chase pursued by police. The driver did not stop when Hungarian police tried to check his ID near Zákányszék and drove fast onto the motorway, some 20 kilometres away. Eventually the car lost a front wheel and hit three cars and two trucks. Nobody was injured in the pileup.
The National Bank is issuing a reworked HUF 20,000 banknote with a different multiple colour scheme on the front giving an overall blueish-green tone. Its size will remain the same and it will still portray Ferenc Deák, Hungarian politician and statesman from the 19th century. The first HUF 20,000 note was issued in 2001 and it was redesigned in 2009 to include more security features.
Anthem fine quashed
The Hungarian government has welcomed a second-instance decision by Covasna County Court in Romania to annul a fine against the Hungarian Civic Party for organising a commemoration on June 4, 2014, National Cohesion Day, where participants sang the Hungarian national anthem. The official ruling of the court said the organisers had not broken the law and the court rejected the county prefect’s appeal of the first-instance decision to annul the fine of 5000 lei (EUR 1,130). Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén said the ruling made it clear that the decision by the county prefect was unlawful. Semjén said it would be “unacceptable” for anyone in an EU member state to be punished for singing their national anthem. Such a mentality was reminiscent of Ceausescu’s dictatorship, which had now fallen for good, he said. Hungarians living in Covasna County rightfully expected an apology from county prefect Sebastian Cucu.
March against museum plan
Hundreds of people marched from City Park to Kossuth Square in front of Parliament in heavy rain on Saturday to demonstrate against the Liget Budapest Project. The protesters have collected 20,000 signatures against the planned museum quarter. “These 20,000 people are asking for the maintenance and renovation of the City Park but no new buildings,” local councillor László Varnai said on behalf of the organiser Civilzugló Association. “This project is a crazy idea.”
The opposition LMP party has proposed that Budapest levy a congestion charge of 700 forints per day in peak hours. LMP has also called for building more park-and-ride lots and developing cycling infrastructure. Party municipal councillor Antal Csárdi said LMP would set the boundary for the charge on the Könyves Kálmán, Hungária and Róbert Károly ring roads and on the so-called Buda ring. Within these boundaries vehicles would be charged the equivalent of twice the single fare on public transport, Csárdi said. The charge would apply from 7am-7pm, on weekdays. Outside these hours there was no professional argument for a fee. Commenting on a proposal by municipal leaders to set the congestion charge at 5,000 forints a year, Csárdi said “that would not reduce traffic by even a single car”.
US Baptists send aid
Texas-based Baptist congregations and a hospital association have sent an aid consignment worth about HUF 85 million to Hungary. The shipment containing medical supplies, bandages, disinfectants and infant formula arrived by air in Budapest on Saturday.
E-vehicles may help mail
State-owned Hungarian postal company Magyar Posta (MP) is trying out several models of electric vehicles until January. MP is seeking cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions for logistical work and package delivery. Chief executive Zsolt Szarka said e-vehicles can be used in densely populated areas and could reduce fuel costs.
Police backed on migrants
Almost 80 percent of respondents to the survey from September 19-24 said they were satisfied by police handling of migrants, pollster Nézőpont Institute’s director, Csaba Fodor, has told public television. He said perceptions of police reaction to attacks by migrants at the Roszke border station “are clearly part of that”.
E-ID card step nearer
Work has been completed on creating a background IT system for introducing a national electronic identification card (NEK) that integrates ID systems for various state and local government services, officials of the central office that manages the project said on Tuesday. The government submitted a bill this year on introducing a chip card carrying data such as an individual’s residence permit, tax number, health-insurance number and driving licence.
A HUF 750 million repaving project at the Hungaroring race track on the outskirts of Budapest has begun. Hungaroring chairman-CEO Zsolt Gyulay said the track’s operator is covering the cost of the investment itself, though Hungaroring hopes to get state funding for a HUF 25 billion overhaul of the track it wants to undertake.