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7th December, 2017

Constitutional Court rules on press liability

Media outlets covering press conferences on matters connected to public affairs are not liable for defamation, the Constitutional Court stated in a ruling published on Wednesday.

When reporting on the press briefings of public figures, journalists will not be obliged to verify facts and not be held responsible for publishing false claims, the court ruled.

A website had submitted a constitutional complaint to the Constitutional Court, objecting to a suit that had been launched against it for covering a press briefing held by a politician in the matter of the tobacco tenders.

According to the overturned Kuria verdict false claims had been published at the expense of a politician at the briefing and the website was responsible for spreading claims that were false.

However, the Constitutional Court ruled that this interpretation of the concept of rumours
7th December, 2017

Audit Office concludes Jobbik accepted illegal subsidies

The State Audit Office said Wednesday that Jobbik had accepted over Ft 331.6 million in banned subsidies from legal entities which under the provisions of the party law effective from January 1, 2014 were classified as banned contributions. Under the law non-cash contributions are banned if a party avails itself of or places orders for services at below-market prices.

Caucus leader Janos Volner told reporters that the party anticipates more than Ft 660 million in fines, which will practically deplete the resources the party would have spent on political and campaign-related activities.

Volner said to ATV that it has become doubtful whether Jobbik will be able to run at next year
7th December, 2017

Charges pressed against Bela Kovacs

The prosecution has pressed charges against Jobbik MEP Bela Kovacs for crimes against the state and budgetary transgressions, the Prosecutor General
7th December, 2017

Authority finds no misconduct in Tallai hometown fuel price cut

The motivation of head of the tax authority Andras Tallai was merely benevolent when he had energy company MOL lower its fuel prices in Mezokovesd, where Tallai used to be a mayor and currently serves as MP of the town, the office of the prosecutors KNYF found.

LMP caucus leader Bernadett Szel reported the case to authorities on suspicion of abuse of power.

Tallai was acting for the public, the prosecutors underlined. The fact that Tallai is the head of NAV did not influence his negotiating partners at MOL, the prosecutors argued. (hvg.hu; index.hu; 444.hu; nepszava.hu)
7th December, 2017

NAV looks into university expenditures

The tax office NAV is investigating the suspicious use of funds at the National Public Service University, website 24 reported on Wednesday.

Among other things, the tax authority is interested in a case involving former undersecretary Anita Boros, who received roughly Ft 10 million from the university for additional work on a book she had written earlier.

Boros had signed a contract in 2013 to write 900 pages within one month. At that time she was both a ministerial chief adviser and legal consultant and an associate professor at the National Public Service University.

Until she resigned on Tuesday she served as undersecretary at the Development Ministry overseeing asset management.

A report had been filed by LMP co-president Akos Hadhazy who told Klubradio he was happy to see an investigation launched at all. He said it was questionable that the university needed to spend Ft 8,000 per square meter in EU funding for government offices whose staff members were trained on the premises. (24.hu; klubradio.hu; napi.hu; mno.hu; 444.hu)
7th December, 2017

Vadai: over 100,000 signatures collected

More than 100,000 signatures have been collected by the Democratic Coalition in the campaign launched to ensure that persons who have never resided in Hungary would not be allowed to cast an electoral vote, vice-president Agnes Vadai told ATV Wednesday.

Vadai argued that this is a national cause and that people agree with the idea of dual citizenship but not with the idea that those who have never lived in Hungary should be allowed to vote.

She said the government wants to buy votes by offering this opportunity, as they also do by granting funds in the social sphere, such as baby bonds or the Ft 90 billion economy-boosting project in the Voivodina province.

In related news, the executive committee of the Democratic Coalition will decide next week who will be on the party
7th December, 2017

Budapest to restrict noise on Margaret Island

Budapest city council approved a noise restriction decree on Wednesday which will regulate the noise of activities on Margaret Island, Napi writes. Margaret Island is under the direct control of the council, the website added.

The council passed the proposal submitted by deputy mayor Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky with 25 affirmative votes and one abstention.

From March 2018, cultural establishments may only generate noise between 10 a.m. and midnight and sports facilities and other establishments may use sound systems between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Loud events may take place on sport facility grounds between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. The use of amplifiers at open air events will be restricted to the hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. (napi.hu; hirado.hu; hvg.hu; index.hu; magyaridok.hu)
7th December, 2017

Industrial output soars in October

The increase in industrial output was 7.6% year-on-year in October, the Central Statistics Office announced as it released the first of its estimates on Wednesday.

The 7.6% workday-adjusted figure increase is identical to the unadjusted annual growth rate.

Industrial production rose 1.2% between September to October.

Industrial production increased 5.4% in the first ten months.

The increase in industrial output in October was the second highest growth rate this year, analyst Peter Virovacz of ING bank commented.

Now it is clear that the slow down in industrial production that was seen in the summer was only temporary, analyst David Nemeth of K&H bank argued. (ksh.hu; napi.hu; portfolio.hu; hvg.hu; origo.hu; magyarhirlap.hu)
7th December, 2017

Hungary draws on Russian credit

Hungary has drawn on the first
7th December, 2017

Bloomberg: MNB easing policy opposing the current

The MNB continues to follow a monetary easing policy thus standing against the main current of its peers in Eastern Europe who wish to strengthen monetary conditions, news agency Bloomberg said in an article analysing MNB policies yesterday.

