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.
British ‘jihadists’ held
A Budapest court has ordered the expulsion arrest of two Britons previously convicted for financing terrorism and apprehended by Hungarian police on a train to Bucharest. An international arrest warrant had been issued for Trevor Brooks (pictured top) and Simon Jonathan Keeler (pictured bottom) because they left the UK without a permit, violating British counter-terrorism law. Keeler, a London resident, and Brooks have opted to undergo a simplified procedure and agreed to be expelled. The British authorities have until November 29 to collect them, otherwise they must be freed. The men were asked by police on the train to provide documents proving their eligibility to be in Hungary or showing their citizenship. One of them carried only a British driving licence and the other handed over a Koran. The men had been convicted for financing terrorism for 18 months and later received a three-and-a-half-year jail term. In line with the sentence, they must ask for a licence if they want to leave the UK in the ten years starting from their release in 2009. Press reports said Brooks was also known as Abu Izzadeen, a regular speaker at extremist jihadist events in the UK.
Liszt, Bartók, China in focus at spring festival
The oeuvre of Ferenc Liszt, works by Béla Bartók and Chinese culture will feature at Budapest Spring Festival from next April 8 to 24. Liszt is always in focus at Hungary’s largest and most prestigious cultural festival, and Bartók will be celebrated because 2016 marks the 135th anniversary of his birth, head of the festival organising body Csaba Kael, who is the director of the Palace of Arts, said. An exhibition at the National Museum about the Silk Road will present one of the most important links in history between China and Europe, and Puccini’s “Turandot” will be presented by the Chinese National Opera at Erkel Theatre. Among the star performers will be Ramon Vargas in one of the leading roles in Mozart’s opera “Idomeneo”, and Vladimir Galouzine will sing in “The Queen of Spades” by Tchaikovsky.
MP in manure protest
Green opposition Politics Can Be Different MP Benedek Sallai dumped 2-3 cubic metres of manure outside a government office building in Kaposvár on Monday in protest against the sale of state-owned farmland. Sallai drove the truck himself before leaving the mess on the road and pavement. He said it symbolised that the government’s direction with the auctions is wrong and “this whole thing stinks… Fidesz is lying to the people. They’re dismantling everything and giving everything to their buddies.” Police launched an investigation against him on suspicion of violation of public sanitation and public order rules. Somogy County police spokesman Zoltán Orbán said Sallai was asked to clean up the manure but refused to cooperate or relinquish his immunity. Sallai said he did not give up his immunity because he wanted to take part in the upcoming corruption crackdown debate in Parliament. Later he would be prepared to give up his immunity and face the law. Government commissioner for Somogy County Zsolt Neszményi said Sallai “lacks credibility” on land sales because he has a vested interest, having wanted to acquire “thousands of hectares” through a complex network of companies.
Jobbik in migrant protest
Hungary must make it clear to Brussels that it wants no part of the migrant quota system, Gábor Vona, leader of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, said at a demonstration by the party against the EU’s migration policy. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the European Commission Representation in Hungary. Signature drives are no longer enough after the Paris attacks, and the government must hold a referendum on the quota system, Vona said, adding that the result of a binding referendum “would spread like wildfire across Europe”. Jobbik’s “message to the world” was that “if 100,000 migrants come to our borders, we will send 100,000 people to protect it. If one million arrive, we will send one million and if even more migrants arrive then all 10 million of us will go there… Hungary will remain ours until our last breaths”. Vona compared the quota scheme to a “house party gone wrong” where the partygoers crash at the neighbour’s house for the night.
Wizz Air cuts Hurghadaover terror scare
Hungary’s low-fare Wizz Air will suspend flights between Budapest and Hurghada, Egypt, from this Saturday indefinitely. Wizz Air started operating one weekly flight to the Red Sea resort on May 16 this year. The reverse comes after Russian officials said a Russian aircraft that crashed in Egypt last month had been brought down by a terrorist bomb.
No cash, no transport: Tarlós
Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós has warned that unless an agreement on the long-term financing of public transport for the capital is struck, transport company BKV may not be able to operate services beyond the city limits. “This is not blackmail,” Tarlós said. “Everyone has to realise that services can only be ordered if there are the funds to pay for them.” Commenting on a statement by Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minster János Lázár that BKV would receive 24 billion forints from central coffers, Tarlós said he trusted a long-term agreement could be reached. The mayor said human error was to blame for a recent accident involving a Spanish CAF tram about to go into circulation. An official transport authority investigation had concluded the construction of the tram was not at fault, Tarlós said.
Football fans saving for France
Between 15,000 and 20,000 Hungarian football fans could travel to France to back the national team at Euro 2016, daily Magyar Nemzet said on Monday. Gábor Szabados, a sports economist, told the paper that 60-70 percent of them would go by car or bus. Transport, lodging and tickets would cost them at least 50,000-60,000 forints apiece, although they could easily spend 180,000-200,000 forints, he added. Hungary will be contending the European Championship for the first time since 1972.