Some 171,000 foreigners in Hungary are in possession of residence permits which exceed 90 days, said the Immigration and Citizenship Office. The office’s director, Zsuzsanna Végh, said that the applications mostly come from Ukrainian and Serbian individuals with Hungarian heritage. Végh also stated that there are around 8,500 Chinese in Hungary, though it is highly likely that the number is inaccurate. There were 1,218 refugee applicants in the first half of this year, mostly from Somali nationals, but only 99 were approved. Hungary had to extradite 318 people this year, double the figure at the same time last year. Additionally, courts have deported some 300 foreigners for perpetrating crimes.
In efforts to tidy up the city, police are implementing ID checks and a higher police presence in areas that seem to attract crime such as underpasses, train stations, and tourist hotspots. Law enforcement deputy leader Colonel István Bozsó announced at a press conference last week that in the past three months the checks have led to 700 arrests, 2,600 misdemeanor and criminal reports filed, and HUF 102 million (EUR 434,700) in fines. There are 6,500 active police, civil guards, and public area inspectors patrolling the streets. According to the mayor of District II, Zsolt Lang, a recent local-council funded HUF 5 million (EUR 21 300) operation in the district over six weeks in June and July restored order in the infamous Moszkva tér. These raids led to 29 fines and 37 arrests for illegal business dealings, 11 of which resulted in confiscations of merchandise.
Members of the 3,300-strong independent trade union of the Customs and Finance Guard have threatened industrial action because the supplementary wages given to other members of the armed forces performing similar work are higher than those received by the some 5,800 customs officials. Union leader Gábor Holecz told MTI that it wants the provisions of the relevant law which the union regards as discriminatory, to be amended. The union agreed not to go on strike in 2006 after the Finance Ministry pledged to solve the problem, but no action has been taken since, Holecz said, adding that negative discrimination has caused an exodus of workers away from the Customs and Finance Guard to the other armed forces. Morale is extremely low among officials, he said. Last week the Finance Ministry acknowledged the need to settle the question of wage supplements, but said industrial action will not help to resolve the issue.
A list of
the most attractive female athletes taking part in the Beijing Olympics,
compiled by people who have the time and inclination to compile such lists, has
been widely reported after doing the rounds on the internet. Hungarian water
polo player Rita Dravucz was placed third, behind only Russian
tennis star Maria Sharapova and Canadian rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Orlando.
The contract for Hungary to host Formula One has been extended for five more years, announced Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and sports overseer and Local Governments Minister, István Gyenesei on 3 August during the grand prix at Hungaroring. The existing contract was to expire in 2011, but with the new deal the races will be around till 2016. The contract is an extension of the old one but the hosting fees could rise as much as 10% each year. The cost now is HUF 2.7 billion (EUR 11.52 million). Hungary has been hosting the event since 1986 and a record 241,000 people visited Hungaroring over the weekend for this year’s grand prix.
The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) has donated bricks of its cancelled tender to burn for fuel. MNB cancels around 70-100 tonnes of old bank notes annually. The cancelled currency is pressed into dense little bundles and acts in the same way as brown coal, making it good for heating. MNB offered to deliver the cash free of charge to a non-profit organisation.
Over 300 hotels and bed and breakfasts in the lake Balaton area have been put into a higher category, thanks to HUF 80 billion (EUR 33.79 million) spent on modernisations, according to a Napi Gazdaság survey. Accommodation at more upmarket destinations such as Keszthely and Hévíz on the western shore of the lake have received major investment, as has the south Balaton resort town of Siófok. The revenue of hotels with four stars or more had risen 18% yr-on-yr by the end of July. However, tourist authorities warned that lower category lodgings may be downgraded unless room sizes, kitchens and bathroom facilities are improved. The authorities anticipate a 8-10% rise in numbers yr-on-yr for 2008.
All of the 2,633 samples from the Hungarian Olympic team were negative in tests for illegal drugs, according to anti-doping officials, who have sent their reports to all the sporting authorities concerned, as well as the Hungarian Olympic Committee. The discus thrower Róbert Fazekas, who was stripped of his gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics for failing to provide an adequate urine sample and then later altogether refusing to do so, is among those representing Hungary, after serving a two-year ban.
District V in the centre of Pest introduced a simplified parking fee scheme last Friday raising fees, which previously ranged from between HUF 230 and 265, to a flat rate of HUF 300 (EUR 1.30) per hour. Illegal parking attracts a fine of up to HUF 20,000 (EUR 87.76) and wheel clamps are often used.
The Roma community in the north eastern town of Sátoraljaújhely held a protest last Monday demanding that ten children who were taken into care in June be returned to their families. The children were removed from their families after a storm on 26 June made houses uninhabitable. The head of the Roma Civil Rights Foundation, Aladár Horváth, complained that the local council was trying to force Roma families out of the town by taking away their children, rather than repairing the damaged homes. The local mayor insisted that proper legal procedures had been adhered to.