MNB will purchase mortgage bonds from next year, which is a policy of easing. Surprisingly, MNB aims to bring down long-term rates not short-term rates which is the common practice in smaller countries, Bloomberg noted.

The MNB was criticised when it began its policy of easing but it turned out that it had done the right thing, bond fund manager Andreas Rein of Uniqa Capital Markets commented in Vienna. (portfolio.hu; napi.hu)
7th December, 2017

Swine fever detected at Ukraine border

The food safety authority Nebih has detected the African swine fever virus in a joint of pork confiscated at the Zahony border crossing point, near Ukraine, the authority announced on Wednesday.

The import of meat and meat products from non-EU countries, including Ukraine, is banned, even if it is for personal consumption, Nebih warned.

Despite the ban, customs officers regularly find meat products on travellers entering Hungary. (hvg.hu; portfolio.hu; index.hu; origo.hu; 444.hu)
7th December, 2017

Wheelchair users to get car purchasing subsidies

The government is offering Ft 50 million in subsidies to help individuals who use wheelchairs to purchase cars, Human Resources Ministry state secretary Karoly Czibere said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The subsidies will cover 50% of the purchase price, offering Ft 1-4 million worth of assistance to the purchaser.

This is a continuation of the previous
7th December, 2017

Tesco ups wages

Based on the agreement reached with its unions, Tesco will add Ft 2.8 billion to wage expenditures next year the hypermarket chain announced on Wednesday.

Next year the lowest monthly wage at Tesco will be Ft 197,000, higher than the Ft 180,500 minimum wage for skilled labour. The minimum Tesco wage will also apply to unskilled labourers, the chain underlined.

Tesco is increasing the lowest wages by nearly 10%. (portfolio.hu; napi.hu; hvg.hu; index.hu; magyaridok.hu; nepszava.hu)
7th December, 2017

MOL to sell off UK operations

MOL has commissioned the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) to sell its UK operations, news agency Reuters learnt from banking sources.

The value of the transaction is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars.

The energy company entered the UK production market on the North Sea at the end of 2013.

The Hungarian oil giant has put a $375 million price tag on its UK portfolio.

MOL has a 50% stake in the Scolty-Crathes field and a 20% stake in the Catcher field. (portfolio.hu)
7th December, 2017

GYSEV contracts Thales for security system

GYSEV has purchased a train security system from Thales for Ft 9.7 billion, the Austrian-Hungarian railway company announced in the public procurement gazette Kozbeszerzesi Ertesito on Wednesday. The contract was signed on November 17.

Only Thales Austria and its Hungarian subsidiary filed a bid to fit the 110km Gyor-Sopron-Szombathely line with the ETCS 2 security system. (napi.hu)
7th December, 2017

Law enforcement expands IT capacities

The police has announced the winners of its IT system development tenders in the public procurement gazette Kozbeszerzesi Ertesito.

T-Systems will expand the Oracle database server capacity of the agency for Ft 212 million, below the estimated cost of Ft 260 million.

Tigra will conduct the database server capacity expansion for Ft 459 million, well below the preliminary Ft 722 million estimate.

An electronic certification and signature system will also be established by M&S Informatika for Ft 14.5 million, also below the Ft 22.3 million estimate. In addition, the company will establish a cloud system for Ft 1.1 billion, over the original estimate of Ft 935 million. (napi.hu)
7th December, 2017

GVH fines used-car trader AAA

The competition authority GVH has fined used-car trader AAA Auto Ft 30 million, the authority announced yesterday.

The GVH ruled that AAA Auto had misled potential purchasers about their legally secured rights. Giving information on consumer rights, must be separated form special offers of any company; companies must comply with the law, GVH underlined. (napi.hu; portfolio.hu; hvg.hu)
7th December, 2017

Over 20 persons die of exposure

A total of 23 have people died of exposure by early December, the Hungarian Social Forum reported yesterday.

Of the fatalities eight people died in the open air, eight in unheated homes and seven in a hospital because they could no longer be saved, the website nyugat reports. (atv.hu; alfahir.hu)
7th December, 2017

Hundreds of thousands of unauthorized chimneys identified

On Wednesday the disaster prevention authority announced that it has discovered hundreds of thousands of unauthorized chimneys.

This year the authority took over the inspection of household chimneys from chimney sweeping companies.

They had expected to inspect 1.8 million chimneys but the actual figure came to over 2 million.

Most of the unauthorized chimneys were found in Pest county, followed by Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen and Baranya counties, HVG reported. (hvg.hu; napi.hu; index.hu; 444.hu)
7th December, 2017

Flying Gizi freed for Christmas

Repulos Gizi (Flying Gizi) will be released from prison three days before Christmas, the tabloid Blikk reported on Wednesday. Gizi is in prison for failing to pay a fine imposed on her for committing misdemeanours.

To date the 91-year-old woman has been convicted more than 20 times and her sentence exceeds 17 years.

In the early fifties when domestic flights operated in Hungary she would board a plane in Budapest in the morning to Miskolc, Debrecen, Szeged or Szombathely, steal valuables, and then return to Budapest in the evening. (168ora.hu; mno.hu; propeller.hu; hvg.hu; atv.hu; 444.hu; 24.hu)

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